Friday, October 28, 2011

Millionaires and Billionaires - Pinheads or Patriots

As of last month, Warren Buffett was #2 on the Forbes 400 List, second only to Bill Gates. And Bill O'Reilly's name was nowhere on the list. I mention this because Warren Buffett (a multi-billionaire) was generously asking to pay more in federal income taxes, whereas Bill O'Reilly (a multi-millionaire) was constantly whining about the mere possibility of having to pay more in taxes. He even threatened to quit his gig at Fox News (as though that might be a loss to society).

It would be foolish of Warren Buffett to be the only wealthy man to voluntarily contribute a larger share of his earnings in income taxes to help finance the needs of our government. As one man, it would make little difference in revenues to the U.S. Treasury, our national debt, or our annual budget. It would take a collective effort by all patriots in the top 1% income bracket in order to really achieve a substantial difference.

But we can't expect most of these people to simply donate more money, as though it were charity. We would have to make them honor-bound to contribute more as responsible citizens; but not by simply asking them to, but by instructing them to do so by law. That's the civilized way. We don't ask, we don't demand, we don't beg, and we don't threaten. We just simply pass a law.

A wealthy and/or a powerful person rarely relinquishes their wealth or voluntarily surrenders their power. Despots don't. Dictators don't. Czars don't. Kings don't. Presidents don't. And neither will the wealthiest 1%. It's usually the people (the masses) that must take these things from them by force. But I don't propose that we do this by using violence, but by peaceful means.

Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father (and part of the wealthiest 1%) once wrote in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy on November 13, 1789 - "Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

So I say, in order to more fairly redistribute the wealth of this nation (to stop the hoarding) so that we might restore the heath of the nation's indebtedness, restore the standard-of-living to the middle class, and restore our infrastructure, let's not kill the richest 1% of our population, but tax them into compliance with our collective will. That is the civilized way. We don't ask, we don't demand, we don't beg, and we don't threaten. We just simply pass a law.

And the only way we can do that is to elect people to Congress who will sign a vow to get money out of politics and to vote on taxing the uber-wealthy at a tax rate that we had previously taxed them at...and that's at any other time before the George W. Bush tax cuts.

A good many wealthy Americans will whine and complain, because they have no empathy for the middle-class or poor, and they are not true patriots in regards to the financial health and national security of this great nation...nor the well-being of it's most unfortunate citizenry.

Many are just self-serving and greedy (almost narcissistically and pathologically indifferent), such as rich Republican and Tea Party millionaires like Bill O'Reilly, Paul Ryan, Sean Hannity, Eric Cantor, Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch bothers, Michele Bachmann, Paul Rand, Nikki Haley, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and the rich Republican members of Congress.

The movie stars, drug lords, professional athletes, rock stars, Hollywood celebrities, best-selling novelists, celebrity heiresses, organized crimes bosses, and all the thieves at Goldman Sachs have been conspicuously silent on this issue.

But I'm sure most corporate CEOs, bankers, hedge fund managers, talk radio show hosts, and Fox News commentators don't want to see their taxes raised a dime, no matter what the consequences are to the people or the nation as a whole.

But there is one group called the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength who are willing to be taxed more. It's almost reassuring to know that someone of means still has a strong moral sense of social responsibility. Michael Moore wrote a letter yesterday on this very subject called Life Among the 1%.

And another group united under the banner of "We are the 1 percent: We stand with the 99 percent" who are a band of entrepreneurs, trust fund babies, professionals and inheritors who have taken to the web to share their abhorrence of corporate greed and support for tax code changes that would see them pay a higher share of their considerable wealth.

Among other things, they’re posting their stories on a Tumblr page created by Wealth for the Common Good and Resource Generation, two groups dedicated to working for "fair taxation and just wealth distribution."

A new poll from the New York Times and CBS has found that Americans not only view the Occupy Wall Street protests positively, but also supports a more equal distribution of wealth and higher taxes on top earners -- while also opposing corporate tax breaks that have been protected by the Republicans.

The poll found that two-thirds object to tax cuts for corporations and a similar number prefer increasing income taxes on millionaires. It’s no wonder 70% of Americans think Congressional Republicans favor the rich, as the GOP continues to either ignore the problems of the middle- and lower-classes or directly assault the programs that help them most.

A new survey by the Spectrum group – finds that 68% of millionaires in the nation support jacking up taxes on millionaires.

Yesterday on MSNBC Lawrence O'Donnell, in referring to that poll, said the majority of the 1% would be willing to pay more in taxes; but then, if this were so, why are the Republicans so adamant about not raising taxes in their proposal to the congressional 12-member Super Committee that's now deciding our country's budget? And especially when ALL polls show that a majority of voters also favor taxing the rich more to bring down our national debt, while at the same time meeting our obligations to the elderly, sick, and poor.

In a speech yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) claimed that President Obama created “class resentment” (and promoted "envy") by calling for slightly higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. At the same time, Occupy Wall Street protesters continue to speak out in favor of an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top of the income scale.

Why do we even pay members of Congress like Paul Ryan $174,000 a year (although he, and almost half are already millionaires) to represent the needs of ALL the people, when we have 30 million Americans living on sub-standard wages, 21 million who are unemployed, 50 million that are without healthcare, and 45 million who need food stamps. If anyone should be storming the ramparts, these people should.

Just like with Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Tax Plan, a new analysis of Rick Perry's "flat-tax plan" proves that billionaires like the Koch Brothers would get a mind-boggling tax CUT under the plan. And since Perry eliminates the capital gains income tax for people such as Warren Buffet , and other billionaires who make their money off dividends like Paris Hilton, they would pay as little less than one percent in taxes if Perry were elected.

Meanwhile, the typical hourly wage for the average worker has gone up only $1.23 in the last 36 years, while the price of everything else – from healthcare to college to energy – has skyrocketed.

But it's the Republicans who have been doing most of the complaining about the possibility of being taxed a little more (and more fairly). This disconnect with the people and the Fox News channel's blatant and hateful propaganda is one big reason why people began participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests all across the country.

But the Republicans can only be certain of two things in life...death and taxes. I'd suggest they be happy with the latter and stop whining while millions of their fellow countrymen are truly suffering.

The rich won't suffer, manufacturers won't stop making things, and many of the "job creators" will only send more jobs overseas for cheaper labor anyway, regardless of what their tax rates are. No matter how much you tax the wealthy investors, large corporations, or big banks, they are still going to do everything they can to earn a buck, they won't just roll over and die. They're like machines in perpetual motion, they just keep going no matter what.

With regards to the "millionaire tax plan", Paul Ryan said Obama was preying on fear, envy and resentment.

But the poor and middle-class don't feel that way at all towards the rich. Just the opposite is true. Ordinary working folks admire and aspire to be more like them. It's rich people who feels envy towards someone richer than they -- the uber-rich. Did you every hear of yacht envy?

We, the middle-class (the 99%), are satisfied with a 3-year-old dependable and good-running car, a modest 3-bedroom house, and a job that pays a "living wage" so that we earn enough to save some. It's the rich who are never satisfied.

Example: Meet Diane Hendricks, who like Warren Buffett, is also part of the top 1%. She has an estimated net worth of $2 to $3 billion. She is ranked #188 on the Forbes 400 List (far below Warren Buffett).

In an interview with Forbes she says, "There's a sense that no matter where you are, you still have further to go. You never really achieve the success you want and feel you've fully met your potential. Perhaps that's a key to success, though: always wanting to prove and reach for more, never being satisfied."

Arthur Schopenhauer - "Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become."

It was the rich who created and waged a class war against the 99%, but it's the 1% who blame us and accuse us of envy and class warfare. The top 1% also blames the poor for being poor and blames the unemployed for being unemployed.

I was a hard-working American patriot all my life until I was laid off in 2008. I'm still a patriot but now I'm unemployed and rely on food stamps. Yet people like Bill O'Reilly would rather you think that I'm a lazy communist who chooses to be on the government dole and just wants to destroy our country. But it was the caretakers of this nation, the banks and politicians, that are responsible for destroying our economy. You can't blame me for that.

Now I can no longer work, so I've applied for Social Security Disability; but guys like O'Reilly thinks guys like me are "left-wing loons" if I hold up a sign to peacefully demonstrate against the Republican's proposed cuts to Social Security after I paid in to the system for 35 years -- because guys like O'Reilly don't want to cough up a few bucks more to keep the program solvent after his buddies borrowed against the Social Security Trust Fund for the last 35 years to fund wars, crooked government contractors, oil subsidies, and other pet projects of congress.

I think it's people like Bill O'Reilly who are the pinheads, and those such as Warren Buffett are the true patriots.

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