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Which Class is Warring? [Sep. 23rd, 2011|12:48 am]
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So the right wing is now claiming that asking the very rich to give up their tax cuts (or even part of their tax cuts) is "class warfare."   Let's look at the facts, shall we?

The tax rate for the wealthy reached its peak in 1945, at 66.4%.    And yet, amazingly enough, we had an economic boom in the post WWII period.   Kind of suggests that high taxes on the rich aren't that big a disincentive to economic growth, doesn't it?   

In the past thirty years, the income and net-worth gap between the richest and the rest of us has widened, even as tax cuts for the rich continued to deepen.   There's been a steady, almost straight-line drop in taxation at the high end from '45 to now.  Over and over we've been told that tax cuts are good for us--that they free money for investment, that the rich will create more opportunity if we'll just let them alone.  But that's a myth or a lie (take your pick.)  Tax cuts have not resulted in more American jobs, because the rich--and corporations--went for profit over job creation.  After all, as the US became less important as a market, with the growth of foreign markets, there was less reason to spend money at home, and more reason to look for cheaper labor abroad.   So corporations and the rich have benefitted, and those who lost their jobs (and homes, and cars)  lost out.   The net worth of the rich--along with their annual income--has grown enormously, and the gap has continued to widen.   It wouldn't have, if the super-rich were spending their tax-free money on making the economy healthier.   The richest 1% controls over a third of Americans' net worth; the top 10% controls over three fourths.  And that leaves a quarter or less for the other 90%.    Yet it's the bottom--especially the lower half of the bottom--that gets the blame for costing too much.

The drop in average income is steep, too.  The top 0.01% (that's one hundredth of one percent) has an average annual income of over $27million.  The top 0.01 - 0.1% has an average annual income of over $3 million.   The top 1% has an average annual income of over $1 million (which means some of them have an income below $1 million.).   Below that, the top next nine percents (10% minus that top 1%) has an average annual income of about $164,000.  And the average income of the other 90%?  About $31,000.   Doing the division, that means the top one-hundredth of one percent has an average income approximately 870 times that of the entire lowest 90%. 

So who's making war on whom?   When you look at it in terms of the figures, it's the top 1-2% who have "made class war" on the rest of us, by deliberately making our economic status worse, by cutting jobs, by cutting their support for government (which not only employed people but provided essential services, such as infrastructure, education, disaster relief.)   They don't need Social Security--so no one should have it.  They don't need help with medical expenses--so no one should.  They routinely criticize the other 90% for daring to have needs--whether it's for help in old age, or after natural disasters, or for affordable housing--as having failed to save and invest wisely--though, as studies have shown, when income is uncertain (when jobs are disappearing like snow in August), or when circumstances demand a higher than possible income (often happens with accident, disease, or having a disabled child), no amount of previous fiscal responsibility will prevent disaster.  And these blows damage the national human resource as well as the economy: when people who had good jobs and were good workers lose them, the "trickle down" effect can blight whole cities...and cause deaths.

What the "no taxes" people fail to admit is that they have benefitted from the taxpayer-provided infrastructure and services that the rest of us pay for:  roads (the interstate highway system, for instance, which did not exist when I was a child), airports, sea ports, bridges, inland waterways, police, fire, and emergency services, public hospitals, schools and colleges and professional schools that deliver educated workers and skilled professionals to the workforce.   As Elizabeth Warren says so well: nobody in this country got rich by themselves.   ALL benefitted from some tax-provided services.   Any business in this country has benefitted from both infrastructure (how you get raw and finished materials from origin to market, how you keep the populace free of cholera and other diseases) and a relative political stability compared to many other countries.. 

Put one of these whiners in a position without any of that--with no access to anything that used a tax-provided service or structure--and they'd be screaming bloody murder in a week.   No driving on any public street or highway.  No walking on a public sidewalk or street.  No public water supply at your house.   Kids can't go to a tax-supported school, college, or university.  If there's a fire, no one will come.  If someone vandalizes your house or kicks in your door,  police won't come.  Have a heart attack or break some bones--no ambulance, and no bed in a hospital supported (partly or wholly) by taxes.  No access to the tax-supported courts, no access to any public agency or representative (county commissioner, city council, state or U.S. legislator)  because, after all, taxes pay their salaries.    In case of disaster, rescue teams and other aid will pass you by...fire, EMS, National Guard, etc. all get tax money.  

So the class warfare, as I see it, has been the determination of those in the million+/year bracket to accumulate more and more and more, and contribute less and less and less, at the expense of the rest of the citizenry of this country.   It's not class warfare to insist that they contribute more. 


From: (Anonymous)
2011-09-23 10:07 am (UTC)


My name is Karen, I don't do any of the things that make it easy to identify myself on livejournal, so Anonymous is a matter of necessity rather than choice), but, when I heard that Elizabeth Warren was running for Senate, I thought I'd look up more than what she testified to so clearly in Congress before they ran her out on a rail.

One of the videos I found on YouTube was eerily prescient. In June, 2007, she gave a lecture at U.C. Berkeley entitled, "The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class". It's an hour of video, but, given that she was still a Ha'vard Professor (and not a public-office seeker at the time), every moment is chilling in the prescience of each or the clearly data-inspired facts she spewed. The realization that she was right -- in every particular of her lecture, makes complete mockery of this current foolishness over "class warfare".

She makes it abundantly clear that the middle class had lost the battle, long before any of us had an inkling of the gambles the "rich" were taking with our (by this I mean, your average, everyday pension-investor's) money not only before the 2008 Stock Market collapse and bailout, but before this nonsense about "class" warfare" started being spouted by people who have a financial interest in pushing the middle class down even more.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-09-23 03:19 pm (UTC)

Re: Amen!

Warren is amazing. I haven't seen that 2007 YouTube video, but I remember seeing her on Charlie Rose several years ago.
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[User Picture]From: princejvstin
2011-09-23 10:17 am (UTC)
Well said.

This tendency toward Neofeudalism seems impossible to stop, but it doesn't have to be.
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[User Picture]From: catsittingstill
2011-09-23 10:47 am (UTC)
Very well put. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: chris_warrior
2011-09-23 12:52 pm (UTC)

a good summation...

and not to mention that without basic services (like, oh, trash pickup, food-picking, food-prep, etc) being rich wouldn't be a hell of a lot of fun. i have tried to explain to some of my wealthier (executives, for example) massage clients that without us poor people (and yes, i make, on average, under 20K a year) his upper-middle-class life wouldn't be as "rich." that people who are better off are (or should be) paying more taxes so that people who don't make as high a wage or don't work as many hours can still afford to do the work they DO do, and eat.

especially when all those poor people decide enough and enough and let's riot. *sigh*

(sent here from a friend's link)
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2011-09-23 01:51 pm (UTC)
Put one of these whiners in a position without any of that--with no access to anything that used a tax-provided service or structure--and they'd be screaming bloody murder in a week.

I think that's an overly generous estimate. I suspect many of these parasites wouldn't last a weekend, let alone a whole week.

"Parasites" is a harsh term, but it's accurate -- a parasite feeds on his host and damages it. A successful one doesn't kill the host, just weakens it enough not to resist.
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[User Picture]From: cissa
2011-09-26 01:28 am (UTC)
The scary thing is that currently the parasites seem to be going out of their way to KILL their hosts. yes, it's stupid for them... but it's deadly for us hosts sooner.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-09-23 03:24 pm (UTC)
"It's not a real place"...WTF? Well, just goes to show the ignorance level, I guess.

Real people live there--people with real families, real problems, real needs. Real people are dying there. Real people kill there...surely even a Libertarian has heard of the "Somali pirates"...if not, put 'em on a yacht and aim it anywhere near the Somali coast and they'll find out just how real Somalia is.

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From: llennhoff
2011-09-23 03:40 pm (UTC)
Sun Tzu said perfection in warfare consists of convincing your opponent to give up without fighting. For too long, the rich and corporations have been running class warfare perfectly.
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[User Picture]From: shockwave77598
2011-09-23 04:16 pm (UTC)
It isn't class warfare when you use your wealth and political connections to send employment out of the country and deliberately wipe out any chance for wealth to accumulate in others hands.

It's only class warfare when you call those people out for doing so.
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[User Picture]From: cissa
2011-09-26 01:29 am (UTC)
Rather like "racism" and "sexism" and other such things; the crime is not being a bigot; the crime is calling someone on it.

Ye gods.
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