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Of course you realize, this means class war!

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Baraka_Guru, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    So here we are. With Obama's tax plan that's aimed at the über-rich, we have Republican outcries of class war.

    The gall of this president to engage in such a thing. I can't imagine a worse time for a president to begin a class war.

    Except he's not. He's merely entering the one that's been ongoing for years.

    In case you haven't noticed, the disparity between the über-rich and the rest of Americans has accelerated. What's more, the über-rich and their wannabes have shown quite starkly that they are terrible stewards of the economy and, in turn, society—the two being inexorably linked, given the apparent lack of government with regard to their actions and (devastating) consequences.

    So, yeah, there's a class war. And that Obama has entered the fray should come as no surprise, nor should it be derided. Shouldn't the president look out for the best interests of Americans?

    What do you think of this? Was this just a matter of time? Has Obama given up on trying to please the right?

    What will come of this?

  2. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    I laughed when I heard this idea mentioned on public radio yesterday. I think people in America forget which segment of the class structure they're in, and research has shown that Americans tend to 1) overestimate their own wealth and 2) place themselves higher in the class structure than they actually are, and so despite the fact that this has been going on for years, some are just tuned out to it.
  3. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Well, I think this ties into the myth of the American Dream. Many Americans like to pride their nation as the richest place on earth, where anybody can make it big. There is no place in the world with such opportunity!

    While this may be true, reality is a hard pill to swallow. The number of American millionaire households totals about 8.4 million. That may seem like a lot. That is, until you realize that there were 2.9 million foreclosure filings in 2010, and one economist is predicting that 2011 will see 2 million more. Since 2008, the number totals more than 7 million.

    When the number of foreclosures within a few years rivals the number of millionaire households, what does that tell you?
  4. Redlemon

    Redlemon Getting Tilted

    New England
    Keep these responses coming!
  5. roachboy

    roachboy Very Tilted

    Conservativeland is a special place full of Special People. they aren't necessarily special in the course of their everyday lives, but when they accompany the sentences that are the magic key to Conservativeland across the shift into being within its borders, they become very special indeed.

    right outside that Special Place full of Special People are the Bad Others. they do Bad Things. Bad Others look a whole lot like what conservatives look like to non-conservatives, which is one of the main reason those are the Bad Others. The Bad Others want to hurt the Special People. they are mean and they are Very Scary. they pay exclusive attention to what the Special People are doing, to all the fun they are having being special in a special way, and it makes them mad. so they devise plans to hurt the Special People and take away their specialness because they resent specialness that they do not have and cannot have because they are not also in Conservativeland. those Bad Others do things like engage in class war to take things away from Special People---first and foremost their specialness. because they're Bad, you see. not like us. not Special the way we are.

    this is another example of that special tic particular to conservativeland called projection.
    it's remarkably effective, they think.
    anything that's perceived as a danger (or an advantage) is imputed to the people who oppose it.
    they say the idea is to short-circuit a critique because the critique is already being advanced by the right, even in an inverted or mangled form.
    it's all about trying to blunt the associations that travel with a particular meme.
    it's been a characteristic of conservativeland and how it works for some time, so it's impossible at this point to not see meme warfare something the right is concerned with and about.
    that it's idiotic hasn't been an obstacle to meme warfare before, and it's unlikely to matter in this case either.
  6. KirStang

    KirStang Remember...only YOU can return fire.

    I was something of a Republican for the past couple of years, but I think I'm starting to stray away from the party. We have one of the highest gini coefficients in the world, which has only been exacerbated with with the recession. This isn't class warfare, it's fiscal responsibility. I'm so sick of politicians playing games with the health of the nation.
  7. Redlemon

    Redlemon Getting Tilted

    New England
    I first heard about the Gini coefficient in an article about the London riots this summer. They had a chart comparing the Gini ratings of various European countries. I wondered why they didn't include the US, until I looked up the number and saw how much higher it was in the US. Don't want to rile up the masses...
  8. Had to look up Gini. Interesting stuff. A quick glance at the trends on the chart reveals that the middle class has been under serious attack since the Reagan years. About time the counter-attack started.

  9. dippin Getting Tilted Donor

    The amazing thing is that US inequality grows even as some of the most unequal places on earth reduce their inequality.
    Over the past decade, Brazil has reduced its Gini index by some 15% while growing fast (unlike China). Last year Brazil's GDP grew by 7.5%. Some mildly redistributive policies by Lula (and now Dilma) have led to increased consumption and fast growth. All things that many people in the US consider to be impossible.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Also of note is the impressive downward trends of places such as France and Norway, both of which fared relatively well through the recession. And then you have Germany, which remained low and flat, and look at how they're doing right now.

    You also have here in Canada, where we rank similarly to France. Our greatest recession concern hasn't been our own economy; it's been the U.S. economy.
  11. roachboy

    roachboy Very Tilted

    one of the most astonishing--and dangerous---aspects of the neo-liberal thing is the magnitude of denial and the centrality of its position. within that, there's the bizarre non-falsifiability of the framework itself.

    i've written this before---but the reality-substitution neo-liberalism performs is justified on utilitarian grounds. so ethical arguments justify it.

    but utilitarian claims rest on an appeal to reality--which is, as is the case with any abstraction (any reality that occupies a scale that transcends immediate experience) a question of data. gini indices are simply one among many that show what is simply the case--neo-liberalism radically increases class stratification.

    but the ideology is described (enacted/performed) as if the opposite is the case. to pull this off, neo-liberals defer the real to some indefinite future, once the endless and renewable series of Obstacles (read state or anything else the right doesn't like) are removed. we will never arrive at the fully "corrected" reality---so one can skip over whatever unpleasant facts may emerge----- "we're not there yet"----but (again) the entire machinery rests on an appeal to reality. but one we never get to. so it's like the present tense has been morphed into the subjunctive.

    it's fucked up.

    and an indication of the political power held by whatever institutions control neo-liberalism (in the sense of broadcast or repeat it) is the ability to continually hold reality in abeyance, to put it off, to maintain the "not there yet"---so the frame remains non-falsifiable.

    but reductions in class stratification--the "floating of all boats"---should be measurable if it has any social meaning. and it isn't.

    because the only social meaning it has is as a conservative political meme.

    so why is anyone paying attention to what neo-liberals say again?

    seriously: why is so much of the industrialized world still trapped in this giant bucket of useless shit?
  12. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Here is an excerpt from a Guardian op-ed that summarizes the issue by giving a snapshot of just what this "class war" actually entails (hint: there is already a winner):


    I am again reminded of the words of John Kenneth Galbraith (that seedy Keynesian): “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
  13. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    One of the thoughts I've been turning over in my mind in relation to this subject: if the rich are supposed to be the job creators, and they've been enjoying record low tax rates over the last few years since the Bush tax cuts came into effect, where are the jobs? There is a fundamental flaw in the right's argument regarding the rich and job creation.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    One simply has to look at the real income over the past few decades of the average earner compared to the über-rich to know that the theory of "trickle-down economics" is bunk.

    Cutting taxes does very little for job creation when demand across the board is low. When consumers are either out of work or are concerned about their financial future, demand is low.

    Interest rates are rock bottom; many companies are sitting on stockpiles of cash; the dollar is low, which is good for exporters. The problem? Demand. It's called a liquidity trap, and we're in it. This is why trickle-down economics doesn't work. If you only exacerbate the problem of having most of the wealth flow upward, it tends to get trapped.

    Unstable consumers are reluctant to (or are unable to) consume. It's not difficult.
  15. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    Yes, I've often thought that there is a strong psychological element to this recession as well. The media blares out that we're approaching a double-dip recession. Well, we will be if you keep talking about it!

  16. Can't believe no one beat me to that...
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass Donor

    There's an interesting clip from Elizabeth Warren on youtube that makes the point very nicely. The class warfare piece starts midway.

    • Like Like x 2
  18. Derwood

    Derwood Slightly Tilted

    Columbus, OH
    Until people start touting demand-side economics rather than supply-side, we're fucked
  19. roachboy

    roachboy Very Tilted

    on a related note, here's a reasonably good little article on about konservative kanards concerning science:


    and their tendency to just say stuff, sometimes sprinkled with pseudo-statistics that are pulled out of nowhere.

    for example, as the article points out, konservatives like to act as though their imaginary betes noires the "progressives" have put the kaibosh on nuclear power. because they mobilized, you see. bad bad mobilization. unless you're trying to do a florida presidential election 2000 thingy. but i digress. anyway, you'll see here:


    that this is simply false.
    but that doesn't stop the right.
    you'd think there'd be some sense of responsibility about discourse, given that they like the word responsibility so much.
  20. greywolf

    greywolf Slightly Tilted

    Speaking on behalf John Fleming and SMB owners everywhere, I will say that corporate taxation DOES affect job creation. Canada has very high payroll taxes as compared to the US, and it is definitely a factor in how many people you can carry (jobs). Increasing the EI rate, or the corporate CPP contributions does have a chilling effect on job creation. If I own a company, every extra dollar going out of the company is a dollar I don't get as a return on my investment.

    I have no idea how much Fleming has invested in his company, but if it's $10 million dollars, then his $400k return is pretty meager. If it's $1 million, it's great. If I had $10million dollars to invest, I certainly wouldn't buy a company returning $400k/year; it's only 4% pre-tax. So there's some context missing around the whole issue there, what most people only see is the $4ook.

    The solution really is low corporate taxation to prevent companies moving out of your jurisdiction, and high(!!) marginal tax rates that ensures those with high incomes do pay a healthy percentage of their income into the government. And if the company keeps the profits rather than passing it on to the owners/investors... that really means more investment and more jobs. Corporate taxation is ultimately almost regressive... it is best moved to individual income tax for the maximum overall benefit.