Russell Simmons: 'Every Single One' Of My Employees Pays More Taxes Than Me
Famed investor Warren Buffett and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons have at least one thing in common: They both want the U.S. government to raise their taxes.
"All my employees -- every single one -- paid more taxes than I did," Simmons told MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Thursday in a segment highlighted by Think Progress. "We need to make the rich pay their fair share."
This is the second time in as many days that Simmons, whose estimated net worth is $340 million, has called for the federal government to raise taxes on America's wealthiest citizens. By doing so, he stands alongside Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, who in August similarly called for raising taxes on the rich in a New York Times Op-Ed.
Simmons also issued the request in a blog post on Wednesday.
“I believe in a nation where everyone gets a fair share of the fruits of our labor and where everyone pays a fair share for what they receive,” he wrote on his site. “I am asking the United States government to raise my taxes and not allow the Republicans to use this economic recession as an opportunity to strip the basic programs that protect our most vulnerable.”
Asked by MSNBC's Bashir whether raising taxes on the wealthy would threaten an already weak recovery, Simmons was unfazed. "I hired based on pre-tax profit, not post-tax," said Simmons, author of Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All.
He continued: "We need to organize all the working class and underserved communities to go to work to fight off this money grab... that a great number of the [rich] corporations and individuals to undermine opportunities to give opportunity and resources to the poor."
And most of the country would seem to agree with the drive to raise taxes on the rich. In a recent survey, nearly three-quarters of all respondents -- and two-thirds of Republicans -- said they would support President Obama's proposal to tax millionaire households at the same rate as the middle class.
The rule was unveiled in early September as part of a larger package including other tax increases and spending cuts. If enacted, it would apply to roughly 60,000 people, according to The New York Times.