''It's obscene that Washington is handing out tax breaks to millionaires with one hand and shredding the safety net with the other,'' said Marta Drury, a member of Responsible Wealth, a national network of affluent Americans advocating what they term ''widespread prosperity'' and concerned that a deepening wealth divide in America is undermining the country's social and democratic fabric.
''So I'm calculating my 2004 tax cut and donating it to organizations fighting for responsible, fair, and adequate taxes. I don't believe that people like me with incomes over $200,000 need $69 billion in tax cuts,'' Drury added, referring to the total estimated value of 2004 tax cuts granted Americans in her income bracket.
Responsible Wealth, founded in 1997 and claiming 1,000-plus members, has stood at the forefront of what Time magazine termed the ''billionaire backlash'' against elite tax cuts and Bush's proposal to repeal the estate tax. On Wednesday, members urged others in the ranks of America's rich and famous to join the ''Responsible Tax Pledge'' initiative.
The tax pledge asked members to calculate their 2004 tax breaks and donate these to fair-tax campaigns. For wealthy individuals like Drury, the average estimated tax break in 2004 was $20,000. For several other pledge signatories, it amounted to more than $100,000.
''It's irresponsible to put America deeper into debt to give tax cuts to millionaires,'' the tax pledge stated.
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