Please Make Me Pay More Tax!

No need to wait; just mail the Feds a check today.

Warren Buffett, frequently the world's richest man, was interviewed by NBC the other night.  During this interview, he presented a survey he'd made of his office staff, all of which make 1/1000 as much money as he if they're lucky, and the tax rates they paid.  Apparently, he himself pays by far the lowest rate - 17.7%, compared to an average of 32.9% by his staff.  Therefore, quoth he, he is undertaxed, and should be taxed more.

The very next question which his interviewer should have asked, but of course did not, is:

"How much extra do you believe you owe the government, and have you paid it to the "Gifts to the United States" account of the Federal Treasury?"

You see, the IRS has thought of this issue in advance.  For all those rich folks out there who believe they are so grievously undertaxed, and are suffering from angst and guilt, a solution is ready to hand.  You need only mail a check to the following address:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 6D17
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Now, the Department of the Treasury doesn't break out the totals that it receives at this address; it lumps it into the "other" category.  But it seems unlikely that all those activists, politicians, and other gadflies who so vociferously want to raise taxes on folks have calculated the amount they should pay under their pet scheme and mailed in a check.

Hillary Clinton told a group of wealthy Democrats at a fundraiser in June 2004, that "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."  Fair enough - she is wealthy, and so are they, and since they're at her fundraiser, obviously they support her.  But did she tell them how they could make a difference right now?  Sure she did.  She said they should write her a check.  Why didn't Hillary tell them to make a real contribution, and send that check directly to the Treasury?

Last week, John Edwards said, "I think if we want to fund the things that I think are important to share in prosperity, then people who have done well in this country, including me, have more of a responsibility to give back... There are no free meals."  How true that is - the meals have to be paid for by someone.  He wants that someone to be you.

But surely, he falls into the category of "rich."  No doubt he pays every cent he owes to the IRS - but does he feel that he personally has "more of a responsibility to give back"?  Let's see his check to the "Gifts to the United States" account.  At the very least, can't someone ask him about it?

There's nothing wrong with wanting the government to have more of your money to "do good" with.  It might be stupid, but not wrong.  What's wrong is wanting the government to take someone else's money, to do what you want done.  That's called stealing and hypocrisy.  Why can't we confront these folks about it?

When Al Gore starts riding a bicycle to his speeches, then it will be time to listen to him.  When John Edwards mails extra millions each year to the Treasury, then it might be time to listen to his ideas too.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Economics.
Reader Comments

Some years ago, Teddy Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, waxed eloquently vitriolic about the plight of the homeless.  In spite of owning a number of high-end homes which don't get much use, Senator Kennedy didn't invite any homeless people to stay anywhere near him.

Like most liberals, he had no intention of doing anything about the problem, he wants you and me to pay for a solution so he could feel good about having "done something" whether it worked or not.

November 2, 2007 7:34 PM
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