As Oscar Wilde said, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” In that spirit, I give up resisting the urge to shout “HYPOCRITE.”
Not once, but a thousand times.
Start with Al Gore, the low-hanging fruit in the “say one thing, do another” culture. With his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, the almost-president instantly doubled his charlatan quotient.
The blowhard who often proclaims the end of the world is nigh because of fossil fuels sold his TV business to the emir of Qatar, king of the oil patch. But Gore’s scheming didn’t stop there. He also reportedly wanted to finalize the deal before the end of the year so his $100 million windfall wouldn’t be subject to new higher tax rates he zealously supported.
He’s not alone in urging tax hikes he tried to avoid. From the Washington Post to Costco to Warren Buffett to Hollywood, the woods are full of devotees to that Sage of Selfishness, Leona Helmsley. The Queen of Mean insisted that “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes,” just before she was marched off to prison for tax evasion.
Her acolytes are hypocrites, but not felonious. President Obama’s Tinseltown pals got lucrative tax breaks and, after declaring themselves eager to pay their fair share, the Post and Costco pushed 2013 dividends into 2012 so higher taxes this year wouldn’t hit their wallets. Sharpies for sure, especially Buffett, who is on the Post board and is a big stockholder. He made himself the poster boy for soaking the rich, though “Taxes for thee, but not for me” is his real creed.