Stephen King believes Warren Buffett's tax suggestion for the wealthy is not only a good one, but suggests we heed his dire warning of consequences should the economic inequality in the U.S. is not addressed.
Writing for the Daily Beast, King begins by insulting N.J. Governor Chris Cristie who in his characteristic straight-speaking style castigated Buffett for his original remarks. Christie, according to Stephen King said he had tired of Buffett's statements on the subject and that, " He should just write a check and shut up."
It was then that King decided to take the low road and as some have already done, ridicule the governor's size. When King pondered why he himself is among the vaunted 1% and not paying a tax rate of 50%, rather than the 28% he currently pays he chalked up Christie's silence to him "...possibly being too busy at the all-you-can-eat cheese buffet at Applebee’s in Jersey City."
The author narrowed down his furor over fellow high-income earners to one word, "responsibility." He chose to give us all a civics lesson.
Speaking about the large and generous charitable donations made by many of the super-rich, King made certain to inform readers of his specific amount donated and where it goes.
"My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (jaws of life are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts."
In that way he began to set up the premise of his commentary by using the recipients of his family's largesse.
"What charitable 1-percenters can’t do is assume responsibility—America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts."
Tax complaints and revolts of those that represent the Tea Party in the U.S. come in for special flogging at the hands of the great novelist who knows how to spin a yarn about apocalyptic circumstances.
Stephen King gives the Tea Party activist another word that rings true to his ears, "citizenry," calling it anathema to them. While the wealthy donate as they see fit, which of course is their right, the responsibility factor should weigh heavily on them as part of their citizenry, he claims.
The Koch brothers gave $68 million to the Deerfield Academy, a prep school in Western Massachusetts that has educated children of the upper classes since the days of the oft-mentioned founding fathers of the country. But as King writes, it does nothing to improve the plight of public educated children in states where classrooms lack essentials.
From there, King launches into the argument many in this presidential election year have engaged in and will continue to do so into the future. The wealthy are the so-called job creators and taxing them hurts the economy we're trying to boost, according to the right.
King says that he employs a total of 60 people at two radio stations he owns in Maine. He will not be buying more of those since his real business is fiction writing. Those that are at King's income bracket and are industrialists invest but not in the United States, he reminds us.
It is then that King uses the word "fair", which is becoming a buzz word for the 2012 presidential campaigns of both parties. "I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share."
In other words, the 99% aren't out to get the 1% just for being wealthy. What they want is what civic classes used to teach, "That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Gov. Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion."
King predicts unrest on a scale much larger than last year's Occupy movement, should the economic disparity issue go unaddressed. Expect to hear a lot about Stephen King's desire to be taxed more and his critique of Tea Party principles to make news immediately. Image: Wikimedia Commons