In a predictable attempt to bash the president as well as to change the conversation away from the as yet unpassed Bush-era tax cuts for the élite 2%, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) stood on the house Senate floor and stated, “We have a president who talks incessantly about class, particularly the middle class.” He further stated that the use of the term “middle class” is “misguided and wrong and even dangerous.”
Obviously Sen. Kyle is talking about the fact that the president managed to get Bush tax cut extensions for those Americans who make $250,000 and less, but wants to drop the cuts for those who make above that amount, primarily the richest 2% of Americans. Kyle would rather not have a discussion about “class” as he puts it, because if he can change the conversation to how unfair it is that all American’s, no matter their economic status, should be treated equally, then the Democratic majority Senate might say, “hum, yes, we should consider all people fairly, no matter how much they earn”. In other words, he thinks Senate Democrats are stupid.
Kyle then presented a poser in his address on the floor” Tell me what’s different about the values of someone who the president identifies as middle class?” Oh my. What a loaded question. Does this mean that the “poor” share the same values as everyone else in Kyl’s mind? Of course not. He is implying that Rich people share the same values as the working class. But is Kyl speaking of moral values or is he speaking of relative worth, or importance? Let us, for the sake of argument, look at the definition of values as it relates to morals:
Important and enduring beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or desirable and what is not. Values exert major influence on the behavior of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.
How many shared values truly exist between working class families, who are raising children, bowling on Thursday night, mowing the grass on the weekends, barbecuing in their backyards, and attending PTA meetings and the élite, who hire nannies, landscape workers, cooks, and attend balls and cocktail parties. The élite care about themselves and money, about their own, and nothing for the rest of America or the world. There’s your answer, Sen. Kyl.
To further muddy the waters on the issue and carry things a step further in his argument for “tax cuts for all is the American way”, Kyl brought up a well-known sport’s figure, Michael Jordan. stating, “When Michael Jordan came, after he established how great he would be, he was given an enormous, almost unheard of salary. Did the other players say, ‘That’s not fair?’ No, actually all the other players got big salary increases, too. “The whole franchise did well, the people selling popcorn, the people parking the cars … made more money than they ever would have had Michael Jordan never came to the team.”
In other words, rich people are like sport’s stars that raise the pay of everyone around them by being superior; the old trickle-down economics argument dressed up in new basketball shorts and a jersey.
Michael Jordan did not reach stardom by himself. He had superb team members and coaches, excellent medical care, top of the line equipment, clothing and shoes created by talented designers. Even without Jordan on the team, the team was filled with a memorable cast, such as Dennis Rodman, BJ Armstrong, John Paxson, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, and the master small forward, Scottie Pippen. All led by their coach, Phil Jackson, considered one of the greatest coaches of all times. Jordan without this cast of supporting characters, both on and off the court, would have never been considered as great as he is today. Compare his post-first-retirement career in Baseball, or his Golfing career. While interesting, not as spectacular as his Basketball career.
One problem with this transparent argument is that the growing income inequality escalated with the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and that job creation under Bush’s presidency was among the weakest in modern history. GOP members like Kyl are whining about the 2% not getting the tax cut extensions by complaining about inequality. How ironic!
Also, Mike made more from product identification and endorsements than he did playing basketball, an absurd amount of money just like mega-corps who reap trillions off the sweat of others and then pay no taxes on their income due to loop-holes and rebates. Those endorsements did not make Mike play better, did they? Neither would tax cuts make the 2% play any better either. Jordan became a household name by playing with his team, the endorsements came because of that. Only by closing loop-holes and paying their fair share would the 2% be forced to behave as if they share the values of the rest of us, which is a step in the right direction.