Some ultra-rich demand higher taxes on themselves because ordinary people can't afford to buy their products: NBC business reporter
Rich people [Shutterstock]

NBC business reporter Ben Popkin had some surprising news on Wednesday, telling MSNBC's Craig Melvin that some of the ultra-rich are actually on board with Democratic proposals to raise taxes on the rich, as income inequality threatens to wipe out America's middle class, and thus the country's consumer-based economy.

Despite sounding counterintuitive, those member of the top 1% who want higher taxes "had a really good argument," said Popkin. "They believe it's actually bad for business because the tax divide actually threatens to undermine the existence of middle class America. They can't have their businesses function if there's no one around to buy their products."

Popkin also said the wealthy were coming around to a "simple idea" -- leveling the playing field.

"Why should a fireman possibly be paying a higher tax rate than the heir to a wealthy fortune who is sitting around eating bonbons?" he said of their new mindset. "The average tax rate for Americans is 30% while on investment income, it's 15%."

Popkin confirmed that public support for raising taxes on the rich was somewhere around 75%, and that the sentiment was held by both Republicans and Democrats. But Nelson wondered if "the devil is in the details" and whether voters would support such a policy when push came to shove.

"Sure. But just because something is hard, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to do it. The question is 'when will we act,'" Popkin replied. One of the millionaires he spoke to "painted a picture of a future where millionaires, rich people they're living in smaller and smaller defended enclaves, while the middle class is dying out."

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