The Real Victims of 'Class Warfare'

By Clay Robison

The Republican congressional “leadership” couldn’t lead a kindergarten class to the potty, but it knows how to bottle-feed the super-wealthy, to the detriment of about 99% of America.

Predictably, Republican obstructionists in high places in Washington spent part of the weekend criticizing President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on millionaires. The tax is part of a larger plan to cut the federal deficit and save and create badly needed jobs, including jobs in the classroom. The president wants to invest several billion dollars in Texas public schools and community colleges alone.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin went so far as to proclaim the millionaires’ tax an act of “class warfare.”

Granted, Ryan and others of his anti-government persuasion know something about class warfare because they have been practicing it for a long time now. But what makes Ryan’s statement particularly galling was the fact that the victims of his kind of “class warfare” have been school teachers, construction workers, bus drivers, small business owners. These victims are the vast majority of Americans who have been shouldering the biggest burden of paying for government while watching their disposable incomes dwindle as the rich have gotten richer.

This warfare against the middle class produced lax regulations on Wall Street that led to the disastrous financial collapse and the recession from which this country is still struggling to recover. The millions of lost jobs were not suffered by the class of people that Ryan and his political cronies still persist in coddling. This warfare against the middle class produced a Texas budget that slashed $5.4 billion from the public schools and additional billions from higher education – vital promoters of the middle class — and cut health care assistance, a crucial safety net for low-income families.

If Ryan and the like-minded Rick Perry have their way, this warfare against the middle class will result in a dismantling of the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs at the federal level and the gutting of Social Security, the only retirement nest egg that millions of working Americans can afford. Some of you may have read an op-ed article that investor Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in America, had published in The New York Times last month. It is at

Buffett convincingly makes the point that the super-wealthy have been reaping the greatest benefits from governmental policy while proportionately enjoying lower tax obligations. “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice,” Buffett writes. And, I would add, end the “class warfare” against the vast majority of Americans.

Clay Robison is a longtime Texas Capitol reporter. This appeared at the blog of the Texas State Teachers Association. See

From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2011

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