12/12/2011 04:34 pm ET

Harry Reid On Payroll Tax Cut Fight: 'Millionaire Job Creators Are Like Unicorns'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) compared millionaires who create jobs to unicorns Monday on the Senate floor.

"Millionaire job creators are like unicorns," he said, according to The Hill. "They are impossible to find and don't exist."

Reid said that most of the "fictitious millionaire job creators" are "hedge fund managers or wealthy lawyers that don't do much hiring."

The Senate has twice rejected paying for the extension of the one-year payroll tax cut with a surtax on millionaires.

Republicans have said that the millionaire surtax would hurt job creation. "Well, over half of the people who would be taxed under this plan are, in fact, small businesspeople," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in November. "And, as a result, you're going to basically increase taxes on the very people that were hoping will reinvest in our economy and create jobs."

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) agreed. "If you're somebody who's in business and you get hit with a tax increase, it's going to be that much harder, I think, to make investments that are going to lead to job creation," he said.

NPR asked numerous House and Senate Republican offices recently to find a millionaire job creator to interview that would be affected by the legislation, and they were unable to produce one.

The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins analyzed the Republican claim, and found that small-business owners were overwhelmingly concerned with demand, not tax policy. Linkins added on the NPR report:

Thune responded by insisting that NPR found "exceptions to the rule." But if the "rule" is correct, why wouldn't a small-business owner want to talk to a reporter about an issue of paramount importance? Why couldn't any of the congressional offices or lobbying outfits that consider this a matter of paramount importance proffer the contact information of anyone willing to offer a testimonial about the adverse conditions this surtax would impose?

Politico recently reported that Senate Democrats are seriously weighing scrapping the surtax. Reid said that the Senate will not pass the House version of the payroll tax cut extension since it includes a provision requiring the Obama administration to make a decision in two months on the proposed Kesytone XL pipeline, which the administration has pushed back until 2013.