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The Heat: What Do You Say?

The Heat

Should Washington target the super-rich?

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"America will continue to lose its competitive edge as long as we continue to seek out those who have done everything to succeed and give that money to those who do nothing to succeed. Everyone is mad because this man celebrated success, while the real problem is those who celebrate a new child because they will have lower taxes and more welfare money." - Richard, Texas

"I don't think most Americans have a lot of sympathy for Wall Street. When you consider that 15% of the Federal budget goes to service debt and half of that debt is held by wealthy U.S. investors and businesses, average Americans are spending about 7% of their tax money in a direct subsidy to Wall Street. If we bring a little balance to the taxation of private equity, maybe we can actually lower taxes on the rest of us by reducing the $9 trillion debt we owe and the expensive interest it costs us." - Ali, Arkansas

"As a life long conservative Republican I will say that no one person's service is worth more than 5 million dollars a year. We were a much better country when a CEO made 40 times the pay of his or her hourly paid employee. We are out of touch with reality at a time when our middle class is hurting. So tax the hell out of the obscenely wealthy. They won't miss it." - Red, Oregon 

"The statement that the hedge fund guys don't care if the tax rate is 15% or 35% is readily understood. Under our present tax code they are paying neither. I am sure that they have all kinds of shelters and techniques to shield most of their income from taxation and use methods to cover expenses which also shelter income. The only thing they would fear would be a flat tax (both individual and corporate) on gross income."  - Victor

"Funny that tax privacy shields the average taxpayer from the knowledge of what is actually the tax rate and amount in dollars paid by the "rich". "I don't know why the Democrats care about this now, they are going to steal the money from his estate when he passes any way through their death tax.  However, when you willingly put your head in a noose like Schwarzman has done, what would you expect? He brought this upon himself, and now he will pay the price.  As a staunch Republican and free market capitalist, I have no empathy for Mr. Schwarzman.  - A.B., Arizona

"If you drive in your car (or are driven in a car as in the case of Mr. Schwarzman) to a building, sit down, sign things, and then get in your car to go home, you have just worked at a job and earned wage income. You did not create a capital gain. These dollars are taxable in tiers and Mr. Schwarzman should be paying the vast majority of his federal tax at the top rate. I seriously doubt that this would curb his ability to enjoy stone crabs on the weekend. " - Hilliard, Kentucky

"A company near me makes 150+ foot yachts.  I wonder if those 200 American middle-class jobs would exist if the government taxes the rich heavily enough to deny their ability to buy such items." - Morgan, Washington State

"What's the difference between stock options taxed at 15% and Blackstone taxed at 15%?" - Mort, Kentucky

"The very rich receive more than their share of the benefits therefore they should pay more in the form of higher taxes.  This is common sense equity and the stuff that nourishes a vibrant democracy." - Bill, California

"As far as I'm concerned, anything that can make 'The Heat' think twice about the well being of 'humans' over the free market is a breakthrough of the most significant proportion and should be thoroughly and exhaustively vetted.  Of course, you're doing it for your own petty and selfish reasons that have more to do with the fear of the people you exploit every day than any desire to see fairness or any respect for the life on this planet. You are the monsters. " - Jack

"I grew up in a very poor family that believed hard work and education would eventually bring riches. I am now a surgeon and while I am not rich I am believed to be rich by anyone who has less. I did not start making a dime until I was 35 y/o (school and surgical training). I believe that in the U.S. everyone has the opportunity to be as rich as they want.  Presently I work approximately 18 hours a day. So why should I pay more taxes because I worked harder and sacrificed my younger life so that I can now be economically comfortable. I think the middle class should be careful what they ask for. They may be affecting the possibility that there may be a super-rich son or daughter in their home." - Rick

"Those who benefit the most from our economic/political system should pay a proportional share.  I would, however, favor doing away with the inheritance tax and replacing it with a wealth tax.  Some will call this punishing success. But the current tax system punishes work with the payroll tax.  Which is worse?" - Scott, Florida

"Washington needs to focus on minimizing the distorting effects of the current tax system that has led to Blackstone acting as they have. Every time politicians 'target' various groups of our society they further distort people’s decisions, rendering the market unable to work efficiently." - Jared, Montana

"We are facing a problem that has been repeated in history from at least 594 BC. Distribution of income and wealth has caused problems again and again. This is just the most recent example. We need to address it before it causes destruction or partial destruction to our system." - Charles

"I think the way your question is framed is misleading. This does not amount to 'targeting' the super-rich. It is merely a measure to capture a very SMALL portion of the fair contributions due from the super-wealthy that they routinely avoid."  - Sue, Vermont

"We should not encourage class warfare. It is very easy to raise emotions against the super- rich especially when they behave obnoxiously. The issues are purely tax policy.  I believe that we should allow publicly traded partnerships to continue to avoid being taxed as corporations (the partners are taxed). We are one of extremely few nations that tax income twice -- once at the corporate level and again at the individual level." - Stephen, Tennessee

"But how much is too much? The relative point is the perception of the gap - its different to everyone... Most believe anyone who earns more than they do should pay more.  But what bothers the worker bees is the use of money and power to influence the outcome of an event to favor the big shot....like Paris Hilton." - North Dakota Worker Bee 

"Certainly it is ridiculous that fund managers get capital gains treatment when that is their income. That is just wrong - it's not a question of targeting the super-rich but rather one of not favoring a class of super-rich over everyone else." - Andreas

"Yes, and it's inevitable. Anyone remember Will Rogers? He understood when he said, 'I ain't sure where the money is going to come from to pay for all these government programs, but I kinda think it's gonna come from them that's got it.'" - Daniel

"I think an individual or a business should be allowed to make as much money as they legally can. Specifically targeting people considered wealthy for additional taxes moves money from where it has a more efficient use to other areas (i.e. government) that distribute it to less efficient uses." - Dewayne

"I believe in free markets and have not, and will not ever, vote for a Democrat.  On this issue they are spot-on.  It's obscene how much money these people make and how they spend it... This is the best argument for a consumption/flat tax."  - Himmelwolf

"There is nothing wrong with being rich so long as you don't put the money offshore or use every tool known to 'the rich' to get around paying your share of taxes." - Margaret

"I don't think people realize how important the super-rich are to the 'middle class.' It's basic economics. Without the chance to make money, who wants risk? The question of equality vs efficiency will never be answered, but I bet the pensions and IRAs people are relying on would be a lot smaller without PE's M&A. - Joel, California

"Yes, I strongly believe that individuals making over $500,000 per year should be taxed at the maximum rate if .. it will take pressure off of the middle class." - Orville, Washington State

"Hedge fund owners make hundreds of millions of dollars while young men and women die and lose limbs in Iraq.  I find this troublesome." - Bob, Pennsylvania

"Conspicuous wealth is nearly as appalling as conspicuous poverty. While the rich don't owe the poor anything, we must at least partially redistribute wealth from time to time. Otherwise you ultimately have nearly everyone at the mercy of the few, a sure formula for revolution and chaos." - Don, Texas

"The 'Super-Rich' think of themselves as the 'Super-Privileged.' They tell us if they have more to invest, a few crumbs will trickle down to us. I say "GO CONGRESS" make them pay their fair share." - Paul, Arkansas

"The oil companies, private equity firms, and big business in general, are destroying the faith of the average person.  I am happy to see CNBC finally taking a stand (almost) against this insanity...  I believe in business but I don't believe in screwing the average person and that is what comes through everyday from your station." - Tootsierolls5

"Yes, I definitely believe the super-rich should pay at least the same percentage of their income in tax as I do...  Besides the U.S. equity market will still be the best place for IPOs no matter what the tax rate is." - John

"The total tax rate for a married, self employed individual who earns in the $65,000 to $95,000 range is over 40% when Social Security and Medicare taxes are added to the incremental income tax rate. A tax rate of 15% for hedge fund managers doesn't seem quite fair by comparison to the low-earning entrepreneur." - Dave, Texas