Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fuck You, Warren Buffett

Dear Mr. Warren Buffett,

Thank you for your recent editorial, "Stop Coddling the Super Rich." I never thought you would write to me, part of a working class of people rarely recognized for their great contribution, a letter dictating to politicians what they should do with regard to The Super Rich. Some might say that your article should have been sent to the people it presumes to lecture, but that would not allow those who don't have so great a share in power to know the steel morals with which you handle the billionaire's reins.

Your sharing this simple human statement, so identifiable to the average Joe, reminds one of Henry V demonstrating that, although he descended from a divine line of kings with complete autocracy, based solely on domination and exploitation of labor via violent force, he wasn't above walking among the common dead, showing his radiant face as a final grace for those who suffered so much.

Your lightning bolt of righteousness descended as if thrown from Olympus, a modern Prometheus risking his immortality out of pity for mankind. It is as a blessing that I receive your vision, so highly esteemed in the press because you've spent your life as a scholar of the humanities, and can offer your accumulated wisdom, you’re a life long teacher, dedicated to the dispensation of wisdom to future generations, well-studied and with a real stake in humanity’s future, and you have a lot of money.

Stop Coddling the Super Rich. It's about time someone said it. And for it to be said by one of The Super Rich, well that proves its truth right there. Perhaps if some non-megabillionaire had suggested a similar idea, his voice would immediately be silenced as simply a jealous Joey, an envious Eric or even a covetous Carl. But your opinions are beyond reproach.

More touching still was the admission that many of The Super Rich are actually nice people. Whew! So many of us simply assumed, given every observable action ever, that these people were soulless liches, cackling at mankind’s misfortune in their Montgomery Burns Dracula castles. We thought they were sociopaths who owe as much of their success to cruelty and aggression as to insight and performance. We thought they — non-national, untouchable, controlling more wealth than many countries of the world — enjoyed and expected only the absolute best things that mankind has found for itself in its history. I admit, it is possible that, because of this mistaken impression, some of us may have harbored a shred of resentment at the mere existence of The Super Rich, believing them an affront to humanity, a stomping boot in the face of every starving, bleeding third-worlder, to every wage slave first-worlder, to every noble and brave idea of which we have ever conceived.

But I think we can breathe a collective sigh of relief, knowing that instead of these assimilative furnaces of indifferent power, they (you) are just decent folks, trying to get by in this world the same as the rest. And to know that of all the many Super Rich you know, you think most of them would be happy to take one for the team to help get this sometimes ridiculous country back on its feet? Well, sir, that brought an exclamation of delight from me and everyone else in this country, apart from the Donnie Downer types of Appalachia, who sit in healthcare-free funks — all breath a whisper, save for when it ejects bloodied sputum from their blackened lungs, from decades of employment in the sorts of coal mines owned by nice people.

You're unlikely, too, to hear from those who have lost their jobs to offshoring, outsourcing and cost-saving, profit-maximizing tactics that move manufacturing to China and other countries where one can take advantage of civil rights violations, inhuman wages and corrupt, complicit governments. Pessimists would see this as your friends annihilating an entire stratum of American jobs, turning cities like Detroit to burned-out ruins, but no one really listens to them anyway. An optimist knows this is corporatist beneficence designed to honor the late 19th century's engine of safe, American industry, "The China-Man."

Your letter made it clear that politicians were in the wrong, that the elected officials cannot help but coddle The Super Rich, given how much they rely on them to fund their campaigns, offer them seven figure post-public office positions, and keep the economy running smoothly. Their cowardice prevents their stepping up to The Super Rich, as one would to a pet tiger, and demanding that the portion of wealth they contribute to the overall good of humanity be a marginally larger insignificant sliver than it is now. You guys are ready and waiting, willing to have expert teams of CPAs find slightly fewer tax loopholes, because hell, the difference probably won't even attain significant digits once the financial statements are rounded up for you. Assuming you even live in the United States and base your company within reach of its tax laws.

So again, thank you, sir, for being the one Super Rich who really cares about our country. A Super Wealthy Elite for the people, if you will. I hope those fatcats in Washington take your article as seriously as the American people have. Then perhaps we can finally see some "change." Until then, we will wait patiently for the next dispatch to lead us inexorably toward prosperity and enlightenment.

Then again, perhaps you've done enough. Negative Nancies might argue that philanthropy is simply the right hand of capitalism, its moral pressure valve, divesting The Super Rich of their guilt over the means by which they hoard wealth, offering the public carefully staged signs of humanity in an otherwise mechanistic and amoral system, but I like to think of it as good folks pitching in.

Perhaps then it's time to return to divesting yourself of your billion-dollar fortune before you die. Funding the charities of your choice affords you a philanthropic immortality, keeping your hand on the levers of power and advancement long after death, while keeping that fortune away from the predatory and anonymizing hands of the American Estate Tax.


Mark Brendle
Grateful Commoner