Patriotic Millionaires Chairman Morris Pearl told Yahoo Finance Live on Monday that stimulus checks would immediately aid the economy, predicting consumers will “spend that money the very first week after they get it.” Pearl, a former managing director at BlackRock (BLK), noted that consumers drive the economy and right now “many of them don't have any money to consume anything.”
On Monday, the Democratic-controlled House overwhelmingly approved legislation to increase the payouts to $2,000 — but the bill could face slimmer odds of passing in the Republican-controlled Senate. If the measure were approved, it would likely run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Stimulus checks like these are worthwhile investments, though, according to the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of wealthy “traitors to their class” who actually want to pay higher taxes and whose members include the likes of Abigail Disney.
The Democratic-aligned group has been a backer of President-elect Joe Biden for years and during the Obama administration, the group pushed for various additional taxes on the rich and often laid the blame at the feet of Congress for not taking more action. "We have to do something about the fact that so many people aren't paying their fair share,” Pearl told Yahoo Finance on Monday.
Other methods for addressing ‘gross inequality’ in the U.S.
Checks are just a part of the agenda Pearl hopes to see enacted in the coming year.
Pearl and his group appear to be set to spend 2021 making sure that the new president keeps his promises to tax more of their money. During the campaign, Biden’s tax plan proposed a series of hikes focused almost exclusively on corporations and those making over $400,000 a year. The plan would raise an estimated $3.35 trillion and $3.67 trillion in the coming decade.
At one point during the campaign, Biden directly said “if you elect me your taxes are going to be raised” to an event attendee who noted that they got a tax cut under Trump.
A combination of multiple analyses found that Biden’s plans if enacted in full would mean the richest Americans see their taxes go up 13%-18%. Americans of more moderate means would also see increases, but they would be “indirect” and much smaller: around 0.2% to 0.6%.
Pearl touted both Biden’s ideas for an alternative minimum tax for corporations — aka an “Amazon Tax” — and the president-elect’s proposals focused on tax loopholes and the minimum wage. “I think a lot of things that the president-elect is proposing doing is simply addressing how the rich are getting richer and richer through tax loopholes and things like that,” Pearl said.
Pearl reserved a special mention to real estate developers — the once and perhaps future occupation of the current president — as an area ripe for reform.
“It's going to be part of what's going to address the gross inequality that people are complaining about in our country,” Pearl said, referring to an overhaul that would eliminate such loopholes.
Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.