Somehow I missed last week's CBS Sunday Morning which carried Ben Stein's views on the rich paying more taxes. I usually concur with him but this time I certainly did not. Linda McGibney, a Supervising Producer and Writer for the show "Stargate Universe" on the SyFy Channel appeared this week with her counterpoint reply. She got my vote hands down.
Ben Stein had said in his segment: "Maybe when the economy recovers, raising my taxes makes sense, but for now, its just punishment, and I can't figure out what for."
Amazing Mr. Stein - I can tell you what for - WE NEED HELP TO GET OUR ECONOMY GOING. WE NEED HELP TO PUT A DENT IN OUR DEFICIT.
However, McGibney does a much better job than I in responding to Stein's remarks. She said: "All I have to say is, Ben Stein is wrong. I am an American. I am in the high tax bracket. I also work in entertainment- which is what Mr. Stein does as well. I am fine with the tax increase. I think it patriotic that I am taxed in this way. I want to help my country. I believe the fact that I can have a job this year, and hopefully every year to come is a privilege."
I too was really surprised that he said he considered it a punishment to pay higher taxes. All I can say to that is there are probably millions of people who would gladly trade their yearly income for his and would gladly pay higher taxes.
McGibney reminds him that other Americans who qualify for this tax increase don't feel "punished" as a result. But sadly Ms. McGibney, I really do wonder how many of them there really are. I hear so many bellyaching about this "unfairness" when really the unfairness is with the inequity of some people making outrageous amounts of money while many are just struggling to pay their bills.
She also notes: "I have always understood that the "haves" were greedy. This is the first time I've heard one of them express it out loud so openly. I am a "have." I am willing to pay this tax increase. I'm not going to whine about it. I won't feel punished....It is worth sacrificing because our country needs some of us to sacrifice...the some of us who can. And, Mr. Stein, we are not suffering."
Well in the battle of the sexes - In my opinion, McGibney won. I would say to her -keep on saying it the way it is because sadly there are so few of your ilk out there. The Bush tax cut to the rich was never needed in the first place, and if he wanted to treat people fairly, he should have found ways to help those who were struggling to pay their home loans. He should have tried to help people needing a job to put food on the table. Giving a tax cut to the rich? Give me a break. As McGibney points out - we don't need it and neither did they.
I am now reminded of what former President Kennedy said in his inaugural speech- "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." More than ever we each need to ask ourselves that question. Just recently I read about "billionaire's row." Wouldn't it be wonderful if they would each give a billion each year if they can in order to cut into our trillion dollar deficit? I don't know how heavily taxed they are to begin with but a no-strings attached "gift" to the U.S. Treasury would help tremendously.
What about you and me? Maybe some of us can even return our tax refund this year. Every sum of money going into the treasury instead of out of it will help. So, you're chuckling or worse - laughing right out loud. That's the problem. We don't have enough people who care.