Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Plausibility of Class Warfare



"This is not class warfare. It's math."



~President Barack Obama, Monday, September 19, 2011



"I don't believe that class warfare is leadership. And, you know, we could get into this tax the rich, tax the rich, but that is not... that's not the basis for America. It is not going to get our economy going again. And it's not going to put people back to work."



~House Speaker John Boehener, (R) Ohio, Monday, September 19, 2011

Ladies and gentleman I believe we have the makings of a fight on our hands. As you may already know, I think Obama's going to compromise, cave, tap out if you will. But this morning as I ran a soundbite from John Boehner equating government spending to a cocaine addiction, and another producer ran a soundbite from the President of the aforementioned statement about simple math, I began to think more deeply about class warfare. About pitting the classes against each other. The plebeians and proletariats against the patricians. The poor, impoverished and disenfranchised against the uppity, high-falutin' bourgeoise. And I thought on sheer numbers alone we the working poor and what's left of the middle class surely outnumber the Warren Buffetts of the country. Yet what we have in number we lack in power which is why class warfare isn't really plausible, isn't really what this -- whatever it is -- is. No matter how good it sounds it's just not. The poor in all their strength in numbers rarely rise up against the rich and the powerful because if we are not firmly United our front can easily be broken by bribes. (Unless of course this is Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen etc or seven Jamaican women slaves in The Book of Night Women.)

While class warfare is highly unlikely economic warfare is not.


We saw economic warfare being waged in the budget crisis that nearly led to a Government shutdown in April. We saw economic warfare being waged in the debt ceiling crisis when it was tied to a balanced budget; specifically the addition of a balance budget amendment this past August. We see economic warfare every time Republicans say any tax increase is D.O.A. We see economic warfare every time Republicans seek to slash entitlement programs some in their districts would not be able to live without. We see economic warfare every time a President or a Congressman tries to address a social issue or our current economic issue and are shot down because the reform does not conform to the American ideal of freedom. Ron Paul this is for you.

It is economic warfare when quality health insurance is a given for the rich but not even an option for the poor. It is economic warfare when government assistance is slashed mid-economic crisis even if it is a so-called recovery. It is economic warfare when secretaries pay a higher percentage in taxes -- albeit less in dollars -- than does a billionaire many times over. It is economic warfare when corporations can buy their way into government and political affluence and people with real issues, and real needs, can't even find a lobbyist they could pay to pay attention.

The President's proposal to increase taxes on the "super rich" is not class warfare. It simply cannot be. If it were class warfare the current occupy Wall Street movement taking place in Battery Park would be much more successful and actually happening on Wall Street. This is yet again economic warfare called something different.

The sad part about this whole spat of which warfare we're waging to power the economy is that come Thanksgiving if Congress does not act on the American Jobs Act and the $3 trillion proposal to pay for said act -- which includes a mixture of tax hikes and spending cuts -- the Super Committee may then do what it was charged to do and find $1.5 trillion in spending cuts alone per the debt ceiling agreement.

That is economic warfare to the ultimate.

This fight for or over our economy has never been about class. It has always been about ideology, personal interest/personal gain and then economics. The math, though not rocket science, is hardly simple.


Questions:
1. Do you think labeling this fight"class warfare" is just another attempt to divert focus from the real issue of creating jobs under a President the minority/majority doesn't want to see re-elected?
2. Do you think John Boehner's comparison of government spending and cocaine addiction a fair assessment or plain insensitivity to addicts?
3. When people say that the super rich should pay their "fair share in taxes," what does that actually mean in terms of an actual tax % rate or dollar amount?  How much do you think is fair? (hat tip to Da PE for this question)

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