The “Patriotic Millionaires” aren’t quite so generous with their own money

Back on my old site, I had a widget in the sidebar in which you could voluntarily donate money to the United States Treasury — and it didn’t go through either my site or myself personally — if you believed that you were undertaxed. And I have now added that widget to the sidebar on THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL. If you believe that you are undertaxed, you can use the sidebar widget, or simply click on the button to the left in this post.

I bring this up due to an article from The Daily Caller:

‘Patriotic millionaires’ demand higher taxes, but unwilling to pay up

By Michelle Fields – The Daily Caller

WASHINGTON — Two dozen “patriotic millionaires” traveled to the Capitol on Wednesday to demand that Congress raise taxes on wealthy Americans.

The Daily Caller attended their press conference with an iPad, which displayed the Treasury Department’s donation page, to find out if any of the “patriotic millionaires” were willing to put their money where their mouth is.


Videography by Direna Cousins

Now, perhaps The Daily Caller didn’t get around to asking all of the two dozen patriotic millionaires or they might have gotten a positive response, or perhaps they even did get a positive response or two, and edited it out. But I’d bet a case of Mountain Dew that they didn’t get a positive response. At least for the 1%ers the Daily Caller caught on video, it wasn’t about them paying their “fair share,” but compelling other people to pay what they think they should pay. Quite frankly, a little less hypocrisy from them would sell their cause a lot better, but I don’t expect them to change.


  1. That’s not it, Yorkshire, they are calling for higher tax rates for them and all like them. I’m surprised you did not pick up on their message. Well, actually I’m not, because your ideology has intervened once again!

  2. Alisyn Camarota interviewed Miss Fields on Fox & Friends this morning concerning the Daily Caller report, and asked one of the questions I did: did any of the “patriotic millionaires” agree, and get edited out of the film? Miss Fields stated, explicitly, that not a single one of them agreed. My other question, how many of the two dozen did she get to interview, was not asked.

    So far, the film clip is not available for me to post.

    Many of the patriotic millionaires said that the idea of them giving more in taxes voluntarily would be just a gimmick, and totally insignificant. But that raises the obvious question: would raising taxes on millionaires be significant? Ezra Klien, writing in The Washington Post, gave us some estimates:

    Back in early-2009, House Democrats proposed offsetting health-care reform by imposing a 5.4 percent surtax on income over $1,000,000 for joint filers, and $500,000 for single filers. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the proposal would raise $460 billion between 2010 and 2019. Adjust for economic growth and a similar proposal scored from 2012 to 2021 would likely raise more than $500 billion. That would more than pay for the president’s jobs bill.

    Another option would be to create a series of tax brackets for millionaires. After all, someone making $1,500,000 annually is in a very different position than someone making $10 million annually. Rep. Jan Schakowsky has advanced a proposal along these lines that would tax income between $1 million and $10 million at 45 percent, income between $10 million and $20 million at 46 percent, income between $20 million and $100 million at 47 percent, income between $100 million and $1 billion at 48 percent, and income over $1 billion at 49 percent. Her office estimates this proposal would generate $78 billion in revenue in 2011, which implies that it would raise close to, or perhaps more than, $1 trillion over the next 10 years, depending on how fast incomes rise.

    Something of a compromise proposal can be found in the Center for American Progress’s deficit-reduction plan (pdf), which proposed four version of a graduated surtax on incomes over $1,000,000. The lightest of these proposals raised $10 billion over three years with a surtax of one percent on all income over $1 million. The heaviest raised $75 billion over three years through a surtax of five percent on income between $500,000 and $5,000,000 and seven percent on income above $5 million.

    A final possibility would be to simply sunset the Bush tax cuts for income over $1 million. This is a proposal advanced by, among others, Sen. Chuck Schumer. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looked at this option and concluded it would raise about $400 billion when compared to a world in which all of the Bush tax cuts were extended. But compared to a world in which all of the tax cuts for income over $250,000 expire — which is, remember, the administration’s current position — the proposal is actually a tax cut of about $400 billion.

    Remember: most of these estimates are given over ten years, not per year. If the first proposal raises over $500 billion between 2012 and 2021, that’s an average of just over $0 billion a year, when the federal budget deficit is around $1.2 trillion a year; that’s less than 5% of the deficit. Even the Schakowsky proposal, the largest revenue generator, would produce roughly $1 trillion over ten years, or $100 billion a year, which is still less than 10% of the estimated deficit.

    Let’s look at the extreme end of raising taxes on millionaires:

    Obama’s “Buffett Tax” – Seizing 100% of Millionaire Income Would Pay Only Half of Deficit

    President Obama has suggested a “Buffett Tax” or a tax on millionaires. At this point, there are no specifics other than he wants to tax millionaires to allegedly pay down the deficit and have millionaires pay the same tax rates as other Americans.

    That would be difficult since almost 50% of Americans don’t pay any Federal income taxes.

    The total deficit for fiscal year 2010 was $1.17 trillion. Will a “Buffett Tax” pay down the deficit, at least for 2010?

    According to the IRS, 235,665 filers had adjusted gross income of $1,000,000 or more in 2009. And those 235,665 filers paid $182,369,749,000 (or $182 billion) in Federal income taxes. That is, millionaires paid 15.6% of the Federal deficit for 2010.

    The Total Taxable Income for millionaires was $626,464,479,000 in 2009. So, if the Federal government taxed millionaires at a 100% tax rate, it would pay for 53.5% of the 2009 deficit.

    100% taxation is seizure of income by government. If the Feds seized all millionaire’s taxable income, it would barely pay for half of the deficit. And we would see a mass exodus of millionaire’s to lower tax countries. And taxing millionaires at higher rates only doesn’t even put much of a dent in the deficit. The problem remains that the Federal government has to reduce expenditures.

    Unfortunately, the President’s “Tax the Rich!” proposal is as ineffective as his ultra-costly stimulus and Jobs Bill.

    As I expressed to Senator Menendez (D-NJ), even the Mass Refi proposal of Boxer-Isakson was akin to President Obama’s Jobs Bill …. for those who already have a job. With 9.1% unemployment and over 20% unemployment according to Shadow Government Statistics, why are we wasting time with wealth redistribution to borrowers who are current on their mortgages?

    The fact is undeniable: we spend too much money, way too much money. And you can’t fix the deficit problem solely by taxing the wealthy; we have to cut spending, and cut it a lot.

  3. “The fact is undeniable: we spend too much money, way too much money. And you can’t fix the deficit problem solely by taxing the wealthy; we have to cut spending, and cut it a lot.”

    I don’t believe anyone has ever made such a claim, but every revenue increase helps lower the deficit, as long as new spending is not introduced. Moreover, there is the ethical question of shared burden. As they exist right now, our tax laws are rigged to benefit the uber-wealthy and many corporations, at the expense of the American middle class tax payer. Ask Warren Buffet!

  4. Warren Buffet is far from being a hypocrite! He understands that to make a significant impact, the tax laws need changing, so that all in his shoes would have to share the burden with the rest of us Americans.

    I don’t know that Buffet “helped shape the bank bailout”; there is nothing in your link that says that! Did you make that up, Mr. Editor? Just asking!

    However, to bet on the bailout is no different from making any investment, since that is what investments are: bets!

    Your ideology forces you to attack Buffet, whilst leaving harmless the rest of the 0.01%. Would I be correct in calling you inconsistent on this issue?

  5. In response to an e-mail question from me:

    I added this article to my website, with all of the appropriate references. However, there is a clarification you ought to make: how many of the two dozen patriotic millionaires did you actually get to talk to, and will you confirm that you got no positive responses which were edited out?

    Miss Fields replied:

    Thank you! I spoke to half of them and they all refused to donate.

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