I wrote this piece a few days back about the so-called “Class Warfare” of Obama’s new proposed tax increases.
I think it rang true for a lot of people, but there are those who disagree and I think their view is summed up in this opinion piece in the Washington Post by ultra-Conservative, German tool, Charles Krauthammer: “Return of the real Obama.”
His argument, quickly summed up, is two-fold. First he claims that raising the Capital Gains Tax will hurt the economy, but this point is really tangential (because I think he knows it’s tenuous) to the larger point he wants to make: Obama is and always has been a Socialist trying to make everyone equal, trying to abolish the super rich so that all people fall into the same “class.”
I have to wonder, what kind of mental gymnastics must a person do to think that raising taxes a few percentage points will suddenly throw the rich into a tailspin that will nullify 90% of their wealth (actually, more, but I’ll round) so that they could qualify as middle class (though, still upper middle class). If you’re making a million dollars a year and you suddenly have to pay $10,000 more a year in taxes, you aren’t going to suddenly crumble.
Keep in mind, also, that I regularly live on around $20,000 a year, so let’s not pretend the rich in this country are living under some Dickensian extreme pressures.
The idea that ‘fairness’ equates to ‘leveling the field’ is ridiculous and so out of touch with reality that I think we might be reaching a tipping point where even the conservative-leaning moderates are going to get fed up with this hysterical rhetoric. The rich did pretty damn well during the Clinton years, so don’t tell me they can’t make do now. And if the rich feel a little bit of strain, guess what: The rest of us have been feeling it for a few years now, so we aren’t going to shed any tears.
That isn’t class warfare, it’s just reality.
What the Conservative argument comes down to is Trickle Down Economics. They don’t call it that anymore because I think everyone recognizes it as a line of bullshit fed to us by the Reagan administration, but the same idea is there: The rich must maintain their wealth so that it can come down to us hungry poor through jobs and generous spending.
Well, the rich are as rich as they have ever been in the history of humanity, so where are the scraps that we were told would be falling from their tables? If the theory is that the tax breaks that Bush enacted (a decade ag0) were meant to help the rich foster job creation and economic growth, where is it all? When does it trickle down?
To quote Jon Stewart (that extreme Leftist Jew): “What are the rich waiting for? How much wealth do they have to absorb before they make it rain?”
While the Right says those on the left are clueless and don’t understand economics*, we are just asking the glaring question: The 2000s were pretty much the cushiest decade in history for the rich, so how come all those ‘obvious’ economic facts haven’t come true? And don’t just blame it on the recent recession. The entire previous decade was “a lost decade for American workers.” “There was zero net job creation in the first decade of the new millennium, compared to healthy job grow in each of the previous six decades.” Even with those magical tax breaks, the Bush years were lousy for the economy and for job growth (and let us not forget when the Recession began).
Even being generous and saying that there was some job growth before the recession set in ignores the fact that the growth was miniscule despite the fact that the rich had a much better tax rate than they did under Clinton. Now, I’m just a dumb Socialist who doesn’t understand how the economy works, but it seems to me that this “Reward the rich, they’ll help the rest” mentality is a load of bollocks. It hasn’t worked for a decade.
So let’s change it up.
How about we try something like, help the poor (because the rich don’t need anymore help) and then maybe the lower classes can afford to buy into the Capitalist society and thus prop up the rich like they love so much? You can call it Trickle Up Economics, but unlike the poor, the rich can afford to wait.
*I admit, economics is not even remotely a field of expertise for me. I’m sure all you armchair economists getting all your facts from Fox News and the National Review can explain to me how really the tax breaks have been helping us out, and we would be so much worse off without them. And I’m sure you can find a way to call me an idiot at least 5 times in your response, because that’s what Jesus would do.