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Rich must pay higher tax rates

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The French, they are funny race” is a phrase from a 1955 British comedy film. U.S. Reps. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) did not think them funny when they so strongly, and now proven rightly, were against Bush taking us into Iraq.

These two self-styled “patriots” actually managed to convince many like-minded conservatives to henceforth eat only freedom fries rather than those traitorous greasy french fries. Somehow, french toast survived to toast yet another day, and although Canada was also against the ill-conceived invasion, it did not get its Canadian bacon put on the chopping block. Oh, those immoral, haughty French ....

Well, perhaps our country could learn a little about true patriotism from that “funny race.” Warren Buffet recently suggested a tax levy on the nation’s wealthy to help America manage its debt. Republicans immediately cried class warfare. Some war: cannons vs. pea shooters.

In France, 16 of the wealthiest individuals have now mimicked Buffet and voluntarily called for a special tax on the wealthy to help manage its own national debt burden. The wealthy pay a top rate of 40 percent. Plus, they pay an annual wealth tax on their total assets, levying fees of between 0.5 percent and 1.8 percent on assets above $1.1 million, not to mention all the other estate, inheritance, gift, social, corporate and VAT taxes.

Nevertheless, they insist on helping their country at this time of severe distress. I am sure some in our country will say they are doing it for some devious reason, but I think patriotism might be the true definition of that motivation.

Some of the uber-rich in our country besides Buffet seem to be having feelings similar to their French counterparts. Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group, George Soros and others involved in that class war are coming about saying that the minuscule additional tax they would pay — as they did prior to the Bush tax cuts — is irrelevant to their total fortune, so they might as well save the country that gave them the opportunity to rise to the financial heights they have.

How noble. Even our own Mayor Michael Bloomberg thought it was the right thing to do. We do, however, have some like the Koch brothers who have no limit to their greed.

As a great humanitarian senator from Massachusetts once said, “When does the greed stop?” When does patriotism start?

Nicholas Zizelis

Bayside

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