‘Patriotic Millionaires’ support raising taxes but won’t voluntarily pay more to the gov’t

But, Katzman continued, “the people who simply say everybody else should sacrifice, or none of us should sacrifice and we should leave this in our kids hands, yeah, I think that’s unpatriotic. You don’t have to want to pay higher taxes; you can accept lower services. But you can’t simply shift the burden to other people and think it’s fine.”

“Where is everybody stepping up and saying ‘I’m going to be part of the solution here,’ and not kind of just whining?” Katzman asked.

“It is responsible to say we need to cut government,” he said. “And again, it’s particularly responsible to say we need to cut government services to me. And it’s mildly selfish if we simply need to cut government services to everybody else. And just kind of silly to say that we don’t need to do anything and simply need to march along until the nation goes bankrupt.”

“So at some point,” he concluded, “it really crosses the line from merely selfish to really negligent.”

But for Michael Marks, chairman emeritus of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and president of his own private foundation called Somersault, quibbling about such things is “meaningless.”

Marks says he signed the letter because “it’s a gesture; it represents something that I would like to do to contribute in some way to the challenges that the country has.”

“I’ve been blessed with the ability to make money,” he said, “and with that for me comes the responsibility to do something with it.”

“Complaining is not going to get the country anywhere,” he continued. “For me the country’s stuck in the middle of a morass of issues, and there’s no one to blame, there’s no reason to go back and look in hindsight to see how we got here. To me the question is what can we all do individually and collectively to work together and collaborate and do something to address some of these issues.”

“Maybe that is a way to contribute, maybe there’s merit to that,” he said, referring to not taking tax breaks or sending a personal check to the government. “But that doesn’t concern me. To me this is my way of participating and contributing. If somebody says here’s a better way, I’m certainly open to that…show me a better way and I’ll sign up.”