Reality Check: The Buffett Rule James Campion April 30, 2012 Columns It’s national campaign time and the Democrats have joined the crazy. Six months of idiocy from the Republicans was apparently enough. Check that; to understand what is going on in congress with what is officially coined the Paying a Fair Share Act is merely the volley returned for the TEA Party induced mayhem that stalled Capitol Hill during last year’s Debt Ceiling Debate. Congress has now become the land of vacant bills thrown into the chamber to make grandiose ideological statements with a political slant; or, as they like to say on K STREET, “business as usual.” The Paying a Fair Share Act has as much teeth as the legislative branch of the federal government not paying its bills, to which it should mean none. But what it does accomplish, although eventually backfired on Republicans—unless there are still some who hang their hat on calling this the “Lowered Credit Rating President”—is put the 99 percenters (the latest street-cred protest, à la the TEA Party) in the conversation and fan the flames of class warfare and populism that is polling through the roof these days. It’s a wise move from a defensive party hoping to maintain the executive branch in a crawling economic recovery and escalating gas prices, but it’s the epitome of farce; “a light, humorous play in which the plot depends upon a skillfully exploited situation rather than upon the development of character.” Substitute “plot” with “public discourse” and “character” with “law” and you got yourself a free campaign ad. The Paying a Fair Share Act is pure showbiz. Its premise is ineffectual at best and at worst, infantile. You know, like selling the idea that sending your kids to be maimed killing Iraqis will keep you safe. It’s the grand ruse you must swallow to be part of an ostensibly free society wherein freedom is merely doled out incrementally through a series of pacifications. We agree only with this systemic patronization because, really, what’s our choice? The origin of the Paying a Fair Share Act is of course the famed Buffett Rule, dubbed by Barack Obama in 2011 after billionaire Warren Buffett’s claim that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. This led to Senate minority leader, Harry Reid’s proposal of a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires. This predictably went nowhere with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and wasn’t even broached in the president’s 2013 budget proposal, but suddenly with the Rick Santorum follies shut down for the season, here comes the big guns. Of course, big guns are never needed when shooting fish in a barrel, as it is when the rich are put on trial. It’s the oldest scam on the books. French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Cuban Revolution, hell you can make a solid case for the American Revolution propping the wealth class up as a symbol of a country’s ills. You could even rightfully argue that in all those cases the wealth class was indeed public enemy numero uno, but what does that do for the proletariat but to be force-fed into another cauldron of steaming bullshit to be exploited by the fallout? This is no place to start bringing up capital gains taxes and debt reduction and redistribution of wealth. Let the economists and pseudo pundits frame their own guesswork there. The problems with both the Buffett Rule and the Paying a Fair Share Act can be found in its choice of terms; “paying” and “fair” and “share” and “rule.” None of these apply to the United States of America, no matter how many countries we bomb or benefits we bestow. This was not a country founded on “fair” in any way, shape, or form. It is also a country loath to “share”. In fact, there are still paid employees of the state who yammer on ceaselessly about the veiled threat of socialism the minute they hear the words fairness and sharing. This is why in its humblest way this is the greatest nation in modern civilization. It reflects the barest truth about life in general: It is unfair and sharing is about as natural a human trait as flying. And “paying?” Who the hell likes paying for anything; monetarily, emotionally, personally, or otherwise? And nobody, but nobody, beyond the truly religious (.00001 percent) digs a fucking “rule.” This space spent months last year warning Republicans that harping on the national debt was bad mojo which would come back to claim its pound of flesh, and boy has it ever. Republican patron saint Ronald Reagan once proclaimed that “deficits don’t matter” and he did so because his main goal was to cut taxes and bloat military spending, the former of which he failed miserably to achieve having raised taxes some seven different times during his two-term presidency, as the latter he joyfully scored again and again. This apparently is still the Republican goal, which is something akin to toasting sobriety. Without raising taxes and cutting spending the national debt will soar, something the Bush 43 presidency blatantly illustrated, and precisely why 60 percent of Americans are keen on having the rich foot the bill. Here’s the thing; why don’t all the wealthiest assholes that want to pay down the debt pool their money and do it. No rules. No fairness. No sharing. No new laws. Just get together a handful of billionaires, pro jocks, rock stars, computer geeks, reality TV jack-offs, and slip some checks to the Chinese. Find that dipshit G.W. Bush and his daddy and pull some of his own patriotic bullshit and guilt him into some funds. The Clintons are worth millions. Let’s pony up, Billary. The biggest problem with the Buffett Rule and the Paying a Fair Share Act is that it forces the hand of those with coffers to legally hand it over. Why not appeal to their better angels, or failing that (since “better angels” usually does not apply to hiding laundered money in the Cayman Islands) boycott their interests. Now we’re talking some real grassroots, ugly, sweaty unfair misrule of democracy. Until then, count this as the first salvo to pit popular opinion against Mitt Romney, who already has a steep hill to climb pivoting on some goofy anti-Latino and anti-women shit he had to spout to jettison the pesky Santorum that has cost him dearly. This is why you already hear him desperately pissing on the media. Maybe Romney forgot that the key to democracy is that “unfair” applies to everyone. 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