What a rush to have millionaires do your bidding. And President Obama has several of them.
Four of them were like the president’s puppets on a White House stage with Obama Wednesday. They stood mute, but Mr. Obama gladly spoke for them. Each millionaire, he said, believes they should pay higher taxes. (These millionaires also want you to send money to them. More on that later.)
“They haven’t been asked to do their fair share,” the president declared. “They believe there is something deeply wrong and irresponsible about that.”
That should have been the cue for the four to whip out their checkbooks and write checks to the Treasury on the spot. They didn’t. However, all four are political supporters of President Obama and have written checks to his campaign.
Each is also part of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength (PMFS). Last November, PMFS members marched on Congress (perhaps aided by chauffeurs) to lobby for higher taxes. Yet despite their rhetoric, they weren’t ready to help reduce the federal deficit or debt. The Daily Caller’s Michelle Fields confronted several of them and asked if they would voluntarily contribute to the U.S. Treasury to help pay down the national debt. Each one of these OWS (Obama Wealthy Supporters) refused.
The rationales they offered to The Daily Caller included:
● “I don’t think we can solve the problem just with contributions.”
● “That is not going to help anybody.”
● “It would be of no impact whatsoever. It would be puny and ineffective.”
● “Taxes are not charity; they’re not voluntary. And that’s what we have to do for rich people as well as middle-class.”
Even if they’re being hypocritical, these rich people have a valid point because Obama’s tax on millionaires would accomplish very little. As The Heritage Foundation has noted, Obama’s plan “will only cover one-half of one percent of the president’s new spending. Soaking the rich cannot get deficits down, only spending reductions can do that.” Plus, the investment income of millionaires often has been taxed already, such as by the 35% corporate tax. That’s part of why a lower tax rate is assessed against the remainder.
The millionaire’s tax is Obama’s effort to change the subject from his jobs-killing agenda and issues such as skyrocketing gasoline prices.
Perhaps the Patriotic Millionaires have another goal. Across the top of their website, PatrioticMillionaires.org, is a button that says, “Support the Fight for Fiscal Strength. Donate today.”
That’s right. These millionaires want you to give them money. Curious why such filthy-rich people would need our charity, I clicked through to the donation page. It offered no information about where or how donations would be spent. Still, feeling more generous than they were toward reducing the national debt, I gave $1 through my PayPal account. The receipt finally told me that my $1 went to the Agenda Project Education Fund. I found their website, AgendaProject.org.
The Agenda Project is the parent group of the Patriotic Millionaires; it is a hub and a clearinghouse for left-wing causes and ideas. Its online newsletter not only promotes higher taxes, but urges people to question Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, hints that conservatives are racists and otherwise launches well-known liberal screeds.
The effort is headed by Erica Payne, who also uses the Agenda Project website to promote her belief that the organized conservative movement — which includes The Heritage Foundation as well as the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, Judicial Watch, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Council for National Policy and a multitude of others — is a threat to America. She writes, “Combating this well-funded, well-coordinated machine is the work of this generation of progressive leaders.”
Payne brags that her writings have been called “a blueprint for a progressive conspiracy to help save the country.”
So that’s the origin of Wednesday’s stage-managed event at the White House. It was not about patriotic millionaires wanting to sacrifice their wealth for the nation. Their wallets remained as firmly shut as their mouths were Wednesday. They were doing the bidding of Obama and of their parent group, the Agenda Project. But these rich folks are actively angling for cash from us everyday people so they can “educate” us about the big, bad Right-Wing Conspiracy.
Obviously, being rich doesn’t make you right.
Former Congressman Ernest Istook is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @ErnestIstook