In a piece for The Daily Beast, Stephen King explains why he and other rich people should be taxed more. I can already hear the right-wingers responding to this the same way they did when Warren Buffett dared to offer the same proposal. The rebuttal went, “If you want to pay more taxes, go ahead, no one’s stopping you.” The logic in that is the same as telling someone concerned about people driving too fast through their neighborhood, “If you want to slow down, go ahead, but don’t tell me what to do.” Of course, that doesn’t fix the problem unless everyone agrees voluntarily to slow down, which they’re not going to do unless forced to.
This is a debate that should be at the core of the presidential campaigns this year, if only the American public could focus on its importance without being distracted by dog stories. Here are two paragraphs from King’s op-ed, which will whet your appetite to read the whole thing here.
The U.S. senators and representatives who refuse even to consider raising taxes on the rich — they squall like scalded babies (usually on Fox News) every time the subject comes up — are not, by and large, superrich themselves, although many are millionaires and all have had the equivalent of Obamacare for years. They simply idolize the rich. Don’t ask me why; I don’t get it either, since most rich people are as boring as old, dead dog shit. The Mitch McConnells and John Boehners and Eric Cantors just can’t seem to help themselves. These guys and their right-wing supporters regard deep pockets like Christy Walton and Sheldon Adelson the way little girls regard Justin Bieber … which is to say, with wide eyes, slack jaws, and the drool of adoration dripping from their chins. I’ve gotten the same reaction myself, even though I’m only “baby rich” compared with some of these guys, who float serenely over the lives of the struggling middle class like blimps made of thousand-dollar bills.
I guess some of this mad right-wing love comes from the idea that in America, anyone can become a Rich Guy if he just works hard and saves his pennies. Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want — those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money — is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. 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. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies — you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay — not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Governor Christie’s words, but to pay — in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.