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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StychoKiller's picture

Mmm, look at ALL the corn kernels in this pile of sh!t, dig in, folks -- dem's good eats!  Understand yet?

CommunityStandard's picture

I'm finding it rather interesting that your point isn't being debated on the basis that taxes are wrong, no matter who is getting taxed, so I'm going to do just that.  EDIT: cxl9 beat me to it :)

It is my opinion that taxes should exist only for basic functions: government administration and lawmaking, the justice system, education (yes, I fall into the category that a free country can't survive for long without an educated population), national security (homeland only), police and fire, and maybe a few science projects here and there.  That's really it.  There's no revenue problem when spending is kept to a minimum.

Waterfallsparkles's picture

Have to keep in mind that the taxes for the roads, State Courts, education, police, Fire, etc. are paid for from State Taxes.  Not Federal Taxes.

StychoKiller's picture

Hmm, but WHO's gonna pay for Granpa's hip replacement or Granny's Hoverround™?

How about the anti-riot insurance cards, a.k.a. EBT?

You heartless wurm!

Abiotic Oil's picture

Or we could just follow the Constitution as originally written and not have any income tax and force the fed.gov to spend within its means.

Oldwood's picture

Because it is a big fat lie! Revenue is off because of a poorly performing economy, not because the rates are too low. It always about how government needs more. How about lets figure out how much they really need. Thats an arguement worth having instead of constantly griping about who they are going to steal it from next.

Winston Churchill's picture

Its not a taxing issue.

Its the spending stupid.Whatever they raise will be offset with

more spending,or in Newspeak; investment.Pork to you, and me.

They will spend $2.50 to get a return of a $1 and take those dollars

from someone who can a profit on them.Something Govt is incapable

of doing.


StychoKiller's picture

Perhaps you should look up the definition(s) for "principle."

"If you DON'T stand for something, you'll fall for anything!"

percolator's picture

When is the grim reaper going to take out Warren "The Fascist" Buffett and his side kick Charlie "The Welfare Queen" Munger? 

These two are definitely past their expiration dates.

pods's picture

Cheney is too busy eating babies somewhere.


EvlTheCat's picture

Actually I find this petition more interesting.

"Peacefully grant the State of Florida to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."


a growing concern's picture

Sounds like a breakthrough anabolic steroid. You should trademark that quick.

NeedtoSecede's picture

+1 Flexit. I'm in for a little secession from this "fucking clown circus" that this nation has become (credit to pods for the descriptor).

knukles's picture

If you ever wanted to see something buried, ignored, you just arrived, big time Charley

EvlTheCat's picture

I figured it more as an obtuse way to end up on a no fly list and getting fondled  by a Walmart trained TSA greeter.  But what do I know?

holdingontomypants's picture

A: No way in hell the federal government would ever allow any state to withdraw from the Union. Once your in the US you are in for life, for better or worse. Like a marriage.

B: To sucede from the Union you would need two-thirds vote by the citizens of that state to do it and with most states having half the voters in the democratic party of freebies again no way in hell it would ever happen.

C: The federal government would never allow it to happen and they would use the US Military to oust the currrently seated governor and disolve the state legislatures and place a caregiver federal governor in its place.

D: The federal government looks at itself as a sovereign nation with all the states as its territory and Obama as its king. It would never allow for any of its land holdings to be taken away from them, much less any of its income from the peasants be eliminated from their tax coffers.

E: Once a state joins the federal union it forever lost its individual identity and its rights.

F: You may renounce your US Citizenship but never can your state renounce its citizenship.

G: The list goen on and on why a state will never be allowed to peacefully leave the union. You are stuck for life with the federal government.

H: If you move to another country then you no longer have to live under this Kings rule. But he won't let you take all your money with you because he says it belongs to him and his followers.

I: Signed, President Barack Obama, King of the US. Ruler of you!!!

Quinvarius's picture

How did these dickwads ever get 1 million dollars if they can;t een figure out they are doing a direct flush into the meaningless void by giving it to the government.

Maybe they should start a company with that extra money and hire some people.

Waterfallsparkles's picture

They shoud Tax Stocks Owned 2% a year.  After all they tax Real Estate 2% a year thru Property Taxes to pay for State Governments.  Tax Stocks to pay for the Federal Government.

You would hear Buffet squeel like a stuck pig.

SheepDog-One's picture

No doubt! If youre hearing someone like Buffet saying he thinks he should pay more, he's definitely getting away free....put on a 2% stock holdings tax man you'd hear these phonies screaming!

Quinvarius's picture

The government should steal 2% of the public economy every year, on top of what they already take??

Waterfallsparkles's picture

I am just looking for fairness.  I use Rental Real Estate for Income and return.  I get Taxed on the Value of that Real Estate every year.

Buffet and many others use Stocks for income and return.  Why should they not get taxed on their holdings every year?


pods's picture

You have just illustrated legalized plunder.

This happens every day all over this nation (and world). A rule is put into effect harming some group for the benefit of another.

This is why we will never have a workable system within this style of government again (democratic republic, central bank, fractional reserve-legal tender currency).

It will just continue to be payed forward until it collapses.  Each group convincing some politician or bureaucrat to pass some law or rule that benefits them at the expense of another, less powerful group.

Burn the whole system down.  

If something was done to even the field in your eyes, it merely would perpetuate the system as it is.  So it might even it out for you, but would just perpetuate legalized plunder.
Not picking on you personally, your post just showed how this system protects itself.  One plundered group finds a way to plunder another, and so on a so forth.

I am with Law of Physics, BTFD (Burn The Fucker Down) and let's see where everyone stands on the value of their labor.



moondog's picture

Property taxes...the modern serfdom...NY state loves their property taxes...

machineh's picture

... until they climb off the gerbil wheel, old, tired and grey, and head for Florida or Tennessee.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

You solve that by pumping the housing markets in those areas most likely to be populated by retirees.  Head them off at the pass!

You see, fiat currency only remains in control if people use it in the way that the declarers of the fiat have preordained.  If they go off the reservation, if they profit when they were supposed to have lost, or lose when they were supposed to have profited, there is a loss of control.  Thus the endless plugging.

TruthInSunshine's picture

I have a client who has a true white collar slave job, who just purchased a new and quite shittily constructed McMansion for $440,000, and brags about how he got such an amazing deal and locked in at a historic low mortgage rate.

I am happy for him being happy, but have to restrain myself from mentioning that his property taxes on this asset (actually, liability) alone amount to $12,000+ USD per year. Once one adds in water, heat, electricity and other utilities and maintenance required of a shoddily built 4000 square foot house, tack another $700 per month on.

So, without even including the amortized mortgage payments, that's $1,700 per month for just property taxes and utilities, or $20,400 per year, or measured in real dollars, $576,000 over 30 years; hell, let's assume he moves 8.7 years from now, which was the average as of 2007-- that's still $177,480 for just property taxes and utilities, not including the actual payments on the mortgage or surprise repairs/maintenance.

Include the $26,356 per year he's paying on the mortgage, and over that 8.7 years, he'll be paying $410,000 in rent-to-own payments, so hopefully the economy will become very robust very quickly in order for him to see the appreciation to break even, let alone not lose his ass.

But wealthy people or wanna-be-wealthy are apparently buying coastal properties and immediately taking out 120% mortgages on those properties lately (reported just today), so it must be all good, as The Bernank has apparently fixed everything.





StychoKiller's picture

Bet you're real popular at cocktail parties...

TruthInSunshine's picture

Well, to be honest, I am not unpopular. These are things I think, but luckily have the self-discipline to rarely speak during what are supposed to be joyous, festive events.

I have this bad habit of... critical thinking, though.

WillyGroper's picture

Where do you get RE @ 2% ?  Where I live due to corporate litigating their ad valorum, the sheeple just voted on a SQ to UP our RE taxes from 5% to 8%. Not only that, the monetization of water is on it's way. 

Waterfallsparkles's picture

I am not talking about Property Tax Increase.  I am talking about the Tax Rate per 100 on the value of your Property.  In Baltimore City it is 2.18% per year on assessed valuation.  Probably higher than New York.  But, we do have a very progressive Governor who is looking at the Presidency.

ziggy59's picture

Any chance to get oxymoron, Ms Quick, to interview Buffett to ask him? Fine, let her sit on his lap...they both could use a thrill.

ebworthen's picture

The poor dears, having to live on $5 million instead of $6 million.

If these jackasses really believed what they are saying they would give everything to the government to pay down the debt, live in HUD housing, and work as part-time greeters at WalMart.

ziggy59's picture

BARTENDER! I'll have what Ebworthen here, is drinking... A double!

LMAOLORI's picture



Hypocrites that's what they are and Obama is a major hypocrite himself his brother lives in a friggin hut and his illegal alien aunt in housing that middle class taxpayer's subsidize how about he steps up to the plate and leads by example and gives his millions to the deficit and the poor!

Waterfallsparkles's picture

If not the poor why does Obama not financially help his Illegal Alien Aunt and his Brother that lives in a Hut.  He certainly has the Money.

He wants everyone elses Money to pay for the Poor but will not use even one penny of his Money to help his own Family.

Gadocat99's picture

Looks like the average contribution amount was that needed to say, "I paid my share."  Helps them sleep better at night.

Non Passaran's picture

That should be enough for a spare tire on the latest generation of US fighter jets.

slaughterer's picture

I would not donate a cent to the "USA" until I knew what types of re-investment they would make with my money.  Negative IRR projects (like Tyler mentions) and charity handouts do not add up to a viable re-investment.  The problem is  the people running the company called the "USA" have no convincing re-investment plans to entice investment capital. 

I am sure W Buffet must have a split personality: on the one hand, the Coke-drinking, hotdog-eating, All-American, on the other, the realist-skeptic who sees through the poor investment the USA represents in actual terms.

machineh's picture

If it the donated funds were going toward a gallows on the west steps of the Capitol, I'd second-mortgage the house to contribute!

StychoKiller's picture

Understand this:  any such tax would go towards corporate welfare payments -- now you know why Billionaires are in favor of it.

The Bernank's picture

The US debt is transitory and managable.

a growing concern's picture

It's transitory alright. It's on a Viagra-fueled upward spike, right up until it isn't. Then it'll be nicely flatlined and shit will get real.

Majere's picture

Simple math to fix this.  Tax kickers to everyone totally 32 Trillion, but tax it at 50%.  Pat off the 16T and we are golden.  Fed puts the "new" 16T on their books...because you know....we can't see them anyway. 

/sarc off


Why pay a voluntary tax when they are good at taking what they want anyway.


knukles's picture

I don't care what or how people argue about what the problem is, how much more needs be taxed to help out the deficit, etc.

The simple fact is the Federaliwes are fat, bloated, wasteful and cannot even do the jobs intended, the whole fucking system needs to be redone and no more money should be given until they can figure out how to live with what they have.

They must clean house before anything else is even debated.

The Goddamned system is broken and feeding it anything merely persists with the disease.

StychoKiller's picture

Tell me again:  How is re-electing all those incumbents is gonna help fix this?

Blankenstein's picture

Maybe Buffett just wants to make sure there is enough taxpayer money available so he can be bailed out again when the economy heads south.



stant's picture

real americans will take thier ball and go play somewhere else, there is a south america

Donlast's picture

Stick it to this pompous sanctimonious a---hole.  It is pity they cannot bury him up to his neck in Omaha.  I would be quite happy to throw the first brick. 

To think I once had a lovely penfriend in Omaha in my teeens and it has come to this...