Rick Ungar’s essay at The Washington Monthly – Democrats Wrong To Play Defense On Class Warfare – is mostly a caution to Democrats and President Obama not to shy away from calling class warfare what it is, the Republican economic war against middle-class/blue-collar working class America.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday”, GOP Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan, had this to say –
Class warfare may make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people. We don’t need a system that seeks to prey on people’s fear, envy and anxiety.
Since Ryan’s appearance – one echoed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during his own Sunday morning talk show turn -the GOP has been using every opportunity to parrot the phrase.
In response, the Democrats have taken every chance presented to them to once again go on defense by rejecting the allegation. By so doing, they are completely forgoing the opportunity to acknowledge that there is most assuredly such a war, it’s been raging for decades, and it’s high time that people begin to focus on who is on the side of the rich and who is on the side of the middle class and the poor.
Considering that this war was launched in the mid-1970’s, when CEO’s decided that it no longer served their interest to continue paying their workers a fair wage, it’s difficult to understand how anyone could be shocked to learn that the middle class has been under attack since Jimmy Carter sat in the White House or be persuaded that, somehow, Barack Obama is responsible for its creation.
Back in the 1970’s, before the first shot was fired, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 9 percent of the income. By 2007, that 1 percent was taking 23.5 percent of the money. The numbers are even more depressing when we add in the next 4 percent at the top of the income scale. Meanwhile, everyone else has been left to suffer stagnating household incomes.
Ryan has cojones the size of watermelons to seat there and talk about the politics of fear and envy to divide America. There would be no Republican party, no conservative movement, no right-wing hate radio, no Rupert Murdoch, no influence by right-wing sugar daddies like the Koch brothers without the politics of fear and hysteria the Right thrives on. It is not something to admire or respect, the phenomenon that conservatives have managed to use various kinds of fear – big gov’mint, ethnocentrism, fear of cultural changes, Islam, a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body and nonexistent religious persecution – to get a sizable minority of middle-class/blue-collar to vote against their own best interests.
Not only have the forces of the wealthy, under the capable direction of four star generals like Charles and David Koch, managed to have their way with relative ease, they’ve cleverly succeeded in convincing many of their victims to join in on their side.
Exhibit ‘A’ to support that reality would be the Tea Party, a collection of middle class people financed by the Koch brothers who have locked arms with their enemy without even knowing they have done so. By sounding a false alarm about the dangers of big government, the upper class has fooled these people into believing that laying down the only defenses they’ve ever had – government and unions-is the way to solve the problems that plague them.
With successes like this in hand, it’s no wonder that Republicans believe they can sell the notion that Obama is somehow responsible for trying to start a class war that has already been going on for decades.
If you go to conservative websites you can read posts and comments b y these conservative middle-class culture warriors who have declared war on themselves. One good example of how they mangle reality to suit how they view the world: President Obama and Democrats are all socialists because they went through with loans to the auto industry started by Bush 43 and approved by Congressional Republicans. At which point the U.S. government held stock in two auto companies as collateral for those loans. Ronald Reagan had the government outright seize ownership of the savings and loans during their big collapse in the 1980s, he is still the conservative saint of everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Sarah Palin. If Obama and Democrats are socialists for proceeding with a plan already approved by Republicans, that should, with some consistency of thinking, make Regan the living embodiment of Karl Marx. One other myth that will not go away is the belief by conservatives especially self-described tea partiers, is that Obama raised their taxes. Not only has Obama not raised taxes or proposed raising taxes on the middle-class, he has cut taxes several times. Again, Saint Ronnie raised taxes four times. It was Bush who was steering the nation’s financial ship and decided not to enforce the bare-bones financial regulation we had left. These are some of the things Bush and Republicans could have done to avert the recession or made it less disastrous:
Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve, which lowered interest rates without increasing regulation, refused to enforce a 1994 law requiring prudent underwriting standards and turned a blind eye to abuses in the process of loan securitization.
The Office of Thrift Supervision, which let savings banks under its supervision engage in outlandishly risky practices.
The Wall Street firms that bankrolled subprime lenders and turned their high-risk loans into securities
The credit-rating agencies that blessed toxic subprime securities with Triple-A ratings.
The SEC’s failure to police those agencies.
And, of course, the subprime lenders themselves.
Somehow the recession is still Obama’s fault, or the fault of liberalism, or if you’re fond of right-wing libertarians on the net is was the combination of statism and too much regulation. By believing bogus urban myths, the kind that Glenn Beck manufactures faster than Hostess makes Twinkies, the right-wing middle-class is prolonging this recession and setting us up for another one. Which you can bet they will also wiggle out of taking responsibility. These are also the same people who buy into Social Security being a Ponzi scheme, think doing away with minimum wages will create millions of jobs, if we only started letting the kids work in coal mines again the economy would be booming, if we let move health shattering pollution into the America’s air would have no economic problems and if we could just bring Fonzi back to give the jukebox a good wack we’d all live in paradise.
While we’re still on the subject of class warfare, urban myths and the wing-nut echo chamber, let’s kill this crap about the wealthy carrying too much of the federal tax burden – Understanding Class Warfare Hysteria
Next, you focus on the share of taxes each group pays. Few Americans have a sense of just how large a share of the pie is brought in by the most affluent. For that reason, the share of taxes paid by the rich is likewise surprising.
So put the two together, and you have results like this soundbite:
According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, the 1 percent of households with the highest incomes pay 38 percent of federal income taxes. The top 10 percent pay 70 percent of federal income taxes. Meanwhile, 46 percent of households pay no federal income tax at all.
And the president thinks that the wealthy aren’t paying the fair share?
That’s Chris Wallace on last weekend’s Fox News Sunday, but versions of this statistic are uttered almost every day.
Here is a fact that Fox, Chris and the echo chamber leaves out – the top 11% owns about 72% of the nation’s assets. The bottom 50.2% own about 2.8%. Why should people who own less pay the upper 11%’s share of taxes. This is also part of the myth that those in the bottom half pay no taxes. They pay a regressive amount of payroll taxes. They also pay regressive sales taxes, state taxes and fees. Basic arithmetic, would you rather make more money and pay a little more in taxes or make low wages and pay no federal income tax. Fox would have everyone believe that working class America has it made with those low wages because they do not pay federal income taxes. The average American, which includes the average tea smoker, will never make it into Bill Gates or Koch brothers income territory, but should that happen they’ll start to get the bulk of their income from capital gains and pay an effective federal tax rate of 15% ( thus the Buffet Rule). As a kind of bonus, the feds will also pay you to buy a McMansion by way of tax incentives. The conservative working class is not fighting big gov’mint or that mythical rising tide of socialism they have been paranoid about for sixty years, they are fighting for the right-wing plutocratic masters who have lowered their standard of living and made them more powerless.
As though anyone needed more evidence that Herman Cain is a racist – CAIN: Black Community Was ‘Brainwashed’ Into Voting For Obama
Herman Cain, the upstart 2012 GOP candidate, said Wednesday that the black community has been “brainwashed” into voting Democrats into office.
In an interview with CNN tonight, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, said that African Americans have been told not to consider conservative points of view.
“I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the nomination as a conservative,” Cain said. “So it’s just brainwashing and people not being open-minded, pure and simple.”
You know who else thought African-Americans could not think for themselves, president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis who said, “The condition of slavery with us is, in a word, Mr. President, nothing but the form of civil government instituted for a class of people not fit to govern themselves. It is exactly what in every State exists in some form or other. It is just that kind of control which is extended in every northern State over its convicts, its lunatics, its minors, its apprentices. It is but a form of civil government for those who by their nature are not fit to govern themselves. We recognize the fact of the inferiority stamped upon that race of men by the Creator, and from the cradle to the grave, our Government, as a civil institution, marks that inferiority.” Jefferson Davis and Herman Cain are thus blessed with some secret knowledge and insight that African-Americans, other than black conservatives, do not have. Cain like many in the Antebellum South believe black Americans to be weak-minded and weak-willed. If they would just all do as Cain says they’ll see the light. Cain has some special tin-foil that makes him immune from all the liberal “brainwashing” that other black Americans do not. Cain stands for the same economic policies as every other conservative – America as a plutocracy with ever-growing income disparity, even less opportunity to move up the economic ladder and fewer educational opportunities.
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” – Warren Buffett
“In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest.
Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.” – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations