Skip to comments.Wealthier Than Thou (How about a tax on pious, sanctimonious multi-millionaires?)
Posted on 01/07/2011 6:24:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind
During the final two months of 2010, the United States enjoyed what was perhaps the most sustained public discussion of debt and deficits in a generation. Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of President Obamas National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, released their provocative report. Former Clinton administration budget director Alice Rivlin and noted Republican deficit hawk Paul Ryan put out a comprehensive debt reduction proposal. Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana and a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, offered specific proposals to reform the entitlements that are most responsible for driving the country deep into the red.
My favorite contribution to this national conversation came from Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, an ad hoc organization of several dozen really rich people who want to raise taxes on other really rich people (and themselves). Among those who count themselves Patriotic Millionaires: the one-named, ambient-rock star Moby, Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream, George Zimmer, the gravelly voiced CEO of Mens Wearhouse, and other really rich people who are presumably no less patriotic for being much less famous.
The PMFS acknowledged that raising taxes on the rich was not the most significant fiscal issue facing lawmakers. But, they argued, higher taxes were nonetheless essential in establishing the discipline we will need to secure our countrys fiscal strength. So they leapt into action, launching a website (www.fiscalstrength.org) to raise money to buy airtime for a 30-second TV spot urging that the government make them pay higher taxes.
But times like this require something more, so they didnt just register a domain name and put out a virtual tin cup. Anyone can do that. These selfless souls risked exposing their wealth and altruism to national publicity by addressing a letter to the president. It read:
We are writing to urge you to stand firm against those who would put politics ahead of their country. For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled. We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more. We have done very well over the last several years. Now, during our nations moment of need, we are eager to do our fair share. We dont need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers. The country needs to meet its financial obligations in a just and responsible way.
Alas, as we know, those who would put politics ahead of their country prevailed when the Bush tax cuts were not allowed to expire. The selfish and myopic politicians responsible for this travesty hid behind so-called economic argumentssimilar to President Obamas contention back in the summer of 2009 that raising taxes in a recession was the last thing you want to do. In the end, despite the warnings of these self-described patriots, Washington caved and extended the current tax rates for everyone, with the disastrous result that now all Americans, including greedy small business owners who can only aspire to become millionaires, will get to keep more of the money theyve earned.
That was the last straw for funnyman Larry David. THERE is a God, the mastermind behind Seinfeld wrote recently in the New York Times op-ed pages, deploying his trademark sarcasm on behalf of a grateful nation. The Bush tax cuts have been extended two years for the upper bracketeers, of which I am a proud member, he continued. Indeed, in 1998 alone David earned $242 million when Seinfeld was sold into syndication for $1.7 billion, making him number two on Forbes celebrity earnings list that year.
David is also the star of HBOs Curb Your Enthusiasm, a show about a self-involved Hollywood celebrity whose relentless narcissism renders him incapable of seeing the world as anything beyond his small-minded obsessions. I was planning a trip to Cabo with my kids for Christmas vacation, David confided to Times readers. We were going to fly coach, but now with the money Im saving in taxes, Im going to splurge and bump myself up to first class. First class!
The good news is that even though U.S. taxpayers are now unfairly forced to keep more of their own earnings, there is something Larry David and other progressive patriots with a few million to burn can do about it.
The Treasury Departments Bureau of Public Debt has a fund called Gift Contributions to Reduce Debt Held by the Public, to which David and his friends can conveniently contribute online at www.pay.gov. But given their patriotism, theyll probably prefer to mail a checkyou know, to support the U.S. Postal Service, some $8.5 billion in the redto:
Attn Dept G
Bureau of the Public Debt
P.O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188
The Treasury keeps a running total of these gifts, and it is worth noting that despite the very public exhortations made by these loyal citizens so eager to do their fair share, the annual sums have been little more than a rounding error on Larry Davids 1040. For tax year 2010, the total to date is $2,840,466.75though there is still some time to match the $3,063,057.05 donated last year, when, presumably, celebrity patriotic millionaires were feeling especially civic-minded.
There is, of course, another advantage to showing your commitment to the countrys fiscal strength in this way. By quietly giving their money directly to the federal government, patriotic millionaires can avoid all of the unwanted attention to their wealth and righteousness that comes with taking such a public position.
-- Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.
....sound like someone else we all know?
So these Lib millionaires have made their fortunes, have bought and paid for their houses and other personal property, have gone on their nice trips and sent their kids to school, or have money in the bank to do all these things. So now they are willing to give up some extra income to the government. How noble.
If they really were “patriotic” millionaires—in the perverse sense of Liberal patriotism being how much of your wealth you can give to the state—they would sell their houses and cars and kids’ college funds and give that money to the IRS. You don’t hear many of them talking about that.
Just go in and confiscate everything these twits own—Everything—Then see how long their piety lasts.
What you have to remember is that they actually want the same system as middle-age feudalism. They are the “nobles” who control everything.
They don’t want their “class” to be diluted by “social climbers” who are actually working hard to achieve wealth.
I think we should institute a 50% tax surcharge on anyone who publicly states that they don’t think they pay enough in taxes.
Statistically, these libtards only give away money if they know everyone else is forced to do so. Conservatives, by and large, give more to charities. there was an article not too far back on FR to that effect. But it makes sense. libs look at taxes as a charitable donations for the “asocial safety net” while conservative view taxes as an evil that should be miminized since people ARE the better decision maker on how their money is spent. But libs will only pay what they have forced others to pay, but even then, they try and wriggle out of that.
If George Soros weren’t a hypocrite, his body would be buried behind his mud hut due to his death of malaria many years ago.
Maybe Mr Ben and Mr Jerry should come back to my town and re-open their business they closed and re-hire the people they fired and pay the local govt taxes. Or maybe they are waiting for higher federal taxes as an incentive?
Just change the tax on income to a tax on net worth and hear them scream. “They can afford it”, we’ll say.
Since obviously many billionaires are deeply troubled that their money isn’t doing anything, instead of wasting it, by giving it to the government, or throwing it at “waste charities” whose sole purpose seems to be in providing employment to those who abhor working for a living, why not actually create something useful with it?
Between for-profit business and non-profit charities, there is a shadowy realm of “not-for-profit” businesses. These organization often do R&D work for the government, and yet while they operate much like a commercial enterprise, their purpose is not to make money, but to make things. Technologies.
Scientific research can be subdivided into “basic research” and “technology development”, which converts scientific discovery into practical things.
Basic research discovers far more things than technology development, but they have to be subsidized, because what they learn doesn’t directly translate into something with utility or profitability.
Not-for-profit businesses close this gap. They subsidize basic research, that *might*, at least theoretically, eventually provide a useful technology. But once a basic science project has completed, those scientists move on to the next level of basic science, and a different group take what has been learned, and try to convert it to a useful technology.
This is why the big R&D organizations for the military, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), subcontract with many not-for-profit organizations, which produce for the parent agency a huge number of advanced technologies every year.
So it would seem to be a very good idea for billionaires, as well as corporations, to create a whole chain of not-for-profit R&D organizations, as “pseudo charities” that produce innovations for entire industries.
In past, there were some organizations that came very close to this, and they are still remembered fondly for their great science and technology innovations. Like Bell Labs. But these were too closely affiliated with their parent companies, and over time became too concerned with the bottom line.
Likewise, many universities strive to be R&D centers, but always with the focus being on patenting whatever is innovated for the profit of the university.
And this is one of the big bugaboos for engineers, that they will never, ever be enriched by their inventive brilliance, because whoever they work for insists on ownership of their patents.
So this is key to a not-for-profit organization. That while the organization is subsidized to produce, so does not itself make a profit, those scientists and engineers within who innovate *do* make a profit, not just a salary.
“So they leapt into action, launching a website (www.fiscalstrength.org) to raise money to buy airtime for a 30-second TV spot urging that the government make them pay higher taxes.”
These Morons couldn’t toss a few bucks together for a 30 second spot? Pathetic
The dirty little secret is that rich people love socialism, on others, that is. They already have their money, and socialism will keep out their competition.
IMO- These fools are more “Pathetic” than Patriotic”.
They can do the same as one does in church:
You can put $1 or $5 into the collection plate or you can put in $100. It is up to you.
I would have to guess that since so many Hollywood types would become burning bushes if they tried to step inside a church that this concept is alien to them.