In a crudely-titled op-ed published on the Daily Beast last week, author Stephen King joined the ranks of the super-rich demanding higher taxes. After taking several cheap shots at Governor Chris Christie’s, R-N.J., weight, King expresses frustration at the governor’s suggestion that rich people concerned about tax revenue should simply write voluntary checks to the IRS.
King argues that the majority of rich people are far from generous with their money, and that voluntary contributions are insufficient to solve the world’s problems. This may or may not be true, but it dodges the point that Christie was trying to make. Of all the billionaires complaining that their tax rates are too low, we have yet to hear of a single one actually contributing voluntary taxes. If they really believe what they are saying, why should this be so?
Regarding his own contributions, King, just like Warren Buffett before him, avoids the question entirely, responding angrily that he gives money to charity. For someone who has made millions from his cunning use of words, King seems oddly unaware that his actions contradict his words. By giving money to charities of his choice rather than straight to the IRS, he’s tacitly acknowledging what conservatives have known all along: the individual is better suited to direct his money than is the collective.
Apparently, even arch-liberals don’t trust the government more than they trust themselves.
The implication of King’s statements and actions—that rich people give too little, but that government is ineffective in allocating tax dollars—suggests a better system. Rather than outright taxation, this system would be one in which the amount given would be mandatory, but the recipient could be chosen by the individual. The left could decline to fund wars while the right could direct their tax dollars away from abortion clinics and medical marijuana facilities. Why then, has such a system not been proposed by the likes of King and Buffett?
Because to them, freedom of choice is a luxury only they should enjoy, whereas those of differing opinions must be told what to do, for their own good of course. King knows best what to do with his own money, but those other rich folks—particularly the Republican ones—cannot be trusted with such responsibility. While the IRS may not be the intellectual equal of the mind that gave us The Tommyknockers, it is more than a match for the rest of that ignorant mass that is the American people.
The richest Americans, while crying loudly from the op-ed pages for higher taxes, do not themselves want to support the Federal Government with their money any more than does the average citizen. If they truly believed in the benevolence and competence of the federal government, they would give to it in the spirit of charity.
Logan Albright is a writer in Washington, D.C.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Andrew Stiles