It’s telling of the Republican party’s mindset that they chose Mitt Romney as their candidate for president—the man represents the living embodiment of the belief that the rich owe nothing to the rest of society.
Even though that belief is wrong. Fundamentally, morally and demonstrably wrong.
Romney summed up how the wealthiest segments of society view the rest of us trying to scrape together even the slightest chance of achieving the American dream.
“You know, I think it’s about envy,” Romney said in a Jan. 11 interview on the Today Show.
“It’s about class warfare.”
Class warfare. Let’s define that term. At least what it’s meant to mean in modern political discourse.
If someone in the middle or lower income brackets of the country points out (rightly) that they’re getting screwed by the dominance of the wealthy over current economic policy, they’re a class warrior. It’s a common refrain used on conservative radio and television outlets.
One proposition on California’s ballot this Nov. 6 will pit the forces of the wealthiest one-percent of America against everyone else.
California’s Proposition 30, if passed, means to restore badly needed funding to the state’s K-12 and higher education systems. It will do so by raising the state’s (admittedly very high already) sales tax rate and, more importantly, the income tax rate of those earning more than $250,000 a year.
The opposition to Proposition 30 is well funded and has a history of defunding schools in the name of lowering taxes. The specific group is the Howard Jarvis Foundation.
The namesake of Howard Jarvis Jr. who in 1978 sponsored Proposition 13 which severely impacted California’s education system by gutting its greatest source of revenue—property taxes.
As I enter adulthood and I start paying real taxes (my fiancé and I just received our first property tax bill) I realize more and more how frustrating they can be.
But, I also realize that the world is much bigger than my tax bill.
The passage of Proposition 13 in the seventies led to the slow drip death of California’s education system as it existed at the time. Particularly community colleges, which have been taken from a system that educated the state for free to one that now costs $46 a unit and could be even more expensive if Proposition 30 fails.
Less people will have a chance to make something of themselves through education.
The official “No on 30” web site contains a two-page article titled “Myths and Facts About Prop 30.” In it, the opposition claims that “the politicians behind Prop 30 can’t keep track of the money they have,” and I found this to be quite funny. People tend to be what they accuse their worst enemies of being.
The article further states “the politicians and special interests behind Proposition 30 threaten voters by saying ‘vote for our massive tax increase or we’ll take it out on schools.’” Again, this is pretty hilarious as their position seems to be if “you threaten to raise our taxes, we’ll take it out on schools.”
If there is a class war going on, it is only being waged on one side of the argument.
The wealthy, corporations, right-wing politicians and various religious organizations have at one time or another all declared their intent to bleed the middle class dry through what they refer to as “trickle down economics.”
“Trickle down” meaning that if enough money is funneled upward to the richest Americans, then that money will “trickle down” to the rest of us. The key term is “trickle” not “rain” or “flood.”
As in tiny sprinkles of money may some day reach the rest of the country.
These policies are continuously pursued by the conservative movement, especially the current Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
This despite the fact that they’ve been tried several times on a large-scale and never amounted to anything more than short-term gains in the economy followed by crippling recessions.
Recessions which affect the poor and middle classes only while the wealthy come away largely unscathed.
How anyone middle class or lower can vote for this type of thinking is at first mind-boggling but makes sense once you understand the most effective tool in the true class warrior arsenal.
Framing and messaging.
First, you frame the debate as something that appeals to the dreams of the poor and middle class by exploiting their honest belief that they too someday will be wealthy. So you say that the issue is one of “economic freedom.”
Instead of calling corporate and Wall Street people “nihilistic, inhuman, money-grubbing vampires,” they become “job creators.”
Secondly, you repeat these phrases over and over in print, television, radio and on the internet.
Next thing you know, you have an army of lemmings, willing to walk off the financial cliff to the benefit of people other than themselves. It’s been said many times that America has a long history of voting against its own interests.
Raising taxes on the wealthy is in your best interest. It is in the best interests of the country.
Ask anyone, liberal or conservative, about the years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, when taxes on the wealthy were higher, and they all become wistful.
They should be. Those were great years. For everyone
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