Billionaire Tom Perkins: If you pay $1 million in taxes you should get 1 million votes
By End the Lie
Billionaire tech investor Tom Perkins is no stranger to controversy with his recent letter drawing a parallel between the Occupy movement and Nazi Germany, but his statement that $1 million in taxes paid should grant you 1 million votes took it to new heights.
Just last month, Perkins came under fire for comparing the Occupy movement’s attack on the “one percent” to Nazi Germany’s attack on Jewish people in a letter published by The Wall Street Journal.
Now a clip of Perkins speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco with Fortune Senior Editor-at-Large Adam Lashinsky has gone viral.
It seems that Perkins was aware of the fact that his statement would be highly controversial, saying that his proposal would “Make you more angry than my letter to the Wall Street Journal.”
In the short clip, filmed during a Thursday INFORUM, Perkins says that the idea that votes should be proportional to the amount of money spent on taxes would change the world, presumably for the better.
Perkins also said that voting should only be allowed for people who pay income or property tax.
“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said. Lashinsky later pointed out that everyone pays taxes in the form of sales tax or various taxes related to driving a car.
“But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation,” Perkins said. “ou pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
CNNMoney points out that while the audience laughed, “Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking.”
When he was asked offstage if he was serious, Perkins said, “Of course not. I intended to be outrageous, and it was,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Perkins later said offstage that what he meant was that, with 50 percent of registered U.S. voters not paying taxes, ‘we got ourselves into a mess,’” according to a Fortune reporter.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital co-founded by Perkins, distanced itself after the comparisons between the attacks on Jewish people in Germany before the Holocaust and what he called anti-rich radicalism.
Despite the significant criticism he has received for the comments, he stood by them during the Commonwealth Club forum, saying, “I think the parallel holds.”
Perkins also said that the Koch brothers, the billionaires who have been attacked by democrats and accusing of trying to “buy our country,” are victims of persecution.
He said that the “extreme progressivity” of the American tax code is persecution of the rich.
“Government is a giant beast which has to be fed,” Perkins said, so it requires taxes to go “up, and up, and up.”
Raw Story notes that Lashinsky tried to jump in to tell Perkins that taxes helped back the creation of the internet, but Perkins said, “You’re barking up the wrong tree.”
“The squirrel is in the other tree,” Perkins said.
Perkins was asked if he believes he may have lost touch with the real world, to which he responded, “Philosophically, nobody can prove that they are connected to reality.”
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