The baby finally convinced me to try Spheres of Squirrelcraft. It’s a role-playing game for the Blewberry, and players team up and go out to gather snacks while avoiding predators. Millions of squirrels play it, and the baby insisted I’d like it because “It’s like real life except if you die you can get a new life and try again.” When I noted that millions of humans believe that happens anyway, he twitched his ear tufts and said “Just try it.”
So I did. There are lots of puzzles to solve along the way, and squirrels love to solve puzzles. I read that playing these games actually makes humans smarter, so maybe someday you’ll catch up to us. Unless we keep playing SoS, which is more fun and challenging than I expected. So far I’ve learned you should never hurl Hazelnuts of Horror at squombies, and to always keep an extra Walnut of Wellness tucked in my pouch. I haven’t found any Macadamias of Might yet. The baby says they’re in another sphere, and I’m not ready to go there yet. But we got through the first adventure – defeating the squombies – and I helped the baby and the rest of the team gather up lots of seeds.
By my reckoning, this makes me a military expert, so I can address the issue of class warfare. That’s what Republicans are saying about President Obama’s speech yesterday, where he told the deficit super committee adopt the “Buffet Rule.” Under such a rule, millionaires and billionaires could no longer pay lower tax rates than middle-class Americans.
According to Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), this would hurt the economy. In addition to his $174,000 salary as a U.S. House member, Rep. Flemming owns several Subway sandwich shops and UPS stores, and his businesses take in an estimated $6.3 million per year. Except he said he doesn’t make $6.3 million. That’s profits that get split with his partners. Or maybe gross revenue, as at one point in the interview, he said most of it goes to pay 500 employees. If you’re curious, that works out to about $12,000 per employee per year.
The point is, Rep. Fleming makes only $600,000 a year. Maybe less, because he would “reinvest” $400,000 in his businesses. So he has only $200,000 to take care of his family. Plus his $174,000 salary. Poor guy.
None of Rep. Fleming’s numbers match his financial disclosure filings. Worse, he plays mix-and-match games with revenue, profits, and personal income. If he really takes only $200,000 per year from his businesses, then that plus his U.S. House salary is his taxable income … and the “Buffet Rule” wouldn’t apply to him at all.
But the entire idea that a business owner might refuse to hire because of the “Buffet Rule” is absurd. Business owners hire because they estimate that a new employee’s productivity will bring in more revenue than that employee’s payroll costs. Whether the owner will owe more in taxes – based on the owner’s personal income – is irrelevant in that calculation.
Let’s say a new hire would boost the owner’s share of the profits by $1000, and the business owner would receive that as capital gains. Under the current tax code, capital gains are taxed at 15%. Under the “Buffet Rule,” a millionaire’s net tax rate could not be lower than the median American’s 25%. Under Rep. Fleming’s argument, business owners would think: “Hiring this employee would net me a gain $850 under current taxes, but only a gain of $750 under the ‘Buffet Rule.’ I’d rather gain nothing than give up that extra $100, so I won’t hire.” Owners who do business that way … go bankrupt.
But it’s not just President Obama who’s engaged in class warfare. So is Speaker John Boehner, according to Tea Party activist David Lewis. Lewis called Speaker Boehner a “socialist” – then said he wasn’t calling names but merely stating facts – because Speaker Boehner proposed to repeal rather than de-fund the Affordable Care Act, and because Speaker Boehner “refuses to phase out Social Security.” All rightie then.
So here’s what you need to know about class warfare. It’s almost always a charge leveled by dummies, for dummies.
There is an exception: “It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn’t be.”
Maybe I can throw a Breadnut of Buffetism at those squombies.
Good day and good nuts.