Friday, April 20, 2012

Beware of millionaires wanting to pay more taxes

These two have more wealth than hundreds of millions of people
If there is one prominent indicator that points to the anger at the super rich that is percolating beneath the surface of US society, it is all this chatter about the Buffet Rule. Who is Buffett?  Buffet is a speculator, and coupon clipper who has accumulated anywhere between $50 and $60 billion without having to do any productive Labor.  You cannot accumulate this amount of wealth working, that’s for sure. To accumulate this much wealth, which is the product of someone else’s Labor, and even more so to keep it, you would have to be a ruthless, selfish human being.

Buffett is not a kind or generous man.  But he is an astute one, a crafty one, a selfish one not restrained by a conscience that might lead him to place humanity before a buck.  Yet he wants to pay more taxes.

President Barack Obama, the leading political representative of the 1% at the moment has taken the Buffet Rule as a useful weapon to clobber the right wing bourgeois, Tea Bagger crowd and those members of the class he represents who are prone to allow their overconfidence, underestimate the level of anger in US society and risk pushing people too far.

At a speech in Washington April 11th Obama urged Congress to pass the Buffet Rule announcing that, “We can settle for an economy where a shrinking number of people do very, very well and everybody else is struggling to get by…….or we can build an economy where….everybody is playing by the same rules.”

Now there are two thoughts that come to mind when I read this.  One is that Obama is opposed to an economy, like the one we live in where a “shrinking” number of people do “very, very well”.  But an economy where a few more people do “very well” is apparently OK.  I just needed to be clear on that.

But the other thing that I find amazing and a reflection of the contempt these representatives of the 1% have for the intelligence of the millions of American workers when Obama says in all seriousness that we can build an economy where “everybody is playing by the same rules.” Is that so?

There is no worker I know that believes such silly nonsense, least of all one of Obama’s skin-color. As he says this Obama turns and points to four millionaires standing behind him all supporters of the Buffet Rule and eager to pay more taxes in to the national pie. I am almost in tears here.  But wait, there are at least 200 more millionaires that want to contribute more to society, want to pay more taxes, their fair share. They want shared sacrifice the little darlin’s. And isn’t this touching, they all belong to “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength", says Bloomberg Business Week tells us.

Patriotic Millionaires is an offshoot of the Agenda Project run by former Democratic fundraiser and Wharton Business School grad Erica Payne.  The organization wants to keep taxes on the political landscape. Patriotic Millionaires was started by Payne, a former Google engineer, and California venture capitalist Guy Sapperstein.  They got other millionaires on board to protest extending the Bush tax cuts then Obama used some of them in his speech to push for the Buffet Rule.

Sapperstein it turns out earned made more than $7 million last year in investment income but may not have to pay any taxes on it due to “carried over losses” says BW.  “Why should we favor investors over working people” Sapperstein says. I can tell him although he already knows.  This is a capitalist economy a capitalist state governed by laws that protect those that own capital; that’s why.  The feudal aristocracy didn’t treat everyone equally either neither did slave owners.  Ancient Greece was a democracy—a slave owner’s democracy.

One of the millionaires in Obama’s line up, Whitney Tilson, who is a member of Patriotic Millionaires and a fund manager at a the financial firm T2 Partners lets us in on what they’re actually thinking when he tells BW that we all know the government has to raise revenue but  “Most of it has to come from spending cuts, but a meaningful chunk has to come from tax increases.”

These are some sly characters all right.  They know that the cuts won’t affect them because rich people have socialism, they just don’t want it for the rest of us.  And as I pointed out in a blog some time ago, referring to the book, America: Who Really Pays the Taxes, they always get around some of the worst tax barriers as politicians from their parties write the laws.

These people are nasty characters and care nothing about working people.  Tilson makes it clear that cuts are the factor. Taxes, they’ll get around that to a certain extent. They didn’t get their wealth being decent human beings, just the opposite; they accumulated it with a view on life that worships individualism, selfishness and placing self-aggrandizement above all else.

What has forced this dog and pony show they call the Buffett Rule is their fear of the US working class and the consequences if they push too far as some over zealous members of their class are wont to do. And it is not just the working class but also the middle class, small business and others whose world has come crashing down in this historic crisis of capitalism.  They are worried they could lose all if they’re not careful.

It would obviously be best to support the Buffett rule but we need to be clear what is behind it. It is important we recognize that it is sign of their weakness and fear of our collective strength that is at the heart of this Buffet Rule.  What they represent is a more cunning but sober section of the capitalist class who are thinking about the mood in society, the relationship between the classes and the potential for an escalation of class struggle here in the US. They have read history and are aware of the rich history of the US working class.

Let’s remember what Obama said back in January2009 speaking to a group of these swindlers in Chicago, “There will be time for them to make profits” “..there will be time for them to get bonuses…….now’s not that time.”,

Like Roosevelt who was savaged by many of his class colleagues at the time; they are hoping to save capitalism from itself---we needn’t help them.

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