Putting their money . . .

Thanks to Hube, I found this letter in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

I am distressed at the unwillingness of Congress to consider raising taxes to help lower the deficit. My husband and I make a bit more than $250,000 a year. Both of us believe that it is only fair for us and those like us to share a larger portion of the burden of this debt than those who earn less. In the days of Reagan and Clinton, top earners were taxed at a higher rate than is the case today, and the national debt was under control.

My husband and I donate to charities, but private charities cannot offer the support for those on the brink that is given by programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Nor can they improve education, mend our infrastructure, or pay for other projects crucial to the health of our nation.

I have written to my representatives, urging them to raise our taxes, especially on dividends and capital gains, for which we do not lift a finger. They write back with boilerplate letters promising not to raise taxes, showing that they have paid no attention to what I asked.

Alice van Buren Kelley, Wayne

Hube noted that Mrs Kelley could, if she so chose, pull out her checkbook and write a check to the United States Treasury.

I, being the helpful sort that I am, am pointing out to Mrs Kelley that the United States Treasury makes it even simpler than that: she could simply click on the link, which CSPT graciously provides in the sidebar, to Treasury Direct, and make a donation of any size she thinks is appropriate to the Gifts to Reduce the Public Debt fund; donations may be made via credit card or direct transfer from your checking account. Or, if she wished, she could buy up United States Treasury Bills, and then simply return them to the government, as gifts, taking them out of service.

Naturally, since Mrs Kelley provided her e-mail address to the Inquirer, I have written to her, notifying her of this article. I said:

Might I suggest that, since you mentioned them specifically, you look at your dividend and capital gains income, for which you said you do not lift a finger, and calculate the difference between what you paid in taxes for that income, and what you would have paid were dividends and capital gains taxed at the top marginal rate?

I, personally, would be most impressed were you to take the lead on this important issue, and actually make that donation to the Treasury. There is nothing stopping you from making such a donation, from paying the taxes you believe you really should pay, and showing us all how you have truly put your money where you say it should be.

We have been told, many times, that the wealthy really do want to pay more in taxes. One hundred seven millionaires signed an open letter to President Obama saying that their taxes should be increased; just think how much good it would do were they to calculate out what their taxes would have been, under President Clinton or President Carter or even President Eisenhower, and sent the difference to the United States Treasury! That is something I would call putting their money where their mouths are.

Have they done so?

Well, I’m calling on Mrs Kelley, having boldly stepped forward, to take that brave step, and tell us, and the readers of The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she made her strong proclamation, about her volunteering to pay more in taxes, and how she arrived at the number she contributed.


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  2. Mrs Kelley responded, by e-mail:

    Thank you for your note. I sent a check yesterday to the Bureau of Public Debt as a contribution to the paying off of the national debt. If such a large portion of our taxes were not being used to pay the interest on loans we have accepted from China and other countries, we would have more funds available for programs I believe in like Medicaid, Medicare, education, protection of the environment. I suggested to the bureau that they put a Donation link on their web site to make it easier for people who share my concern to join me.


    Alice Kelley

    Good for her. She, at the very least, was not a hypocrite.

  3. Would Alice Kelly like to share the amount of the check? Since we are 15 trillion in debt and have lost our AAA credit rating with S&P, what does amount to per ‘millionaire’ is needed to pay off the debt?

  4. “Good for her. She, at the very least, was not a hypocrite.”

    Right, and good for her on making the following point, that she did not mind paying more taxes than 15% on dividends and capital gains, for which she did not have to “lift a finger” to earn.

    Alice Kelly is my kind of gal!

  5. Perry wrote:

    Right, and good for her on making the following point, that she did not mind paying more taxes than 15% on dividends and capital gains, for which she did not have to “lift a finger” to earn.

    Alice Kelly is my kind of gal!

    Tania was correct to note that Mrs Kelley did not choose to disclose the amount of the check she sent to the Bureau of Public Debt, nor tell us how she arrived at whatever amount she concluded she ought to have sent. She may have taken my suggestion, and calculated how much her taxes would have been under the tax year 2000 rates, and sent in the difference, or she might have sent in $100; we do not know.

    However, I am mulling about an article, which I would submit to the National Taxpayers Union or some similar organization, suggesting that an alternate Form 1040 be published, one which assumed that the 2001/2003 tax cuts had never been passed, as an “option” for people to use should they believe themselves to be undertaxed.

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