Thursday, March 12, 2009

Class Warfare ... in two years

America's wealthy class is whining about returning to the pre-Bush tax rates in 2011. They even have the nerve to call it class warfare. The same epithet was hurled at FDR, but it's not class warfare to ask the wealthiest 5% of Americans to pay more. Here's 3 reasons why:

First of all, they are getting 2-yrs notice. Bush tax rates will still be in effect for the 2009 and 2010 tax years. That is waaaay more notice than any of our unemployed workers are getting. So they've got 2 years to strategize with their accountants, plotting out ways to push as much income and dividends and capital gains into 2009 & 2010 as possible. Get busy, you whiners.

Second, the oooh-so-scary soak-the-rich rates that are causing them to piss all over themselves amounts to a mere 4% hike in ordinary income tax rates! Regular people are facing 20% inflation or more for groceries and necessities.

Now it's true the dividend and capital gains tax rates will go up more than 4%. They will probably rise by 13% ... in 2011. If anyone still has any dividends or capital gains to pay tax on by then, they should count themselves fortunate.

Third, the wealthy can afford to pay more. Yes they can! Those with enough discretionary income to buy a yacht can afford to pay a higher tax rate than those who can barely afford to feed, clothe and shelter their families. It doesn't matter if they inherited their wealth or worked their balls off to earn it; if they have it, they can afford to pay a higher tax rate.

The way I see it, the wealthy class of this country got a free ride for the last 8-yrs. In two more years, they will be required to start paying some of it back. In the meantime, they earned unprecedented profits, especially if they were invested in "defense" companies that earned "offensive" profits from the neocon plan for permanent war.

Those profits didn't just materialize out of thin air, either. They came from an extensive war waged on the middle class by the wealthy class, for which the middle class are presenting a bill that starts becoming due in 2-yrs. While the middle class whined about what was happening during the last 8-yrs, it was not too loudly, and in the end, they shut up and accepted their decreased purchasing power. They did not, for instance, follow the route of The Jacquerie who staged a Peasant's Revolt in 1358.

image: Jacquerie by Henri Louvet, click to enlarge
If the wealthy class wants to know what real class warfare looks like, they should consider the following I synthesized from Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror":

In 1358, a group of peasants who became known as The Jacquerie, tired of their own families going hungry & dying from illness while they labored unceasingly for the upper classes, held an indignation meeting. They blamed the nobles for their miseries. No plan of revolution, but simple hate ignited The Jacquerie. They began burning down manors and killing the nobles. Some of the nobles were burned at the stake. The revolt gathered force as more peasants joined, armed with the weaponry of agriculture, scythes, pitchforks, hatchets and other farming implements. They pursued fleeing nobles, slicing off heads of those captured. Froissart writes of "a knight who was killed and roasted on a spit before the eyes of his wife and children. Then after 10 or 12 of The Jacquerie violated the lady they forced her and her children to eat some of her dead husband's flesh and then they killed them." When asked why they did all these things, The Jacquerie replied that they wished "to rid the world of nobles and then there would be none any more". This theme would recur with renewed vengance in the French Revolution.

Consider that and then consider whining about a lousy 4% tax hike!

When the wealthy wage class warfare against the lower classes, it usually takes the form of the lower classes being heavily taxed, overworked, underpaid, and carrying a disproportionate burden of supporting society.

When the lower classes wage class warfare against the wealthy, it can be a peaceful realignment of shared responsibility ... or it can result in a bloodbath ... in two years.


Dada said...

Ah, thanks for the great reminder of a little history and to what depths those living above human dignity can drive those from whom they've sucked all human dignity to do.

Thank god, six and a half centuries later we've become far more dignified than our ancestors. We've learned to accept the sacrifices we all must endure to satiate the insatiable hubristic appetites of the privileged to heap indignities upon us, the less privileged.

OK, sorry, I'm over-reacting, the above's hyperbole, I know. We've been able to enjoy two ongoing losing wars with little or no sacrifice demanded of us. Well, maybe NOW the chickens are coming home to roost, but let's face it, saved for those killed or maimed in those losing efforts and their families, it's been a really "cheap" ride! Er, or has it? Maybe all of that's catching up with us now?

And now we're confronted with the crashing economy and suddenly some Americans are getting really, really pissed. And here's where it gets really, really exciting....

For four years now my wife and a small dedicated group have protested outside the federal courthouse faithfully against the war(s) every Friday at noon w/o fail. A couple times a year I join 'em, even though I and Naomi Wolf really believe it's useless. It's a long time to commit to endless wars, the demonstrations against which I'm sure are a really, really (acceptable, i.e., tolerable) threat to the PTB(powers that be). It's a minor sacrifice, but now we're being asked to step it up a notch.

Now comes a very angry bunch of Americans who are becoming very, very weary of the weight of all the bulls**t they've been carrying for 8 years. And as a result, they are ready to really, really sacrifice as expressed in an e-mail I recently received, to wit:

On April 1, they are asking all Americans to join them by sending one teabag to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, to express their/our displeasure at our president and congress (I don't think congress has the same address, but hey, that would require a couple more teabags and stamps, right?).

And to convince you it's something you ought to do -- if you're p*ssed enough -- they tell us the sacrifice will cost us nothing more than the price of a teabag and a $.40 something postage stamp. Whoa! I don't know if I can afford that (nor am I sure how impressed my Jacquerie ancestors would be at my sacrifice -- I pray there's no afterlife where a bunch of 'em are sitting around spitting on our efforts).

So I say, let's skip this mass bombing of the white house with teabags and go directly to the next step beyond dignity, i.e., the stake burnings and forced cannibalism. But please, please, let's spare all of us the rapings and other savagery. We're far more civilized than that now. We are human beings for Christ's sake!

"Viva La Révolution!"

D.K. Raed said...

Wow! I should've known The Jacquerie would bring out the revolutionary! And I notice you consider stake burnings and forced cannibalism to be within bounds, but NOT rape. That is a Santorum slippery slope, mon frere.

I saw a reference to "teabagging the white house" on some cable TV news the other night ... but stupid me, I had NO IDEA what it was all about. In fact, I thought it was a rather crude reference to something, umm, entirely different, something of which I've only heard about in a porno context, which of course caused me to laugh my arse off. So, now that I know what it's really all about, it seems a bit ho-hum. Not nearly as exciting as what I had imagined, and no where near the level of The Jacquerie! The wealthy who are fearful of giving back a bit to the community via higher taxes might be better off just drinking the tea. Like the dentist says before he rips into your rotten root canal, relax this will only hurt for minute ... put on the gas mask and zone out on Tom & Jerry cartoons while we rearrange you ...

Annette said...

The "tea bag" came about from the Sick Rantelli rant from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.. When Gibbs was asked about him at the White House Presser, he invited him to come sit down and talk to him.. Gibbs said he would give Santelli a cup of coffee, decaf .. well Santelli said he didn't drink coffee only tea.. so Michelle Malkin decided to start another tea party, and thus a revolution was born. They started a mail in and protest by going to different places and dumping tea in rivers, and mailing them to the White House and Congress... stupid if you ask me. But that's where it came from.

Fran said...

I'm pissed they get 2 more years of breaks while the country is in total financial ruins.

8 years of breaks under the Bush regime was not enough? WTF??

D.K. Raed said...

Thanks for wising me up about Teabagging the WH. It was nowhere near as gross as I had imagined ... until you said Michelle Malkin was involved ... that's where I draw the line ... that hateful b**ch hasn't had a thought worth listening to since she first thrust her self-righteous face into the public eye!

I know! It's hard to come to grips with, isn't it? But the fact is a few years ago Congress agreed to Bush's Tax Plan which sunsets in 2010. Like it or not, taxpayers make many financial moves based on tax law. That's why Congress has to signal everything well in advance. Of course, Bush was hoping that a sympatico prez would follow him & make the tax cuts permanent (as he himself had tried to do, but Congress didn't agree). Obama & Congress will let it sunset at the end of 2010, you can count on that. In the meantime, relief for the non-upper income taxpayers will come through The Stim and in other ways. But here's a small consolation if you're feeling bloody-minded about the rich taking advantage of low dividend and cap gain rates for 2009 & 2010 ... given the economic downturn, they probably don't have that much profit they can push into those years! boo hoo ... they might try to sell that extra ski lodge in Aspen, but it's not likely to generate them any taxable profit.

Dave Dubya said...

The rich love to hide behind their fake class warfare complaint about it being against them.

Since we've had class warfare waged upon 95% of us for the last 30 years, It's time to embrace the term.

To the barricades!