By Laurence Lewis
It’s not class warfare. Don’t you dare call it class warfare. The Republicans may relentlessly pursue policies that favor the wealthy and hurt everyone else, but it most emphatically is not class warfare. The arbiters of appropriate political discourse will be most put out if you call it class warfare. You will not be welcome in the Village. You will not be invited to appear on the Sunday talk shows.
Class warfare is such an ugly term. To begin with, it suggests that we are a socially stratified nation, and that such stratification is at least to some degree based on money. Money is dirty. One shouldn’t discuss money in polite conversation. And it’s important that we be polite. And everyone knows that we are a melting pot. Everyone is capable of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, and don’t even consider questioning the physics when there is neither a fulcrum nor a point of leverage. This is America. The land of opportunity.
Republican policies that hurt the less affluent and favor those that need no favors is not class warfare, but to discuss Republican policies that hurt the less affluent and favor those that need no favors is class warfare. The pundits will say so. The policies themselves are not class warfare, but raising awareness about them is. Wealth disparity is the fault of the disparaged. Unlike West Virginia Republican Senate nominee John Raese, the less affluent just didn’t have the wisdom and foresight to inherit wealth. This isn’t about class warfare, it’s about knowing how to pick your parents. To those that plan ahead even of their being born go the spoils.
So, we have the widest income gap ever recorded. Clearly, this is because those on the wrong side of the gap not only made poor decisions before they were born, it’s also because they are lazy. And the Republicans should be proud and honored that those who planned well ahead of their being born and who are not lazy are being protected. It’s not class warfare. It’s Social Darwinism. Which is why groups funded by or tied to those nice Koch brothers are financing the “grassroots” teabag “movement”, protecting Wisconsin from the dangers of democracy, and who knows what else. It’s why Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, which is waging its own private ad war against Democrats everywhere, is funded almost entirely by billionaires. They’re only doing their part for society. The right kind of society. The only society that matters. After all, that increasingly teeny tiny minority of the super wealthy needs protection against the perils of populism now being promulgated by Socialists and Communists and anyone else petty enough to be concerned with anyone else. It’s not easy being a billionaire. It has to be one of the smallest minority demographics ever!
It isn’t class warfare! Republicans may have killed the job creating Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, and Republicans may have filibustered jobless benefits and state aid, and their own study shows that the tax plan promoted by the Democrats will do more for the disadvantaged than will the Republican tax plan, but people talk about such as if it’s a bad thing! This is the agenda. This is by design. Those that didn’t make the right decisions when choosing their parents, or who are too lazy to have accumulated vast riches and therefore have to work to survive, deserve to suffer! It’s a question of values, and the Republicans value people with money. Nothing else and no one else matters. It’s not class warfare. It’s the divine right of the new aristocracy.
Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller thinks the minimum wage is unconstitutional. Oregon Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Dudley says people don’t understand the minimum wage, which he thinks is too high, and he also wants to cut the capital gains tax, which mostly would benefit wealthy people- such as Chris Dudley. Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle clearly is on board with the idea that the unemployed are just lazy, and Wisconsin Republican Senate nominee Ron Johnson and North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr seem to agree. Anyone see a pattern here? And South Carolina Republican gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley might be the most visionary of all. She seems to think that the unemployed aren’t just lazy, they’re also on drugs. Just don’t call it class warfare!
When disaster strikes, both natural and not, it is the poor and minorities that suffer most. From Katrina to the BP oil disaster to the global impacts of climate change, environmental consequences cause the most suffering among those already suffering from wealth disparities. In case you were wondering why Republicans so viciously oppose environmental regulations, now you know. Why should we waste time and energy and particularly money worrying about problems that mostly affect the people that didn’t know how to pick their parents or who are lazy or on drugs? Those that can’t buy their way out of crises deserve what happens to them! But it isn’t class warfare!
From health care to education to mass transit to Social Security, if a government program helps those in need, Republicans oppose it. They will support tax cuts targeted for the wealthy, while opposing tax cuts targeted for those that aren’t wealthy. The Republicans clearly have an overall ideology, and it is reflected throughout their agenda. Which isn’t class warfare. But calling them on it is.