FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
With the U.S. drowning in a monstrous $13 trillion national debt, it's clear we need to consider any and all options to stem the tide.
This may be an idea worth taking a look at... then again, maybe not.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/17/art.gates.jpg caption="Bill Gates"]
A group of 51 German millionaires and billionaires is volunteering to give up 10 percent of their income for 10 years to help with that country's finances.
CNBC reports that these uber-wealthy Germans founded a "Club of the Wealthy"... and proposed the so-called "rich tax" to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Germany, like much of Europe, is in the midst of tightening its fiscal belt... as the country debates an upcoming $80 billion Euro austerity package.
It's a noble gesture, but so far there are only 50 German millionaires on board... out of an estimated 800,000.
The total number of millionaires represents about one percent of Germany's population; similar to the ratio of millionaires here in the U.S. Makes you wonder how many American millionaires would be willing to do the same.
Speaking of America's very rich - two of the wealthiest are calling on their fellow billionaires to give away half of their wealth for charity during their lifetimes or after they die.
As first reported in Fortune Magazine, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates want the 400 richest people in the U.S. to give $600 billion to philanthropy and charity.
Their goal is to create an expectation that the rich should give away a big part of their wealth to better society.
Here’s my question to you: Would a voluntary millionaire's tax work in the U.S.?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Michael in Alexandria, Virginia writes:
No. Neither does cutting taxes and expecting millionaires to give their tax savings to charity (rather than buying companies). If volunteerism worked as touted, the coffers of every charity helping the poor would be bursting, given that tax rates are at their lowest in more than half a century.
T. in Memphis, Tennessee writes:
Jack, Instead of figuring out how to get more money from its citizens, the government should figure out how to effectively spend the money it already has. In other words, if you or I spent money without some sort of balanced budget, sooner or later no one would loan us any more...our credit score would be so low it wouldn't tip the scale. A large portion of the deficit is the interest on loans from foreign countries. This is insane.
The wealthy already pay more than their fair share in taxes. If we would adopt a flat tax system, then this idea would at least have legs.
Chandra in Las Vegas writes:
No and nor should it. I wouldn't trust the government to use the money responsibly and it still wouldn't be enough for them, it never will. The entitlement programs currently on the books have gotten so out of control that many people become dependent on them and are on them for life. When you pay someone to do nothing, that's what they'll do.
Mike in Anaheim, California writes:
Probably not, Jack. Most millionaires got to that lofty place in life because they had the good fortune to afford a truckload of tax accountants to help them avoid paying their fair share in taxes. Why would any of them now volunteer to pay more?
Considering 90% of the wealth is with 1% of the population, yes – tax them. They should be grateful we're not tarring and feathering them, the bunch of exploitative unscrupulous thieves.
My husband and I are self-made millionaires. We worked many years and made many sacrifices for our company. We "struck it rich" in our fifties and now are retired to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We've given millions away to family members in crisis, our children, neices and nephews and millions more to charity since receiving our money. We also currently are taxed at roughly 48% of our income. We are responsible citizens who give more than our fair share. Why should the government start penalizing us for our success? Who makes these decisions? The goverment is so fiscally irresponsible in enacting laws that we can't afford and look "to the rich" for a bail-out. I still ahve to balance my checkbook-why don't they?
1. Taxes for the rich never work. It always gets pushed back to the middle class.
2. I am planning on being part of the rich in an effort to avoid ridiculous taxes.
No it would not work.
Besides, why should one person who is successful in life, be forced to pay for the economic illiteracy of the idiots we've elected?
What good would it do to have the wealthiest citizens pay massive taxes to bankroll Congress' out of control spending spree, when they have no intention to stop spending? We'd just be in the same condition in ten years, likely fewer.
The lesson we need to learn from all this, is to only elect candidates who have a basic understanding of economics. And that would disqualify about 75 percent of our elected representatives.
The congress and other the elected officials should voluntary give up their salaries for a year, we will join them during the second year. After all they are the people who spend our money.
Salt Lake City
No it won't work. Because if you ask someone to give up money for others they won't do it. People must be made/forced to do something. We need to have a 15% tax on every working person period, no exceptions to anyone at all and then we can reduce the size of the IRS as they won't be needed as big as they are.
How about this? Why don't americans be americans and toughen up. Stop making babies you can't afford, stop using services you don't need and stop expecting the government to care for you. It would be great if millionaires want to give up hard-earned money. But the US needs to wise up and stop bailing out countries like Greece. We do not need to get more into debt to China.
Maybe we can get the FBI start an
FBI 'MORE WANTED' list that would print WANTED posters on their website of the biggest givers that help our society – right next to the creeps that take the most FROM it.
I think it could work. We personally would be much more likely to contribute more if demanded to give less. Living in a high-tax area, we are already required to pay so much of our income though $250K here is not the same as most other places in the country.
No! Although it's a great idea, it will not work for one of two reasons. 1) The rich may be hesitant to put their hard-earned money in the hands of the government who have a track record of being extremely bad at managing money, and 2) even if the rich did donate 10% to the government, the politicians WOULD blow the money on favors, interest groups, and their personal friend's dumb ideas who were looking to make a buck off of this crisis.
Only if it can be used to pay down the debt. If Congress can get to it, forget it; they'll just vote themselves a payraise and tell us how hard they are working for us and how committed they are to a solution.
It's the right thing for them to do, but don't count on it. And if it were mandatory, these individuals would simply relocate outside the US.
No one would pay a voluntary tax. The tax would have to be legislated.
No! Although it's a great idea, it will not work for one of two reasons. 1) The rich may be hesitant to put their hard-earned money in the hands of the government who have a track record of being extremely bad at managing money, and 2) even if the rich did donate 10% to the government, the politicians WOULD blow the money on favors, interest groups, and their personal friend's dumb ideas who were looking to make a buck off of this crisis.
– New York, New York
This is a TERRIBLE idea... so many reasons i dont know where to start. It would just be another safety net for ludicrous spending without recourse. I love the thought behind this idea, however, we need to STOP spending money we don't have... its not that hard of a concept... its really not... If we stop defecit spending will we lose jobs? yup... go into another recession? yup... be better off at the end? YUP. Not everyone should get free college.. sorry its not for everyone.. get a loan and pay for it yourself... awww you cant afford your rent.. move somewhere else.. I'm tired of people with bigger houses, tv's and better food on the table that DONT WORK when i have to work a full time job and a part time job.. witha 4 yr college degree.. lil bit dis-heartening.
Would it work? Sure it would...you make a tax, they pay it, or the irs prosecutes. I think you're more asking about would american millionaires tolerate it? NO. These are the same people that want universal healthcare denied to low income people, they want public schools to be awful so that they can send their kids to private school to get a real education, and at the end of the day most of them are just flat out greedy. Every time the "trickle down" theory of economics has been tried, all it has resulted in is the rich getting richer, and the poor staying poor. These people do not share money willingly despite the fact that they already have more than enough to fund their lifestyles...this is evidenced by the lack of a consumer spending increase when taxes for the rich are cut. Rich people with deeper pockets = no help for the economy, unless you tax them. The right would immediately seize on such a proposal, demonize it, twist the wording of it, and outright lie the the ignorant masses the same way they tried to kill the healthcare bill....but lets face it, opposing the sick getting medical attention is a much harder sell than "they want to raise your taxes", even if said tax increase would only affect the 1% of americans that have more money than they know what to do with.
Yes, if you want to drive the millionaires out of the US. Some would stay, but I bet the bulk would leave. The UK tried this in the late 1970s I believe and most of their wealthy left the country because of it.
Jack- during the 1950s we had some of the highest tax rates for the top earners in this country. We had balanced budgets, arts and music in schools, plenty of cops and teachers, etc. When we do not follow the original way our income tax system set up, a progressive tax where those who benefit most pay a higher % of earnings, then we have problems. If we would just return to the tax rates of Reagan and taxed ALL earnings for social security and medicare, we'd balance budgets, make both of the aforementioned programs solvent and we could probably pay for an even better healthcare bill. Oh- and if we'd open medicare to all it would be solvent overnight; expanded pool paying in, many healthy people requiring less expense. If we do not repudiate the "me first" mentality developed by Reagan in the 80s we are doomed to repeat our late 20th century mistakes. The government is NOT our enemy; we ARE the government, and any complaints about it are OUR fault for not participating more in the electoral process. This country always does better when we all contribute what we can, not what we want.
Okay, so half of the combined wealth – not income, mind you, but total wealth – among the Fortune 400 comes to $600 billion. That takes care of half of one year's deficit. Then what?
How about a tax on politicians?
A "voluntary tax" is an oxymoron. Taxes are involuntary by definition. If the question is whether a campaign to get millionaires to voluntarily donate an extra 10% of their income (which they can do right now, if so inclined), I'd say the answer is a resounding no.
Even if we were to presuppose that the millionaires were to give up that income, where would that money come from? Not from under their mattresses, no doubt. It would be diverted from productive uses (business investment) to non-productive uses (additional government spending). Anyone who thinks there is even an iota of a chance that the US Congress will ever voluntarily pay back even a single penny of the national debt is severely deluded.
Not a chance. From my experiences with the upper 1% of the US economy, none are willing to help unless it directly benefits them. Even the so called generous American celebrities are only interested in charity if they get their “face time” with the public. "Greed is good" has endured as the American philosophy for too long.
No, even though most of them give very generously.
They pick who they give to, they give to the deserving, Scholarships and Grants for kids going to college. People and organization that help others. They are selective, but they give MILLIONS. My daughter works at a law firm that manages philanthropy for some very wealthy clients, she is always writing checks. They quietly and privately give.
All the "Millionaires' tax will do would be to end the good work they do now.
Voluntary No.......Because the majority of the rich are just plain greedy..What we need is the tax code of the 40 and 50's with adjustments made for todays income. I lived better in 1950 than my kids do today.
Yes that would work, if it doesn't get miss handled by the government and end up missing a huge amount of it because of the corrupt officials which we see happening a lot now. . I think its a great idea they can't really take that money to their grave so why not use it before they go and help others.
It's an idea with the best of intentions and could garner support. The big concern; The ongoing historic mismanagement and demonstrated waste of our tax dollars resulting in a 13 trillion deficet.
We have set a precedent for overspending, many times on the wrong things.
We cannot assume that that will change over the short term.
Don't forget Ted Turner. There are a few decent rich people, but most of them are selfish, greedy bastards. Would it work? I don't know, but why not try it? At least it broaches the subject of philanthropy, and paying back, something most of them probably have never even considered.
To create an expectation that the rich should give away the wealth they worked so hard for? Voluntarily, sure it would work. The moment it becomes mandatory, there will be nothing to say that it wouldn't trickle down to the middle class and lower class. By allowing this to become mandatory, there is no way we could keep the lower and middle classes from being forced to do the same. I don't "expect" anyone to take care of me. No matter if it was the rich playing games with the peoples money or not, I refuse to accept that the rich should shoulder the burden of the poor. I make 17,000 a year and I still don't want Buffet/Gates or anyone else paying my way. Sorry, handouts are for the weak!
i think they should but they don't because of one thing: greed.... i think warren buffet and bill gates are wonderful people for leading this crusade and putting pressure on the world's wealthiest people to contribute a little back to the society they take from...
however, i'm certain an even smaller percentage of wealthy americans will be willing to part with their greenbacks...
Doubtful – we are a nation of greed and a nation of wealthy that fail to appreciate the backs we have hung on to to acquire our wealth. Additionally – while I will gladly give away a great % of my wealth to charity when I die (and quite a bit before) I will never part with more than necessary to the federal government – that continually feeds the military industrial complex and corporate welfare before caring for its own citizens.
San Ramon, CA
Although I'd love to believe that America's wealthiest appreciate the fact that they owe their weath to America's capitalist economic system, I'm afraid the "greed factor" which drove these people to accumulate their wealth will overpower any altruistic tendencies they may otherwise have.
What we really need is to stop the outsourcing of good American jobs, stop the importation of cheap foreign labor which steals jobs from Americans and bring manufacturing plants back to the U.S. by imposing tarrifs on all imported goods and services. Some will undoubetly argue that this will hurt our foreign trade, but you don't have to have a PhD in economics to know that a "trade deficit" means WE LOSE MONEY ON FOREIGN TRADE.
I'm old enough to remember when just about everything was "Made in America", only one spouse had to have a full time job to achieve the American dream and our ecomony was rolling along just fine.
Kepp up the good fight, Jack.
Columbus, New Jersey
Wealthy Americans voluntarily paying more tax than they have to? Thanks, Jack–you gave me a good laugh.
Would it work? Of course it would work; There's not much of a way to have it not work, just as long as you have enough millionaires on board. Obviously it all depends on what rich multi-millionaires think they can go without a new Mercedes Benz for their next fiscal year.
It would be a great thing for fortunate to help the less fortunate people, but to give it to bail out their countries debt. Perhaps a better idea would be to re-employ those hard working folk back to work. That way it would increase the tax collections.
I'm sure there's a handful of millionaires/billionaires like Buffett and Gates who care more about the greater good than themselves, but I wouldn't count on it making a big impact, as many of them made their fortunes off the backs of the middle class. If the banking disaster has taught us anything, it's that the many who contribute to the success of a few cannot count on them being there for them in their time of need.
I think what they want to do is a noble and generous thing, because they aren't compelled to do it and it's entirely voluntary. I think that instead of giving it all to charities, they should give a good portion to research projects that will better our lives, cure diseases, and research new experimental treatments that can help fight serious health problems. I don't think that charities as a whole are the answer, I think that some of the money should go to research projects that can help the entire world as a whole.
Don't the wealthy in the US already put up around 50% of their income in taxes?
I'm in no way wealthy. I struggle every day to make ends meet. But the answer to everyone's problems is not to keep increasing taxes. It's to spend the hundreds of billions already collected in taxes wisely...as if it was actually THEIR money they are spending.
Sadly, I don't see that ever happening no matter which party holds the most seats.
It wouldn't solve any of our problems. The problem is that half of the workers don't pay any income tax. The rich can do what the rest of us can't; move. To get a clue, look at CA, where more and more of the "rich" are leaving and the state's finances (and economy) are tanking.
HA! The majority of the wealthy don't even want state sponsored health care in the US! This would be considered socialism in the US.
The millionaire voluntary gift to the US might work if people knew that the government was not going to raise the income and estate taxes, again, on the well to do. The government leaders should agree to tax every one at some percentage so that the 45% of people now paying no taxes would contribute to the needs of the nation. Most millionares have worked long and hard to accumulate their assets. They will give if others do, as well.
This goes back to ridding ourselves of the archaic "progressive" income tax structure we have in place. It is my belief that a flat tax attached to sales is the best way to assist, but not cure the overall issue of taxation.
Presently, there is a place on the current 1040 to make donations. Of course millionaires have no time for such faldirah. I like Goerge Bush's idea of giving these philanthrops huge tax breaks so they can invest in our country. That went over really well, too. Don't you think, Jack?
People are such suckers. The system that creates wealth as we know it is still primarily based on extraction industries and controlling land ownership through government to the benefit of the wealthy. The only reason these rich folks are offering this is out of self preservation. They all know the party will be over in 50 years if not 25 so in order to stop the revolution they offer this compromise. Just smoke and mirrors, it has nothing to do with caring or helping but everything to do with keeping the system as we know it firmly in place for as long as possible. Lets face it, if the system fails 5 of the 6 billion people on the planet will likely notice little difference. It is only the wealthy, myself included who have anything to lose.
You don't get to be that wealthy by giving away your money, it's just not in their psychological makeup to give away money and most of them wouldn't even donate to charities if it wasn't for the tax breaks they get for it in exchange. I think most of them would move or at least move their assets to a more tax friendly environment rather than pay a millionaires tax.
A _mandatory_ millionaires' tax wouldn't work in this country. They'd just find the loopholes.
The Democrats would spend it before it ever reached the bank it and that 20 billion dollars from B.P. more then likely already has half the money earmarked .
American millionaires wouldn't volunteer to help the economy or to reduce the national debt. They try not to pay the taxes they already owe and moan about how the taxes they do pay is spent. Ask Limbaugh and Cheney and O'Reilly and McCain and Palin and Hollywood movie stars how much they're in for... Jack you're hilarious!
All of the richest Ameicans have gotten richer by outsourcing our jobs to cheaper labor markets.
What they do not realize is that for every job they've cut, they've lost a customer. This most recent 'recession' was caused by the lower demand they created.
Bringing our jobs back here would solve two obvious problems: our growing dependence on foreign sources of manufactured goods – the very issue we fought to end in 1776 – and the need to stimulate' to our economy.
The not-so-obvious problem would be our clamor that 'illegal immigrants' are stealing our jobs. The biggest reality is that the richest Americans have stolen them!
Nice idea, but to someone, somewhere, somehow that's socialism – isn't it?
The Democrats would spend it before it ever reached the bank and that 20 billion dollars from B.P. more then likely already has half the money earmarked .
Even if I had the money, the thought of entrusting it to our government to utilize it wisely seems counterintuitive. Rather than offering Government a bailout, I think incentivizing the wealthy to invest back into our economy, creating jobs and increasing tax revenue - coupled with Government spending restraint of some sort as well as a true accounting of all the Pension and Retiree Healthcare Benefits our Politicians have put in place to curry favor..... Oh, well, what the heck...just take all of our money and let's just have everyone wear a Mao Suit and start from zero.....
A wonderful idea.
But, put away the recreational herbals and recognize our rampant: greed, anger and hostility toward our fellow citizens which has overwhelmed us, bringing misery to many, and ruining the country.
Anybody who makes that kind of money makes it because a lot of people have helped them make it.
If you are an entertainer, you got rich because you entertained a lot of people. If you wrote a book and made millions, it's because a lot of people bought your book. If you are a rich professional athlete, that is because a lot of fans bought items you endorsed and paid for tickets to see you play. If you are a company leader and make a lot of money, it's because employees and customers contributed to your success.
It is for that reason that the rich have a duty to give back to the very people who helped them get rich in the first place.
Not in a country that worships money above all else. It's a shame so few people care about others or about the quality of life in general.
Wouldn't it be a better idea if the government first learned not to spend more then they take in? If they get more in taxes it wouldn't pay down the debt they would just spend more on their hand outs going to the lazy people in this country.
I've got a better idea. How about if all of the millionaires in America invest some of their millions back in America. Many of them have made their millions selling America, now maybe they can make a few bucks buying it back. There are some great bargains out there with the economy as battered as it's been and a hungry workforce ready to start on Monday. Don't give money away, give it to people who work for it. But whatever you do don't send it to Washington, they don't have a clue how to handle money!
Nice thought. But if million/billionaires haven't noticed yet, the downward spiral of a once great nation, I doubt that they have any plans soon to release that hold on their hard earned cash.
We hosted German students going to school here in the states. They have a different moral standard then we do. Somewhere along the way of building this great America nation we have lost our moral compass...
It could work, it could even help convince us common folks to push for companies run by those that participate, but the richest of the rich in this country are generally short-sighted usurpers of resources. Look at Wall Street, they would rather sabotage the very strength of the dollar so long as it meant they got to have the most dollars, whatever their worth.
Let's count those that would participate. One, two..... Bill and Warren can't do it themselves. The owners of Mars and Walmart are too busy trying to eliminate the estate tax and to tring to convince the American people that the income has already been taxed. Unfortunately most believe it. Hey Jack why don't you do a program on how those accumulated capital gains have never been taxed.
If billionaires really wanted to give away their money, for any reason, they would not be spending millions to stop Wall Street reform legislation.
Jack, I think this is a terribly flawed concept in that a "millionaire" in the US in 2010 is not uncommon – and not in a situation where one has tons of money to "give away" or even spend on themselves. This is the same problem that President Obama has made a campaign out of. He has given his definition of "wealthy" is any family that earns over $250K per year. In most parts of the country this income hardly gives anyone the ability to "live it up"- and certainly not enough to give it away!
The marginal income tax rate on anyone earning over $250K is over 50% currently and will approach 60% by 2013 (Fed and State). You'd have to earn a whole lot more than $250K to live anything but very modestly. In fact the whole group of people in the $250K+ category are being politically characterized as wealthy when they are far from it. I really wish our politicians would look at the reality of things.
Wow. People doing whats right. I truly cannot believe it. Kudos to the German millionaires, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. To the rest of the ultra rich I ask, How many billions can you actually use in your lifetime? Imagine the legacy Bill Gates will leave being one of the most philanthropic billionaires in history. The joy in having the most expensive car in the world or a gold toilet for your gold bathroom on your gold jet is fleeting but the distinction of having of grace, mercy and generosity will live forever in the annals of history.
We have a club like that over here. It’s called “Club of the Greedy” and Buffet and Gates aren’t allowed in. I can’t see Wall Street and their ilk being suddenly charitable. Here in San Francisco we have many old family mansions in Pacific Heights, that are worth 20 to 50 million dollars each and due to a loophole in Prop 13, 30 years ago, they are allowed to be kept “in the family” even if the original owner has passed on. These people pay 4 to 7 thousand dollars a year in property tax, like the owner of a 300K house. When those folks start paying their fair share, 1 to 3 hundred thousand a year, I’ll believe in millionaires being charitable.
It seems like there should be a simpler solution Jack. Maybe we should try only spending what we are bringing in, as opposed to expanding federal spending to all time highs.
You do realize that people are already free to volunteer any amount of money to the government, right? In essence, there already exists a "voluntary" millionaire tax. And what's outrageous is the idea that the rich should give away a big part of their wealth to better society – THEY ALREADY DO THAT, accounting for a disproportionate tax burden, creating jobs, and spending. The solution to the country's problems isn't with more money but with LESS SPENDING. We're $13Trillion in debt in large part because our current president believed he could spend us out of the recession. Of course it hasn't worked – every expert has agreed on that point. He should have studied past presidents and used his position as leader to lead – give the country a shot of confidence and good things happen. Like when Mr. Clinton told Obama to shut up already about how terrible things were – confidence shot up, spending shot up, job creation shot up. Duhhhhhhh......
Good one Jack. That wouldn't happen. The millionaire donors would want something back for their money. Perhaps super-citizen power?
Soaking the rich is always popular, but how much money would it raise?
If it's voluntary, it's not a tax. So... no.
The Club for Growth - make that Greed - would never volunteer to give up any of their wealth to help their country. Never mind that they were able to amass that growth because of the country they live in.
We need a complete overhaul of a tax system which was designed for the economy of the 20th century and ideologies of the early 20th with a tax system designed to promote the economy and businesses of today. Simply adding a tax or changing rates here an there is no longer enough.
No. The last thing the American federal government needs is a free ticket into the deep pockets of our wealthy peers.
yes,they would work in the U.S
No Jack it wouldn't work because most of American millionaires are republicans.
No. People do not become millionaires by being nice. If they want to give away money I can use some and so can most of the American population. Forget giving the money to the government, give it to the people and we will have money to spend to help the economy.
Jack, you already answered your own question. Out of 800,000 German millionaires, so far they have 51. That's 0.00006375% – why would anyone expect anything different here in the USA?
Jack, I have not bought a new wheelchair in 25 years, and am scared I am going to lose my home because of my medical problem. 150k will solve all my problems, and these guys want to give away billions. Where do I get in line, I need help.
No tax increase will work until there is first a body of government that has self discipline and fiscal morality.
Hasn't it been apparent since the first U.S debt after the Revolutionary War and nearly every year since (there was a brief moment in Andrew Jackson's presidency that the U.S. did not owe anyone any money), that the more income the government receives the more they spend and usually much of it recklessly.
We are a nation of instant gratification always living beyond our means, government and population, so why in hell should anyone pay more in taxes until we are assured our money will be used wisely?
If is hard to imagine a less worthy beneficiary of charity – uber rich or not. Perhaps if the goverment was prudent, frugal, less wasteful, or had its citizen's best interests at heart, the rest of us might be more inclined to lend a hand. As it is... I for one think the uber rich should keep their money.
Probably not. Our government DOES NOT respect the money given to it by the taxpayer. By the way, 10% is a good tax number for everyone
A voluntary millionaire's tax in the US? But that's socialist! I'm afraid US millionaires... however savvy they may be are not as progressive as the Germans. This tax might work... but not if it's voluntary.
It is a good idea, but will not work. I saw on another news network they did the math on a blackboard it is just not enough.
More like they will give the money to politicians so they can make more.
Are you serious? most of these millionaires became millionaires by supporting jobs going overseas – why would they start helping America now?
Not no, but hell no! Most millionaires don't think they should have to pay any taxes now. Good luck getting to volunteer a penney to help.
Do you really think that the very rich in this countrywould voluntarily do something that would benefit the "small" people in this country.
While i commend the rich for volunteering to give 10% of their wealth for 10 years its clearly not something they should be forced to do. I'm not a millionaire and I'll be lucky if i ever make more than 2 million in my lifetime while there are some cases they contributed to the debts of this country they should not be held more responsible than the rest of us for bailing it out.
There's only one way to find out... is there anything to lose by adding a voluntary tax?
They would have to have more millions than they know what to do with before they would volunteer. Sad but true of most millionaires.
Why not propose the millionaire's tax as an official policy?
Then step back and watch the tea potty, and other radicals, come apart at the seams.
Definitely not. These people have had this money for quite a while. If they were going to give up that much of their fortune (or any of it for that matter) they would have done something long ago.
Most likely, my father works for the Provincal government in Energy and Resources. He and I hold the same belief that while taxes are dreadful, they're the only thing that can lower a defecit along with slowing down spending and cutting benefits. The problem as it appears to be is that most Americans; especially the Tea Party Protesters don't understand the phrase "Having your cake and eating it to" in which you can't have both low taxes and high benefits and still expect the deficit to be lowered. This millionaire's tax that's going on in Germany is a sign that in this time of crisis, the rich will start to help out on lowering the deficit in any way they can; while the number of millionaires joining in is low, there's a good chance that the number would baloon drastically as Europe's and America's economy litterally goes down the toilet.
Yes it would work if "millionaire club" gave the money to the people of USA !
The Club for Growth – make that Greed – would never volunteer to give up any of their wealth to help their country. Never mind that they were able to amass that fortune because of the country they live in.
Would it work? If they went the Gates-Buffett route, why wouldn't it work? Good causes get lots of money from the people who can best afford to give it. Don't give it to the gubmint though, the only way out of a $13,000,000,000,000** deficit is fundamental restructuring of how we borrow and spend our money. And it is OUR money.
** I typed out the zeroes because it helps to reinforce how incredibly, astronomically in debt we are.
What's the big deal about 10% of their income? Current tax rates for their bracket are about 48%. It's nothing more than a gimmick. Now 50% to charity, that's something. The government should be encouraging charity and discouraging social programs. Turn the social programs to the private sector and it will move us away from an entitlement society.
It would be helpful, Jack, but it doesn't solve the problem. People in America have this need for the Federal Government to pay for everything, and yet at the same time they don't want to pay taxes to that same government. What we need to do is educate people on the first, most basic law of economics: To Get Something, You Must Give Something Up. To have defense, to have water, electricity, regulatory agencies which protect us from corporate greed, we must pony up. But instead of a millionaires tax, restructure the tax levels to more heavily tax those who own 5 cars and don't drive any of them, and tax much less those who don't even make enough to live on their own. THAT would be a start.
Are you kidding? This is the greediest country in the word. The poor donate more per person than the wealthiest do. They won't change. It really is so sad.
Socialism run amok....never in the land of the free and greedy!
A millionaire's tax is not the answer to this. To do so I believe would be like punishing someone for getting rich or being rich. Doing so undermines the whole principle of capitalism and we lose our incentive to be productive or in the case of the wealth, superproductive. The answer is to truly cut the governments size, limit its reach in to our lives, make it responsible to its nation, reduce it's spending appetite and spending habits, almost like gastric surgery. Punishing the few individuals who have will not solve this hungry government's problems, nor will it put money into the hands of the hundreds of millions of poor who need it.
If I become rich as most of us are aspiring to be, I don't want to pay that tax, so it's only fair to me and to them to let them keep what they've earned. I do commend Bill and Melinda and Warren on their call for the rich to donate if they so choose to do so.
Oh, please...they pay lobbiest to bribe congress to pass laws to NOT pay even their FARE SHARE of taxes...voluntarily "give"...lol. What we need is the rich to pay – quit depending on the working man to foot the bill for "big" people and for the welfare leaches!!
This idea is a radical one...and also an unfair one. How about a radical idea that is one step further: let those who wish to contribute do so and not involve those who don't want to do so!!!
Will it work? Of course. Will it happen? Not a chance.
No! The Federal Gov't would incorporate that money into their spending. None of it would go to balancing the budget.
I'm getting old now Jack, How much money do people really need..? Money does not buy happiness. Americans have this compulsive tick about helping people now days just very sad. I say bravo Germany after all they have been known to be the most responsible people if you really look at there accomplishments...And the facts about taxs (that no-one talks about) are this, Americans enjoy the most consumption in the world and pay less taxs (adjusted0 than anyone else...thats rite you read rite less than anyone (adjusted) please check the facts and you will see I speak the truth. Bravo germany...god bless...!!!
Why would I get rid of my wealth if I don't have to? Think about it.
I doubt it. Why not have a universal tax instead. The everyone pays and no one gets a break.
Is that net or gross Jack? Let's have Bush and Cheney be the first to pony-up since they destroyed our economy with wars and stuff.
Jerry Sawick, San Andreas (It's not our fault), California.
This is the most stupid idea I have ever heard. And, believe me, there are a LOT of stupid ideas coming out of this country lately.
I don't believe we can think our way out of a paper sack any more!
Jack, have you lost your mind? The world as we know it will come to and end if millionairs thought of someone other than themselves - come back to earth will you. They don't want to pay their fair share of taxes - will try to find as many loop holes as they can. You might be due for a trip to have a medical check up to include a sanity check
Our millionares should pay more taxes. They are the ones that destroyed our economy, enviroment and then get bailed out by us.
Sure it would, as long as they kept the option of writeoffs and deductions available now. Wasn't it Warren Buffett who paid less tax than his secretary?
America's rich volunteer to help? The only ones they want to help is themselves. A majority of them made their wealth by stepping on the little people.
This would never work come on. You know what would work to bring down the debt Cut the military Budget in half and bring home the troops in Afganistan and Iraq and then we can start talking surplus again like we had with Clinton. Why do we need all the jets and stealth fighters to attack a taliban on a camel. Obama get some guts and slice up that military industrial complex we were warned against by Eisenhower.
No. The dummies in Washington will just blow it. Most in Congress are millionaires. They claim they are there to serve the people. A wonder how many of them will donate? Here is a better idea. Since most of Congress is millionaires, how about a mandatory tax on them and them alone. Let's see how they like it when we spend their money.
Tucson, AZ – It is already legal for people to give the government extra money, more than they owe in taxes. There were a couple of cases in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most often, Americans seek to pay the government less, avoiding or evading taxes/ There have even been Acts of Congress to settle the tax bills of wealthy individuals. The fact is, unlike Americans, Germans do their math homework and feel visceral loyalty to their Federal government, which is why theirs is solvent and ours is on the verge of insolvency. There are only 50 million Americans of German descent versus 30 million Scotch-Irish whose visceral loyalty is against the Federal government (see the Whiskey Rebellion, Civil War, and the Tea Party movement...) It is not hard to explain when you understand history.
PS I already contributed my 1.75 million...it's called INHERITANCE TAX...
No. A voluntary millionaire's tax would not work in the U.S. because the governmental thieves would only figure out a way to get their claws on those funds and waste them on their own pet projects like they do with all taxes. The money would never make it to its' intended cause(s).
Wealthy Americans barely want to pay their regular taxes, so is very hard to think they will be willing to give away their money in a form of voluntarily Tax.
It will be interesting to see these guys take the money from their offshore accounts to help their country.
That will be like Building a White House On the Moon!
No way it would work in the U.S., simply because the majority of the millionaires/billionaires here are conservative republicans and they care far more about their wealth than taking care of others. 'Tis a shame most of the millionaires/billionaires aren't democrats...it could – and probably would – work!
Likely to work as well as Al Gore and "Green People" actually Living their Talk. Filthy rich are filthy when it come to the environment and each dollar they spend puts scars on the earth. Tell me not to drive my old SUV; yeah right.
Jack, What would you give to help our country's finances? Exactly what most millionaires in this country would give. That's the problem in a nutshell: sacrifices will have to be made but no one wants to sacrifice anything.
I think it would be about the same in the US as in Germany, about 50 people would join. Hopefully though, I'm just really pessimistic right now.
This voluntary billionaire's tax would be great for our recession woes right about now. 600 Billion dollars! Take that money and loan it to small business and investments(SBA) so they can start hiring...It may be just a dent in our economy but it's a start. Hell, I have a MBA like everyone else so what do I know...
A 'voluntary' tax would not work, but a 'mandatory tax would. And it should be a millionaire's tax and then a billionaire's tax.
Forget the 'charitable' contributions. They are sometimes great, but then there is the well known Hedge Fund manage who 'charitably contributes' to a university – avoiding taxes – and then has the University invest that money plus more in his own Hedge Fund. So he then makes back more than he 'donated'. It's disgusting when 'charity' is used as a scam.
A voluntary millionaire’s tax? What a concept t!!!
It should help a lot. Nothing to it.
All it needs is the volunteers!
Well it would cover the bill the obamas rack up toting their personal affairs around–we tax payers pay alot of money for them doing personal stuff-or are they paying for security out of their own pockets?-
Yes this might work, but you have to realize 3 things: Greed, Greed, and yes GREED.
Why would the uber rich give 10% in germany...because its jsut a drop in the bucket. In true economics this does not apply to the uber rich because a girls best friend is a sugar daddy and diamonds.
The main problem with the uber rich isnt the money problem its the wealth involved... cnn remember ZR Systems and when you covered that along with the U.N. isrieli Prime Mister (excuse spelling), destroying the partical colider in 2005 vying for money...
Has NATO's damage control been paid off when they leech off america and other countries efforts to "protect there interests and there wallets"?
Probabley not, as most of the millionairs or billionairs work very hard to get and keep their money, through scams and political manipulation. Why would they then give any of that ill gotten money back.
Personally I would love to see a "lobby tax" for every dollar the lobbiests spend to try and schmooze a politician, 25% goes to a worthy cause run by an independant 3rd party. That in itself should generate billions a year.
Well, since Congress would just spend it like drunken sailors (you know, the way they already do) , I suggest these savvy businessmen and women make a deal-if legislators agree to end two unproductive wars, cut out most foreign aid to ungrateful, gimme nations, and close at least half of our overseas bases, THEN we might give you some money. I'm guessing Congress hasn't got the gumption to take the would-be benefactors up on the deal.
Stealing from the rich to give to the poor is still stealing.
Sounds nice to have someone else pay your bills but the numbers do not work. Before long the debt will be the size of the GDP which means we can ALL give up ALL our pay and it would not be enough. We can not keep given money away. Everyone must pay their fairshare which means a 22.5% consumption tax. If we wait too long we will never fix this sinking ship. Then we will have true socialism...everyone will be poor.
I'm astouned by the amount of hate people have for the wealthy. I guess the liberal class warfare propaganda worked. Good to see stereotypes are alive and well in the party of "diversity, acceptance, and open-mindedness"
Just a thought, it's the banking system that got us into this finacial mess. get rid of the federal reserve who prints the money with interest attached keeping us in debt. go back to a system that is covered by the amount of gold in the treasury, instead of letting the banks create money from nothing.
The answer is a resounding no.
The day our government relies on charity is the day we become a failed state ourselves. No amount of charity will teach our congress to stop overspending, in fact it would only encourage it.
Also, it would be totally unfair to tax people at a higher rate for being successful. Tax their luxury items sure, but simply taxing them for success is un-American and unfair.
There is no such thing as a voluntary "tax" – taxes are not voluntary.
I'm always disturbed by people seeing the wealthy and rich as having a "duty" and "obligation" to give back to society. Its as if society was so gracious and kind to give them the wealth. Its ignorant. The wealthy EARN their wealth in their work. They seized opportunity and acted from their authentic instinct and they prevailed. The middle and working class America bought the products/service the wealthy created. I do not understand how the wealthy are obligated to give "back" or do anything of that sort. Further, it seems to me that middle-class America is the one demanding more and more and not giving much back. No, working doesn't count as giving. Get real people. Stop blaming the rich for your credit card debt and foreclosures. Grow up.
Why this is the wealth redistribution Obama has been dreaming of since his days on the plains of Kenya, the beaches of Hawaii, the prime real estate in Chicago paid for by.. well you know. We vilify the wealthy for wanting to KEEP their money and say nothing of a government that wants to TAKE their money and give it away to someone else. Hmmm..
I bet they would do it if THEY could decide where it went – not government.
I love how this article is started off:
"With the U.S. drowning in a monstrous $13 trillion national debt, it's clear we need to consider any and all options to stem the tide."
It's a classic example of not understandings "“Spending is quick, earning is slow”" (from a Russian Proverb). Rather than sinking to "anything" to resolve a debt, one must stop and see why its occurring. Mismanagement in the highest of places are causing an issue that is leaving us to look "anywhere" for money. Please be mindful that I am absolutely sure that those "millionaires" are responsible for many others livelihood. For example, by the company they run successfully which employees potentially hundreds or thousands of Americans.
Lets all be mindful of why we are in this mess.
Jack, even if every millionaire on earth gave us 10% of their wealth, our current government would just spend more and continue to tax at the same rate! Our government to only spend what it takes in, it's that simple. Furthermore, if it's fairness that the libs really want, then let's get rid of the income tax system and go to a flat tax! Of course they'll howl over this idea because somehow taxing everyone fairly will become discrimatory!
The problem isn't getting tax revenue, it is keeping a disciplined budget. Your question is the wrong question, and the 51 Germans are giving the wrong answer.
Fact: Spending hasn't decreased, it has increased.
Fact: We are in so much debt, that taking 50% of all the income from everyone who has a net worth over $1 million, won't even make a dent in the debt. If you implemented this, you would only encourage an increase in spending.
The solution is a conservative fiscal policy that is non-negative.
This boom and bust fiscal policy has never worked, and it never will. Increasing the tax on the rich will not work. Increase the tax on the middle class won't work. A healthy fiscal policy WILL work, guaranteed.
Why don't we ask the 50% who don't pay ANY income tax and ask them to pony up $10. Let's see how many takers there are.