Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:00 am, in Videos
Posts Tagged ‘class warfare’
To hear the media report it, President Obama is proposing a tax increase on wealthy Americans. That’s misleading at best. He’s proposing that everyone receive a continuation of the Bush tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their incomes. Any dollars they earn in excess of $250,000 will be taxed at the old Clinton-era rates.
Get it? Everyone is treated exactly the same. Everyone gets a one-year extension of the Bush tax cut on the first $250,000 of income. No “class warfare.”
Yet regressive Republicans want Americans to believe differently. The editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal say the president wants to extend the Bush tax cuts only “for some taxpayers.” They urge House Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for “everyone” and thereby put Senate Democrats on the spot by “forcing them to choose between extending rates for everyone and accepting Mr. Obama’s tax increase.”
Regressives also want Americans to think the president’s proposal would hurt “tens of thousands of job-creating businesses,” as the Journal puts it.
A small business owner earning $251,000 would pay the Bush rate on the first $250,000 and the old Clinton rate on just $1,000.
Congress’s Joint Tax Committee estimates that in 2013 about 940,000 taxpayers would have enough business income to break through the $250,000 ceiling — and, again, they’d pay additional taxes only on dollars earned above $250,000. (more…)
Republicans have reached their 1984. I don’t mean this in the Orwellian sense, though Republicans have more than their share of Orwellian impulses. Rather, I mean that the kind of divisions that have characterized Democratic presidential primaries since the 1984 contest between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart have now popped up in GOP primaries as well: This year, Republicans are dividing along lines of class.
According to data compiled by the Wall Street Journal, in all the states that have voted thus far, Mitt Romney has won 46 percent of the counties with incomes higher than the statewide median, and just 15 percent of those with incomes beneath the statewide median. Rick Santorum, by contrast, has won 39 percent of the counties with higher income, and 46 percent of those with lower income.
These numbers — a product of the kind of residential-sorting-by-class that Charles Murray documents in his new book, “Coming Apart” — reinforce exit polling that shows Romney’s strongest supporters come from households making more than $100,000 a year. Indeed, the higher up the income scale, the higher the level of Romney support.
These numbers look familiar to anyone who has tracked Democratic presidential primary voting for the past three decades. Beginning with the Hart-Mondale donnybrook, Democratic voters have often clustered by class. In that year, Mondale, the presumptive favorite, was given a tough race by Hart, whose supporters were disproportionately upscale, younger professionals more concerned with environmentalism and cultural issues than with the bread-and-butter staples of New Deal politics. Mondale’s key backers were more downscale voters, disproportionately union members and African Americans, and his platform emphasized more traditional liberal priorities. (more…)
What planet does presidential wannabe Rick Santorum live on? When it comes to grasping the situation of America’s hard-hit workaday majority, this sweater-vested, ultra-right-winger is further out than Pluto.
In a recent debate, Santorum assailed a tax plan proposed by front-runner Mitt Romney. It wasn’t the plan’s details that caused Rick to stamp his tiny feet, but Romney’s expressed intent to help the “middle class.” Tut-tut, chided the ideologically-pure Santorum, Republicans mustn’t use such language, for it creates an impression of class warfare. After all, he lectured, “There are no classes in America. We don’t put people in classes.”
Sure, Rick – forget today’s jobless economy, a national epidemic of union busting and wage knockdowns, absurd tax giveaways to the superrich, the ongoing Wall Street bailout, inexcusable corporate subsides, rising poverty, the slashing of anti-poverty programs, and a decade of falling incomes for the vast majority, while the elite one-percent makes off with triple-digit increases in their wealth – there’s no class war happening. Just close your eyes, hum a happy tune… and live on Pluto. (more…)
As importantly, the movement has already changed the public debate in America.
Consider, for example, last week’s Congressional Budget Office report on widening disparities of income in America. It was hardly news — it’s already well known that the top 1 percent now gets 20 percent of the nation’s income, up from 9 percent in the late 1970s.
But it’s the first time such news made the front page of the nation’s major newspapers.
Why? Because for the first time in more than half a century, a broad cross-section of the American public is talking about the concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the top.
Score a big one for the Occupiers.
Even more startling is the change in public opinion. Not since the 1930s has a majority of Americans called for redistribution of income or wealth. But according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, an astounding 66 percent of Americans said the nation’s wealth should be more evenly distributed. (more…)
Posted October 6, 2011 at 8:00 am, in Allied Approaches
Better late than never, the movement to take America back from Wall Street has arrived. On Wednesday, the ranks of the Occupy Wall Street encampment will swell as MoveOn.org members, union activists and ordinary disgruntled citizens join the demonstration against our financial sector’s misrule of the American economy. What’s more, long-planned anti-bank demonstrations in major cities this week are growing beyond their organizers’ fondest hopes as the Wall Street protest movement catches fire.
The anti-bank campaign has in fact been incubating for years — a “seed beneath the snow,” as the Italian novelist Ignazio Silone once termed the slow-to-arrive left. The sit-ins, teach-ins and street demonstrations popping up in Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles are formally the handiwork of a coalition of community groups that recently gathered together as the New Bottom Line. Many of these groups have focused on immediate goals — such as stopping particular banks from foreclosing on more homes. They, along with unions, have demonstrated on Wall Street many times since the 2008 financial crisis. But only now, as Occupy Wall Street — an organization that they didn’t create — has grabbed the public imagination the past few weeks, are the myriad mobilizations commanding the media’s attention.
“It’s a confluence of planned and unplanned demonstrations,” says Stephen Lerner, a longtime organizer for the Service Employees International Union who once spearheaded the union’s successful campaign to organize big-city janitors and today helps guide the groups in New Bottom Line. “We build on each other. We go ping-ponging back and forth.”
Posted October 4, 2011 at 8:00 am, in Allied Approaches
When President Obama released his plan for “the Buffett rule,” which involves closing tax loopholes and ensuring that millionaires pay their fair share in taxes, he explained that “middle-class families shouldn’t be paying higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.” “Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett,” he said.
Ever since, Republicans have been attacking Obama for inciting “class warfare.” “It looks like the President wants to move down the class warfare path,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). “I don’t think I would describe class warfare as leadership,” agreed Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
However, if calling for an end to millionaires having lower tax rates than their secretaries is class warfare, Obama is only the latest class warrior to occupy the Oval Office. In a June 6, 1985 speech at Northside High School in Atlanta, Georgia, then President Ronald Reagan explained that tax loopholes allowing a millionaire to pay lower taxes that a bus driver were “crazy,” because they allowed the “truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share”:
We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?
Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm, in Videos
Wall Street has shown Americans how they feel about protests. This video shows unidentified occupants watching protests from the balconies of Wall Street in amusement while sipping champagne.
It will be over whether the rich should pay more taxes.
The President has vowed to veto any plan to tame the debt that doesn’t increase taxes on the rich. The Republicans have vowed to oppose any tax increases on the rich.
It’s a good fight to have.
In a Rose Garden ceremony this week, Obama proposed new taxes on the wealthy — including a special new tax for millionaires, the closing of loopholes and deductions for people making more than $250,000 a year, and an end to the portion of the Bush tax cut going to higher incomes. (more…)
With President Barack Obama’s demand that Congress pass his American Jobs Act and his call on the supercommittee to push hard on 10-year deficit reduction, a battle has begun that won’t be resolved until the 2012 election. If then.
But the haunting reality is that neither side of the debate comes close to addressing the scope of our nation’s economic challenge. Washington is fighting over who has the better sand castle — while ignoring the tidal wave that is coming our way.
The jobs we’ve been shedding by the millions are solid, middle-class positions — the kind that could support a family and send children to college. The hard reality is that the relatively few jobs being created are service-related — disproportionately low-wage and low-skill. The broad middle class — the triumph and strength of America’s democracy — is sinking. Unless we change course dramatically, we will become even more a nation of haves and have-nots. (more…)