[ti:ECONOMICS REPORT - 'Patriotic Millionaires' Say Their Taxes Are Too Low] [ar:Voice of America] [al:VOA Special English] [by:www.unsv.com] [00:00.00]From VOA Learning English, [00:03.07]this is the Economics Report in Special English. [00:07.51]Congressional leaders and the Obama administration [00:11.73]have begun budget negotiations. [00:14.86]They are trying to avoid what is being called [00:18.92]"the fiscal cliff," [00:21.19]a combination of tax increases and budget cuts [00:25.57]that many experts worry could harm the economy. [00:29.90]However, a group of rich Americans has formed [00:34.40]to try to influence those negotiations. [00:37.95]More than twenty of them [00:40.44]travelled to Washington recently [00:42.60]to call on lawmakers to raise taxes [00:46.05]on the wealthiest Americans. [00:48.43]The group calls itself "Patriotic Millionaires." [00:53.39]Members of the group have incomes [00:56.43]of at least one million dollars a year. [00:59.21]Their message is simple: [01:01.50]"tax us more -- we can take it." [01:05.22]They are worried about the growing gap [01:08.51]between the upper- and middle-classes [01:11.67]in the United States. [01:13.20]The group supports President Obama's plan [01:17.27]to raise taxes on rich Americans [01:20.25]as part of a budget agreement [01:22.85]to avoid the "fiscal cliff." [01:25.63]If an agreement is not reached [01:28.80]by the end of this year, [01:30.21]taxes will go up for most Americans, [01:33.75]and federal spending will go down sharply. [01:38.05]President Obama says the country can avoid that [01:43.29]if Republicans agree to raise taxes [01:46.27]on the wealthiest Americans. [01:48.81]"When it comes to the top two percent, [01:51.94]what I'm not going to do [01:53.82]is to extend further a tax cut [01:58.10]for folks who don't need it, [02:00.40]which would cost close to a trillion dollars." [02:03.34]But the Speaker of the House of Representatives -- [02:06.60]John Boehner, a Republican -- [02:09.35]says taxes for wealthy Americans do not have to go up. [02:14.54]"I have outlined a framework [02:16.53]for how both parties can work together [02:18.52]to avert the fiscal cliff without raising tax rates." [02:22.40]The Patriotic Millionaires [02:24.37]believe their taxes need to be raised. [02:27.18]They also do not agree with the idea [02:30.54]that increasing taxes on those [02:33.37]who create jobs means fewer jobs will be created. [02:37.96]T.J. Zlotnitsky is the head of iControl Systems, [02:43.71]a data management company. [02:46.54]"When I make a decision about whether or not [02:48.70]I'm going to hire people to help grow my business, [02:51.89]I make those decisions strictly [02:52.92]on the basis of whether the company needs them, [02:54.46]whether the customers demand them, [02:55.95]whether doing so would grow the business. [02:58.09]In terms of my own personal tax rates, [02:59.91]that never factors in." [03:01.51]The group says increasing taxes [03:04.23]on middle-class Americans -- [03:06.17]but not on rich Americans -- [03:08.56]would be bad for the economy. [03:11.37]Frank Patitucci is the chief of NuCompass Mobility. [03:17.22]"It is especially important about the middle class. [03:19.66]If you lose the middle class, [03:21.42]you're losing customers. [03:23.00]So a strong middle class [03:25.35]that's helped by a fair tax system [03:27.88]leads to long-term to a healthy economy." [03:31.11]Patriotic Millionaires has more than [03:34.02]two hundred members across the country. [03:37.09]Members of the group work in finance, [03:40.89]entertainment, technology and other areas. [03:45.80]