Here's Wilkinson's response. Meat:
Mr King's ultimate objection seems to me to blur together two separate thoughts. First, he seems to think there is a class of problems that belong to the nation as a whole. Then there's the thought that problem-solving efforts financed by gifts from the rich people will prove ineffective, while efforts financed by taxes can work.
To Mr King's claim that "charity from the rich can’t fix global warming or lower the price of gasoline by one single red penny", I'd point out that tax revenue won't help much either. Asia's growing economies, greenhouse-gas emissions, and demand for oil aren't the sorts of thing American policy can do much about.
First, Wilkinson is ignoring the fact that a "Protocol" was signed by dozens of nations promising to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the United States is a perennial non-signer. And its comically misrepresentative to say American policy can't lower the price of gasoline. If we actually passed laws that said that EPA mpg requirements would go up in a shorter timeline than 2050 (far enough in advanced that no current Congresspersons will have to actually deal with the consequences) we'd see a surge of consumer movement to hybrid/electric vehicles. Further, the number of solutions to our nation's oil dependency are too numerous to list. Most require simple Congressional effort: Electric vehicle charging stations at rest stops, high speed rail, and carbon tax are just a few. Of course, these things are rendered less simple when the rich pay K Street a fortune to derail these "job killing" strategies.
What Wilkinson refuses to acknowledge in his response to King is that there are a cadre of wealthy people in this country who do not believe that they are in it with the rest of us. As King states sardonically:
Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own.That last bit has to be especially distateful to a libertarian, doesn't it.
I have a dear friend who believes that if taxes were decreased then charitable donations would rise. My response to such a naive dream is that the very traits that allow a person to become extraordinarily wealthy are the very same traits that preclude them from being charitable. You don't give your coworkers a leg up and become the CEO. You don't acquire, gut, and sell companies for profit and also find it fulfilling to volunteer at a job fair.
Instead of King's idea: raise taxes for the rich, I propose the opposite. Let's lower their taxes. Let's put all Republicans and Tea Partiers and Libertarians in office this November. Let's do everything the GOP wants, universally. Let's give the greedy everything they ever wanted, which is...everything. Let's lower the tax rate on income above $250k to 0% and let's eliminate the capital gains tax. Let's quadruple the tax deduction for mortgages and let's increase the ceiling on it. Let's lower the corporate income tax rate to 0%. Let's subsidize the price of gasoline by eliminating the gas tax. Let's cut school funding completely, and privatize schools. Let's ban abortion. We can privatize our utilities too, espeically water. Let's get rid of the FDA and the EPA. Food stamps? Gone. WIC? Gone. We'll completely cut off Federal/State dollars for Universities, and instead relax regulation on private lenders of student loans (and increase the amount of loans a student can take). What else does the GOP claim it wants? What else do the rich want? Whatever it is, let's do that too.
And then let's see if the economy booms. What's your guess? I have mine.
Here's my bottom line. Wilkinson says "[King] seems to think there is a class of problems that belong to the nation as a whole." On the contrary, there is but one problem here: the current tax code is set up so that Americans who are only in it for themselves thrive, and those Americans that believe in shared sacrifice lose.