As the President was stumping his jobs plan at a townhall in Silicon Valley, one ex-Google exec (we learn) – now a millionaire – stood up and perversely urged during the Q&A:
“My question is: Would you please raise my taxes?” the man asked, to audience applause. “I’d like very much to have a country that continues to invest in things like Pell grants, infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am.”
Let me assure you, his entreaty does not represent what most Americans want, nor would ask. We want to pay less taxes. We don’t have the luxury in these turbulent times to give more of our labor to Uncle Sam.
But, with the irritating redundancy of a broken record, it seems Google and its ever-growing coterie of millionaires wants to “help” the government through most any means possible. Even if that makes the rest of us slobs poorer. Go figure. (Perhaps it’s because they get so much help from the government to be so profitable…but I digress)
I hope the mainstream press – which also seems to have taken up Google’s same pro-government cheerleading – asks how and with what tax deductions today’s “I-want-to-be-taxed-more” millionaire made his millions.
Perhaps, after being very fortunate, they came through government-granted tax breaks, like Employee Stock Ownership Plans, which allow start-ups to attract talent by granting stock options in place of direct compensation, which can then be later realized at higher values when the company is doing well. Or, through low capital gains taxes when that or other stock is sold. Or, through the “179 deduction,” which gives a tax break for small businesses to purchase IT, boosting industry sales, as well as the ability of individuals and companies that bought that IT to use the services of Google and others.
Don’t get me wrong. I think these tax breaks are great. The jobs plan, however, puts some of these breaks in jeopardy.
One should keep as much as one can from the clutches of Uncle Sam – but the “I’ve got mine, now the rest of you schleps are on your own” mentality kind of turns Google’s Do No Evil mantra on its head. However, if that guy wants to pay more taxes, I have a couple of suggestions: Fire your accountant, eliminate your (likely numerous) itemized deductions, and file a 1040EZ.
Leave the rest of us alone, spoiled Google child.