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?