May Day in Maine
Stephen King defends his recent why-aren’t-my-taxes-higher rant by noting, among other talking points:
My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (Jaws of Life tools are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts. Warren Buffett does the same; so does Bill Gates; so does Steven Spielberg; so do the Koch brothers; so did the late Steve Jobs.
Most wealthy Americans don’t willingly donate half their incomes to charity, as King goes on to note, so the few who do simply aren’t enough in number to cover the costs of health care, education, the war debt, etc. But doesn’t this undercut his argument that higher tax rates should be mandatory because the wealthy are reluctant to donate—instead suggesting that the wealthy should simply become less reluctant to donate?
Wouldn’t it actually help his argument if King and his wife donated nothing to charity? We (by “we” I mean what’s left of the left, workers of the world, the 99%, whatever the plural of “tovarisch” is) need to refocus the debate on why we MUST increase the tax rates, on why the 1950s tax rates of 90+% created tremendous societal wealth and opportunity whereas tax cuts for the wealthy do not. We need a Stephen King who can testify to Congress and to the Occupiers and to the Tea Partiers: “I support your efforts. I’m sympathetic. But I STILL won’t donate to the health and welfare of America because I’m simply not FORCED to.”
(This is why critiques of Michael Moore as secretly being a tyrannical slavedriver towards his employees also miss the point, if the point is that we need to destroy the free market system as we know it. Won’t it prove his argument if the critiques are true? “I’m sympathetic to the working man and woman. I’m as radically pro-worker as they come. But I abuse my own workers and treat them like shit…because I’m not FORCED not to.”)