Washington — Two dozen “patriotic millionaires” traveled to the Capitol on Wednesday to demand that Congress raise taxes on wealthy Americans.
The Daily Caller attended their press conference with an iPad, which displayed the Treasury Department’s donation page, to find out if any of the “patriotic millionaires” were willing to put their money where their mouth is.
The video seems to cut off those who try to explain their rationale, which is a bit disingenuous. If they have a reason at all, it cannot hurt to at least present it in their terms. I still have not been able to find a clear explanation for this paradox, and would have to speculate to come to some sort of understanding. As such, a highly speculative theory as to why people would want to raise taxes but are not willing to donate to the Treasury:
To begin, wealth and money are seen as relative. This is to say that a person’s wealth is not worth a certain objective amount, and instead changes value depending on what other people have. A million dollars, for instance, is worth a lot if very few other people have a million dollars; likewise it is worth little if everyone and their brothers have a million dollars. Similarly, if I have a million dollars, I am considered rich as long as others don’t have billions of dollars; and I am considered poor if everyone else has a billion dollars.
If I have a million dollars and want the government to have more of it, I will donate that portion to the government. But if I have a million dollars and want to remain rich, I need all other millionaires to donate that same amount, or else I will no longer have a relative advantage. Indeed, if I donate and everyone else keeps their money, they will be that much richer because I will be that much poorer.
But this is to point out the fact that these people want to remain rich, and that their primary interests do not lie in helping other people or buttressing the government. The only response to it would be the one Chris Christie gave in response to Warren Buffett’s call to increase taxes on the rich:
“He should just write a check and shut up. Really. And just contribute. I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check. Go ahead and write it.”
As this is pure speculation, one cannot be sure that this aligns with anyone’s rationale. Until anyone pipes up, it will have to suffice.