Comedian Chris Rock told The Associated Press this week that he would gladly pay more in taxes if it meant more Americans have jobs.
Speaking to reporters at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Rock commented that he was “gonna lose the money,” suggesting that he would rather see his tax dollars being used by the government to support jobs than having his children’s teacher ask him for a loan.
“I look at it this way: I can pay higher taxes and people can have jobs, or I can pay lower taxes and have my kids’ teacher asking me for a loan because she’s gonna lose her house, which is true,” he said. “Stuff like that happens. So, I’m gonna lose the money no matter what.”
Rock, an Emmy and Grammy award winner who’s written films and starred in several of his own HBO specials, reportedly has a net worth of over $70 million.
He’s only the latest in a string of wealthy individuals, like billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, to come out in favor of higher taxes on America’s wealthy. Because of their immense wealth, Rock, Buffett, Gates and other rich Americans would fall under a plan proposed by President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies that would raise the tax rate on millionaires to 30 percent.
The top 400 earners in America paid an average effective tax rate of just 18.2 percent in 2008. Approximately 94,500 millionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than millions of families earning less than $100,000, according to the Congressional Research Service (PDF). Tax rates on the highest earners are at historic lows thanks to a massive tax break for the wealthy passed during the Bush administration, which if revoked could close the country’s budget deficit.
Facing a $15 trillion national debt, President Obama has called the need for more government revenues a moral imperative, and even quoted scripture to his Republican rivals, who accuse the president of engaging in “class warfare” for his efforts to make tax rates for the rich and poor more equitable.
This video was published by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.