Sunday, November 28, 2010

The rich shall lead the way

Warren Buffet, among others, is uncomfortable in his current tax bracket.

With the US Congress hurtling toward a deadline on expiring tax cuts, a growing number of wealthy people are calling for higher taxes on the rich to help restore America's fiscal health.

One effort gathered over 45 millionaires who signed an open petition calling for the end of the tax cuts adopted since 2001 on those with annual incomes exceeding one million dollars.

Tax breaks for the wealthy should expire "for the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens," the letter said. It was signed by Ben & Jerry's ice cream founder Ben Cohen, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt and others.

Guy Saperstein, a retired California trial lawyer who organized the effort, said he was "frustrated" that President Barack Obama appeared to be wavering on his pledge to end tax cuts for the wealthy.

"I think the country's in trouble," Saperstein told AFP. "In hard times, the top strata who have done fabulously well need to sacrifice a bit, and it's not much of a sacrifice... We have among the lowest tax rates of any industrialized democracy."

Saperstein said an estimated 1,500 people have signed the letter although some of them did not want to be publicly identified on the group's website.

Philippe Villers, a French-born US businessman who founded Computervision in the 1960s and now heads Grain Pro, says he signed the letter even though it would mean higher taxes for himself.

While we applaud the noble intention of these fine people, we can't help but think it's all just a bunch of hypocritical posturing.

Why wait for a change in the tax code? There is nothing stopping these people from voluntarily giving to the Treasury Department to the tune of their hearts' content.

What's that? They think that everybody making above $250,000 should be paying more in taxes, not just them? Well, that's mighty big of them - requesting the government to take more of their fellow citizens' hard-earned cash.

Since they are so big on nobleness, we believe that they are now morally obligated to lead the way and start giving more to the U.S. government, starting tomorrow, to be a beacon of voluntary giving for the rest of the ingrate fat cats out there.

And speaking of sacrifice, short of a voluntary giving program, why not just sacrifice the job of those tax lawyers and accountants they pay precisely to keep them from paying a minimum on taxes. That would be a great start.

What say ye, Warren?


Anonymous said...

Mustafa says get on top of a Barrel (socks optional) and break your local Viking off a phone call. The Guerero Negro will be watching. I'll be awake, I never sleep... sharks don't sleep....

steve said...

This is a common fallacy in these arguments. No one wants to be, or will be, the chump who pays a higher tax rate than is required. You need to deal directly with his argument rather than changing the subject.


Dean said...

Steve, this is all moral preening at its finest.

"No one wants to be, or will be, the chump who pays a higher tax rate than is required."

I'm sure there are an awful lot of people out there who make 250k who aren't too thrilled by this campaign to "require" them to pay more taxes.

Besides, I can think of far more efficient means to achieve the type of social justice these people are calling for. It's called charity.

Their "argument" is that "rich" people shold be compelled to give their money to an inefficient apparatus to achieve desirous ends.

The only way that makes any sense is if you wish to sermonize and posture. Otherwise, they would already be giving that money to charitable organizations.

Mustafa, (socks optional), however, tight black sweaters required.