While I am not one for conservative media outlets, I’ve been seeing some Facebook posts lately suggesting that Obama is waging “class warfare” in hopes of earning himself another four years as Commander-in-Chief. There is no denying that Obama is targeting the middle class and those who wish to ascend to the middle class, using terms like “fairness” and talking about “income inequality”. But are his tactics really class warfare?
I believe many Republicans would say yes. In their eyes, the overall chaos between the self-described “99%” and everyone else is a direct result of Obama strategically dividing our country. Obviously, not everyone sees things this way, since there are clearly many other factors at play. One of the biggest factors that my Facebook friends seem to miss is the fact that less than ten years ago, the rich were given roughly 10% tax breaks by President George W. Bush. This is where the debate about class warfare gets fuzzy for me, since apparently this day in age, only liberals can wage class warfare.
If we are going to define class warfare as any conflict between the rich and the not-so-rich, then class warfare has been rampant in the US since the early 1900’s. Back in the 1930’s, tax rates on the rich ranged from 60-80%, and by 1944 were at 94%. Tax rates on the rich remained above 90% until they began falling in the mid-60’s. Since then, the rich have been waging a silent war against all other classes, bringing their rates down as low as 28% in the late 80’s and leveling out around 35% since the Bush Tax Cuts were enacted in 2003.
Now that the rich have enjoyed relatively low tax rates for eight consecutive years, many of them are doing everything they can to keep them, which makes perfect sense to me. If you’re the type of person who works 60, 80 or 100 hours a week because money is more important to you than anything else, the of course you will do everything you can to fatten that bank account. But insisting that class warfare is some kind of liberal weapon of mass destruction seems a little absurd. In fact, it’s a basic case of the pot calling the kettle black.