Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!

Stephen King in The Daily Beast.

I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar. It’s true that some rich folks put at least some of their tax savings into charitable contributions. My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (Jaws of Life tools are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts. Warren Buffett does the same; so does Bill Gates; so does Steven Spielberg; so do the Koch brothers; so did the late Steve Jobs. All fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

What charitable 1 percenters can’t do is assume responsibility—America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts. Charity from the rich can’t fix global warming or lower the price of gasoline by one single red penny. That kind of salvation does not come from Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Ballmer saying, “OK, I’ll write a $2 million bonus check to the IRS.” That annoying responsibility stuff comes from three words that are anathema to the Tea Partiers: United American citizenry.

And hey, why don’t we get real about this? Most rich folks paying 28 percent taxes do not give out another 28 percent of their income to charity. 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.

The Koch brothers are right-wing creepazoids, but they’re giving right-wing creepazoids. Here’s an example: 68 million fine American dollars to Deerfield Academy. Which is great for Deerfield Academy. But it won’t do squat for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where food fish are now showing up with black lesions. It won’t pay for stronger regulations to keep BP (or some other bunch of dipshit oil drillers) from doing it again. It won’t repair the levees surrounding New Orleans. It won’t improve education in Mississippi or Alabama. But what the hell—them li’l crackers ain’t never going to go to Deerfield Academy anyway. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.


  1. Well hell, he can sign as many checks to the government as he wants to, I prefer to keep the fruits of my labor and I’m sure he can afford a much higher tax rate than I can.

  2. The monies these people donate instead of taxes benefits a specific group. Donating to colleges or universities that have tens of millions or more sitting around in reserve or investments don’t help even the communities they are located in. Some of these establishments don’t even pay local taxes on the property they own or manage.

    1. No, no, no, no, no! Keep church and state *separate* please! Taxing religious institutions won’t put anymore into state coffers than any other company with clever accountants but it *will* allow religious institutions to lobby government and hold political rallies. You could argue that they do anyway, but not officially. Fair, enough. But dissolving the separation of church and state on any level would only make things worse.

      1. When I clicked Like on McGee’s comment, I wasn’t thinking about the separation of church and state. Thanks for the reminder. However, it seems to me that many religious organizations and/or denominations are getting pretty darned political while maintaining their tax-free status.

      2. How is taxing churches not maintaining the separation of church and state? You tax corporations, which are separate from the state… Taxing profitmakers does not have anything to do with entrenching them in the machinery of state at all. I truly don’t get your objection.

      3. last time i looked corporations had become people and were able to spend as much money as they wanted anonymously to influence elections and “You tax corporations” not as true as you think some of the big ones have a negative tax margin. I say we keep basically bribing the churches to stay out of politics.

        Now that i have said that maybe we should start taxing the churches (i don’t like the idea of basically giving them money by not taxing them)

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