Patriotic Millionaires: ‘Raise our taxes. We can take it.’

I knew about Warren Buffett, but I hadn’t heard of the “Patriotic Millionaires” group until I got this release today:

Patriotic Millionaires Slam Congress on the Sequester Stall
“We did our part, now it is time to do yours!”

New York, NY –Today, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength implore Congress to come to an agreement and stop the impending budget cuts from the sequester. “Your job in its most basic form is to keep the country running. We did our part, now it is time to do yours!”

Travel writer, TV host, Tour Organizer, and Patriotic Millionaire Rick Steves (WA) says: “It’s time for millionaires like me to step up to the plate and contribute our share. A millionaire south of our border would spend a small fortune for designer fortifications. He’d need armed guards on his street corner so his child could walk to the park. What’s it worth to be able to work hard and prosper in the USA. It’s worth being a patriotic supporter of a progressive tax system. What’s honest? To acknowledge that we are the least taxed wealthy class in the civilized world and we’d live nowhere else. Together, we can invest in the fabric of our society and together we can enjoy the peace and stability and opportunity that you can only find here in America. Yep, I’m a Patriotic Millionaire.”

Filmmaker and Patriotic Millionaire Abigail Disney (NY) says: “The fact is that I pay a lower effective rate on my income than my assistant does, and that is just plain stupid.  We need to address the most egregious outs millionaires have access to and bring the tax code back in sync with our values as a democracy and meritocracy.  Closing the carried interest loophole, to name one of many, will go a long way toward getting us there.”

CEO of NuCompass Mobility and Patriotic Millionaire Frank Patitucci (CA) says:  “If my paying a few more dollars in taxes helps close a deal that will maintain basic government services, count me in. The alternative, a depressed economy, will cost me a whole lot more.”

Former AOL Executive and Patriotic Millionaire Charlie Fink (VA) says: “These two things I know to be true: there is no problem in business that cannot be solved by more revenue AND no business can cut its way out of a budget crisis. With or without the sequester, our problem remains lack of revenue. This was only slightly addressed by higher taxes on the wealthy. We must end corporate welfare, and get back to a system where our businesses, along with the most wealthy, contribute to the general welfare that allows our society to thrive, and create opportunity for others.”

Patriotic Millionaire Woody Kaplan (MA) says: “In order to maintain tax loopholes which advantage only the wealthiest Americans, the Republicans are putting our economy at risk, disrupting government services, and putting middle class taxpayers on furlough.  This is an unconscionable combination of greed and arrogance.”

Attorney and Patriotic Millionaire Joel Kanter (VA) says: “It is remarkable that we are days away from the latest chapter in ‘Hostage Politics First, Country & Policy Later’ where millions of families will pay an enormous price. One can only hope that the outcry from those seeking reason will become unbearable on those seeking purity of purpose at all costs, and that Americans themselves will become ever more vigil about allowing their government to be hijacked and held hostage. I daresay an airliner facing these circumstances would become the focus of the world, and yet the millions that will be impacted here are seemingly noticed by none.”

Founder of Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. and Patriotic Millionaire Michael Alexander (CA) says: “Everyone who has reviewed the tax code agrees that it is past time to eliminate tax loopholes that benefit the wealthiest. We are better than that. It is time that the GOP act like grown-ups, show compassion, and do what is best for the country and those less fortunate.”

Angel Investor and Patriotic Millionaire Ron Garret, PhD. (CA) says: “Republicans say they want to shrink the deficit, but they refuse to raise taxes, which leaves draconian cuts as the only possible option.  But instead of owning this conclusion they instead try to blame the president for the inevitable results of their own policies and the laws that they voted for.  Apparently Republicans understand that if they stood by the results of their policies, the American people would run them and their gerrymandered obstructionist hypocrisy out of town on a rail.”

Patriotic Millionaire Emanuel Stern (NY) says: “For the good of the country, politics and partisanship must be put aside and our national interest set first. Any rational person would understand that both cuts and revenues are needed to achieve fiscal responsibility. It is time for cuts and they should be substantial. But they also must be accompanied by revenue. Loopholes must be closed. Please stop playing politics with our Country’s national interest.”…

The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength was formed in Fall 2010 by some of the country’s most financially successful citizens who came together to urge the President to let the Bush tax cuts expire for people making more than $1 million per year. Now, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength consists of more than 220 members, including:  more than a dozen current and former Google employees, actress Edie Falco of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, the founder of Esprit, the founder of the Princeton Review, travel writer Rick Steves, the founder of, legendary philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, famed economist Nouriel Roubini, financial guru Andrew Tobias, top executives from Warburg, Pincus, and other major financial firms, filmmaker Abigail Disney, and many others.

Here’s a list of the millionaires. By the way, these aren’t just folks who have a million dollars (which is what I thought “millionaire” meant). These are people who make a million or more a year.

22 thoughts on “Patriotic Millionaires: ‘Raise our taxes. We can take it.’

  1. Silence

    Yes. If you are in your twilight years and have already earned your money, you can afford higher taxes. That doesn’t mean that they are justified. These “patriotic” millionaires can donate the money to the government if they want to. Stay away from my paycheck, though.

  2. Bryan D. Caskey

    “Your job in its most basic form is to keep the country running.” The sequester isn’t going to stop the country from running. It’s 2.23% of the budget. I know it will be tough, but we’ll survive this 2.23% draconian cut. It will just have to be like the “dark ages” of 2008 again.

    Also, these millionaire folks have been around for awhile. They got tons of press during the big budget battles of 2011. The most common response to these “Patriotic Millionaires” who’s chief complaint is that their taxes are too low is to remind them that the IRS accepts checks. Funny video of their responses here:

    1. Bart

      Kinda like the old saying about “pulling hen’s teeth” to get these guys to pony up a check to the treasury. They are willing ONLY if all of their fellow millionaires have to do it too. Gee, no one willing to step up and be the first one. What a surprise.

  3. Bryan D. Caskey

    Kind of funny/predictable who the first three commenters were. I’ll wait for the normal dynamic to play out thusly:

    Silence/SDII/Caskey: These people can always voluntarily write a check to the IRS.
    Bud/Kathryn/Mark: We have to have a contribution from the rich to pay their fair share so we can have the government we want.
    Silence/SDII/Caskey: The government we want already spends too much money.
    Bud/Kathryn/Mark: The government needs to spend more money to help people out, and some people need that help; if only the GOP would quit objecting! And anyway, spending money is great for the economy. Keynes!
    Brad: Interjects random thought not related to the subject.
    Silence/SDII/Caskey: Simultaneous facepalm; begin drinking.

    There. I just saved everyone about 50 comments.

  4. Mark Stewart

    The goverment does spend too much money. Keynesism is only a last resort in an economic panic. People must first help themselves. Our tax structure (including social security) sucks.

    Basically, hewing to the status quo is stagnation, not conservatism.

    And clearly Bryan trumped all on that.

    1. Silence

      How do you figure that the government doesn’t spend too much money? Admit that it wastes a lot of money on crap-ola, money that could be better applied to improve our human and national condition.

      1. Steven Davis II

        What do you mean “waste”… giving the Syrian rebels $60 million today probably wasn’t a good use of taxpayer money? I mean could have blown it on other useless things such as a new school or some other trivial thing that we don’t need in this country.

  5. Mark Stewart


    I did agree that the federal government (no, all levels of government) wastes a lot of tax revenues. I believe it is the legislature’s responsibility to appropriate wisely. The executive branches are of course equally responsible for using our money wisely.

    I guess we had a miscommunication.

  6. Bart

    Depending on the information available, if you take a percentage of the Patriotic Millionaires vs the number of millionaires or earning one million or more for 2011, the smallest number I could find was 5,134,000 people who qualified for the distinction and the Patriotic Millionaires represent .0045% of the total. If you use the higher number, approximately 7.5 millionaires, the percentage drops even lower to .003%.

    Now, if a majority of people earning a million or more want higher taxes and are willing to pay without using every tax dodge and advantage they are using now, damn, go for it. If they want to pay more voluntarily, no one is stopping them at all, including Warren Buffett who is still fighting his billion dollar tax issue. The last time I watched Mr. Buffett on an interview, his writing hand seemed to be in great condition and there were no signs of dementia at all.

    Or they can go the way of Gates and Buffett by placing their vast fortunes in trusts and foundations where they control where the money goes and how it is spent plus give multiple family members, friends, and others including themselves a nice salary. Now, that is REALLY patriotic!!!

    Brad, reprinting something about an obsure 220 or more million dollar earners out of 5 to 7 million or more that insinuates they speak for all? Really?

    1. Silence

      Don’t confuse millionaires with million dollar annual earners. Most millionaires probably never had a year that good ever.

      1. Steve Gordy

        True. “Millionaire” is generally taken to mean “People with a net worth greater than one million dollars.” Of course, it isn’t the same as when John Beresford Tipton was offering folks a million dollars apiece, provided they agreed never to tell anyone where it came from. Just remembering some of those old ’50s TV series gives me a warm glow.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Oh, I remember that show. I was so young that I got confused watching one episode. The recipient of the money bought some jewelry for a woman for $10,000. And he had money left over, which taught me that I didn’t know what a million was. I thought it was 10 times a thousand, just as a thousand was 10 times a hundred.

          So basically, I learned a math lesson from “The Millionaire.” And who says TV rots your brain.

          Hey, if that guy would give ME a million dollars, I’d have a warm glow, too.

      2. Bart

        That’s why I included both numbers. According to the information I could find within the time frame, the 5,134,000 was the number who earned a million or more.

        1. Silence

          There is no way that 5 million Americans earned over $1M in a year. I think 5M is the collective number of million-dollar net worth folks.


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