Framing the Dialogue

Patriotic Millionaires??

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.”

Mark 12:41-43

A group of 45 millionaires calling themselves “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength” (Note:  if you have to self-proclaim something then there is a distinct possibility that you’re not what you are calling yourself) have sent a letter to the self-proclaimer-in-chief calling for the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.  In a statement from such notable wealthy people as Moby and Jerry Cohen (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) they begged to be taxed more.  Being so magnanimous they also volunteered for all other people making over one million dollars to have their taxes increased also.  Their statement stated;

“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.”

It was so nice of the 45 of them to volunteer for the other millions of millionaires in the United States.  That’s patriotic!  Not to be outdone, multi-billionaire Warren Buffet weighed in and gave his fiscal blessing to their plan.  My guess is that the use of the word “income” is a red herring.  Many of these folks take dividends or profits from businesses and that is not “income.”  They can afford to hire really expensive lawyers and accountants to avoid tax burdens.

I have a new group that I am starting; “Patriotic Five-Figure Wage Earners for Fiscal Strength.”  So far it’s just me, but I have high hopes.  Here is my proposal:

  1. Forget about “income” and tax assets like cars, mansions, airplanes, villas, etc.  Then the super rich can really claim their patriotism.  My guess is that the use of
  2. Impose a consumptive tax on luxury items like any car or boat costing more than $50k, any house that costs more than $500k, suits and/or dresses that cost over $500, etc.  I volunteer to be on the panel to determine what items are to be considered luxury and how much to tax them.
  3. Volunteer tax.  This would be imposed on any celebrity, sports figure, musician, rich person who inanely suggests a way to raise money for the government to spend.  I am considering a 50% tax on their annual “income” for that year. 
  4. Creation of a PayPal-like account for the government where Jerry Cohen, Moby, and their rich buddies can give as much as their patriotic selves can bear to prove their patriotism beyond the name they chose for their little group.  There will be an option to list the donation on a web site so that they may bask in the glory of their gift. 
  5. Maybe a personal property tax on anyone with assets totaling more than $2 million. 
  6. If you are an American citizen who moves out of the United States thus avoiding your tax structure, you will no longer be allowed to work in the United States or make appearances in support of your projects generating income in other countries.  If you move back your income/assets will be taxed at the higher rate of either the “death tax” or the tax you avoided by relocating.
  7. CUT SPENDING.  I know that this has nothing to do with millionaires except that they never seem to get this part. 

I would have an exception to these taxes indexed to your level of income/assets and number of employees that you have.  We don’t want to punish the job-creators, just the know-it-all celebrity types.  Just because you can sing/act/play sports/have loads of Daddy’s money doesn’t automatically mean you have anything worthwhile to contribute to a dialogue about fiscal responsibility. 

John Stossel noted that when Maryland imposed a special tax on the rich heralded to bring in an additional $106 million actually caused a decrease in revenue of $257 million.  You see the rich can afford to move and many left Maryland to avoid the tax. 

Shut Up and Sing

Laura Ingraham

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