FLINT - Warren Buffett is my new hero.
In a New York Times commentary, he brought some much needed sanity to this tiresome national debate over taxes and spending when he said that guys like him should pay their fair share, too.
"Our leaders have asked for 'shared sacrifice,'" he wrote. "But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.
"While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. My friends and I have been coddled long enough."
It's hard to argue with that. It's playground logic that people who can pay taxes should pay taxes, and that people who have more than others should at the very least pay as much as those with less.
I've never figured out why rich folk work so hard to avoid paying taxes in the first place. Taxes pay for roads, schools, wars, Social Security etc. Maybe if you can buy those things on your own you resent it when you have to help pay for them for others.
I said something snide like that online the other day and someone accused me of hating the rich. I don't hate the rich. In fact I hope to be one someday. One of these days 1, 14, 17, 25 and 63 are going to come through. You watch.
Like Buffett, I just think they should pitch in.
Another thing I don't understand is why so many non-rich people passionately defend bad behavior in the rich. For instance, here's the note the man online sent me:
"You people who hate on the rich crack me up. You want them to pay more of the government cost. You want them to spend their money on job creation so they can give you a job. So I say you need to pick one - give to the government so they can give it to the 50 percent who pay nothing or let them create jobs with THEIR MONEY so people can go to work."
Why's he so defensive? Does he have a rich uncle?
Besides, no one - not even Buffett - has ever said rich people should carry government's water, just that they should pay their fair share.
Then there's job creation. We're in the era of mega-tax cuts for the rich. The playing field is mowed just the way they like it. So you'd think we'd be swimming in jobs. But we're not. A tenth of the nation, if not more, is out of work. I don't know what the rich are doing with their money. But they aren't creating jobs with it, that's for sure.
Then there's the bit about "their money." Of course it's their money. Just like the taxes I pay used to be "my money."
I don't like paying taxes. No one does. But I also realize they're the cost of having a nice society.
Don't the rich?