“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.”
– Bertrand Russell
I’m supposed to feel sorry for the wealthy, is that right? They are under attack from President Obama and the Democrats. The wealthiest 1% of Americans are America’s new whipping boys.
It’s class warfare!
Bad Obama! Bad, bad Obama!
I’m doing my best to force out a sob or two. Sob…sob. That’s two, right?
Actually, I really don’t buy my own line of horsepucky, to steal a favorite euphemism from Colonel Potter of M.A.S.H. fame. Try as I might, I cannot summon up a lot of sympathy for this now infamous 1% of our citizens and I’ll tell you why for one simple reason.
These are the people who have been siphoning off much of the wealth of our country and been the most fortunate recipients of the last few decades of consistent tax cutting. Got that?
I’m beginning to wonder why everyone doesn’t comprehend and digest that fact. And when I say “fact”, I mean fact. You see, this fact cannot be manipulated to fit your worldview that President Obama is a socialist. This fact is a fact is a freaking fact. Okay?
Because even though today’s Republican’s can spin facts like nobody’s business (and have perfected the art of lying about President Obama’s record, and I’ll get to that disgrace in another blog), I would hazard a guess that just about anyone who can count would agree that 2+2=4 ’cause that is a fact. Although, i’ve got to tell you that in today’s political climate, if President Obama made a speech claiming that 2+2 equaled 4, every talking head on the right would immediately and vociferously be against it, and I bet you that Steve Douchy (sp.?) on FOX and Friends would say that proves Obama wants to turn America in a hippie, socialist, commune where we do nothing but eat organically grown food sans pink slime, drive our Chevy Volts, and help our neighbors all day. Egads!
You see these particular people, the 1%–hell–the top 10%– have been doing very, very, well. I honestly don’t know how the Boehnor’s and the Cantor’s and the talking head dodo birds on the right can sit there with straight faces and tell Americans that the they should feel sorry for those put-upon millionaires because we want to inject some fairness back into the tax code.
Could you pass the Kleenex?
Oh that word fairness. The right despises that word. That word to a conservative is like throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West. It makes them melt. To them “fair” is antithetical to their capitalistic, I got mine (by gaming the system) so screw you, may the best man win, mentality of economics.
But these facts (I know, I know, the right hates facts as well as fairness–quite telling, actually) are indisputable:
Trickle down anyone?
2. The top 1% takes home 24% of the national income. By comparison, in 1976, they took home just 9% of the income. This is more than at anytime in our history since the 1920’s.
You know the late 20’s, right? It was a little period of our history called The Great Depression. Yeah. Great income disparity was a fact back then, too, and income disparity just like we see today was a little problematic.
So how are they being treated unfairly? Government has been and keeps on cutting their taxes.
This should be fairly easy to understand Mr. Conservative. Low taxes are not directly correlated with economic success.The last decade of the Bush tax cuts should clear that little fallacy up. Also, tax increases actually led to economic growth and prosperity at various times of our history…See Clinton.
5. During the first year of our latest economic recovery, the top 1% made 93% of the gains.
Now isn’t that a fun-fact?
Do you feel a little better for Richie Rich now?
I’ve been reading and digesting these numbers about income inequality for a long time now, and what I’ve learned is that historically, this is unhealthy for our country. As stated previously, this was the case to the run-up of the Depression, and it was the case in the run-up to this near-depression. Just take a gander at all of these nifty charts that show just how mind-boggling this inequality has become in recent decades.
I was spurred on to write today after witnessing this whole “Buffett Rule” debate. What I came away with time after time was this constant drumbeat on the right that somehow the Buffet Rule was unfair to the rich and would do nothing to help the deficit.
Please watch John Stewart tear apart their little talking point.
And I don’t want to hear how half the country doesn’t pay taxes. They do, they are not income taxes but the gazillion other taxes that go to our government. A nice bit of taxation that eats into a 28,000 salary pretty damn nicely.
Now, is the Buffet Rule a cosmetic move by President Obama? Sure it is. He even admitted as much. But it is a shot over the bow that needs to be fired.
I laugh heartily when, as in the case of my esteemed Governor Christie, Republicans propose these wonderful tax cuts across the board. Whoo-hoo! Who doesn’t love them some good ole tax a- savin’?
But then you actually look at the numbers and see that most people would see a miniscule amount of savings. For instance, a family who earns $50,000 a year would pocket a whopping $80 bucks. However, a family of millionaires would see a savings starting at about $7300 smack-a-roos. No thanks, you can keep my eighty-bucks and use it to pave the potholes on I-95 where it will do more good for a lot more people. Smoke and mirrors again by the righties. Get my drift?
So where does this leave us?
Where it leaves us is an America where Citizens United has blown open a hole in the amount of, and the secret nature of, corporate donations. It leaves us in an America where a bunch of politicians take money from really rich people and really rich corporations in order to get elected. Then, these politicians gut regulations, make laws favoring the rich and the corporations, and create tax loopholes that allow those really rich people and really rich corporations stay really rich, because if they don’t make those laws and tax policies, the really rich people and corporations won’t give them any more money.
Then, in order to pay for those tax cuts for the rich, the rest of us get to work more years before we collect social security, get really cool “vouchers” from old, bedroom eyes Paul Ryan that, if we are really lucky, may cover about half of what we need to pay for health insurance. I mean, I’m sure the health insurance industry will be chomping at the bit to insure old people just at the point in their lives where the chances are really good they will be having “health issues.” We also get to keep pumping money into the bloated military budget to keep the military industrial complex steaming along too.
We will also be allowed to cut funding for education, Pell grants, pensions, and public workers like teachers, cops and fireman. Yippe!
So while the right will scream “class warfare” and wail about how Obama wants to redistribute the wealth, it is actually THEY who are committing class warfare and redistributing the wealth upward. The right does not want you to wake up from your hate-induced, anti-Obama comas and realize that it is actually the rich and powerful who have been stealing from the poor and middle class to pay for their tax cuts which doesn’t create jobs– just richer and more powerful people.
What those on the right won’t tell you is that cutting taxes does NOT mean that the job creators create jobs. I just gave you information that clearly proves that.
What those on the right won’t tell you is that they only hate redistribution of wealth downwards, not upwards, because clearly their policies of the last few decades have shown you that.
What those on the right won’t tell you is that for every congressman, there are 3 lobbyists and that is who they make policy for, not us. To be fair, many on the left won’t tell you that either, but there are many more on the left who will, like Bernie Sanders (I) from Vermont. What is even scarier is that thousands of ex-congressmen and staffers leave the halls of Congress to work as high-powered lobbyists. How deleterious and caustic for our political process.
According to Mitt Romney, all we have to do is cut taxes even more for those at the top of the income ladder and everything will be alright. Just wait a bit, it’ll all just trickle down to you. Just don’t worry your pretty little heads, Etch a sketch says, once we cut even more taxes, the knights in shining armour will happily create jobs for us peons and we will rise from the ashes once again!
The only problem is, Mitt, we’ve been doing that for a really, really long time now and what do we have to show for it?
Unhappily, what we have to show for it is the cliche’ that the rich just keep getting richer…and the poor just keep getting poorer. It’s that simple, and it’s a fact.
Just for the record, I don’t “hate” the rich, nor am I “jealous” of them. I respect anyone who works hard and benefits from their labors and their brains. However, what I strongly take offense to is the way certain elements of the rich and the powerful have systematically over time rigged the game so that they continue to reap monetary benefits at everyone else’s expense.
Just like the human ability to know right from wrong is one way that sets us apart from the animals, so is the understanding that taxes, as famously quoted by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., are the price we pay for a civilized society. Bringing “fairness” to the tax system is as easy or complicated as our leaders want it to be.
It’s so funny how wealthy people who are advocating for themselves to pay higher taxes like Warren Buffett and George Soros (FAUX’s favorite left-wing evil-doer) are somehow “loathsome” and “un-American”, but predatory, edacious, clandestine bastards like the Koch brothers (and please, if you don’t know about these snakes, you need to research them) are hailed as “patriots” and “wonderful capitalists” by the right. My God, up is down and down is up in the conservasphere, circa 2012.
So let me verily apologize if I can’t work up more sympathy for those poor, demonized one-percenters.
Not even one good, hearty sob.
- Is this what class warfare would look like? (blogs.ajc.com)