Thursday, September 22, 2011

Class Warfare

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Yesterday I heard an audio montage on the radio of several different Republican talking heads and politicians accusing the President of conducting class warfare.  They were repeating a GOP talking point like so many addlepated parrots - staying on message - accusing President Obama of picking on a particular class of people - the super rich.  Well, they didn't really refer to the intended "victims" of the President's battle strategy as rich - they always refer to them as middle class Americans or "job creators."

But what they are really wailing is this:  It is so bloody unfair that the nation's richest individuals and corporations (the Republican base) should have their tax rates raised to the same level as those that America's working families are already paying.   Let the very richest Americans keep more of their money and they will use it to create jobs and help the economy.

 And what they aren't saying is this:  most of the super wealthy will spend their money on themselves and lavish it on their Republican stooges, and those who do create jobs will ship most of those jobs overseas, and any jobs created in the United States will likely involve the preparation and distribution of french fries.

Class warfare is not the little guys picking on the rich - a dynamic that seldom works out.  It is the big guy holding the little guy down and insuring that he is so poor that whatever meager income he manages to patch together has to go toward living expenses - every damned dime of it.

Class warfare is conducted through union busting, denial or lack of health services, exorbitant credit card fees, unfair banking practices, restrictions on voting rights, racial profiling,  lack of educational opportunities, gated communities, limited or no public transportation, laws that target specific economic or racial groups, laws that protect property over people, and a thousand other nefarious things that the rich have used for years and years to consolidate their wealth and keep the lower classes in "their place."  That's class warfare!

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in America, has long been the bane of his fellow fat cats for being too damned honest.  Buffett enjoys pointing out that his secretary pays a larger percentage of her income in taxes than he does.  And Buffett chortles that he does not even use a tax shelter.  So President Obama took that shameful fact and titled his request for a modest tax increase on the wealthiest Americans  the "Buffett Rule."  Informal Internet polls are showing that the American public seems to have caught onto the class warfare ruse and likes the idea of a Buffett Rule.

But dammit, Congress doesn't want to raise taxes.  Those elite legislators, many of whom are multi-millionaires themselves, believe that all of our budget woes can be eliminated through cuts in the budget.  But, of course, the programs that they are ready to cut or sacrifice altogether are those that benefit the poor and the needy.   Why cut a weapons system that the Defense Department doesn't even want, when Medicare and Medicaid have all of that lovely fat?

There may be, however, some sensible cuts that Congress could consider.  They could cut their own pay and benefits packages as a way of showing the American people that we are all in this thing together and must all sacrifice.  Last week, in fact, five taxpayer advocacy groups sent a letter to the 12-member Congressional super committee and suggested that Congress could look at cutting its own salary by a measly 10 percent, noting that would result in a savings of $100 million over ten years. ran an informal poll this week wanting to check out public support for a cut in Congressional pay and benefits, and 94% of the nearly 400,000 responses thought it was a great idea.

I think that I could support class warfare if it was directed toward the Congressional class.  That would really set those pigs to squealing!

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

Congress doesn't want to raise taxes because of their reliance on the top half of the top one per cent of the most filthy rich in our nation.

Money is the Mother's Milk of politics. Democrats, Republicans, Third Parties, and Indpendents know this.

Back in those nostalgic days of SMS I once took a course in Public Administration. The professor spoke about institutional inertia as a major factor why things don't change.

Too many Senators and Representatives have been given too much money, much of it now coming from unaccountable sources. That money pays for the institutional inertia which has kept the taxes on the rich low, at the expense of everyone else.

Personally, I favor a true Progressive Tax Structure and am considering taking the Hedgehog Tax Pledge. But first I've ordered up from the library the book "The Rats Are in the Cheese: One Hedgehog's Political Journey" by Jon Zagrodzky and illustrated by Gary Miller.

Egalitarian reforms of the tax code are not the instruments of class warfare. Of the opposition to those reforms, the same claim cannot be made.