September 21, 2011

Class Warfare

To use a football metaphor, conservatives must have called a huddle and settled on a play because they’re all speaking from the same game plan.  In response to President Obama’s proposed tax policy, they say it would provoke class warfare.

Do I understand the implication correctly?  Are they saying that the President’s proposal, which would require millionaires to pay no less than the same tax rate paid by middle-class Americans, would cause serious—possibly even violent—division among us?  If that’s the message, it’s just another example of language rules that disparage by playing into a strong prevailing emotion.  Don’t just say your opponent has misconstrued the facts.  Say he lied, or better yet, say he committed a blood libel! 

The idea that class warfare will result from requiring rich American’s to forgo the myriad tax deductions of which they can avail themselves is laughable.  If anything, it was the Bush-era tax cuts that have caused the kind of class division that has resulted in economic collapse or revolution every time it has occurred in the past.  President Obama said his policy was based upon “math.”  He could also have said it was the fair thing to do.  But I’ll repeat something I’ve said before.  If we’re truly a Christian nation, we’ll seek ways to share in each other’s burdens and the fact is too many corporations and billionaires have been getting off light for too many years.

Conservatives will say tax increases result in job losses.  If that’s true, why did Clinton create an unprecedented 25 million jobs while raising taxes?  And why did Bush create no more than 3 million jobs—the fewest for a two-term president since records were kept—while lowering taxes?  Today, corporations and the rich have pocketed increasingly high after-tax incomes, due partly to our country’s economic policies over the last decade.  According to a report issued by Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans—who, by the way, have a combined net worth of $1.53 trillion—saw their personal wealth rise by 12% in 2010.  This happened while the rest of the nation suffered from declining home prices and crushing unemployment.  

The truth is, the rich and their corporate interests are not employing new workers and they will do so only when consumer demand increases, which won’t happen if middle-class Americans are forced to cover a disproportionately high percentage of the national debt.  But that’s only economics.  The bigger issue as far as I’m concerned is this: If you’re a rich Christian, you’ll vote for the privilege of contributing an equitable share toward funding the nation’s financial burden and you’ll demand the money be used for something greater than the building of WMDs.  You’ll hope to achieve our nation’s most noble desires—to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and administer to the sick.  And you’ll do it, in part, because that’s what Jesus has asked of us. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please read:

The calculus behind the OMB claims of a widening wealth gap are complicated. There are some problems with the data (just two - tax policy clouds comparison of years. - how skewed is the 1% data? we are given mean not median numbers).

Furthermore, even if there is some validity to the numbers, what is the explanation? Few pundits point to every increasing competition coming from the rest of the world and how increasingly unprepared America is to compete. The knowledge and skill obtained in high school used to be adequate. Now, HS graduates in the US must compete with ambitious, hard-working people from China, India, and Latin America.