According to Republicans and their media mouthpieces, President Barack Obama has declared a war on rich people.
· “[President Obama] is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.”--Larry Kudlow, CNBC, 2/27/09
· “Obama chose a time of recession to propose a massive increase in progressivity--a 10-year, trillion-dollar haul from the rich, already being punished by the stock market collapse and the housing market decline. [The plans are so radical,] there will not be enough wealthy people left to bleed.”--Michael Gerson (a former Bush speechwriter), The Washington Post, 3/5/09
They are calling it a “class war” (from Media Matters, 2/27/09).
· [MSNBC’s] Michelle Bernard said Barack Obama “was almost declaring class warfare” in his speech to Congress;
· CNBC’s Carlos Quintanilla said, “I don’t want to call it class warfare, although that’s what it may end up being in the end, this debate over wealth redistribution”.
· Politico ran an article headlined “Class warfare returns to D.C.”.
· MSNBC ran a segment asking: “Is there a war against the wealthy? Do we have a class war developing?”
What has President Obama done to start a class war and throw these pundits into such a tizzy?
He has proposed to:
· Roll back the Bush tax cuts on families making more than $250,000 per year or single filers earning more than $200,000 per year.
· Raise taxes on the gas and oil companies that made record profits while Americans paid record gas prices.
· Eliminate subsidies paid to private insurers in Medicare and drug companies in Medicaid, and put the savings toward healthcare reform.
· Make the investor class pay the same tax rate as the working class.
In other words, President Obama is proposing to do exactly what he said he would do--if elected President.
· “To hear conservatives tell it, you’d think mobs of shiftless welfare moms were marauding through the streets of Greenwich and Palm Springs, lynching bankers and hedge-fund managers, stringing up shopkeepers, and herding lawyers into internment camps. President Obama and his budgeteers, they say, have declared war on the rich.”-- 09
The pundits are right about one thing. This is a class war, but President Obama didn’t start it. This war has been going on since the first rich caveman discovered they could get a little richer by making another caveman a little poorer.
· “There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”-- Multi-Billionaire Warren Buffett (who paid 17.7 percent of his income in taxes, while his secretary paid 30 percent of her $60,000 income)
· “[C]lass warfare is what the Reagan Era gave us: thirty years of tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of the common weal, thirty years of lax regulations which enabled the bankers to strip-mine the savings of average Americans while reaping huge rewards in Ponzi schemes, like the micro-dividing of mortgage assets that were really debits.”
· “[F]rom 2000 to 2007, the income of the median working-age household fell by $2,000--an unprecedented decline. In that time, virtually all of the nation’s economic growth went to a small number of wealthy Americans.”
This “class war” has been raging for years, but the media didn’t bother to mention it until someone dared to suggest that we should “spread the wealth around”. Then, the media suddenly became concerned. Why do you think that is? Could it be because the rich own the media?
· “One reason [the rich are] winning is that the news media do not use the loaded phrases ‘class warfare’ and ‘redistribution of wealth’ to describe things like the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, or the home mortgage deduction... or countless other policies that benefit wealthier Americans at the expense of those who are less fortunate. Instead, the media pretend this is a one-sided war--as though the wealthy are being unfairly assaulted by an army of bullying waitresses and janitors and farmers and teachers.”--Jamison Foser, Media Matters for America., 2/27/09
In a democracy, you would think 98 percent of the population would have more influence on their government than the remaining 2 percent, but we don’t.
· “With the full support of their political hirelings from both parties, this minority created tax dodges, trade scams, corporate subsidies, deregulation fantasies, financial hustles, de-unionization schemes, bankruptcy loopholes and other mechanisms that turned government into a redistributionist bulldozer, shoving wealth from the workaday majority into their own pockets.”--Jim Hightower, Creators Syndicate, 3/12/09
The ongoing class war is a reality, and you are in it--like it or not. So, pick a side--keeping in mind that siding with the rich will not make you rich. (There is a joke about when the ten richest people in the world tried to divide up all the money in the world. They found there wasn’t enough to go around.) The rich do not just prey on us, they also eat their own.
Right now is a particularly good time to join up for the war on the rich, because we have a new ally--President Barack Obama (from his weekly radio address, 2/28/09).
· “The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long. But I don’t. I work for the American people.”
· “I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight. My message to them is this: So am I.”
Are you ready to rumble? The rich are not going to give up any of their ill-gotten gains without a fight. Already their vast army of lobbyists has descended on Washington, twisting arms and greasing palms, to thwart any change in the status quo. This job is greatly simplified by the fact that they only have to convince 41 Senators to block President Obama’s proposals.
Republicans seem to have made a political calculation to oppose all things Obama. They must believe that if they can keep him from succeeding, it could help them politically (If the US economy happens to crash, precipitating a world-wide depression; it will all be worth it--if they pick up some seats in 2010).
That is why we have to join the war on the rich--to stop them before they do even more damage to America and the world. So, lock and load your phone and call your Senators and Representative (202-224-3121). Tell them it is time America started spreading the wealth around a little more fairly. The American people are not asking for a handout--just a fair deal. How about jobs that pay a living wage? How about affordable healthcare that cuts out the middlemen and protects American families from illness-related bankruptcy? How about preventing companies from being able to make workers pension funds disappear, while their executives float away on golden parachutes?
Tell them: It is time Congress started representing the rest of the American people--not just the richest two percent.