(Nebraska News Connection) Nearly seven in ten Americans say billionaires are not paying their fair share in taxes, according to a new survey.
Among likely voters, 65% support taxing the ultrarich's stock-market gains.
Morris Pearl, board chair of the group Patriotic Millionaires, said raising taxes on the nation's wealthiest residents is an important first step in reducing decades of growing economic inequality.
"The vast majority of Americans support having rich people -- who pay almost no taxes -- pay the same tax rates as people who work for a living," Pearl reported. "Have money deducted from your paychecks every single week for taxes."
The Data for Progress survey showed strong support for raising taxes on the rich across party lines, but Congressional Republicans have consistently rejected tax increases on the wealthy, and moderate Democrats recently defeated a proposal to fund President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan by taxing some 700 billionaires, calling it an attack on the nation's biggest philanthropists and job creators.
A recent ProPublica report exposed how many of the richest Americans pay zero in federal taxes through a variety of loopholes, all legal.
Pearl pointed out making the nation a place where everyone has an opportunity to succeed is a lot harder than raising money to put someone's name on a new concert hall.
"But we also need a lot of other things," Pearl emphasized. "We need sewage-treatment centers. We need schools in parts of the country where people who work for a living actually live and want to send their kids to good schools. We need hospitals. We need a lot of things that philanthropy doesn't pay for."
Pearl pointed to the nation's opioid epidemic as one devastating example of what can happen when people face a rigged system every day and lose hope. He contended too many Nebraskans who pay taxes cannot get ahead, and they worry their children will not fare any better.
"It's because of the gross inequality that our civil society is falling apart," Pearl argued. "We need to change what is making our inequality get worse and worse and worse, before everyone just gives up on America."