Class Warfare

One of the reasons I left the GOP was impatience with party rhetoric equating taxes with theft.

It seems to have become a Republican article of faith that it is “immoral” to tax people for the services they receive, let alone for purposes of redistribution (i.e., using tax dollars to help poor folks). Those who work, we are told, should be allowed to retain the fruits of their labor. (I guess it is impertinent to ask what portion of those “fruits” are the result of living in a society that provides roads and bridges on which to ship goods, police protection of social order, courts to enforce contracts, and all the other infrastructure necessary to conduct a trade or business.)

So how do these principled critics of redistribution and “theft” justify the Wisconsin Governor’s attack on public workers—and his effort to take money from them in order to enrich the wealthy?

It should be emphasized that public workers in Wisconsin are not responsible for the state’s fiscal problems, and stripping them of their bargaining rights won’t solve those problems. According to reports in the New York Times and elsewhere, the Governor was the one who precipitated the state’s projected $137 million shortfall. Just last month, he and the Republican-controlled legislature gave away $117 million in tax breaks, mostly to businesses and for private health savings accounts.

If it weren’t for those tax breaks, according to the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state would have had a surplus.

It’s interesting. Every time someone suggests reversing the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2%—tax cuts that left current rates at their lowest point in fifty years—the GOP screams about “class warfare.” I want to know why it is class warfare when we ask the rich to pay their fair share, but it isn’t class warfare to take money from hardworking public servants to pay for tax breaks for the rich.

I’d also like to know when the party of fiscal responsibility became the party that robs the poor to give to the rich.

I guess redistribution is okay when it’s upward.

1 Comment

  1. Both the Indiana as well as the Federal Constitution permit the government to tax. If you think taxation is “theft”, you should move to another country where taxation is indeed illegal. Otherwise shut your yap about “theft at gunpoint by government agents” when discussing taxes…

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