On America's Generous "Patriotic Millionaires" Who Just Can't Wait To Pay Down The US Debt

Tyler Durden's picture

Several months ago, an ad hoc consortium of self-proclaimed millionaires, sent a letter to Obama, Reid and Boehner, demanding that "for the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000." This grass roots initiative was formed in the aftermath of Warren Buffett's, since defunct, proposal to impose a "millionaire tax" rule. Of course, back then, as now, someone actually did the math and realized what the impact of such as tax would be in the grand scheme of the next decade of deficits, as we reported previously, and as summarized below.

One can see why not only the "Buffett Rule" but any attempt to balance the budget without collapsing government spending, would at best result in laughter, at least for those who who are still proficient with the occasional abacus.

The reason we bring up the issue of America's "Patriotic Millionaires" is that today once again, one of them made an appearance on CNBC, preaching why it is for the common good that there be a mandatory tax for all those who earn $1 million or more, because it is someone's view that the government is far better at finding subzero IRR ways of destroying capital (by definition) - something the US government has proven its efficiency with time and again, and certainly not only just under the current administration, but virtually every single one since the advent of income tax. As another reminder, this is how efficient the US government has been at creating deficits, if not so much surpluses, since 1900:

Luckily, as all these very much informed millionaires know quite well, the US Treasury has a dedicated section, named simply pay.gov, which allows anyone: billionaires (here's looking at you Mr. Buffett), millionaire, or even thousandaire, to make a donation which is used directly to pay down the US debt. Because in the absence of the government mandating rich people pay their "fair share" (as determined by a subcommittee of course) for now at least, there is always that other alternative: voluntary action, as per the auspices of something called free will.

And not only that, but the US Treasury also provides the general public with a running tally of just how much "Patriotic Millionaire" initiatives have given so far to paying down said debt. As in talk is cheap, signing petitions even cheaper, but putting money where your mouth is actually does go to the bottom line.

The bottom line so far in 2012? $7.7 Million - this is how much has been volunteered in total gifts to pay down the US debt.

So doing some quick math:

There were 165 signatories to the original "Patriotic Millionaires" list, among which Nouriel Roubini, Leo Hindery, Rick Schottenfield, and mysteriously, Whitney Tilson. One should of course add Warren Buffett: the progenitor of the grassroots movement. Thus a total of 166. In other words, assuming only these 166 people donated cash to the US Treasury in 2012 to pay down the debt (while a potential tax deal awaits), the average patriotic millionaire has donated a whopping of $46,684.45 toward paying down the US debt.

Putting this in context:

  • There is $16.245 trillion in debt
  • US population is at 314,694,000 most recently.

This amounts to $51,622.6 in debt for every man, woman and child (and excludes all the tens of trillions in unfunded welfare obligations).

In other words, assuming America's "Patriotic Millionaire" grassroots movement donated, (naturally this is a big assumption, but for the sake of humor we will go with it) on a pro-rata basis, have given $5K less than they owe as part of their natural funding obligation to the US.

And this is from the people who continue getting media time for being so "generous" they are willing to give out their money, and everyone else's, for the common good. Or at least, of course, until one actually calculates how much of their own money they have given.

Such as this guy.

But certainly hold your breath, because these same people, all of whom are very intimately aware of the details of offshore tax havens, have armies of accountants whose jobs are precisely to find creative ways to minimize their tax obligations, and, not to mention, numerous Swiss bank accounts, if not so aware of the pay.gov website, just can't wait to fund America's $16.3 trillion in public debt... and rising at $100 billion each month.

But hey: in a world in which actions are cheaper than talk, who cares - after all they "signed the petition." And that is what true patriotism is all about.

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Captain Kink's picture

I like it.  I think you are on to something there...we could print like a trillion a year and just buy all the debt into a 'bad bank"... wait, already happening. 

OldPhart's picture

As one that contributed via the hidden tax of the FED and the overt tax of the Treasury, I'm left a nillionaire.

My contributions will be restricted to those already imposed.

Dingleberry's picture

I don't want to tax all millionaires......just banksters and speculators and other parasites.  If I win at Vegas, the IRS comes calling.  No different from the Wall Street casino and their "capital gains" scams.....

Let the negative votes fly.

azzhatter's picture

Boy I'm inspired. I'm going to send them a quarter right fucking now. Bet that puts me ahead of old Uncle Fraud

CrockettAlmanac.com's picture



"Oh, Rusty, you are an inspiration to us all."


"I'll say! I'm going to start a paper route right now."



OldPhart's picture

Not a bad idea.  I may give them my 'two cents worth'.  Contribute in pennies.

machineh's picture

Be warned -- I sent a nickel to Clinton's legal defense fund back when, and never even received a reply.

Now he don't need the money ...

slaughterer's picture

Topic for discussion: If the "USA" were listed and tradeable on the NYSE, what would be its market cap?

ziggy59's picture

It has a negative market cap...

francis_sawyer's picture

In dollars?... bazillions of joobucks...

In gold?... Squat...

Diogenes's picture

It's worth  a hundred million brazilion.

How many million in a brazilion?

I mean brazilion reals.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Are you suggesting that sovereignty is for sale?  I think I see the problem here.  What if I have the means to use the resources on and under my property?  I might exchange some for gold, if need be.  Otherwise, fuck off.  How's that petro dollar again?

ziggy59's picture

Is it tax deductible?

q99x2's picture

Even Holder must expect some repercussions. Heard he's getting out of Dodge. Feinstein is going to stay on and try to disarm the people. Hillary is packing. So is Geitner. He'll probably go into hiding after what he's done. Left Obama in tears in that one video. Obama end up using again. Bet ya.

SemperFord's picture

Any money donated to this ponzi is a waste, it would be better off sending an American to learn a skill, whether machining, electrical work, etc.

SheepDog-One's picture

They could confiscate all the 'millionaries' assets and not put a ding in the national debt. These people are assholes.

knukles's picture

And if they do that, they only get to do it once....

Of Geese and Golden Eggs

Everybodys All American's picture

Someone's bucket has a drop in it.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Profitting from regulatory capture and your store bought political puppets is one thing, paying back anything is another thing altogether.

Hedge accordingly.

LMAOLORI's picture



Warren still wouldn't pay more even with a new tax because he hides his Bailed Out Billions in Gates Tax Exempt Foundation so does Gates, they only pay themselves nominal salaries purposely to avoid taxes CLOSE THOSE LOOPHOLES and then let's hear what that old creep has to say! New taxes on people who are just building their wealth and business's that is who would actually be hurt and that would benefit the Buffoon! 

These tax the rich schemes only end up taxing newly created wealth and the middle class.

Buffet's Will Says - The foundation must continue to satisfy the legal requirements qualifying Warren’s gift as charitable, exempt from gift or other taxes. 

In other words, the President’s "Buffett Rule" would not tax the vast majority of Buffett’s own sheltered income, including either his unrealized capital gains, which are currently taxed at 0%, or charitable contributions, which are tax deductible.

What a scam his kids will manage and make money from all this tax exempt money forever he has set up charitable organizations with billions in them for each of them to run that pay them$90 Million a year besides his hiding wealth in gate's foundation.


HITlary clinton tax the rich everywhere (might as well say except well connected cronies)


As I said previously I think we should stop the spending and the government should get out of my pocketbook but I think people should be aware of how the scam for the well connected ultra wealthy works.


Blankenstein's picture

And if Buffett thinks taxes are so damn great, why is he fighting them tooth and nail?


"There are two recent cases where Warren has done everything possible to AVOID paying taxes that he actually owes. The first case involved a 14-year fight over the dividend-received deduction that was finally settled with the IRS in 2005. The second case is still pending after 10 years in which he owes just over $1 BILLION in back taxes. Both of these cases are well-documented and you can satisfy yourself simply by using Google to inquire as to the voracity of these assertions. Also note the timeframes of 14-years and 10+-years; not exactly a haphazard hissy fit. While you’re at it, you might also ask yourself “why” Warren says one thing in public discourse while he practices the exact opposite in his business and personal life. Is not that the definition of hypocrite?"

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-04/wall_street/31284723_1_top-federal-income-tax-warren-buffett-judge-learned-hand#ixzz2C3cmYHXR 

StychoKiller's picture

If Berkshire Hathaway actually did NOT pursue every legal tax loophole, Mr. Buffet would be civilly (and probably criminally!) liable for neglecting his fiduciary duties.  Since corporations are "persons," perhaps he should let Berkshire speak for itself...

This is just a load of "political" eyewash in support of the Obamatron!

Crimedog's picture

I agree with the general theme of the article that these increased taxes on the wealthy will really do nothing to actually impact the debt, which is massive in comparison.  However, if a slight increase on the tax rate for the wealthy is needed in order to get a deal done, than I am all for it.  Give the Democrats their carrot so that we can just end this fiscal cliff debate and get a deal done that cuts spedning across the board.

azzhatter's picture

I could agree if a 15% compensation cut for all government employees was included to bring them closer to in line with private sector.

HellFish's picture

How about fire 50% and then cut the remaining 50% by 15%.  EPA, HUD and ED go to zero.

pods's picture

There is no resolution to this mess.

You have bought into the hype.  Like Flavor Flav said: "Don't believe the hype!"


Oldwood's picture

Cut taxes, raise taxes, it matters not. Spending is the issue and always has been. Tax cuts have typically raised revenues but spending never seems to retreat. Regardless of your position on politics or economy, compromise has been the weapon used to get us to this point. Compromise will take us off the edge. They pass laws and then set about figuring how to manipulate them to give the desired result, regardless of their stated intentions. Stop the damn spending and quit acting like there has to be some kind of deal that makes it all work. We don't want no stinking "deal".

Lore's picture



Tyler is trying to wake people up. Buffett and his pals are of a type for whom lying comes naturally, and their wealth is never at risk.

THE NUMBERS ARE LONG PAST THE POINT OF EVER ADDING UP. You might as well try to stop the wind by peeing against it.  The time for any 'deal' is long past.  There is not sufficient wealth in the nation to accommodate the parasite on its back.  The syndicate is monstrous.  Disaster is inevitable.  It's as plain as the nose on your face.  THE LAWS OF NATURE ARE GOING TO REASSERT.

ziggy59's picture

Start with the Congress.. One would get their dollars worth if a politician did their job for a buck.

knukles's picture

How about all that "other" income them folks get that makes them mulitgazillionaire while in Congress...
Ain't the salaries!

LMAOLORI's picture



I like the idea of Congress living with what it inflicts on the rest of us so let's start with their cushy pensions and health plans they should have to get Social Security like the rest of us and Obamacare like the rest of us!

OldPhart's picture

I'd like to see congress paid the average national minimum wage...after removing federal, state, county and city workers from the average.

machineh's picture

If they offered a 'matching cut' -- where each dollar received at donate.gov would subtract a dollar from Congressional pensions -- that fund would be oversubscribed faster than a Ron Paul money bomb.

Incentives, bItCHeZ!

OldPhart's picture

Not sure why I typed 'minimum' but I meant the average national wage...etc.

Vegamma's picture

The Romneys almost cut the deficit by more than these blowhards by not taking the full deductions they were entitled to in 2011. Forward!

goodrich4bk's picture

I just don't get the hoards of postings here opposing tax increases on the wealthy.  If it's one less dollar I have to pay, what's wrong with that?  It's not like we're talking about confiscatory levels --- 39.6% is much less than it was when we had similar debt after WW2.

And, incidentally, we have BOTH a revenue and spending problem. Revenue as a percentage of GDP is now lower than almost anytime in the last 50 years, while spending is at an all time high. 

Finally, which is the moral choice: raising taxes on those who benefited the most from the financialization of our economy, or letting them die and pass on their illusory gains tax free to the next generation while passing on the debt to the children of ordinary Americans,

Waterfallsparkles's picture

Many People are small Business people.  Obama care and higher Taxes could put them out of Business.  Not only the loss of the Business but all of the People employed by them.  Do not forget the Government also wants to lower deductions which can be taken, this will push many into a higher Tax Bracket.

ebworthen's picture

The publicized tax rate is meaningless.

The rich will simply offshore and lawyer their way down to 15% tax in reality.

Meanwhile, taxes will be raised for everyone else to be "fair".  The middle class will take it in the shorts again because they make enough to pay; and can't afford the lawyers, accountants, and offshore shell corporations to shelter income.

The lower classes will be paying the same or less because they hardly make anything.

The idea that raising rates = more revenue is like thinking if you raise prices at your store by 10% your amount of sales will stay the same.  DUH!  People buy less or go elsewhwere.  With taxation, people make less or hide more, and revenues do not increase.

No bailouts, no QE, end the FED, and restore the rule of law - much more important than some symbolic rate raise on the 1% that they can and will escape.  The masses are hungry for their necks, so they are making pleas like this as P.R. only.

MachoMan's picture

Tax avoidance is pretty universal...  it isn't simply a phenomenon for the rich.

Lore's picture

No. Most people try to follow the rules, as unmanageable as they can seem.  And it's surprising how many people overpay. Seriously.

MachoMan's picture

Overpayment, in the aggregate, is largely a risk aversion issue rather than an "overpayment" issue per se.  So much of tax law and accounting is gray, that often times it's up to the filer how far he or she cares to push a particular issue/deduction/etc.  While technically it might be overpaying, it's also an issue of avoiding an audit, scrutiny, etc.

Quinvarius's picture


So if the government said your tax rate was going to be 39.6% for federal only, you'd stay here and build a business?

Not a moral choice.  It is worth a revolution.  Kinda like the first one we had when we were charged meaninless taxes merely for punitive purposes.

Col_Sanders's picture

The one percent who benefitted the most will never pay the increased tax.

In fact, they stand to MAKE money in the deal.

That's why they're asking for it.

Incubus's picture

more like the .1 per cent.

More taxes > more money out of the hands of the lesser "richies" > more money for government spending > more money into your .1 hands because you own all the shit the government's going to spend it on.


theft theft theft theft theft

earnyermoney's picture

We always have a spending problem. The Dems are greedy. They are going to get higher taxes and gutting of DOD. Now they want the Repubs to cave on across the board cuts.

Catullus's picture

Because you're not going to pay any less for the high income earners being taxed more. So if it's all the same to you, why do you fuvking care?

And here's a brain teaser for you and your blah blah financializtion nothingburger: wealthy people are wealthy because they've accumulated wealth over time. They needn't accumulate more to be wealthy or remain wealthy. So when you tax income, you don't necessarily tax wealth, you tax earnings.

Rich people do not give a fuck about income taxes. It is meaningless to them. They already have plenty of money. Taxing income just prevents anyone else from BECOMING rich.

blunderdog's picture

   ... wealthy people are wealthy because they've accumulated wealth over time.

You mean like when their dads died?

cxl9's picture

I support taxes on no one and tax-avoidance by everyone, rich and poor, for the simple reason that every dollar of tax collected collected by the government is another dollar they have to harass, regulate, and bully the citizens. Government long ago ceased to provide any meaningful services; it is now simply in the business of expansion and self-perpetuation. I would much rather see a millionaire squirrel away his money in some offshore tax-shelter than give it to the government to build more drones, buy more ammunition, and hire more thugs.

Quarky Gluon's picture

So, you wouldn't call the federal freeway system a meaningful service? Not to mention all the federal dollars going to states to help build roads and bridges. The NOAA weather service seems rather helpful. Many businesses depend on the federal government for information on not just NOAA for the weather but the USDA for crop data also. That is just a few examples of how useful and meaningful our federal government can be when it quietly runs in the background trying to help us all enjoy a better quality of life.

Now I'm not saying that the feds never act as tyrannical thugs since they often are in certain areas, but I take a more pragmatic approach and give credit where credit is due.