Originally published on by The Wall Street Journal

The Search for 1,000 Tax-friendly Rich People

Diogenes, the famed beggar-philosopher of ancient Greece, supposedly roamed the streets of Athens, lamp in hand, trying to find an honest man.

Chuck Collins, the politically liberal heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune, is engaged in a more curent Diogenian quest. His goal: to find 1,000 wealthy people willing to petition for higher taxes on the rich.

Mr. Collins, head of Wealth for the Common Good, is hitting the airwaves to urge wealthy Americans to sign a petition that would reverse the Bush-era tax cuts on household incomes of more than $235,000.

The group seeks an immediate increase of the top tax rate to 39.6% from 35%, which could raise an estimated $43 billion in tax revenue a year. “We believe high-income households want President Obama to move our country toward stability, fiscal responsibility and sensible taxation and investment,” the group states. “We should not wait.”

Mr. Collins’ task won’t be easy. First off, the pool of rich people with the ability to sign the petition has dropped considerably. Finding 1,000 people with incomes of $235,000 is tougher with 9.4% unemployment.

Second, the wealthy–like many Americans–don’t really like paying taxes. Just ask the 52,000 offshoring UBS clients (or the 8,000 to 10,000 whose names will be turned over).

Still, Mr. Collins has succeeded before in finding people anxious to give the government more money. Working with George Soros and William H. Gates Sr., he got 4,702 signatures for a petition opposing a repeal of the estate tax.

Even if Mr. Collins doesn’t meet his new target, he will likely see his broader goal of having the wealthy pay a larger share of the country’s tax burden realized. Congress, it seems, has already ruled in his favor.

Would you sign the petition?