Wilbur Ross: Tax me, but don't waste it



NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Billionaire Wilbur Ross is the latest rich guy to put the word out that he's fine with higher taxes.

"I think that's okay, as long as they do something useful," Ross told Charlie Rose on Monday, saying it's okay to raise taxes on high earners as long as the government puts the money to good use.

What would qualify? Ross thinks the country needs to invest more in research and development. And education.

"I really feel that within five or 10 years, we could be a second rate power. We'll still be big, but we could really be behind the eight ball in a very big way. And it isn't even just R&D. A generation ago, we were the Number One country in the world in terms of what percentage of people finish college. You know where we rank now? 12th. 12th."

Pimco's Bill Gross makes a similar point on the need for investment. "We've been flushing a lot of stimulus down the economic toilet," said Gross in an interview with CNNMoney.

By that he means that the emphasis has been on consumption so people will 'continue to buy things.' Instead, Gross said, we need to start thinking about investments in clean energy, infrastructure and education.

As for taxes, Ross thinks it's important to keep taxes low for those who earn less than $250,000 a year.

"If you want to do something to destroy consumer spending, just eat away at the middle class because the other problem we have is the structural problem of middle class America," said Ross.

Last week, several wealthy folks came out in favor of reinstating the estate tax. The group included former Treasury Secretary and Citigroup chairman Robert Rubin and hedge fund manager Julian Robertson. To top of page

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