Stephen King places ‘the 1%’ ‘Under the Dome’

By Matthew Hurtt

Stephen King’s 2009 novel Under the Dome details one small Maine town’s dilemma when an invisible, impenetrable barrier cuts them off from the rest of the world. The antagonist of the story, Second Selectman “Big Jim” Rennie, sets about aggressively expanding his power (by extension, government’s) at the expense of the townspeople until the story’s fiery climax.

I love reading Stephen King novels, and Under the Dome is probably my favorite. King illustrates just how dangerous government’s quest for power can be.

Fast forward to 2012 where King pens a piece for The Daily Beast titled, “Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!” As you might imagine, liberal King begs the government to tax him at a higher rate, explaining his charitable donations to libraries, fire departments and other entities do not go quite far enough to fund government largesse.

He throws in some Occupy Wall Street rhetoric and a few fat jokes about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) just for kicks, but there are a some assertions King makes that are misleading or just plain wrong.

First, King says the wealthiest Americans pay a smaller percentage of their income to the federal government than the middle class and seems to believe the rich should pay “more,” which is a vague term used by the Left. Tax data reveals that the “top 1%” already pay more than 30% of federal income taxes, not to mention countless other taxes levied on businesses and the wealthy.

None who argue for higher taxes on the rich can come up with a figure, though. How much more is enough, Mr. King? 40%? 50%? 66.67%?

The reasons some wealthy Americans pay less taxes as a percentage of their income than the middle class are (1) our federal tax code is exceedingly complex and (2) wealthy folks hire high-priced lobbyists to push exemptions and hire expensive tax attorneys and accountants to navigate the thousands and thousands of pages that is our Internal Revenue Code.

By simplifying the tax code, lowering rates, and eliminating many exemptions, everyone will be better off. House Republican Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (Wisc.) proposed just such reforms.

Of course, if that’s not enough, King and his colleagues in the top 1% are more than welcome to use pay.gov to give more of their money to the government.

King’s second grievance with our system is the notion that the richer people get, the more jobs they create. He tosses out a bit of anecdotal evidence then suggests the rich don’t create jobs with their wealth. They invest it instead.

I don’t fault King for his ignorance here. He clearly doesn’t understand what an investment is or does.

An investment is a loan to a company (or companies) that allows them to develop a new product, or drug, or whatever with the understanding that – if that company succeeds – the investor will receive his initial investment and a share of the profits back.

These investments fund research and development, industry experts, folks on the factory line, marketing, etc.  If I invest $20 in Apple, that money is going to make their iPads and iPhones cheaper, more durable, faster and better. I win and society wins because Apple produces a better product – all because of my and other investments.

King’s third complaint is that these investments then fund overseas production of goods, creating jobs and opportunities for folks at below-U.S. market rates. Unlike King’s Under the Dome, we aren’t living in a bubble. If a manufacturer can make it cheaper and better elsewhere, it still makes us all better off.

At this point, King suggests non-union factories in the South are of the “barely-gettin’-by” variety, in that people who work on these assembly lines don’t make enough money to live on.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-union employees in manufacturing positions make about $35,000 annually. It’s not “barely gettin’ by.”

Lastly, King bemoans “the rich are hallowed” in the U.S., and as well they should be. In this nation, anyone can work hard and improve their status.

What better example of this than King, a man whose father abandoned him at the age of two and left his mother and adopted brother to fend for themselves. King graduated from college with a degree in English and sold short stories to make ends meet.

The truth is, our government has become unwieldy and corrupt, like “Big Jim” Rennie in Under the Dome. Our elected leaders and their allies in popular culture must stop demonizing and penalizing success before our nation devolves into one of King’s horror stories.

Comments

The Daily Show rips into Florida gun law

The Daily Show sent one of their “correspondents” down to Florida to "investigate" Governor Rick Scott’s law banning doctors from asking their patients about gun ownership.

Kimmel on the DEA's 'stoner rabbit' fear

In one of the more ridiculous anti-pot arguments we've seen in a while, the DEA in Utah is super concerned that, if they legalize edibles for medical use, all the local bunnies will get stoned out of their minds and lose their natural instincts.

Jon Stewart mocks Netanyahu

Jon Stewart spent a good deal of time Tuesday evening bashing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before Congress, saying sarcastically, “Even though Netanyahu was speaking only two weeks before the Israeli elections, he wasn’t there just to use our Congress as the most elaborate campaign commercial background ever.”

Stewart calls House GOP 'turds'

Jon Stewart was looking forward to the end of congressional gridlock now that Republicans control both houses.

John Oliver gloats over net neutrality

John Oliver, who once spurred his followers to crash the FCC’s website demanding net neutrality, is positively gleeful over the news that the agency has approved rules to regulate the internet like a public utility.

White House

Calling for cooperation, Obama engages in confrontation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid appeals for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama in just three days has provoked Republicans on issues as disparate as immigration, Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline — a combative mix of defense and offense that underscores Washington's political realignment.

It’s on: Obama follows through and vetoes Keystone pipeline

Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency.

Biden: The middle class is ‘being killed,’ in worse shape than any time since the ’20s

Joe Biden—everyone’s favorite creeper and truth-bomb-dropper.

MSNBC Host: Obama’s terrorism summit is a ‘dog and pony show’
You know it’s bad when President Obama has even lost the support of MSNBC. MSNBC Host Andrea Mitchell basically called the White House’s Summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” a farce during her show Wednesday. “Here he has the summit, no heads of government coming, the participation has not been at a particularly high level. We’ll have […]
Obama assures ‘almost complete confidence’ there have been no NSA abuses

The president’s interview with Re/code over the weekend touched on privacy issues, with Obama insisting with “almost complete confidence” that there have been no abuses of the government’s vast surveillance program.

Congress

DeSantis, Lee push for higher education reform
Higher education is finally getting some attention from Republicans in Congress. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R- Fla.) introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act Wednesday, the House companion legislation to what was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee (R- Utah). The HERO Act would allow states to create their own accreditation systems for […]
Can Congress pass NSA reform in the next 100 days?

After failing to pass NSA reform last year, Congress has less than 100 days left to try again, or allow the entire phone metadata program to sunset on June 1.

Trey Gowdy says he's going straight to Hillary

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email controversy has opened up a new front in the House's investigation of the 2012 Benghazi attack, with Rep. Trey Gowdy saying Tuesday that his investigators would be going straight to Clinton and her team to obtain all relevant correspondence.

More Congressmen had student loan debt this year
The student loan debt crisis is not just a growing problem among the American public, it’s growing among members of Congress as well. A grand total of 47 members of Congress reported a cumulative total of between $1.8 million and $4.6 million in student loan debt in 2013, as calculated by OpenSecrets based on personal […]
Congress sends Homeland Security bill to Obama

Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year, without overturning the president's immigration policies.