Here’s Stephen King stating the obvious – that rich people, even if they are taxed a percentage of their income which would make the rest of us scream, would barely notice, because they’re rich and they have plenty left.
I like this article (sent to me by my brother, by the way) because it also punctures that self-righteous attitude right-wingers take when confronted by a rich person making sense on this issue. “Why don’t _you_ give your money to the government and leave us alone,” they say. “Because I accept that I have responsibilities and you don’t accept that,” is the essence of King’s answer. And it’s the right answer.
The Right will always favour charity over taxes because, as King rightly points out, the rich pay _so much less_ money out for charity than they would for taxes if they were seriously asked to pay them. King rightly asks us not to believe the hype here about charity constituting “giving back” to the community. The rich want to take the charity route because it allows them to give _less_ back to the community.
The point of charity is that it’s good public relations, but it keeps the rich firmly in the driver’s seat; avoiding paying a reasonable share of their income in taxes allows them to dominate the economy rather than participate in it.
At the beginning of his term in office, President Obama asked people not to fight for smaller government, but for better government. There is no reason to think that layers of fat can’t be cut from government spending – such fat certainly exists and efficiency does demand it be cut. But some government spending isn’t about bilking taxpayers out of their money, it’s about government doing its job. Cutting that is unacceptable. When we reach that kind of situation, the solution emphatically cannot come from cutting spending, but from raising revenue – and that revenue should be raised from those who can afford to pay.
Liberal, social democratic and socialist parties are now taking steps, however small, towards raising taxes on the rich as a long-overdue revenue solution. It is increasingly a mainstream demand as well, as even Anthony Giddens, the architect of the Third Way, has acknowledged. The fact that such dyed-in-the-wool centrists as Giddens are moving towards this as a solution, indeed, suggests that the centre is moving left, worldwide, on this matter.
I agree with King…the time has come for the political Right to stop pretending that anti-tax rhetoric is about anything except allowing plutocrats to dominate the economy. It’s time for the rich to pay a reasonable share.