I was as naive as could be. And possibly stupid. I now realized.

When I first read the op-ed by Warren Buffett in New York Times, “Stop Coddling the Super Rich”, on 14 August, in which Buffett expounded on the concept of “shared sacrifices” and argued for tax increase for the super wealthy, himself included, I thought, BRAVO! Now this should be a plan that at least 98% of the population can get behind of.

I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

 

He ended his well-reasoned proposal with this plea:

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

 

Why was I surprised that Fox News immediately rose up in arms and accused Buffett of inciting CLASS WARFARE (ironically when they are themselves the ones that continue to use such figures of speech)? The rhetorics employed by these pundits left me gagging and in shock.

 

(For those who cannot watch the video, here is the partial list of Fox News clips included in this Daily Show segment. You can find the entire transcript on Daily Kos)

NEIL CAVUTO (8/15/2011): Warren Buffett, writing how the rich should pay more taxes, but saying not a word about the half of American households that pay no income taxes at all.

STUART VARNEY (8/18/2011): Is that fair, when half the population pays absolutely nothing?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TX (7/7/2011): 51%, that’s a majority of American households, paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada.

NEAL BOORTZ (6/1/2011): Many of them get so much money in tax credits … that it wipes out any Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes they’re paying. They are absolutely on a free ride.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (7/11/2011): … broaden the tax base …

MICHELE BACHMANN (7/11/2011): Everyone needs to pay something.

NEIL CAVUTO (8/6/2011): Before you start demanding one group pay more, maybe get everyone to put skin in the game.

ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION (7/19/2011): When you look at the actual living conditions of the 43 million people that the Census says are poor, you see that in fact they have all these modern conveniences.

STUART VARNEY (7/19/2011): Poor families in the United States are not what they used to be. 99% of them have a refrigerator. 81% have a microwave; 78% have air conditioning; 63% have cable TV; 54% have cell phones; 48% have a coffee maker; 25% have a dishwasher.

 

[The technical definition of being poor is a family of four with an income of $22,350 a year.]

 

NEAL BOORTZ (7/6/2011): It is all-out war on the productive class in our society for the benefit of the moocher class.

JOHN STOSSEL (10/12/2010): The makers, and the takers.

BILL O’REILLY (10/12/2010): They want to take it from somebody else.

LAURA INGRAHAM (6/29/2011): Everyone’s jumping in the wagon, no one wants to pull.

NEAL BOORTZ (6/22/2011): … parasites we have out there depending on government …

NEBRASKA ATTY. GEN. JON BRUNING (8/18/2011): The raccoons, they’re not stupid, they’re going to do the easy way if we make it easy for them, just like welfare recipients all across America.

ANN COULTER (8/15/2011): Welfare will create generations of utterly irresponsible animals.

 

[The bottom 50% of the people, the moochers, the takers? They control 2.5% of the wealth. ]

 

What happened to Compassionate Conservatism? Remember that? They don’t even bother to pretend to care any more?

As I laughed at Jon Stewart’s sardonic commentaries, at the same time, I felt my eyes burning. Out of frustration. Out of shame. Yes, I feel ashamed for these people. The Haves. The “class” that I belong to. All I could do to calm myself the fuck down was to recite these lines that Joseph Welch said to Joseph McCarthy during one of the infamous hearings:

 Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

 

{ 49 comments }

Nance November 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

It’s good to have your strong voice on this. Some of my blogging friends won’t post on national issues; I think that diffidence is misplaced in these times.
Nance´s last blog post…Usual And Customary

Absence Alternatives November 24, 2011 at 1:14 am

Thank you. Sometimes I am so flabbergasted that I cannot make any sensible comment let alone counter-argument, and therefore I am always elated when I see that Jon Stewart or Rachel Maddow takes up the cause. Well, they never disappoint. 🙂

Naptimewriting August 26, 2011 at 2:09 am

The first tag is my whole comment. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Naptimewriting´s last blog post…Five Years Cancer Free

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Yeah! Someone noticed my tags!!!

Andrea August 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm

How did I miss this post? Well, I will be putting that video up on FB first thing in the morning. I’ve been so sour as of late about similar arguments I get from my own relatives — that’s all I heard this last weekend was how many people don’t pay taxes and live off the system and on and on. It leaves a huge pit in my stomach for that same reason — there is no dignity or compassion. Thank you for sharing this!
Andrea´s last blog post…"Nice Guys Finish Last"

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I need some economist to provide context and knowledge. Oh what a coincidence, you are! 🙂

alonewithcats August 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I’ve seen that clip from “The Daily Show” a handful of times, and I cannot get over it. They’re outraged that poor people have refrigerators? Seriously?

And, also, am I poorer than poor? I don’t have cable TV, a coffee maker or a dishwasher. And until recently, I didn’t have air conditioning until I broke down and bought it … for my cats. Wait. No. I just answered my own question. Not poor at all. I guess that’s why I deserve to be taxed into oblivion like the rest of the middle class.
alonewithcats´s last blog post…They might be giants

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Dude, you have cats that make you suspicious as far as GOP is concerned, no? LOL

William August 25, 2011 at 8:46 am

I lean right in the political spectrum. My issue with Warren Buffet’s Op ed piece is that people took away from it a “it is the republicans fault that the rich do not pay enough taxes.” In reality it is both the repulicans and emocrats faults.

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Thanks for commenting. Maybe im missing something: I thought GOP is the side that refuse to raise tax on the top 2%? I should do more homework. Also to be fair, I don’t hear any “Emocrats” blames the poor and try to demonize an entire class of people. Granted, I was trying to demonize those people on Faux News. But I am not a politician with the ability to affect people’s lives…

Wicked Shawn August 24, 2011 at 7:06 am

The true problem is the majority of the wealthy did not become wealthy and maintain generosity and fairness, such as Mr. Buffett, in their heart and mind. The majority of them became hardened, selfish and paranoid. They, indeed, lost their sense of decency.

The only true beauty in this entire situation is Mr. Buffett stands alone, a shining beacon, reminding us all hope is not lost, some still retain reason, decency and a sense of what is important, right and true.

As long as there is one, there is a way.
Wicked Shawn´s last blog post…I Grant Me the Serenity

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

To add insult to injury, rich people in France meanwhile are asking their government that they want to pay more to help out. On top of the tax on assets levied every year. That just gives the conservatives one more reason to hate the French, eh?

Beka August 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

This makes me sick. I do applaud Warren Buffett, but I don’t understand why he is alone in his humane understanding of the situation. The wealthy are just as bad wherever they are. It reminds me of this article about the upper class in Great Britain: http://tgr.ph/qedW7L . It claims the moral decay at the top is as bad as at the bottom. I disagree. The decay at the top is so much worse, because they haven’t known a day of deprivation in their lives and yet they feel entitled to keep taking. Somehow, though, they see the poor as the takers. Ugggh.
Beka´s last blog post…Been Away

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Even worse, he is vilified. Someone on Faux News called him a socialist. LOL

Nance August 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Here’s a thing that happens when a couple has a disagreement: One partner ventures, “I think maybe we need more peanut butter.” The other, who doesn’t want to see all other priorities ignored, counters, “We have plenty of peanut butter! We just eat too much of it.” The first partner begins to fear that the facts might be skewing and asserts, “I personally don’t eat that much of it, but we’re always out of peanut butter and would probably have to double our peanut butter purchases if I wanted my share of it.” And, naturally, the second partner is pretty sure too much is being made of the peanut butter issue. I mean, tortilla chips are being completely ignored in this conversation! So, she parries with, “Well, I’m never buying peanut butter again and I’m on the wagon, so, if you want any, you’ll have to buy it and have it all to yourself.!”

If they believe their very existences as individual entities depend on the ways they differ, they’ll differ if it kills them. Same as it ever was. Only worser.
Nance´s last blog post…Initial Perturbations and Insufficient Detachment

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm

You know, that sounds like my husband and I…

Kate August 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

Here’s what I was taught – with great power comes great responsibility. And with great money, should come higher taxes. This whole reaction sickens me.
Well said, you, well said.

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Did you know in France they tax ppl on their assets every year? Yup. They tax people for being wealthy, yachts, beach houses, villas, etc. Every year.

Jeane August 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

That only 99% percent of the U.S. population has refrigeration is actually appalling. The divide between the haves and have nots continues to widen and social responsibility is dying a sad death. Great post!
Jeane´s last blog post…FIVE CRUSHES FOR FRIDAY FAVORITES

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Thanks! And ppl looked at the London riots and they didn’t know to make parallel companions?

Jen @ NathanRising August 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Ha ha, I avoid Fox like the plague so I missed this… Oh the insanity!
Jen @ NathanRising´s last blog post…Time Out!

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Good for you!

kathy August 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Incredible post! I love Jon Stewart–to think that 25% of the poor have dishwashers–the outrage–and 99% have refrigerators!
Shall I vomit now or later?
Kathy
kathy´s last blog post…Shelf-ish about Books (A Library of Untold Tales)

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I know! Can you believe they have ACs???!!! Even in the southern states when it is plain dangerous in the heat of summer to have no AC?!

Seer McRicketts-McGee August 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Oh god. These, these are the people who say they believe in Jesus, but conveniently miss that whole rich guy into heaven, camel eye of a needle bullshit (Matthew 19:24), and keep all the money for themselves. They have no charity. Worship a homeless dude on Sunday, kick one on Monday.

I really think the people who are middle class or poor who listen to them and defend the mega-rich think that they’re about to be rich, too! Any day now, it’ll be their time. They feel like they’re protecting themselves. Their limo is about to pull up. This is not their real house. These are not their real parents. They are adopted. Any day now. Just you wait and see.

Benny Hinn, he’s one of the new kinds of preachers.

Seer McRicketts-McGee´s last blog post…I forgot something

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Your explanation of why middle class and poor people voted (and will surely do it again) GOP makes sense (even though it makes no sense…) And yes, the irony, the hypocrisy is mind boggling. I actually have never heard of Benny Hinn. I do admit though, IF I were ever in a dire situation (knock on wood!), yes, I will give him a try. Desperate people can’t be choosers right?

Lies August 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Whenever I hear things like this, it feels like I’m watching a bad reality tv-show. These people are serious. They are dead serious and it’s damn scary. I don’t live in a perfect country (case in point, we haven’t had a federal government for over 15 months now cause politicians don’t manage to find a consensus), but I sure don’t envy the bottom 50% American households…

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Yes yes yes. They are convinced and I am scared to death.

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm

By the way, how are you feeling??!!

lifeintheboomerlane August 21, 2011 at 8:56 am

The answer to Joseph Welch’s last question is “No.” When the accumulation of wealth and material goods trumps all else, the fallout is inconsequential. We now create a toxic planet, a stalled Congress, a misinformed and deluded population. We feed nutritional crap to our children and news crap to our adults. We tell ourselves we are nourished and refuse to notice the overwhelming signs of illness. Thanks for this post. As usual, you walk into the room and refuse to ignore the big white elephant that is standing there. Thank you for that.

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I mostly copied and pasted really. And because I wanted to see all those claims on paper, in black and white, all together.

Thank YOU for being here!

Elly Lou August 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

Subwow for Congress! And/or President. And/or Overlord. I would totally vote for you/submit to your whims. You rock my face off.

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I have the same problem that Arnold has. No, not having a child out of wed lock. The other one.

Mary Lee August 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm

LOL! Took me a minute.
Mary Lee´s last blog post…Good Golly, Miss Molly and Goodnight, Irene!

Absence Alternatives August 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Irene got your brain eh?

Jack@TheJackB August 21, 2011 at 2:25 am

Buffet is right.
Jack@TheJackB´s last blog post…Words

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Yup!

Life with Kaishon August 21, 2011 at 1:14 am

I am very conservative. I love what Warren Buffett wrote.

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Thank you!

Mary Lee August 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Stewart was right. We ARE engaging in Class Warfare–against the Have Nots. What was it he said was the poverty level for family of 4? Wasn’t it less than $22,000?

Those snarling, angry commentators turned my stomach. But what saddens and AMAZES me is how many gullible people buy that crappola and have no interest in listening to another point of view. Life is so uncomplicated when you have someone to push all your hate buttons and make them mainstream. (It puts a whole new twist on coming out of the closet, doesn’t it?!)

No decency, no conscience, no heart. no empathy. Am going overboard in saying that they are trying to turn other Americans against our own people?

Jon Stewart shouldn’t have to be the lone voice in the wilderness.
Mary Lee´s last blog post…Sure, I Surf. Pass the Remote.

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

hear hear! and thank YOU for posting this video on Facebook. That’s how I saw it!

jotter girl August 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I love John Stewart!!!! I wonder if any of those idiots from the news clips have seen his show. Obviously they should be embarrassed but I suspect Palin would be watching herself say that the national endowment for the arts is frivolous and patting herself on the back for making such a non frivolous remark. I think they should make a reality show about the Palin’s or the O’Reilly’s trying to live on $22K per year. I would totally turn off the Kardashian’s to watch that one! Good post!
jotter girl´s last blog post…The secret meaning of hoodies.

Absence Alternatives August 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Oh I love the idea of a reality show. I think everybody in the US should read this book published 10 years ago called Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.

BigLittleWolf August 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Like Mommie Dearest, I steer clear of that station and missed this.

Pretty stunning. Pretty pitiful.

As for decency, I guess that went the way of honor and character… Or is my cynicism showing?
BigLittleWolf´s last blog post…Triangle

Absence Alternatives August 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I do not watch Faux News either. Well, I also don’t have cable… I saw the Daily Show segment posted by a good friend on Facebook and then I had to stay up all night to fume about this.

Mommie Dearest Strikes Again August 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

Awesome post!!

I hadn’t seen the commentary from Fox but then, I try to steer clear of that station. It frustrates me to no end! I posted the Warren Buffet piece on facebook because I thought it was simply brilliant. Almost immediately I was inundated with “comments” from people I know on the right criticizing Mr. Buffet for not writing a check to the IRS if that’s how he feels. I didn’t even try to respond – I just blocked those people. I am so absolutely baffled about this issue.

I loved this post – you said everything I have wanted to say! And you said it brilliantly.
Mommie Dearest Strikes Again´s last blog post…Happy Birthday to "Mommie Dearest"!!!

Absence Alternatives August 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Thank you so much for this very kind comment. I merely copied and pasted. The credit really goes to Daily Kos for the transcript. I was trying to jot down quickly each and every clip that Jon (yes we are on first name basis. Ha!) showed in this segment but then I got lazy and decided to google it. Thank goodness for Daily Kos. Putting them all on paper in a sequence makes it really clear that this is a systematic assault on the poor. It has never stopped of course, but nowadays they don’t even coach it in the facade of Compassionate Conservatism bullshit. This sounds like from pre French Revolution, doesn’t it? Let them eat cake! I still cannot believe how people in such privileged positions can say such things in straight face. But I believe they believe in these things and that just makes me even more depressed. I hope I don’t raise children who grow up with such an attitude.

Absence Alternatives August 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Oh, yes, as soon as I put up the NYT op-ed by Buffett, a GOP co-worker immediately commented (which he very seldom does): He does know he’s welcome to write a check to IRS any time, right?

I have set up the custom setting to ensure that he does not see any post from me from now on.

Beka August 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm

That is awful. And don’t they realize how much Mr. Buffett does give every year to good causes? He just recently gave another billion. I don’t see others lining up to do the same. And he is volunteering to pay more taxes, only to be vilified. What happened to the days when the rich were supposed to be good citizens and think of others as well as their own bottom line?
Beka´s last blog post…Been Away

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