To hear most Republicans talk, class warfare is when the nasty politicians beat up on our country’s hapless, beleaguered millionaires who, if we’d just cut their taxes some more, would be vigorously creating more jobs.
According to John Boehner, if you raise taxes on the rich, even just a little, that’s class warfare. If you remove some tax loopholes that allow multi-billion dollar companies pay zero taxes, that’s class warfare. If you ask corporations to spend their own money to clean up their pollution and remove their toxic waste, that’s also class warfare.
But beyond just defending the wealthy from these assaults by Democrats, Republicans are going even farther. They want to cut any taxes that mostly affect the very wealthy. They want to drastically cut the corporate tax rate or eliminate it altogether. They want to revoke health and safety regulations and repeal EPA standards (Michelle Bachman even wants to reduce food safety standards), so corporations can squeeze out even more profits regardless of how it affects the health of the American people.
There exists in this country a class of people who inherited their wealth, live off their investment income and do absolutely nothing to create jobs. Most people call them the “idle rich”, but Republicans call them “job creators”. And if Republicans have their way, the idle rich will pay zero taxes when they inherit their millions, and they will pay zero taxes on their investment income because Republicans want to eliminate the Capital Gains tax.
Yet when Democrats recently proposed lowering payroll taxes for the middle class, Republicans opposed it. Apparently the middle class doesn’t deserve a tax cut.
Most of what the Republicans propose seems to benefit the very wealthy and powerful, and does nothing for the poor and the middle class.
Let’s be clear. Rich people are not evil, and we don’t need to punish them. Nobody wants to raise their taxes sky high. We all want to see corporations be profitable. But it is absolutely ridiculous when billionaires who earn millions on their investments pay lower tax rates than the people working for them who make $50,000 a year, or when a teacher making $40,000 a year pays more in taxes than GE and Exxon/Mobil combined.
Simply asking the very wealthy to pay taxes is not class warfare. Asking a $40 billion corporation that pays no income tax, to finally pay some taxes and settle for $39.9 billion in profits, is not an attempt to “soak the rich”.
Nobody is trying to punish success, but there is ample evidence that most of the Republican party is working exclusively to benefit only the very wealthy.
The truth is, there is class warfare going on in this country but so far it has all been to the benefit of the very rich at the expense of the rest of us.
When you give a trillion dollars in tax cuts that only go to the very rich, and then you try to make up for the revenue shortfall by cutting Medicare and Social Security, that is real class warfare.
When you call it “socialism” to give unemployment benefits to people who were forced out of a job during a recession, yet you take hundreds of billions in tax dollars and bail out multi-billion dollar corporations while the executives of those companies give themselves 10 million dollar bonuses, that is the definition of class warfare.
There is a fairly simple reason why most Republicans (and some Democrats) work so hard to benefit the very rich. It is because the very rich give very generous campaign contributions to any politician who will help them become even more rich.
It is cost-effective for a multi-billion dollar corporation to spend a few million dollars on campaign contributions to elect the right politicians, or on lobbyists to wine and dine members of Congress, if it gets them a tax loophole that allows them to avoid paying taxes.
You probably pay more in taxes than GE and Exxon/Mobil because you don’t have any lobbyists working for you and you don’t have a Political Action Committee that makes huge campaign contributions to the right politicians.
The next time you hear the words “class warfare”, just remember, the deck is already stacked in favor of the very rich. We’ve been in the midst of class warfare for several years in America and it’s time that the middle class started fighting back.
Edited by Wendy Gittleson