Best-selling novelist Stephen King agrees with Warren Buffett that the wealthy do not pay enough income taxes.
In an article Monday for The Daily Beast entitled “Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!” the author of the horror classics “Carrie” and “The Shining” responded to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s complaint that Buffett “should just shut up” and write a check to the government if Buffett wants to pay more taxes.
“At a rally in Florida (to support collective bargaining and to express the socialist view that firing teachers with experience was sort of a bad idea), I pointed out that I was paying taxes of roughly 28 percent on my income,” wrote King. “My question was, ‘How come I’m not paying 50?’ The governor of New Jersey did not respond to this radical idea, possibly being too busy at the all-you-can-eat cheese buffet at Applebee’s in Jersey City, but plenty of other people of the Christie persuasion did.”
Buffett wrote in a New York Times op ed piece last August that the Tax Code is “coddling the super-rich” and argued that those earning over $1 million and $10 million should be paying higher tax rates (see Buffett Says Tax Code is ‘Coddling the Super-Rich’). President Obama has pushed to enact Buffett’s proposal by including the so-called “Buffett Rule” in his budget. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., introduced legislation to require a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on those making over $1 million, but the bill was blocked by Senate Republicans last month (see Buffett Rule Blocked in Senate).
In his article, King dismisses the notion that the wealthy can give more money to charity or create more jobs if they don’t have to spend so much on taxes.
“Most rich folks paying 28 percent taxes do not give out another 28 percent of their income to charity,” he wrote. “Most rich folks like to keep their dough. They don’t strip their bank accounts and investment portfolios. They keep them and then pass them on to their children, their children’s children. And what they do give away is—like the monies my wife and I donate—totally at their own discretion. That’s the rich-guy philosophy in a nutshell: don’t tell us how to use our money; we’ll tell you.”
King points out that he uses some of his money to fund two radio stations that he owns, but he doesn’t plan to expand those money-losing businesses.
“I have a total payroll of about 60 people, most of them working for the two radio stations I own in Bangor, Maine,” he wrote. “If I hit the movie jackpot—as I have, from time to time—and own a piece of a film that grosses $200 million, what am I going to do with it? Buy another radio station? I don’t think so, since I’m losing my shirt on the ones I own already. But suppose I did, and hired on an additional dozen folks.
Good for them. Whoopee-ding for the rest of the economy.”
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