Friday, September 30, 2011

Class Warfare

It was amusing to hear the Republicans start screaming about "class warfare" when President Obama released the details of his jobs plan recently. The plan, of course, includes the so-called "Buffett Rule" which would require the obscenely extremely wealthy to pay a minimum tax rate on all of their income, to ensure that they pay at least the same rate as those of more modest means.

This morning Buffett gave an interview that many on the right have misinterpreted as indicated that he disagrees with the Obama jobs plan. What he actually did was decline to make a comment on the jobs package as a whole, which he hasn't studied in depth. But he clearly stood by the idea, which he has endorsed before, that huge amounts of investment income should be taxed at a higher rate, to ensure that wealthy investors pay at least the same tax rate as their secretaries.

In that same interview this morning, Buffett made a statement that has been conveniently ignored by conservatives: "Actually, there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We’re the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically." He goes on to point out that since 1992, the average income of the 400 wealthiest Americans has more than quintupled, while the percentage of income that those same 400 pay in taxes has dropped from 29  to 21 percent.

Buffett has, of course, been ostracized as a traitor by many of his peers among the super-rich. Yesterday Rick Perry criticized him for being out of touch, saying that Buffett doesn't "have an understanding about what's going on out there in the real world."  I prefer to see Mr. Buffett as a courageous, patriotic American who has placed the interests of his country as a whole before his own purely financial interests.

Class warfare is real. It has been going on for years now as a campaign waged by the super-rich and their lackeys in government, against the workers, the unemployed, the elderly, the immigrants, the disadvantaged of America. So far, the super-rich have won. Hopefully, the war is not over.

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