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Goldman's Blankfein ready to pay more tax

Goldman's Blankfein ready to pay more tax

Goldman Sachs’s powerful chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said Thursday that he was willing to pay more tax to balance the US budget but not to fuel a redistribution of wealth.

Blankfein, often seen as a symbol of the extremely wealthy “one percent” whose taxes could be cut if Republican Mitt Romney wins the White House, said he would not mind paying more income tax to resolve the country’s gaping budget hole.

“If you paid five percent more, you would solve the problem in a heartbeat,” he told CNBC television.

“I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t pay that kind of price to benefit our country.”

Blankfein, who earned $16.1 million in compensation from Goldman last year, insisted that his politics lean to the left.

“I don’t mind paying higher taxes. I don’t mind progressive taxes,” he said.

“The economic system has to accomplish at least a couple of things. One is to create, generate wealth, and the other is to have a fair way of distributing it.

“I’d say the first is a predicate for the second… I don’t want to do anything in the redistribution that tamps down on the generation of wealth.”

The head of Wall Street’s most powerful investment bank said the main question for any tax hike was how it would be spent, and whether it would deal directly with hard fiscal choices facing the country.

But the two major political parties have failed to reach compromise on a plan to reduce the debt and fiscal deficit.

“Whoever wins the election, I hope they realize that you have to bring the entire country with you. And you have to do this in a bipartisan way or else we’re going to be a very volatile system as we go from one extreme to the other extreme,” Blankfein said.

“What we really need to do is fix the economy of the United States on a sustainable basis, so there’s some predictability, so people don’t stand on the… sidelines, and so they go and invest, and so jobs get created.”

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