Saturday, February 15, 2014
New York Times Deal Book: The Tom Perkins Theory of Taxation and Representation, by William Alden:
This time, Tom Perkins knew he was courting controversy.
Mr. Perkins, the 82-year-old venture capitalist who caused a stir last month when he said in a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal that protesters criticizing the wealthy were similar to Nazis, has fully embraced a new role as a spokesman for the beleaguered “1 percent.” In a conversation with a Fortune magazine editor at a San Francisco event on Thursday, Mr. Perkins spent an hour riffing on his position that the wealthiest Americans are being unfairly treated.
One major theme was taxation. Many wealthy businessmen argue that the rich pay too much in taxes. Mr. Perkins goes several steps further.
“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” he said at the end of the interview, explaining that he had spent some time formulating this theory. He cited Thomas Jefferson and Margaret Thatcher to provide ideological precedent.
“But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you should get a million votes,” he said. “How’s that?” The remark drew laughter from some in the audience, who apparently thought the investor was joking. In a summary of the event, a Fortune reporter wrote: “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.’”
(Hat Tip: Mike Talbert.)