Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Carl Gibson

Spokesman and organizer for US Uncut

May 13th, 2012 10:17 PM

Plutocrats Deserve Public Scorn

How to shut down 1% shills in public

While sipping on an iced coffee and getting some work done in a Starbucks in the white, conservative, wealthy part of Connecticut, I kept hearing three old, white, conservative, wealthy Connecticut men carrying on about how the Senate doesn't work anymore because the Democrats haven't been able to pass a budget in three years. Unable to concentrate, I set my coffee down, turned to them, and said:

"The Senate doesn't work anymore because the Republicans will filibuster absolutely everything that isn't in lockstep with their plutocratic views."

The Starbucks got really quiet. One guy chided me about how "brainwashed" I was, and asked me how the Kool-Aid tasted. His friend, the more outspoken one, decided to engage.

"The Democrats control the Senate. And they haven't passed a budget in three years," he spat.

"Did you know the Republicans actually stopped the Buffett Rule from even coming to a vote? They wouldn't even allow debate on a bill that would make the top half of the top 1 percent pay the same tax rate as me and you," I said, feeling my blood start to run hot. "If you don't make a million dollars a year, the Republicans don't care about you. Unless you have a lobbyist. Do you have a lobbyist?"

The guy who chided me about drinking Kool-Aid stood up and walked back over to the counter and let his friend fend for himself.

"The Democrats still haven't passed a budget," he continued. "And any bill that comes out of the House just gets thrown to the side."

"That's because the House Republicans put in a clause to build the Keystone XL pipeline in every bill they pass, even if it's something like a resolution commending the kid who won the spelling bee," I retorted.

I felt the eyes of everyone in the Starbucks on me. So I went on the offensive.

"Why are you shilling for these guys, anyway? How many lobbyists do you have?" I asked.

"I don't have any lobbyists," he replied.

"You know GE hired one lobbyist for every three members of Congress in 2010? And that GE got a $3.2 billion tax refund that year instead of paying federal taxes? Think there's a connection there?"

"Corporations don't pay taxes," he said predictably. "If corporate taxes go up, they raise the prices on their goods. The customers pay the corporate taxes."

"No, they don't," I said, laughing. "I'm a small business owner. I have revenue and costs. If my revenue and my costs zero out, then I pay zero taxes. If my revenue exceeds my costs, I pay taxes on those profits. The cost of my service is in no way affected by the taxes I pay. It's like Puff and Biggie said - 'Mo Money, Mo Problems.'"

The hip-hop reference was lost on the guy. "We definitely need to reform the tax code. You know, 47% of Americans don't pay any taxes at all," he said nauseatingly. "We need to make sure everybody pays something."

"You know 83% of the top 100 corporations didn't pay taxes for at least one year over a 7-year period?" I asked him. "The dollar in my pocket is a dollar more than Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and GE all paid in federal taxes since 2008, combined."

The guy's friends all got quiet, watching me with their noses turned up. I continued:

"And that 47% already pays a third of their income in sales, property, payroll and excise taxes. Now you want to tax those people more instead of make millionaires and big corporations pay the same tax rate we already do?"

"You're obviously too brainwashed for me to save," he said. "So I'll close with this: Your generation is already going to pay tens of thousands of dollars because of Obama's debt. And he's going to make the debt hit $20 trillion by 2020. That means we'll have to make cuts of $800 billion a year. Everyone with common sense knows we need to balance the budget with spending cuts and tax increases."

I didn't let him go.

"I totally agree with you. As far as spending cuts go, we can start with ending the wars and the F-35 program. That's $1.5 trillion that hasn't done a thing. Even John McCain says it's wasteful. That's a few hundred billion a year right there. And as far as the tax code is concerned, all you need to do is five things."

"Five things?" he scoffed. "It'll take a lot more than that."

"No, it won't," I said. "First thing - new tax bracket for households making over a million a year."

"That won't make a dent," the guy said.

"Let me finish. That's about $100 billion a year, every year. Next, you put in a 3-cent financial transaction tax on derivatives and other speculative trading. That's $1.5 trillion in ten years. Then you close excessive corporate tax loopholes, and make those guys pay what small businesses pay. That's another $155 billion a year. Then you progressively tax estates worth $5 million on up. Not even $3 million, just five. All that equals $4 trillion in ten years. Know what number five is?"


"Use all that new revenue we just gained to reverse all the budget cuts at the state level, and create a massive WPA-style jobs program to cut unemployment in half and fix all of our roads and bridges and schools and parks. And we'd still have a couple trillion left over to put towards the debt. But since most of that debt comes from tax cuts for billionaires and the wars, we won't even have a deficit."

The coffee shop was quiet. The guy's friend was still watching me from the counter.

"Look! I just fixed the economy and it only affected 0.1% of the population!"

The guy's friends left shortly after he did.

Maybe some folks might be critical of me for launching into a sensitive political conversation on a Saturday afternoon at a coffee shop. But the only way to get the GOP (Guardians Of Plutocracy) out of office is to vilify them in public and shame their supporters. It isn't about Republican vs. Democrat anymore. It's about if somebody's end goals and policies are geared towards helping the top 0.1%, or everyone else. We shouldn't be afraid to call people out when we hear them shill for Plutocrats.

And I guarantee you if those guys see me in public again, they'll shift the conversation toward sports.

Creative Commons License This content is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law Donna Smith Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? Donna Smith We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa Nick Turse Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch Donna Smith The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles