One political party is committing class warfare, pitting one set of Americans from a particular socioeconomic sector against those on the other end. I abhor what that party is doing.
So they should stop with the class warfare. And by they, I’m referring to the Republicans.
Almost all Republicans in Congress are beholden to an anti-tax-increase pledge signed with a fey little man named Grover Norquist, who has promised to ruin the political careers of any signees who raise taxes … and to little Grover raising taxes includes closing tax loopholes.
Of course, we are not to call such people or corporations “rich” or “wealthy” anymore. The new buzzword from the Republican playbook is “job creators.” That would be fine if these folks, and non-folks, were creating jobs. But studies have shown that instead of investing in hiring, our “job creators” are sitting on their money.
Of course when we have heroes like the “job creators,” we need villains. And no one is easier to scapegoat than the poor and the lower middle class.
Remember the welfare queen kick of a couple decades ago?
Remember the stories a few years ago of illegal aliens coming over the border and immediately getting on welfare, disability and food stamps, even getting their kids on community soccer teams for free because of some government program?
Now, though the villain is the evil 47 percent, meaning the 47 percent of households that allegedly don’t pay taxes.
The truth is they pay taxes. They pay sales taxes, excise taxes on gasoline and other items and payroll taxes such as Social Security and FICA. Many pay state income taxes. They just don’t pay federal income taxes.
If you believe the right’s rhetoric that means the 53 percent of us who do pay — meaning you and me and Manny Ramirez — have to carry an unfair burden.
But it’s not the fault of such folks that they don’t pay federal income taxes. They simply don’t make money enough to meet the established threshold for paying taxes.
And they don’t have anything to do with that. This might surprise you, but that guy trying to support his family on 32 hours a week on the loading dock at JCPenney and another 16 hours cooking on weekend shifts at Applebee’s is not exactly setting federal tax policy.
What it comes down to is the Republicans want to keep cutting taxes for millionaires and corporations and start imposing new taxes on some 20-year-old working part-time at Taco Bell while going to community college.
Yes, according to the GOP, we should start levying federal income taxes on the $240 the Taco Bell employee makes for the 30 hours a week she works, which means taking another $60 or so off of her weekly paycheck. If we tax her, we won’t have to raise federal income taxes by 4 percent on the millions made by Mr. Wally Street. After all, we don’t want ol’ Wally to only spend three weeks instead of four on St. Kitts this season.
What it comes down to is the people who support the “job creators” are creating the job of scapegoat for those who simply don’t make a certain amount of money.
If that’s not class warfare, I don’t know what is.
Bret Kofford teaches writing at
San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus. His opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of SDSU or its employees. He can be reached at Kofford@roadrunner.com