Warren Buffett is an uncommonly outspoken and candid rich guy,
"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."
But it seems his candor has drawn the ire of his class....
"Buffett has outraged conservatives by saying that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary. He's said this for years, but he's a target now because President Obama is using his comment to make the case for higher taxes on millionaires."
The issue of class warfare resurfaced recently when the Republicans shrieked and howled in response to Obama's "tax the rich" campaign rhetoric. The reactions of Boehner and Canter are to be expected. The representatives of the monied class always cry "class warfare" at any threat to their position, just as apologists hurl the term "anti-semitism" to shield and deflect any and all criticism of Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. Their unrelenting hypocrisy is a time-honored tactic, proving again that the best defense is always a brutally aggressive, take-no-prisoners offense. And that's why the rich only call it class warfare when we fight back.
A recent post by Joshua Holland suggests six ways the rich are waging a class war against the middle class. The actions he cites are mostly related to vilifying the poor, but also hint at the illusion of meritocracy in America -- this idea that the rich have earned their gains due solely to innate attributes of talent, character and hard work. On both of these points, Holland's views are consistent with Shadia Drury's commentary on Fake Populism. But Holland adds a wonderful bit of imagery....
"I recently offered a less Orwellian definition, arguing that real class warfare is when those who have already achieved a good deal of prosperity pull up the ladder behind them by attacking the very things that once allowed working people to move up and join the ranks of the middle class."
As he says of his six strategies, they all are designed to protect the status quo in service of the elites' interests, in part to distract from the structural causes of poverty and inequality.
And, as I've argued in earlier posts, this latest campaign in the war of the classes differs markedly from the past -- the success of the rich is so sweeping this time -- because today's elites have at their disposal an incredibly powerful weapon known as the corporation....
"The rise of this new breed of elites, come to exploit the tension between democracy and liberty -- as well as the perennial conflict between rich and poor -- coincides with the ascendance of the corporation. The global corporatist infrastructure provides the vast sums of money -- the enabling mechanism -- that now powers the policies and politics of our so-called democracy. Corporatism has come to dominate our culture and society. It is the corporation, and the pervasive culture of corporatism, that has spawned this new breed of corrupt elite."
Corporate structure and corporate culture have given today's elites an unprecedented advantage for which we have no countervailing force -- much like a virus for which humans have no natural defense.
And you can be assured that the staunch advocates of the monied elite (otherwise known as our elected representatives) will continue to press this tactical and strategic advantage. For example, according to a Republican insider who recently "left the cult," the GOP's corporatist worldview is perfectly aligned with one of its most sacred beliefs....
"The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. The party has built a whole catechism on the protection and further enrichment of America's plutocracy. Their caterwauling about the deficit and debt is so much eyewash to con the public.
"Republicans have attempted to camouflage their amorous solicitude for billionaires with a fog of misleading rhetoric. John Boehner is fond of saying 'we won't raise anyone's taxes' as if the take-home pay of an Olive Garden waitress were inextricably bound up with whether Warren Buffet pays his capital gains as ordinary income or at a lower rate. Another chestnut is that millionaires and billionaires are job creators. US corporations have just had their most profitable quarters in history. So, where are the jobs?"
But you don't need the revelations of a political insider to acknowledge the obvious fact that we are in the midst of an epic struggle for the very soul of democracy -- one that they are winning, by the way. Class warfare is being waged every day in the statements and actions of this new breed of corrupt elite. And what is abundantly clear is that they hate democracy -- or at the very least, they wish to reserve it only for those (in their opinion) best qualified to exercise it. As one prominent conservative wrote recently,
"Registering them [the poor] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country."