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  • An Unconditional Ultimatum

    Wall Street Journal opinion columnist James Taranto has thrown down the gauntlet on tax reform. This week he challenged a pro-tax-hike liberal to put his money where his mouth is.

    Francis Dummer Fisher wrote a letter to the New York Times last week saying that rather than indulge in consumerism, he would like his unused cash to be collected as taxes by the government to “buy better schools, more federal research on health, public roads without tolls, [and] financially sound Social Security.” But Taranto points out that Mr. Fisher doesn’t have to wait for Congressional passage of a new tax bill; if he’s so eager to give his money to federal projects, he could just as easily make an unconditional gift to the government.

    According to the US Treasury:

    Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called “Gifts to the United States.” […] Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs.

    Taranto asks to see a copy of Mr. Fisher’s cancelled check to the US government for the amount he claims he wants to give up. The same invitation could be extended to the club of millionaires and billionaires who vociferously advocate higher taxes as a penance for their success.

    The philanthropy of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett attests to their overwhelming generosity and good intentions. But despite their insistence that they long to support the federal government in the form of higher taxes, much of their charitable efforts are directed through private organizations. It’s easy to see why: private charities and non-governmental organizations are more efficient and better equipped to turn these funds into a direct benefit to a variety of causes than the unwieldy machinery of government. Otherwise, why wouldn’t these men make their own unconditional gifts to the government?

    Rather than insisting on redistributionist policies that they themselves acknowledge, by their actions, are ineffective, these billionaires should be fighting to preserve the freedom over their own funds that allows their private charities to flourish.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to An Unconditional Ultimatum

    1. Peter Buxton says:

      Not that great minds don't think alike, but Don Surber had this idea on 2 Dec.


      He even includes the link to make your Gift to Reduce the Deficit *online*:


    2. Bobbie says:

      Good one, Hannah!

      For all the overpaid tax paid recipients (government officials) attempting to guilt the private sector during Christmas, should be happy to gloat how much they give from their own pockets to charity and share with the public the charities they use their freedom of choice and good will, they give to.

      For those of wealth who are guilted by this government, by all means, feel free to give away without the direction of government!!! You are certainly bigger than those who think they need direction from government.

    3. Herb Jensen says:

      This is mutch too simple and revealing. It demands that the liberal Fisher actually DO sometinig. This will never happen as they just want to spend my money and dictate where the money will be spent. A good conservitate example would be Vice President Cheney, when it was "damanded" during the campaign that he divest his holdings in Halloburton (sp) he did so. I think he sold his stock for $39,000,000, and he then gave to charity approximately $13,000,000.

    4. Pingback: Tweets that mention An Unconditional Ultimatum | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    5. Brian, California says:

      And their charitable donations are tax deductable expenses, thus reducing the taxable income and lower the tax bill.

      "You may deduct charitable contributions of money or property made to qualified organizations if you itemize your deductions." (IRS Publication 78)

      Damned clever those rich people to demand being forced into paying higher taxes.

    6. George Colgrove, VA says:

      “. . . private charities and non-governmental organizations are more efficient and better equipped to turn these funds into a direct benefit to a variety of causes than the unwieldy machinery of government. Otherwise, why wouldn’t these men make their own unconditional gifts to the government?”

      This can be an effective tool to reduce the size and scope of the federal government as well as not losing the benefits of some of the non-constitutional departments, agencies and programs housed by the federal government.

      Many Departments, Agencies or programs that have regulatory roles can be repackaged as non-federal, private organizations with a focus on their current duties. Each will act as a central governing body and be populated by members from the states, experts, academia, private sector companies, media and more importantly private citizens who wish to be paying members. These organizations by virtue of being open and fully democratic will be fully transparent to the public and decisions made will have to hold to scrutiny to the several states that will walk away with the resulting guidelines they need to use to implement solutions.

      These organizations will be paid for by membership fees and the sale of guidelines and specifications. It will not be funded by tax dollars directly. Employment will be small just to take care of administration of the organization. The primary work will be done by professionals already employed elsewhere. This form of central self-governance is efficient and very cost effective. It is how the engineering field has governed itself for hundreds of years. As for transparency, it cannot be topped.

      Dept of Education can become the National Organization of Education. Same for energy, the regulatory bodies of the DHS, HHS, and so on. All other organizations, foundations and the like that are currently receiving federal funding can be set free and be allowed to operate as non-federal entities. This will be a real test to the number of needed employees in each of these departments. Can the size of these departments be supported when funded by the private sector in a voluntary manner?

      It would be the hope that these jobs will be preserved by not eliminating the functions, but by simply moving the functions to the private sector and allowing the market to decide how big they should be. The regulatory purposes of these bodies are preserved, however they will be more democratic, more open and more transparent to the public. This will help to reduce the size and scope of the federal government at the same time preserving what many feel are worthwhile programs. Everyone wins.

    7. Kathleen Cox Toms RI says:

      If Bill Gates and Warren Buffet think the government are doing such a great job spending our money why don't they let the government handle their foundations. The trurth is Gates and Buffet don't trust the government anymore then I do with money.

      When I was growing up there was a show on TV called the Millionaire. Some nice millionaire each week gave away a million dollars, tax free to some person who could use it. Plain and simple the only string attached was the person couldn't say where he got the money. I can keep a secret. No foundation was needed. The millionaire sent one man around, Mr. Anthony to the person's home and hand the person a check for one million dollars. Think of all the administrative expenses saved.

      I get a kick out of the rich offering to pay more taxes. Maybe the IRS should show up at their front door with a blank check and a pen.

    8. John, Ft. Lauderdale says:

      Funds generated from Taxes (as a general rule) are either:

      a) being spent unwisely/foolishly/wrecklessly or in direct opposition to maintaining American exceptionalism

      b) being spent on debt payments (this answer defaults back to item "a").

      Raising taxes further not only kills incentive, investment and growth but increases the horrific ways it's being spent. Call out there to anyone…How do we realistically get back more control of how tax dollars are spent? Until that happens, the best thing they can do is slash everything across the board.

    9. Neal says:

      I am not rich by any means when measured against Francis Fisher, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. I commend Gates and Buffett for their generous contributions to society. On Francis Fisher and so many other liberals that have millions and some with billions of dollars they will never spend, why don't they band together and form a charitable organization that contributes their generous gifts to worthy causes around the world that our government currently supports with our tax dollars. They could start in the America with food for the needy, shelters for the homeless and gifts to schools that don't have the money to pay teachers. There are so many opportunities right here in America currently supported by tax dollars where the super rich could help people in difficult times, have satisfaction of knowing where their charity dollars went, see the results and help reduce the burden on our Federal, State government's.and taxpayers!

    10. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      "Take anyone's money if they don't offer it" has always been the chant of the left socialist. Force those that worked and scarificed their entire lives to finally have a nest egg should have it taken to be given to those that refuse to work for their futures. Or as Obama believes, "spread the wealth".

    11. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I want to know who has been getting Zero Interest loans from the Fed, and what they did with the money? Two parts don't make sense: Zero Interest and Banks not lending. It was BPI (broad public issue), the bankers getting TARP were supposed to loan money to business. They didn't do it! Sure enough Banks were bargain hunting, they made more money in their back rooms than lending. When the feeding frenzy was over, Banks gave the money back. "Don't look now buy your IRA is suddenly worth half!" Where did the money go?

      Suddenly millions of homes are under water, the same time the Government newly owns all the Mortgages! Obama spent all the money there will ever be and it is unpayable debt for the Americans as far as the eye can see! They have a nice tread mill going, run up American's debts early in life with Student Loans for over priced 'education!' It is Communism, in fact, that nobody but the Government can make Student Loans! Along side that, you can't get classes to teach how to do something useful. Pattycake 423! Throw them into overblown home loans (also apparently Communism, Government owning the whole damned Real Estate Market!)

      Oh! How nice! A few hundred millionaires want to squak "Raise my taxes!" But that is how the Progressives got the Income Tax! I am not fooled and neither are the TEA Party members! Ask me, let the Commies shut down the Government, they will shoot themselves in the foot!

    12. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Those that claim that redistibution of wealth is good, such as the socialists Soros and Michael Moore should be told that their wealth to the last dime will be confiscated to serve their belief. Let us see how loud their protests would be. Similarly confiscate all the wealth of the labor leaders and redistribute to their members. All these people benefit form the capitalistic system and the crap all over it so that it can not benefit others.

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