The Progressive Code is Gone

Liberals Are Too Taxed to Do Anything About It.

Militant conservatives are effective because they are absolutely shameless. [my emphasis - NS]
So says Villager E.J. Dionne Jr. Yesterday was a good day for him, because he got some stuff right. But the lazy logic overwhelms:
  1. Militant conservatives are absolutely shameless.
  2. ???
  3. Militant conservatives are effective.
What's phase two? Dionne doesn't know this, but being shameless doesn't cause effectiveness. For instance, Nigerian princes are absolutely shameless too. But are they effective? No. How about a real world example: Grover Norquist. On tax policy, he is utterly shameless. But does that make him effective? No.[1] What does make him effective? Hard work. Putting the Tax Pledge in front of every Congressional candidate for years and the (in)famous Wednesday meetings.

But I digress, the subject is the media Villager, Dionne, and his article about Warren Buffett. Sure, he marshals lots of correct facts and some good examples. He checks the box "the other guys are hypocrites." That's all good. What interests me is the parenthetical graf 3/4ths of the way down:
(Because this column appears in The Post, I should note that Buffett heads a company that owns a substantial minority share in The Washington Post Co. and for many years held a seat on the company’s board of directors.)
Oh. Now, I'm not going to do the knee-jerk thing - that the shameless conservatives are surely doing right now - and say Dionne's in hock to Buffett. That he's just laying down the company line. (Even if that line will cost the company's owners money.) Nope. What he didn't do is worse.

Dionne didn't pick up the phone and call Buffett. I mean, the man has publicly stated his position dozens of times, he can't hide behind the canard of the reclusive billionaire. And Buffett has a financial interest in giving Dionne a scoop. He used to be Dionne's boss for goodness sakes!

Dionne and Buffett are actually two peas in a pod. Writing op-eds and then sitting on their butts. Thanks, guys. I hope you didn't strain your eyes too much. Buffett - and he could just tell somebody to do this for him - has done zero work organizing rich guys and gals to support his policy preference of higher taxes on the mega rich. He's going to be in front of crowds of rich Democrats in Chicago and New York headlining $35,000-per-ticket fundraisers for President Obama in the next month. Do you think he'll ask them to join him in repudiating the GOP lie that raising taxes on the rich will destroy small-businesses and kill millions of jobs? Don't hold your breath.

As Dionne cites, there are people out there dying to pitch in with personal sacrifice. And no, just sending in an extra bit to the Treasury won't change anything. Besides the drop-in-a-bucket factor, the cultural domination of anti-tax militants needs to be reversed, or our government - roads, bridges, education, public safety, public health, parks, libraries, air, water, etc. - is going to drown in the bathtub.

The tragedy is that there are plenty of smart things to do and say to start turning the tide. But you'll be waiting for a blue moon if it's up to Buffett. And in a way, it is. Obama sure ain't getting it done.

[1] Oh, then it must be money, right? No, Americans for Tax Reform has about a $1 million dollar budget, spends about that on lobbying, and spent $4 million on independent ads in the 2010 cycle. That may seem like a lot, but it's not. It got them over $200,000 ad buys in only eight House districts - out of 435. Their record was 3-5. They wasted $328,000 in the Pennsylvania Senate race (against Joe Sestak) and they also spent $332,000 against Republicans. (Yes, all their ads were attack.)