PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES [OR THE SEAL].
I heard a news story the other day- some kids in a Massachusetts school district found a stranded baby seal on the beach one day. So like most environmentally minded young folk- they rescued the seal and brought him back to their town.
As the news got out- the town decided to adopt this helpless thing- and they went all out- the school district put out lots of money [they spent about 80 thousand overall] and after a couple of years- little ‘flipper’ was ready to launch.
So they all went down to the ocean one morning- and it was truly a tearful moment [maybe a little too tearful?]. As they launched their beloved child- you know- sending him [her] off to brave new worlds- places ‘no seal has gone before’- as soon as the lad was released- an Orca [killer whale] came up from the water- and swallowed him whole.
Now- you have the kids and all standing at the shore- asking their elders ‘mommy- daddy- what happened’. And of course that began a long week of mourning for the whole town. Whose fault was this? Was it anybody’s fault? Would it be right to make this someone’s fault?
As we enter this last year of the president’s term- for whatever reason- he has made a conscious decision to ‘blame the rich’. Now- those of you know me- and have read my posts for a while- will realize that I am no defender of ‘the rich’.
I have worked with poor people for most of my life- and I refuse offerings or help- because I have always felt that the influence of money [like ministries always begging for it] has been a blight on the church.
Yet at the same time- there are lots of very hard working people- who are being categorized as ‘the rich’ who don’t pay their ‘fair share’.
In the current Obama plan- couples making over 250 thousand a year [and singles making 200] are considered ‘the rich’.
Now- depending on where you live- this might be rich- or maybe not.
Where I grew up in N.J. - if you’re a cop- or firefighter- maybe the wife is a teacher- you might fall into this rich group.
And if you are paying the very high North East mortgage payment- then to hit a family like that with a huge tax increase- well that’s gonna hurt.
The example the president keeps using- well he’s making it sound like most of the rich are really paying less. The truth is we do have a graduated income tax rate in this country- that goes up as you make more.
I think the bottom is at around 5 %- the top around 29 % [plus you have around 40-50 % who pay no federal income taxes at all]. So why is the president saying the rich pay less than their secretaries? [Buffett’s famous line]. Because Buffett- like a few other billionaires- pays only capital gains tax- taxes on investment income and dividends from stocks.
Yes- for those few fortunate billionaires- they have managed to live off of the interest- and the tax on that kind of income is around 15 %.
How many of ‘the rich’ are not paying ‘their fair share’ by doing this. I don’t have the exact number off hand- but it’s close to around 1 % of all those who file who make around a million a year or more.
The point is- the people who are ‘not paying their fair share’ are not the people the president is branding as ‘those who are not paying their fair share’.
So- it’s just dow right unfair to the working cop and teacher- who might be getting hit with the new ‘fair rate’ and to brand them as not pulling their weight in society- when the truth is- these are the people who are really paying close to 80% of all the taxes in the country.
Now- I do think we should get rid of corporate loopholes- and yes- if we do a ‘billionaires’ tax type thing- to deal with the few Buffett’s of the world- than I really don’t care much.
But the reality is most of those being accused of not paying their fair share- well- they are paying the lions share right now.
It’s easy to get people on your side- if you find a noble cause [saving the baby seal- or helping the poor working folk] and if you can put the blame for this injustice on someone else- then you almost always win [the argument- though you might still lose the seal].
I’m sure the kids at the beach that day would have liked to have blamed ‘that darn Orca- taking more than he should- probably eats more than the other species of fish- who are struggling in life- but no- this bully had to have the very last bite-‘ and on and on.
When we feel like an injustice has happened- like the scales are not tipping right- we want to find a scapegoat- to find the real culprit’s behind the injustice. Sometimes things happen- sometimes societies [Greece- Italy this week] overpromise too much to people- and if these societies are spending money they don’t have- well it’s easy to blame it on the Orca- the ‘big bully’ who seems to get his full- while we baby seals are left here on the shore struggling to survive.
I know it’s hard to take this position and defend the ‘Orcas of the world’ and the whole reason some people blame the Orcas- well- it’s because they know they are an easy target- you don’t get many people to stand up for the right of the Orca to eat the baby seal.
But this is such a dangerous game- and it’s unfair to the majority of people who are in this ‘rich’ category [not the Buffett’s] who are really paying their fair share- and more.
I think the president should make this clear- and not divide the country over this- sure- you might be on the side that will naturally garner the most sympathy- but that still doesn’t make it right.