Class Warfare


If Obama and the Democratic party are NOT engaging in class warfare, what WOULD class warfare look like?

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11 comments
  1. “Warfare” means physical hostilities. Think the Cultural Revolution, or the French Revolution. That is warfare.

    Proposing a tax hike of a few percentage points on income earned over a certain level is not class warfare.

    By your logic, if George Bush had cut taxes on income earned over $250,000 to five percent, no one could ever propose returning those rates to surplus-era levels. Because mentioning the impact of policies is tantamount to “class warfare”, in your schema. A neat trick, rhetorically, to cast the mere mention of all proposals you don’t like as immoral and out of bounds, but not at all reasonable or justified.

    • pino said:

      “Warfare” means physical hostilities. Think the Cultural Revolution, or the French Revolution. That is warfare.

      Hmm…I think it’s safe to say that we mean warfare in not the specific. I bet when people say that Obama is engaging in class warfare they say it with the same meaning that the Democrats had in mind when they published their election “Targeting Map”. I’m sure that when the Democrats did that, they didn’t literally mean they were gonna line up a gun sight and “target” Republicans. They just were using a martial term to convey an attitude.

      Proposing a tax hike of a few percentage points on income earned over a certain level is not class warfare.

      Right. So, for the same of the discussion, I stipulate that what Obama is doing isn’t class warfare. What WOULD class warfare politics look like?

      • What WOULD class warfare politics look like?

        This ain’t it. Look around. Is Sweden in a state of war? Has capitalism been murdered there? No. Now, I wouldn’t want tax rates at their levels; happily, no one here is proposing that. Instead, there’s a proposal to return marginal rates on income earned over $250,000 to where they were back when we last had a well-functioning economy. Phew! That’s not warfare at all! (And maybe even taxing income earned above around $1m at a few cents more per dollar).

        By your logic, if George Bush had cut taxes on income earned over $250,000 to five percent, no one could ever propose returning those rates to surplus-era levels. Because mentioning the impact of policies is tantamount to “class warfare politics”, in your schema.

        (Class politics would be launching a day-to-day, party-wide drive to foster resentment against the wealthiest. Seizing on a phrase or two from a couple speeches in order to feel like a victim– the GOP’s most familiar status– doesn’t get us there. I assume you agree that there would be some resentment-fueling component to “class politics”– otherwise, do you think that Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist for opposing tax cuts (from 90%) at a time of deficits?)

        In a different world– one where we’d been raising taxes on the wealthiest to little effect, one where property rights weren’t secure– I’d be right there with you. Of course you’re right, “fair share” is necessarily an imprecise term. But here in this reality, we have a long-term deficit problem (due to health care costs), and we have a society that’s had zero risk of scapegoating of the wealthy.

        You have a valid principle, here, but it doesn’t apply in 100% of all case. Some folks have actually argued that US marginal income taxes were at their lowest levels in the 1920s and the 2000s, and that the resulting effort (or the cultural mentality that led to those rates)

      • (continuing) … for immediate large-scale personal enrichment rather than productive long-term investment contributed to the financial crises of the ’20s and ’08.

      • pino said:

        By your logic, if George Bush had cut taxes on income earned over $250,000 to five percent, no one could ever propose returning those rates to surplus-era levels.

        I’m not sure you are representing the whole argument.

        Suppose Dubya cut those rates you mentioned to 5%. AND he cut the rates for ALL other tax payers by the same amount. THEN, when we wanted to address the financial picture later, people claimed that we needed to raise taxes. But ONLY raise them on those making more than $250k. THAT is what we are talking about.

        YOu wanna go back to the pre-Dubya rates? WHile I might disagree, I can at least see the logic if we ALL go back. But that isn’t what you are wanting. You are wanting a single class of citizens to pay more and more while the rest don’t share in the sacrifice.

        Certainly you can see the “tyranny” involved when 51% of the population votes the other 49% to support them?

  2. Class warfare would be to protect the interests of the money’d elite even if they have been growing in wealth constantly, while wanting the poor and middle class to cut back and have to struggle just to pay their bills. That would be the elite structuring the game so they keep getting, while taking hard working folk trying to get buy and wanting to work at a fair wage and belittling them as “takers.” THAT would be class warfare!

    • pino said:

      Class warfare would be to protect the interests of the money’d elite even if they have been growing in wealth constantly, while wanting the poor and middle class to cut back and have to struggle just to pay their bills.

      So, if I read this correctly, only the wealthy can engage in class warfare. The poor can not.

      Is that what you are sayin’?

      • If the poor wanted to overthrow the wealthy and take their riches (a la the French or Russian revolutions), that would be class warfare from the poor. Increasing taxes slightly on the wealthy so the poor won’t bear all the costs of the recession is far from that!

      • pino said:

        Increasing taxes slightly on the wealthy so the poor won’t bear all the costs of the recession is far from that!

        Again, only the rich can engage in class warfare that doesn’t involve literal “warfare” activities? So, if 55% of the poorest among us vote to raise taxes on the richest 2%, THAT is NOT class warfare?

        If it’s not, what word or term would you call that?

  3. Corporations and the idle rich have been squeezing the middle class and the poor for years. That is class warfare.

  4. It won’t happen — the 55% of the poor vote in such low numbers (the poor vote the least) that they can’t put the screws to the rich. The key is the what the American people think is fair and just. I do not think Americans vote just to get what they can, I have more faith in the American people. Americans don’t want hand outs, they want a fair shake. If they vote to raise taxes on the wealthy it will be because the wealthy have benefited the most in the last 30 years and can pay a little more to help us through the crisis. And I doubt we’ll vote to change the fact that our wealthy pay the least taxes as a proportion of income in the industrialized world, or that they are paying historically low amounts. If the poor were really out to use the ballot box to make war on the rich, we’d not be in this situation. There is no class war against the rich. There seems to be one against the working poor, however.

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