Romney Donors Grapple With the Fiscal Cliff and Taxes


"I have a firm point of view that there are ways to put revenue on the table through curbing tax loopholes," Atkinson, who also attended the Romney donor retreat in Utah in June, said. "I am vehemently against raising tax rates.… Republicans are ready to raise revenue by cutting loopholes. To say it's only fair for the wealthiest Americans to pay a bit more is baloney because the top 10 percent of taxpayers pay 75 percent of [taxes] already."

According to 2009 research available from the Congressional Budget Office, the top 10 percent actually pay 78.2 percent of federal income taxes and 51.8 percent of total federal taxes.

Republicans currently in negotiations with the president, as well as both Romney and Ryan on the campaign trail, stressed that tax increases will hurt small businesses. Atkinson says those who make $250,000 are not wealthy.

"It's really funny the Democrats posture this $250,000. A young woman working and a young man working, and they have three kids and they make maybe $300,000 or $400,000, and they are barely getting by, and to call them the wealthiest Americans just doesn't make any sense," Atkinson who is now the founder and managing director of Atkinson Capital, said. "To raise the [tax] rates because Obama wants to do that because he's been saying that for four years doesn't make it right, raising rates by a few percentage points only increases revenue a little bit."

According to the Office of Management and Budget, if Congress were to enact the Obama tax rate proposal and extend the Bush tax cuts, except for those making $250,000 or more, it would raise $836 billion over the next 10 years. That would reinstate the 36 percent and 39.6 percent income tax rates for single taxpayers who earn more than $200,000 and married couples who earn more than $250,000.

Although Atkinson says the home mortgage deduction is "sacrosanct," the carried interest loophole is one he says could be eliminated. It allows hedge fund managers and other investment firm executives to pay taxes on their earnings at the capital-gains rate, which is lower than the rate for regular income. It's an issue that Romney, former CEO of Bain Capital, had to dodge himself during the campaign.

"I think Republicans are being very forward," Atkinson said, before referring to the negotiations with the administration. "We are giving some revenue increases … you've got to give us some spending breaks."

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