The Magazine

Wealthier Than Thou

How about a tax on sanctimonious millionaires!

Jan 3, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 16 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt has a fund called Gift Contributions to Reduce Debt Held by the Public, to which David and his friends can conveniently contribute online at www.pay.gov. But given their patriotism, they’ll probably prefer to mail a check—you know, to support the U.S. Postal Service, some $8.5 billion in the red—to: 

Attn Dept G 

Bureau of the Public Debt

P.O. Box 2188

Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

The Treasury keeps a running total of these gifts, and it is worth noting that despite the very public exhortations made by these loyal citizens so eager to do their fair share, the annual sums have been little more than a rounding error on Larry David’s 1040. For tax year 2010, the total to date is $2,840,466.75—though there is still some time to match the $3,063,057.05 donated last year, when, presumably, celebrity patriotic millionaires were feeling especially civic-minded.

There is, of course, another advantage to showing your commitment to the country’s fiscal strength in this way. By quietly giving their money directly to the federal government, patriotic millionaires can avoid all of the unwanted attention to their wealth and righteousness that comes with taking such a public position.

Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.

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