'Patriotic Millionaires' Describe What They've Done With Their Bush Tax Cuts: 'I Built A Dance Floor In My House'
WASHINGTON -- Paul Egerman isn't certain how many millions he's saved from the tax cuts enacted during the George W. Bush administration in the early 2000s and extended by President Barack Obama in December of last year.
"I do not know how much I've saved over 10 years but I'm sure it is several million dollars -- probably in excess of $10 million," said Egerman, founder of a medical transcription company called eScription.
And what, HuffPost asked, have you done with all that cash?
"I've kept it," he said. "I have not done anything with that money."
Egerman is part of a gang of self-described Patriotic Millionaires who wish the federal government would help itself to more of their money to address its big budget deficits. Nearly 200 millionaires have signed a letter asking congressional Republicans to consider healing budget gaps with increased revenue -- in particular, higher taxes on millionaires -- instead of just reduced spending.
The group is coordinated by the Agenda Project, a New York think tank, and Wealth for the Common Good, a network of business leaders and wealthy people that promotes "fair and adequate taxation" to support the economy.
Other millionaires on a conference call Monday morning said they had more fun with their extra money than Egerman did.
"I probably traveled a little bit more than I otherwise would have," said Frank Patitucci, CEO of NuCompass Mobility Services, a company that offers relocation management services.
"I got a bigger boat than I used to have," said Dennis Mehiel, the founder and chairman of cardboard box manufacturer U.S. Corrugated, Inc. He lamented that the construction of his 150-foot sloop didn't create any jobs for American workers. "The problem is, it was built in Italy."
Dal LaMagna, founder of Tweezerman, said he used his extra money to help the local economy in by adding stuff to his house in the Pacific Northwest.
"I just started creating jobs myself. I built a dance floor in my house -- which I really didn't need," LaMagna said, adding that he also put in a parking lot. "I just became a Dal LaMagna economic stimulus package in Poulsbo, Washington."
HuffPost readers: Got tons of money? More than you need? Tell us what you do with it -- email email@example.com. Please include your phone number if you're willing to do an interview.
The tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 overwhelmingly benefited the richest 1 percent of taxpayers, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. The progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated in 2009 that the tax cuts "added about $1.7 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2008."
The tax cuts would have expired in January, but President Obama broke a campaign promise and struck a deal with congressional Republicans that reauthorized the cuts for two more years in exchange for one year of extended unemployment benefits, among other things. Tuesday, June 7, is the 10th anniversary of the tax cuts.
Extending them further would result in an extra $68,079 for the average member of the richest one percent of taxpayers in 2013, according to estimates by progressive advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice.
"If they are fully extended, they will cost five-and-a-half trillion dollars over the coming decade," said CTJ President Bob McIntyre on the conference call.