Idiot of the Day

Okay. Usually there are WAY too many candidates for this honor to pick just one, so I don’t blog about it. I just sigh and move on. But today, we have a winner who is so far ahead of the rest, he deserves to have his name in print.

Stupidity SMACK of the day goes to…(drumroll)…GOP Rep. John Fleming.

While speaking on MSNBC against  Obama’s Buffet rule and explaining why he “couldn’t afford it,” Fleming said, “By the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.”

Let’s start with the concession that Fleming is from Louisiana. I know and love lots of people from my time living in the Arklatex region, but their public officials rarely turn out to be even 1/2 the people their constituents are. So it isn’t because he’s from the South. Hear me again, please. It isn’t because he’s from the South.

And I don’t think we can blame it on the fact that he’s Republican (as much as I’d like to, some days). As an independent, I’ve voted both sides of the fence. Not lately. But I have. So it isn’t that.

I think the core of the stupidity stems from the fact that the man is just out of touch. Mad out of touch. When his justification for not supporting a provision that makes sense (so named because Warren Buffet said he paid less in taxes than his secretary) is that he nets ONLY $400,000 a year, he needs a reality check. I say we drag him kicking and screaming from his little bubble, folks.

Let’s put him in the Marion County bubble for just a moment. Where the unemployment rate has consistently been 20%–the highest in the state–for more quarters than I can remember. Where the average teacher with a masters degree makes less than 10% of that number he just can’t live on. Where my own personal student loan debt (the only way “out” for most of us) is 20% of that number. Add to that, Rep. Fleming, some not-so-unusual financial issues facing families today–child support payments that don’t arrive, children in college, car repairs, the cost of prescriptions, the rising cost of groceries and gas–and I’d hope you’d get the picture.

Just in case you don’t, let me help you out: Don’t expect sympathy from the millions of unemployed and underemployed in the nation. And stop acting like the size of your income measures your contribution to the country (or your virtue), because right now, it doesn’t. That’s what the Buffett provision is all about–each giving according to his/her ability (If you need a biblical comparison, take a look at the story about the widow’s mite.) When you can’t live on a paltry $400,000, you should live somewhere else–preferably not in Washington.

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