Saturday, September 27, 2008

War on Working Families

Why do right-wing commentators get to say it’s class warfare to suggest that wealthy people should pay more in taxes?

I’ll tell you what’s class warfare.

It’s class warfare to pass two sets of massive tax cuts that benefit mostly the wealthy as President Bush did during his first term. These two frontal assaults on working folks, transferred almost $100 billion to the top 1 percent, while helping to turn a $5.1 trillion 10-year federal budget surplus into a $3.7 trillion deficit. This devastating debt is already a crushing burden on future generations of average taxpayers.

It’s class warfare for presidential candidate John McCain to propose making the Bush tax cuts permanent — a coup de grace for struggling Americans who already saw the median household income go down from 2000 to 2007.

It’s class warfare to give big business executives taxpayer subsidies totaling more than $20 billion per year that in truth encourage unlimited pay packages.

It’s class warfare to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act as both President Bush and Sen. McCain do. This law would begin to bring a small amount of power balance back into the workplace by making it a bit easier than it is now to form a labor union. Further, it would compel mediation and arbitration if management and the union don’t agree on a contract in 90 days.

It’s class warfare to oppose increasing the federal minimum wage as both President Bush and Sen. McCain have, when inflation-adjusted wages for most workers have grown only 7 percent from 1979 to 2007. By 2006, when a proposed increase was last voted down, the value of the minimum wage had fallen to its lowest level in over 50 years.

Extreme inequity is bad for a democratic society. Disagree with the idea if you want to, but spare us the offensive rhetoric. Average Americans are on the front lines of the real class war and have been losing long enough.

Adapted from “The Truth about Class Warfare,“ by Bob Keener, communications director for United for a Fair Economy.

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