Clark County philanthropist chimes in on fiscal cliff deal

And now, a dispatch from our new demographics reporter, Erin Middlewood:

When editors asked me to look into who in Clark County would pay more under the fiscal-cliff deal provision raising taxes on households with annual incomes higher than $450,000, I called up the first rich guy who came to mind: David Nierenberg.

He’s a prominent philanthropist and supported Republican Mitt Romney’s bid for president. In fact, he worked for Romney at Bain & Co., a consulting firm, for seven years.

Nierenberg’s take on the cliff deal: “We’ve taken the easy way out, which is to raise taxes on a highly visible group.”

He said he is not necessarily opposed to raising taxes, but hikes should be paired with spending cuts.

“A more forward-looking program would balance tax increases with spending cuts, and would look for ways to foster more rapid economic growth. The more people we put to work, the more taxpayers we’ll have,” he said.

Even if you took all the wealth from those at the top income brackets, he said, “do we really think, mathematically, that we’re going to solve a deficit problem in the trillions?”

“You can monkey around with tax rates all you want and you can try to soak the rich if you want to,” he added, “but because the rich are rich, they still find ways to shield income and legally minimize their taxes.”

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