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Monday, July 30, 2012

Middle Class Is Un-American

The New Yorker reports on the arrogant, thieving, high-Tory mindset of today's Republican Party, and their Orwellian attempts at corrupting the meaning of plain English - emphasis mine:
On the floor of the Senate this week, Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican Minority Whip, criticized President Barack Obama for talking about the middle class. The mere phrase “middle class” — that most anodyne of demographic terms, the category to which half of all Americans polled identify, and into which Mitt Romney is always trying to shoehorn very, very wealthy people like himself — emerged, in Kyl’s evocation, as some kind of crazy-lefty bumper-sticker slogan. By alluding to “what he calls ‘the middle class,’ ” Kyl said, as though Obama had come up with the phrase, the President was “pitting these Americans” against the wealthy, “spreading economic resentment, and weaken[ing] American values and ideals.” Kyl went on: “We don’t need the current American President touring the country and defining every American’s values and status based on a class system that he’s made up. I don’t think there’s anything called middle-class values. I just think the whole discussion of class is wrong. It’s not what we do in America.”

Increasingly, it isn’t. Not if we’re in office or running for office, and especially not if we’re Republicans. America perpetuates a class system — and an income-inequality gap growing faster than that of most other countries — but American politicians try not to speak of it, because if they do, they get slimed. “What you could do for me,” President Obama told a group of Presidential historians in May, 2011, “is to help me find a way to discuss the issue of inequality without being accused of class warfare.” A year later, it takes even less to attract that particular charge, even as it takes more rhetorical chutzpah to get around the reality.

It’s remarkable how far to the right the acceptable political discourse about the haves and have-nots has shifted — or perhaps it’s just moved into the realm of denial. In the not-so-distant political past, it was considered reasonable for Republicans to allude to inequality and even vow to try to remedy it. In an excellent recent article in Rolling Stone about the contemporary Republican party’s extreme attachment to tax cuts for the rich, Tim Dickinson quotes a 1985 speech by Ronald Reagan, a speech that somebody — maybe Kyl — would surely be calling “class warfare” talk until he heard who’d made it. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” Reagan vowed, adding that they “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10% of his salary—and that’s crazy." . . .


Tim said...

Well, if Mitt can criticise the Olympics, I can criticise your Republican politicians - but to be honest, words fail me.

Frank said...

I never thought I would think of Reagan as a liberal or moderate, but next to the current slew of Republicans he looks good.

Of course they don't want a middle class - just the rich and the poor - and they have no use for the poor - they'd just let the poor die off - screw the safety net.

Russ Manley said...

Tim - I'm nearly speechless myself when it comes to these monuments of arrogance.

Frank - Yup, screw the safety net. Though I suppose they have to keep a few of the poor alive to buy their products and build their mansions and kiss their feet.

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