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“Tax The Rich” Redux

Ralph welcomes Erica Payne, founder of “Patriotic Millionaires” and co-author of the upcoming book “Tax the Rich” to talk about how wealthy people need to realize that the real price of their numerous tax cuts is more social unrest. Plus, Ralph answers more of your questions.

Erica Payne is the founder and president of Patriotic Millionaires, an organization of high-net worth individuals that aims to restructure America’s political economy to suit the needs of all Americans. Their work includes advocating for a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens. She is the co-author, with Morris Pearl, of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer.

“Corporations pay taxes on their profits, which are determined after their expenses. Which include payroll. So even arguing that tax cuts are a job creator or that the people who are promoting tax cuts are themselves job creators is absurd on its face. And it’s that lie that is at the center of the cancer that is eating apart this country.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“If you bought a movie from Netflix last year, you paid more for your movie than Netflix paid in taxes.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“Depending on how you make your money, the federal government taxes it differently… The fact that [full time workers] worked to make [their money] and they have a … deficit relative to the person who just sat around and inherited it from somebody? That makes me sick. And we wonder why we have people attacking the Capitol on January 6th and social unrest more than we’ve ever had in the history of the country.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“I’ve been at this fight for ten years… and you can take fifty percent of the political system off the table entirely– and that’s the Republican Party. Because they are a party of rich people funded specifically in order to achieve tax breaks. Then you look at the Democratic party as a whole… I would say that we are at about fifty percent of the Democratic Party would like to raise taxes substantially on rich people and unrig the economy. Another fifty percent of them have absolutely no interest in pissing off their donors any more than the Republicans do.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“We have this adulation of wealth in this country that has taken us down a really dark path… For the first time in history, life expectancy is going down for segments of our population. Deaths due to suicide, alcohol, and drugs– which are known as deaths of despair– are at the highest point they’ve ever been in recorded history. The Sackler family has been right at the middle of that, along with other families who have just piled wealth upon wealth upon wealth with actually no moral construct whatsoever to their business activities. They have destroyed the lives of millions upon millions of people and we give them a tax break for doing it. It makes me sick. And it should make every American of every political party sick.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“These huge corporate leaders go on TV every single day and just bald-faced lie to the American people.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“On some level, the politicians are taking an abysmally low dollar figure to sell out the country this badly. If Paul Ryan’s going to sell out the country and hand $1.5 billion to David Koch, I would expect him to get a little bit more out of it than $500,000.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“If you think that you should work your ass off and pay twice the tax rate of people who are sitting on the beach clicking on their E-Trade account, keep the tax code we have. Don’t say anything to your lawmakers. Let the whole thing go… if you think that that’s a problem, it’s time to engage with your Congresspeople.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“Taxes are complicated, and they are boring. They are complicated on purpose so that you will not understand them, and they are boring because they are just boring. Except that they aren’t. Taxes are the sexiest part of the American public policy portfolio. Everything happens in the tax code.”
Erica Payne, author of Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

“I don’t ever see corporations having marches and rallies for all their tax cuts. They just focus on personal golf playing, campaign money, personal relations with members of Congress and their key staff.”
Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 362 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Nina Canaleo says:

    Erica i your email I tried that one and didnt work. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley my state Reps of Missouri.

  2. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    We definitely don’t need millionaires.

    So if the corporate media never decides to support single-payer healthcare, then we should never have a vote? That appears to be the logical extension of Ralph’s argument. So does the media drive congressional action or does congressional action drive the media? Or perhaps it doesn’t matter at all what the corporate media thinks because they are always going to oppose us.

  3. Don Harris says:

    On one hand I am glad you addressed my question on the rapid testing and also mentioned One Demand. On the other hand I am still wondering why you have not addressed One Demand on or off the air (other than allowing me to comment here).

    You have now commented twice on Force the Vote that has only been around for a few months. One Demand uses the same principle as Force the Vote of we will not give you our votes for X, Y and Z unless you give us A, B and C that Nina Turner said was how political business is done.

    You have said that politicians want our votes more than big money to run their campaigns and One Demand is a way for citizens to test that theory by working together on one common issue (80% of citizens want the big money out of politics) to demand that candidates run small donor campaigns forcing the candidates to choose between taking big money and getting our votes.

    You have also had a representative from the Patriotic Millionaires on again.

    I have been trying to get you to address One Demand since 2015. Isn’t it time yet to level the playing field a bit by making good on your statement on Washington Journal (10-24-2018) that you would have me on the radio hour to discuss One Demand and give a representative of the Patriotic Peons an opportunity to discuss with Ralph and get Ralph’s opinion on another approach to solving the problem of big money in our political process?

    When you encourage citizens to get involved, to keep after people such as yourself to address an issue/idea and not take no answer for an answer and then do not answer one of those very people for five plus years it doesn’t seem like a good strategy to inspire citizens to get involved.

    I have been following your advice on how to get issues/ideas addressed and it has not worked on you yet.

    Do you have any new advice on what to do when what you say I should do has not worked for five plus years?

    The problem of big money corrupting our political process did not happen overnight and it can’t be solved in one election cycle. If we start this approach now it can begin to be effective in 2022 with just 10-20% of 2020 voters participating and then grow in 2024.

    If this had been started for the 2018 election cycle it could have changed the dynamic for 2020.

    The question for Ralph and for listeners is where they want to be in 2024. Do you want to have choice between two big money candidates again or do you want to be able to choose between big money candidates and small donor candidates?

    If you want to be able to choose small donor candidates in 2024 then we have to start preparing now to show the politicians that we are serious about not voting for candidates that take big money in 2024 by doing it in 2022.

    You can choose to let politicians promise future action with legislation that will not even be passed by 2024, much less implemented or beginning to be effective which allows you to avoid doing anything now or you can take action now and demand that politicians take action now to earn our votes by running small donor only campaigns.

    Ralph can make this choice on his own to inform citizens about this approach and listeners can make the choice to take action now to encourage Ralph to take action now.

  4. Tracie O'Keefe says:

    Where is the link for the letter to Senators and Congress persons regarding the tax issue, as mentioned in your talk? I’d like to get that sent out. Thanks.

  5. Michael says:

    Anyone else in Missouri want to take her up on that Zoom meeting?

  6. Nina says:

    Its gonna take more. Im writting down all states districts 94 of them and representatives and make a youtube video for each one promoting Tax the Rich then having a petetion on for each district for them to sign to their representatives to get this going on a national level. Anyone want to help comment my post.

    • Don Harris says:

      I hope you get a better response to your comment.

      Not sure it will do much though.

      I contacted the Patriotic Millionaires when Ralph previously had one of them on the Radio Hour, not asking for their financial support but just for them to let citizens know about One Demand.

      I did not get a response. Their approach seems to be to use their money to fight the many more other millionaires/billionaires which is not going to solve the problem as it is part of the problem.

      They seem to want to decide what to use their money on to help citizens rather than empower citizens to help themselves as One Demand is designed to do.

  7. John Puma says:

    Ms Payne said that the financial/tax inequality in the US has made it a shadow of what it could be. I can hardly argue with that assessment … but it is actually worse. The US is a shadow of what it vociferously CLAIMS to be and that fictitious essence is used to justify battering other countries around the world from economic war to military war.

  8. John Puma says:

    Thanks very much for taking my comment from the last segment as a question for this. Permit me to respond.

    Ralph said 1) “We all know who are the non-supporters of (Jayapal’s) single payer legislation.” I wish it were not so but I’d suggest only a very tiny fraction of the quoted 80% supporters of Medicare-for-All have any idea that pertinent legislation has been written … and even fewer know what a co-sponsor is. If 80% of US voters knew what Ralph does there would be very few problems for us to discuss on his program and comment section. 2) “Sweeping hearings need to be held to whip the populace into support for the bill.” (paraphrase) Sure but hearings follow only from the desire (or political pressure) to consider the bill(s). The problem is House leadership’s utter contempt for the very idea of the bill … probably in harmony with the public denouncements of it by the newly, if barely, elected President Joe (read my lips NO Medicare-for-All) Biden.

    The crux of “Force the Vote” was to get those co-sponsors*** of the bill to tell Pelosi that their vote for her to be Speaker would be contingent upon her promising to hold hearings and vote on the matter. Those agitating for Force-the-Vote were doing no more than asking Dem house representatives to bring to congress the political activism, encouraged and supported, by Ralph.

    *** Of course, the Dem majority is now so small (after Biden’s anti-mandate election) that the conditional votes of just the highly publicized progressives (the squad) would have been sufficient.

    • Cantnina says:

      Nobody responding to me either. Only left is to stop working until our demands are meet nationwide stop giving them all our power until they pay

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Yep. And as Rising’s Krystal Ball Pointed out not too long ago, the smaller the majority the Dems have, the more that empowers its right-wingest, namely Manchin & Sinema.

      All those so-called progressives in the DNC yet the real power has clearly been given to its 2 most fascist Congress members.

      The Dems want to fail.

  9. Don Harris says:

    How many listeners have contacted the radio hour concerning Ralph not making good on his statement on Washington Journal to have me on the radio hour to discuss One Demand?

    I did see one comment back in early 2019 where a commenter said something along the lines of ‘As a longtime listener get this guy on your show ASAP’. Have there been other comments that did not make it through the screening process or contact not through the comment box?

    If there are no other comments/contacts about this, one way or the other, it shows the difference between how listeners look at people/ideas you have on your program and people posting ideas in comments sections.

    But I should get an answer from you with or without anyone else encouraging you to explore this idea.

    “Anybody that has the civic energy you have deserves to be heard.”
    -Ralph Nader
    Washington Journal 10-24-2018

    The question is now not whether I deserve to be heard, it is whether I deserve an answer.

    If after further review you have decided this idea is not worthy of discussion on the radio hour, then it seems that you should let me know (on or off the air) why you have changed your mind and if so why you disagree with yourself that politicians want our votes more than big money to run their campaigns as One Demand is based on putting that theory into practice.

  10. NinaCant says:

    Honestly we might have to do a nationwide employyee STRIKE until our demands are meet. Better wages, bail out for rent duration of pandemic, benefits paid to workers gig and part-time. They can’t make money without us making it for them. It might take a while but we cant give in or else they win and they will never give us our fair share till we STRiKE

  11. Tor says:

    Hey everyone! Here’s the link to the 30min presentation on the Patriotic Millionaires TaxTheRich program that Erica Payne mentioned:

    It’s the best video on the tax system that I’ve seen, so be sure to check it out!

  12. Catherine says:

    Do you have the letter that you were going to avail. to your listeners?
    Thank you for all that you do!!!!

    • Skro35 says:

      Catherine, look in the upper right hand corner of the landing page at the box that says “Tax the Rich.” Click on that.

  13. Anne E. Dawson says:

    This was a wonderful interview. Thank you.

    I believe these issues also have importance at the state level. In CT support for higher education and other public services continues
    to diminish despite the fact that CT has a flush rainy day fund.

    I will ask Erica to send a copy of her book to CT’s Governor Lamont – a millionaire – and to the state appropriations committee.