By Lynn Paris
Class Warfare and Other Absurdities
I don’t know when I’ve heard a more ridiculously absurd phrase come out of the mouths of the GOP than their recent accusation of “class warfare” against the Democrats who want to raise the tax rate on millionaires. At least, not since their equally absurd (but obviously effective for those whose desire it is to prey on the vulnerable) use of the phrase “death panels” during the debates on health care reform.
Wouldn’t you think that by now the tea party would have alienated just a few of its middle-income supporters by voting against their interests at every turn, while continuing to fight for the rights of the super-rich? Is it possible that middle-class Republicans hate Obama so much that even when the leaders of their party do absolutely nothing for them it doesn’t matter?
The questions, of course, are rhetorical. I know the answers. I also know the prevailing mood amongst those who support the tea party and the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. That mood has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with politics. It has nothing whatsoever to do with a thought process — like thinking about what might be good for them or for the country — and everything to do with an emotional reaction: against Obama, against government and against spending of any kind, even if it’s to create jobs and get Americans back to work. These same raw emotions are what allow an audience of supposedly civilized people to cheer for Perry’s record number of executions in Texas, boo an active duty U.S. serviceman who happens to be gay, or shout, “yes,” when asked if a sick man without health insurance should be allowed to die. This is about the unleashing of raw, frustrated emotion . . . without the benefit of rational thinking.
If low or middle-income tea-party supporters were to think rationally, they would realize that the class warfare began quite some time ago, and that it’s against THEM! Did none of them ever need a Pell Grant, or put their children in a Head Start program, or make use of Meal-on-Wheels or Low-Income Legal Services? Because the GOP has proposed drastic cuts to these and many more programs that benefit low and middle-income families. Cut them all; who cares? Just don’t raise the tax rate on millionaires!
Are there no tea-party supporters who are unemployed teachers, police officers or firefighters? What about unemployed construction workers . . . no tea-party supporters among them? What about seniors . . . or parents of children who go to elementary school, high school or college? Don’t any of you care what happens to each other, as long as the wealthy are protected?
Because as President Obama has stated, "Either we have to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share, or we have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, or gut education. This is not class warfare. It's math."
But not to Republicans — to them those millionaires and billionaires are our cherished “job creators.” As I’ve written several times before; then where are those jobs? Apparently, the super-rich are just too worried about the future to hire anyone. What if their taxes go up (to pre-Bush tax-cut, Clinton-era rates, I might add, when we had prosperity and low unemployment).
The fact is, almost every economist will tell you that companies aren’t hiring, not because they fear a higher tax rate, but because there’s no demand for the goods and services they sell. All it takes is half a minute of rational thinking to understand the solution to that problem: help people get jobs so that they can start spending money again!
Obama’s $447 billion proposed jobs bill provides extended unemployment benefits, a $1,500 tax cut for most American families, incentives for employers to hire new workers and to keep their companies in the United States, $50 billion in government infrastructure money and $10 million to seed a private/public infrastructure bank. It has the potential to create between one and two million jobs and could raise the GDP growth next year by about two percent. It’s sound economic policy during a time when our economy is stagnant, but it’s not going to pass.
After all, why would the Republicans do anything that might help the economy when it’s so much easier to obstruct and blame the lousy economy on Obama? Oh, and why worry about disaster relief money for people whose homes and lives were destroyed by hurricanes, fires and tornadoes? Blame that on Obama, too. What’s another 14 months of frustration and misery for the majority of Americans if the Republicans can beat Obama with one of their own? Just as long as we don’t tax those corporate jets, everything will be fine.
Right, tea-party supporters? Right, Republicans? Or are any of you, just a few of you even, getting sick of the class warfare being waged against you? Are any of you ready to put your country ahead of your politics?