The rich and powerful don’t want to pay any more taxes. In fact they think they should pay less. And if it means that the streets fill with even more pain and suffering…and protesters… too bad. They’ll just build a bigger moat.
Do you believe that? I don’t. At least I don’t want to. Yet that’s what their lackeys in Washington would have us think. That all rich people are Scrooge McDuck or like mean Mr. Potter beating up on Jimmy Stewart.
But it’s hard to know who they are. The super rich don’t show themselves much. We only know that the likes of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell would throw the 99 percent under a limo to protect the one percent. And that the Newt Gingrich/Mitt Romney chorus line likes the rich better than the rest of us.
There have been a few who dared to come out and say they’d be willing to donate a few more bucks to the common good. Investor Warren Buffet took a heroic stand this summer when he wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times urging lawmakers to raise taxes on millionaires so that they pay the same or higher rate as middle class people.
Microsoft king Bill Gates has said he’s “generally in favor of the idea that the rich pay somewhat more than everyone else.” Earlier this month a small group calling themselves Patriotic Millionaires went to Capitol Hill not with their hands out, but, amazingly, with their wallets open, offering to pay more taxes. And while we don’t hear much about it, they are apparently not alone. In fact, 68 percent of millionaires say they support a tax increase for those earning $1 million or more, according to a survey by the Spectrum Group.
But the Republican leadership says no, no, no, we must spare the rich. When the non-rich complain about the rich the Republicans say we’re all simply jealous. They insist the rich need even more tax loopholes. They make it sound like the rich are the downtrodden Americans.
Yet, by their silence we can only assume that the very richest of the rich are fine with their fat-cat image. And with the desperation of all the stray dogs.
That’s a nasty picture. But if the rich don’t like their portrait why aren’t they standing up to change it? They don’t even have to do the Warren Buffet thing. Maybe they have a good explanation for why they can’t make it on their bazillions alone. I don’t hate the rich, but I would feel a lot kinder toward them if I knew they were willing to help balance this grotesque inequality so many of their brethren have exploited. They behave like they own this country. When in fact they owe this country.
As the wise Elizabeth Warren points out, “There is no one in this country who got rich on his own.”
Michael Moore is plenty rich. He made his personal fortune pointing out the inequities in our system and was recently called on by Piers Morgan to defend his wealth and his sympathies for Occupy Wall Street. Moore told Morgan that having money and caring about poor people is not mutually exclusive. No more than being white and marching with Martin Luther King or being straight and voting for gay marriage. It’d be nice to see a few more super rich celebrities show us who they’re marching with.
Can you imagine this? Rich people declaring, “I am wealthy and I do not approve of this image.” Rich people standing up to Republicans. Republicans standing up to Republicans. Heck, Obama could sell tickets to that and pay off the deficit.