I Support the Buffett Rule!

April 2nd, 2012

By Dan Miller

No, not the Warren Buffett rule, the Jimmy Buffett rule: a healthy dose of insanity is needed to save us from going insane and to help us to understand what goes on in our world.

Obama cartoon book about himselfThe Warren Buffett rule was suggested by a wealthy but inexplicably noble gentleman who was offended that he paid taxes at a lower rate than his secretary. Immediately promoted by President Obama, it would require that “people earning at least $1 million annually — whether in salary or investments — …  pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.” (emphasis added.) Great clarity and precision of the sort we have all come to expect when President Obama teaches us are shown there. Legislation incorporating this proposal will go before the Senate on April 16, but should it pass there it has little chance of passing the House. That is a great shame and demonstrates, conclusively, an overwhelming need for the Warren Buffett rule.

A mere thirty percent of all income will not be enough for some purposes. It is probably true that the Warren Buffett

rule would account for .0067 percent of the funds needed to make up the federal deficit in the next 11 years.

But the White House has argued that raising taxes on the rich is the right thing to do, no matter how little it would reduce the deficit. Touting the rule allows Obama to take a poll-tested position that makes him appear serious about deficit reduction.

According to an analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation “which provides the official Congressional analysis of tax legislation,”

requiring those who make more than $1 million a year to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes would generate $47 billion over the next decade, or an average of just $4.7 billion per year. To put that in perspective, President Obama’s budget forecasts a $901 billion deficit in 2013.

Obama criesAnalyses of this sort, focusing merely on the puny financial returns likely and on the minimal impact they would have on the nation’s financial situation — as though mere money were important — ignore the great and far more important spiritual benefits to all of additional fairness class and race hatred. Clearly, more such fairness is needed because it will make President Obama happy and enable him to become even better president for us all.

The proposed tax — and probably one higher than a piddling thirty percent of all income– would help us to achieve Attorney General Holder’s enlightened goal that, as a nation of cowards, we must be redeemed by an honest discussion of race.  More, however, is needed than merely an “honest discussion of race;” simple honesty is less important than what we can honestly perceive, quite rightly, and discuss without bothering about pesky facts.

We must also be totally redeemed and emancipated from the sins of the filthy rich.  Honest, perception-based, discussion of just how the odious presence of fat cats with obscene wealth makes racism and all other social evils even more prevalent is therefore necessary. We must cease to be abject cowards and discuss this critical matter in order to understand how and why rich fat cats are no better than mere racists.

Trayvon Martin youngFor example, we need to look only at widespread and (therefore) honest perceptions of the brutal killing of Trayvon Martin, a meek, mild and unarmed Black youth, to see why and how Mr. Zimmerman did it. Mr. Zimmerman, the killer, must have been a racist, vigilante White Hispanic male who viciously attacked Mr. Martin and he had a licensed firearm; there is no other acceptable perception-based explanation. We must, therefore, end all racism against Blacks and also make licensed firearms unlawful.  That is just common sense.

Just as many jumped, very properly, on Mr. Martin’s death as necessitating an honest discussion of the perils of White racism, there is a profound need to jump on the obnoxious rich fat cats who are at the very root of all racial, economic and other divisions in the nation.

Another example: it was wisely widely claimed that comments by rightist “Tea Party members” led to the horrific shooting in Arizona of Representative Giffords and others:

Almost immediately after news broke of the Arizona shooting, which claimed six lives and left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fighting for survival, liberal commenters on Twitter began circulating links to a campaign map from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page featuring crosshairs over Giffords’ district…. In the wake of the shooting, Giffords’ father identified “the whole Tea Party” as enemies of his daughter and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik warned that Arizona has become a “Mecca for prejudice and bigotry” and that anti-government “vitriol” may have played a role in the attack. A number of Democratic lawmakers called on politicians to tone down their rhetoric in response to the tragedy, including civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who cited an “atmosphere and climate that makes it almost impossible for us as Americans to reason together.”

Just as violent rhetoric from the Right inspired violence in Arizona, the mere existence of rich fat cats leads inexorably to racist killings such as that of Mr. Martin, as we properly perceive them.  We need fairness and justice, not just against Mr. Zimmerman and against Tea Party Rightists, all of whom were indisputably to blame for the Arizona shootings. We also need full and fair justice against the rich fat cats who are obviously no less guilty.

But I digressed, if only slightly.

The Buffett rule I favor is the Jimmy Buffett rule, as expressed in these songs among many others:

Three cheers for Fruitcakes! We need fruitcakes!

We must also understand that insanity is a blessing — without it, we would all go insane. Enactment of the Warren Buffett rule will be a sterling example of, and promote, our insanity.  It will, therefore, save us from insanity and thereby prove the Jimmy Buffett rule.

We need lots more fairness, and I consider this a fair interpretation of both the Warren and Jimmy Buffett rules.

(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)

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