MONEY

Tom Perkins: People With More Money Should Get More Votes

02/14/2014 09:39 am ET | Updated Feb 14, 2014

Tom Perkins is desperately trying to extend his 15 minutes of infamy.

The 82-year-old venture capitalist, who recently made a lot of people angry by comparing progressives to Nazis, told an audience in San Francisco Thursday that people who pay more money in taxes should get more votes.

"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins said during an event hosted by Fortune's Adam Lashinsky. "But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?"

The audience responded to his claim as any sane humans would: with laughter. After all, that’s not really how democracy works. And not that Perkins would care, but his proposal wouldn't really be fair given that poor Americans already fork over a larger share of income to Uncle Sam than their richer counterparts, according to a 2013 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Unfortunately, Perkins wasn’t joking around, telling the CNNMoney reporter offstage, "I intended to be outrageous, and it was."

Perkins is no stranger to outrage, and it seems like he’s starting to kind of like it that way. The Internet freaked out last month after he argued in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that there are parallels between progressive activists’ “war on the American one percent” and Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews. Even the firm he co-founded, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, was quick to distance itself from his controversial comments.

“This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking,” Perkins wrote in the letter. “Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

Perkins ultimately kind of apologized for his comments, telling Bloomberg TV that he was sorry he used the word “Kristallnacht” -- a reference to the 1938 attack on Jews in Germany and Austria that was a precursor to the Holocaust. Still, Perkins stood by the gist of his letter, while showing off his super expensive watch.

What’s more, other people said out loud in public that they agreed with Perkins’ sentiment. Rich guys from real estate mogul Sam Zell to billionaire Wilbur Ross piled on, claiming the one percent is getting picked on unfairly. The WSJ also stuck by Perkins, writing in an editorial that while his Nazi comparison was “unfortunate,” “the liberals” lack of tolerance for rich people is verging on dangerous.

This post has been updated with more recent data on tax rates from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

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