You can tell President Obama really has Republicans backed into a corner this time. Whenever news anchors ask Republicans to comment on paying for job creation by taxing millionaires at rates equal to the rest of us, they fumble through their response before finally eking out the vague accusation of “class warfare.”
Class warfare simply means “conflict between social or economic classes” but Republicans are trying to spin class warfare into connotations of trouble-makers inventing imaginary problems with unfair solutions.
Obama offered a strong defense for tax justice in his Sept. 19 speech to introduce the “Buffett Rule,” which would tax millionaires and billionaires at the same rate as Joe the Plummer as part of a plan to raise money to fund the American Jobs Act:
I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the right thing to do. I believe the American middle class, who’ve been pressured relentlessly for decades, believe it’s time that they were fought for as hard as lobbyists and some lawmakers have fought to protect special treatment for billionaires and big corporations.
Here are 8 reasons why the Buffett rule – or “shared sacrifice” from the wealthy – is NOT “class warfare.”
1. The health of our economy – our long-term stability as a nation – depends on job creation. We need people back to work and we need to make sure people can physically get to those jobs to have any chance of competing in a global economy. The Jobs Act will put 1.9 million people back to work, including teachers, police officers and construction workers, the latter of whom will be charged with fixing functionally obsolete bridges and refurbishing schools.
2. Obama’s calling to tax millionaires and billionaires at the SAME tax rate as the middle class. Class WARfare would be enacting punitive, HIGHER rates on the wealthy over the middle class.
3. The middle swath of Americans (earning incomes around $50,000) receive only a $647 savings from the Bush Tax Cuts (about 1.4% of income), while people with incomes over $1 million have an average savings of $123,592 (more than 10% of income). This type of disproportionate taxation is an example of class warfare waged by the right wing.
4. Calling this “class warfare” is the Tea Party’s attempt to negate our beliefs that tax justice and shared burdens are principles worth fighting for. This IS a people’s movement and it has Republicans scared. Just as the people in Libya and Egypt were right to rise up against unfair, elitist-style governments, Americans are right to fight for their survival rights in our crumbling economy. Republicans would have called abolitionists makers of “class (or race) warfare” – but that doesn’t mean anti-slave crusaders were wrong.
5. Republicans are trying to paint Obama’s call for tax justice as just hollow political theatre. They’re trying to overrule any policy that’s popular with the base by calling him the “Campaigner in Chief.” But that doesn’t mean popular policy is unjustified. On the contrary, people support politicians who represent the change they want to see. Obama standing up for tax justice, yet again, is what he should be doing.
6. The deficit reduction Obama’s proposing is coming from spending cuts plus minor tax increases on those who can most afford it. Refusal to compromise on this principle of a balanced approach IS consistent with war-making. Obama on the Republican stance:
“It would mean asking sacrifice of seniors and the middle class and poor while asking nothing of the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations…It is wrong that a teacher or construction workers who earns $50,000 should pay a higher tax rate than someone pulling in $50 million…Anyone who’s signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to explain that unfairness.
7. A better example of class warfare would be the Citizens United decision which allows corporations to make anonymous donations to political campaigns, circumventing election transparency and the voice of the popular vote. In addition, Republicans are further waging actual class warfare by attempting to cut taxes for the rich while RAISING taxes on middle class (by opposing Obama’s proposal to extend the payroll tax cut that’s aimed at middle-income earners).
8. The proposal to eliminate tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans that middle class families don’t get is NOT punishing or attacking the wealthy. Taking back freebies that only benefit the upper-class is NOT unfair and it’s not class warfare.
Obama made promises today that he intends to keep.
I will not support, I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but that does not raise serious revenue by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.
Please rally behind the Buffett rule and the American Jobs Act with all you got. This is our chance to turn America into a more just nation. Act now!
Step 1: Add your name to the Democratic Party petition to Speaker Boehner in support of the American Jobs Act:
Step 2: Write/Call your members of Congress to express your support for the American Jobs Act. Enter your zip code at the link below to find their phone numbers and contact forms:
Step 3: Pledge to vote on Nov. 6, 2012:
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