Quote of the day
12.13.2012 Leave a comment
Economist Richard Wolff addresses class conflict as it exists in the United States today:
Conservatives and Republicans see advantages in becoming open class warriors. They invite the voting population to join them in fighting the class war. Their program: to liberate the hardworking, self-reliant class (those earning over $50,000) from ruinous taxation. To that end, they will reduce and eventually eliminate handouts to the dependent clients of an overspending state controlled by those clients’ votes.
Republicans promise to end “abusive” taxation and other government programs redistributing wealth and income from the upper 53% to the lower 47%.
This class war aims to eradicate its enemy. The dependents will lose the government handouts that destroyed their self-reliance, creativity and responsibility. Forced to become independent, like the 53%, they will abandon the Democrats, and secure Republican victory. This politics – designed to eradicate the enemy – replicates the strategy deployed earlier against another Democratic voter base, organized labor, after it returned Franklin Roosevelt to office four times.
After this class war succeeds, government will return to its “original purposes” of military defense, law enforcement, and little more. The lower 47% will be freed from debilitating dependence to resume the happy middle-class existence that is the social optimum.
That this class narrative is not evidence-based or factual is beside the point. Of course, vast tax reductions go to corporations and the richest citizens, just as vast subsidies do, and likewise, laws enabling monopoly pricing, tax evasion, and so on. Corporate profits and individual wealth depend on government, too. The class warfare narrative of the US right proceeds anyway, because it plausibly promises tax cuts as relief for Americans in worsening economic difficulties.
To the extent this class war from above succeeds, Democrats will weaken, and government assistance for the poor and working class will atrophy. Such austerity will deepen resignation, bitterness, and depoliticization for many.
Well, America’s reactionaries can dream the impossible dream as they wish….