Thinking About “The Buffett Rule”
It was useful for Warren Buffett to bring his iconic power to bear on the gross inequalities in the American tax system. But his willingness to pay more in taxes, which he shares with many progressives with considerable wealth, is in fact a declaration of solidarity with the needs of all other Americans. Their ethical stance represents an important twist on the accusations of elitism that Republicans throw at them. While the Republican right is cutting the guts out of programs that support working class and middle class Americans, rich progressives are ready to pay higher taxes for the good of their fellow citizens. If that’s elitism, we need to underscore what it actually means.
Of course, that’s not to say that all too often public figures speaking on behalf of a progressive agenda seem out of touch with the life styles of ordinary people. That may well be, but we should nevertheless recognize the social values shared widely by progressive activists, donors, and pundits.
To be sure, all too many Americans struggling to make a living will over and over again vote against their economic interests out of fear and identification with the aggressor. Why don’t we tell them more about how “these elitists” are ready and willing to put their money where their hearts and mouths are.