Posted on July 13, 2011It was Karl Marx who first wrote about class warfare in The Communist Manifesto. Marx believed that the exploited proletariat would eventually rise up against bourgeoisie, overthrow them and then seize their property. In the Marxist view, only communal ownership would eliminate class conflict.
Marx clearly believed that class warfare would be directed upward, from the masses against the rich.
Conservatives and other commentators have been on the look-out for class warfare warriors ever since.
In an interesting twist, Democrats are now accusing Republicans of class warfare because they have resisted the urge to raise taxes on rich people.
In other words, Democrats are accusing Republicans of class warfare precisely because they won’t go along with the Democratic efforts to foist class warfare on rich people.
Dee Dee Myers was the latest Democratic pundit to pull this intensely strange political jujitsu. She wrote a column yesterday called, “What Class Warfare Really Looks Like”: “So as Republican congressional leaders stand their ground in the battle over raising the debt ceiling and lowering the debt — no net revenue increase! — Obama must stand his. He must ensure that any deal he may be able to strike moves us back toward a society where the burdens are shared equally — by all our people. The U.S. now lags behind every country in Donald Rumsfeld’s “Old Europe” in terms of income equality. “The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote recently in Vanity Fair, “the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend on the common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security — they can buy these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had.” That, my friends, is what class warfare really looks like.”
That is not actually historically accurate. What class warfare really looks like is what happened during the Russian Revolution, when Lenin and then Stalin brutally murdered millions of Kulaks and other wealthy Russians, or what happened during the Cultural Revolution when Mao killed millions of wealthier Chinese, or what Castro did when he executed thousands of wealthy Cubans.
That is what class warfare really looks like.
You know what stupid policies look like?
Raising taxes on the so-called rich in ways that hit working class people the hardest.
When Dee Dee was working at the White House, Democrats moved to repeal a luxury tax, which of course was aimed at the rich. The luxury tax added an tax on the purchase of expensive yachts. Guess what happened? People stopped buying big yachts. And who got hurt the most? The normal schmucks who make and sell the yachts.
This policy was so stupid that Clinton ended up signing a repeal of it only a couple of months into his term. You would think that Ms. Meyers would remember that episode, but in her column yesterday, she instead promoted an equally stupid idea, one that targets corporate jet users. It sounds good in theory, sounds like it will really hurt those damn rich people, but my guess is that once it is put into place, working class people will lose jobs because of this tax.
Tax policy is a bad way to fight class warfare. The best thing we can do to ease class tension and promote better economic growth is to get rid of all of the tax loopholes, lower the rates for everybody (including corporations) and make the tax code flatter, fairer and easier to understand.