I feel a bit foolish about not equating economic inequality and the state of our plutocracy with class warfare in America. Now that my eyes have been open, how to join the fray?
"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." Warren Buffet
"Through the tax code, there has been class warfare waged, and my class has won. It's been a route."
Warren Buffet (www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/15/warren-buffet-tax-code-...)
Yes, Warren Buffet the billionaire said that, not Warren Buffet, member of the Middle Class.
I've been researching and blogging about social problems like economic inequality and plutocracy since 2012. Until quite recently I had failed to conceive of these problems in terms of class warfare. But, come to think about it, my research findings do support the idea that the Upper Class has been waging an economically abusive war against the other classes for at least the last thirty-plus years. If you are interested in this research, check out firstname.lastname@example.org (Sections A-C) .
I define abuse as mistreatment, deception, insults, hurting, threatening basic rights. Every American is supposed to have the Constitutional guaranteed rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When a person is not as healthy as possible, his/her ability to live freely and pursue happiness is limited. When a person is not able to benefit from the Common Good as much as someone in the Upper Class, his or her ability to live freely and pursue happiness is unfairly limited. When able people who want to work cannot find decent, non-abusive jobs, or if their jobs don't pay them well enough to live a healthful lifestyle, their basic rights to live freely and pursue happiness are impeded. What a healthful lifestyle entails is explained in Section C, #1 of www.equaleconomy.blogspot.com.
In every war there is an aggressor or offensive side and a defender (defensive side). In the American class war, the Upper Class is the aggressor. Why does Buffet call it a "route"? To answer that one must understand the goal of the aggressive side. Simply put the goal of the Upper Class is to accumulate as much wealth as possible from non-Upper Class people. If you read the Sections of www.savingrepublic referenced above, you will realize how successful the wealthiest Americans have been in achieving that goal. Not that they are satisfied. Their hunger for wealth is evidently unlimited. So how do those who have more take from those who have less? What is their strategy?
Consider the following:
1. When conservative politicians who have been indoctrinated with the philosophy (some might call it religion) of materialism, it is a victory for the Upper Class. For a full explanation of Materialism, check out Section D of www.savingrepublic.blogspot .com.)
2. When any proposed legislation aimed at preserving and/or maintaining the Common Good, whether it concerns Education, Environmental Quality, etc., fails to be passed, it is another victory for the Upper Class. For an explanation of the Common Good refer to www.equaleconomy.blogspot.com, Section C, #2 and Section B, #5 of www.savingrepublic.blogspot.com.
3. When legislators dupe the Middle and Lower Classes into thinking they are heroes because they pledge not to raise taxes (meaning taxes for the super rich), it is a victory for the Upper Class. Check out Section D, #1 of www.savingrepublic.blogspot.com to see how much more reasonable Federal tax rates have been in the past (as recently as 1958).
4. Every tax expenditure added to the Federal tax code has been a victory for the Upper Class.
5. Every former government employee that goes to work for a large corporation as a lobbyist and every employee of a large corporation that goes to work for the Federal Government is a victory for the Upper Class. Check out the case of Margaret Miller referred to in www.lowerclasstruth.blogspot.com, Section #7, E.
6. When regulations designed to protect our Common Good are repealed, fail to be implemented, or fail to be enforced, it is another victory for the Upper Class. The value of regulations is discussed in www.equaleconomy.blogspot.com Section C, #2.
7. Every time large corporations raise prices, it is a victory for the Upper Class.
8. Every time an American company outsources its services to other countries or relocates to another country , it is a victory for the Upper Class.
9. Every time the government subsidizes a business so that it will not leave the country, it is a victory for the Upper Class.
10. Every technological development that the Federal Government approves that threatens some aspect of the Common Good is a victory for the Upper Class.
11.The Supreme Court decisions allowing unlimited campaign contributions was another victory for the Upper Class.
12. Whenever campaigning politicians convince the public that jobs and the economy are the only issues that matter, it is a victory for the Upper Class.
I could continue, but you probably have gotten the picture. There is a class war and the rich are winning it. The government treats the rest of us like second class citizens. Oh yes. Check out Section B, #1 of www.savingrepublic.blogspot.com for research to support that claim. Many people, confronted with these facts will tend to throw up their hands and say "What Can we do about it?"
Those of the Middle Class and Lower or Less Fortunate Class (LFC)* who have given up or who choose not to defend themselves and their loved ones in this class war might consider a quote by Paulo Feire. "Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
As for myself, I am opposed to abusive behavior of all kinds and as the Upper Class is waging an abusive war against the Middle and Less Fortunate Classes, I am volunteering to join the defensive side. Where do I sign up? I saw a quote the other day to the effect that the powerful do not budge unless they are given a shove. So why try to shove back? Perhaps because we are angry. Perhaps to keep some hope alive.
I hope enough progressive candidates get elected to Congress so that income taxes on the wealthy can be raised.
I hope that large corporations will be convinced to work with government to promote and enhance the Common Good for all Americans rather than continuing to work with Congress to do whatever the Upper Class thinks is important.
I hope the system will change so that every able citizen can have a decent, healthful, non-abusive job that pays them a healthful living wage.
I hope to live in a society that gives the best possible care to the disabled, to those who are ill, and to veterans.
I hope for reliable, quality, government-funded day care for single working parents.
I hope for a society in which all citizens regardless of their income or location can benefit equally from the Common Good.
I hope for a government that makes the maintenance and enhancement of all aspects of the Common Good priority One.
I believe fighting for these things has value. Before engaging the enemy, it helps if you know yourself. (See Section #4 of www.lowerclasstruth.blogspot.com for a view of the thinking of the LFC). It is also beneficial to know how your enemy thinks. (See Section #5 of www.lowerclasstruth.blogspot.com and www.upperclassperspective.blogspot.com.) How to oppose the perpetrators of economic abuse? The good news is the defensive forces have been engaged in the battle for years.
1. If you support and vote for the most progressive political candidates at all levels of government, consistently and in every election, you are a Defender. (For more info on Progressive candidates check out Section 6 of www.lowerclasstruth.blogspot.com.)
2. If you support progressive causes/organizations with donations and sign pro-Common Good petitions, you are a Defender. There are dozens of such organizations such as Greenpeace, Green America, Environmental Defense Fund, Common Cause, Government Accountability Project as well as on-line organizations such as Causes.com, Moveon.orgCivicAction, and this one, dailykos.com.
3. If you patronize small businesses and boycott socially irresponsible large companies (and their products) that threaten the Common Good, you are a Defender. These companies include Exxon, BP, Facebook, Koch Industries, Walmart and Monsanto. Reasons for boycotting these companies and lists of Monsanto and Koch products can be found in Section 7 of www.lowerclasstruth.com.
So if you are one of the millions of Defenders out there, please welcome me to your ranks. If not, please consider joining. We need all the people power we can recruit.
*I use a formula suggested by the Pew Institute to define the classes. Middle Class families earn between $38,528 and $77,056 annually. LFC earn less than $38,528. Upper Class earns more than $77,056. For a more complete explanation refer to www.savingrepublic.blogspot.com, Section A.