Dozens of America’s wealthiest taxpayers — including hedge fund legend Michael Steinhardt, super trial lawyer Guy Saperstein, and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s fame — have appealed to President Obama not to renew the Bush tax cuts for anyone earning more than $1 million a year. Calling themselves “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength,” the 40-plus signers today launched a website and a campaign that they hope will draw support from others who agree that fiscal responsibility should begin with those who can best afford it — as their letter to Obama explains.
The Patriotic Millionaires campaign, pulled together quickly by the Agenda Project in New York City, just happens to appear on the same day as a new study from the Center for Responsive Politics revealing that half of the members of the House and the Senate are millionaires. That contrasts sharply with the general population, of whom fewer than 1 percent can claim millionaire status.

Some might see a correlation and potential conflict of interest in that last point. Obviously, irresponsible conspiracy theorists.

Not surprisingly, some of the super-rich declined to join the Patriotic Millionaires when the Agenda Project reached out to them. […]A Manhattan hedge fund billionaire said he believes the cuts should be extended and added that “the moneys should be used to pay down debt” — which sounds like the magical Republican plan to simultaneously cut taxes, wage war and drastically reduce the deficit. The same investor also complained that “anyone who has money is made to feel that they’re bad.”

Bad? Only if they’d rather force Grandma to eat cat food than pay their fair share.

  1. Thomas says:

    You have not demonstrated that the overall total debt amount was reduced. You simply showed that the economy grew faster than the debt and thus the debt as a percentage of GDP when up and down. However, in finding the raw numbers off the Treasury site (not easy to find., I did find the last time the debt when down (1957).

    These are the debt numbers as of the given date for the Presidents you listed:

    Eisenhower ( June 1953 to June 1960 ): 266 B, 271 B, 274 B, 272 B, 270 B, 276 B, 284 B, 286 B
    Kennedy ( June 1961 to June 1963 ): 288 B, 298 B, 305 B
    Johnson ( June 1964 to June 1968 ): 311 B, 317 B, 319 B, 326 B, 347 B
    Nixon ( June 1969 to June 1973 ): 353 B, 370 B, 398 B, 427 B, 458 B
    Carter ( Sep 1977 to Sep 1980 ): 698 B, 771 B, 826 B, 907 B
    Clinton ( Sep 1993 to Sep 2000 ): 4.4 T, 4.6 T, 4.9 T, 5.2 T, 5.4 T, 5.5 T, 5.65 T, 5.67 T

    Note that the government’s fiscal year changed from June 30 to Sept 30 in 1977.

    So, I admit I was incorrect that the debt has not gone down in the past 100 years. It last happened 53 years ago.

    Frankly, you have been duped into thinking that the party you support is any better than oppose. The last somewhat fiscal President was Eisenhower.

  2. chris says:


    It isn’t much use to talk about debt unrelated to something else, either the size of the debtor(individual debt) or the economy (collective debt).

    I will illustrate why. Person A makes 50k/year but has 150k of debt. Person B makes 1M/year and has debt of 300k. Which debt is more significant?

    Understanding an individual or group’s debt still isn’t complete. The type of debt and history of the borrower are also important.
    Sadly, our greatest asset is how shaky the rest of the world is.

    Also, the site you mentioned also didn’t say if those were inflation-adjusted dollars. It makes a difference.

  3. Thomas says:

    It isn’t much use to talk about debt unrelated to something else, either the size of the debtor(individual debt) or the economy (collective debt).

    Nonsense. The national debt is the amount of money owed by the government which the taxpayers have to pay back. The numbers off that site are the raw numbers of money owned. By hook or crook, we (and our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren….) have to pay that money back. That our government has devalued the currency over the years to make the debt not look as bad as it is (although 96.7% of GDP is bad no matter the spin) a separate discussion.

  4. Hmeyers says:

    Taxing the wealthy or not won’t the solve the problem.

    We have a large trade imbalance. An outflow of blood without much of an inflow. With sustained economic losses masked by the deficit spending and the corresponding job loss, there just isn’t going to be enough to tax. You can’t tax jobs or production you’ve lost and skyrocketing debt interest will take us into a grave place.

    Tax policy cannot solve a trade policy problem.

    And big multinational corporations are the backbone of campaign financing and have bought both parties; their interest is not our interest but carve us up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

    Eventually the problem will be solved, but I don’t see how it can happen. Our political system has been subverted by multinational profiteer corporations.

  5. smartalix says:

    I thought Dick Cheney declared that “deficits don’t matter”.

  6. MKenny says:

    In 2000 the budget was balanced, the federal government even had a surplus, because of cooperation of a republican congress and a democratic prez. So, everyone think really hard, what chanaged after 2000 that destroyed the budget and the surplus and put us where we are now? Think about it.

  7. Thomas says:

    The 2000 budget wasn’t balanced. The last time we had a balanced budget was 1957.


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