Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher said about leadership, "A leader leads by example, not by force." This sentiment is often expressed by leadership experts, who know that if something is important and right, you demonstrate your leadership by being willing to do it yourself.
However, we live in a time when virtue signaling seems to outrank leadership. And, when it comes to taxes, those who want to use force to take more money from others via higher taxes refuse to lead by example themselves.
Approximately 200 high net worth individuals estimated to be worth billions collectively and calling themselves the “Patriotic Millionaires” have banded together because they want to pay more in taxes and are focused on promoting public policies that include changing the tax system and other “fair and just” initiatives. Despite being extremely wealthy, they somehow have missed the obvious — that if they wanted to pay more to the government, they could. The federal government accepts and welcomes financial gifts and contributions directly via the U.S. Treasury.
This isn’t the first cry for more taxation from the wealthy. Warren Buffett has been peddling this shtick for years, despite never once disclosing a major gift to the federal government. He is one of many billionaires who has pledged to give away a large part of their fortune upon their deaths. Many of them claim they want higher taxes but haven't stepped forward to say they are voluntarily giving their money to the government.
Someone who won’t show leadership on an issue they say is vital shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Of course, let’s not forget the wealthy socialism-peddling presidential candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who believe that other people need to pay their “fair share” — whatever that means.
Sanders, who has three houses and made millions from, in his own words, “selling books,” has made no public statements about selling his extra homes and giving the proceeds to the government. He has not made any statements about giving his book proceeds to the government, either.
If “patriotic millionaires” such as Mr. Buffett, Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren and all of the others who believe things are unfair, unjust and require more taxes from the wealthy really were leaders on the issue, they would — as Sun Tzu posited — refrain from forcing others to pay more taxes until they had shown the virtue and efficacy of more taxation by giving up more of their own fortunes to the government.
If you require the government to force you to do something before you are willing to do it on your own, it’s clearly not a priority for you.
Someone who won’t show leadership on an issue they say is vital shouldn’t be taken seriously. If you believe in more taxes, put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise, respectfully, keep it shut.