Peter Lemiska
Another salvo in the war on wealth
By Peter Lemiska
September 25, 2011

It's no secret that Barack Obama and the Democrats want to raise taxes on the wealthy, but if they expect their plan to resonate with mainstream America, they have to counter the charges that they are engaging in class warfare. Obama is sensitive to those accusations and recently defended himself, arguing that the $14.5 trillion-plus national debt is too big to be reduced by budget cuts alone and that, in the interest of fairness, the wealthy, like those hedge fund managers, should pay the same higher tax rate as plumbers or teachers.

He, of course, failed to mention that more than $4 trillion dollars of that debt was accrued by his administration during the last two-and-a-half years. And the existing tax codes, though complicated and imperfect, were intended to raise necessary revenue without stifling economic growth. The vague and carefully chosen examples Obama likes to use serve mostly to cloud the simple fact that the wealthiest taxpayers already contribute the vast amount of tax revenues, and those in the lowest income bracket contribute virtually nothing.

They also serve to incite class envy.

Putting aside any proposed revisions in the current tax code, the Democrats' love of class warfare is hard to deny. Recently, we heard the relentless thud of yet another Democrat pounding on that growing wedge between the wealthy and the middle class.

Elizabeth Warren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, has proven to be another provocateur in the war on wealth. This past August, while on a pre-campaign tour, she was recorded discussing Obama's tax plan. After scoffing at any suggestion of class warfare, she proceeded to argue that no American business could find success were it not for "the rest of us" taxpayers. In her surreal world, the jobs that businesses create account for nothing, and on the contrary, the businesses leaders are indebted to all the other taxpayers.

Yet it's easy to see why Democrats are having some success with their class warfare. By definition, most Americans are not affluent, so the wealthy are easy targets for Obama and his ilk. After all, as long as it those tax increases don't affect the rest of us, who cares?

Well, beside the fact that wealth redistribution represents the very antithesis of American values, there is this to consider. When the tax increases for wealthy Americans fail to eliminate the national debt, and can no longer sustain the government's ever-increasing entitlement programs, the Democrats will have no other option but to redefine "wealthy" downward. They will inevitably raise the tax rates on those very same people who today demand that the wealthy pay more.

Class warfare is not new. Socialists and communists have used it throughout history to spawn social revolution. Karl Marx, author of the Communist Manifesto, roundly condemned the wealthy and the capitalist system, and encouraged the working class to rise up. When Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), invokes the communist rallying cry "Workers of the world unite," that's class warfare. Teamster President James Hoffa attacks the critics of expanding union benefits, saying, "...let's take these sons of bitches out." Then he's back-slapped by a smiling Barack Obama. That's class warfare.

It's ironic that, in this country, the most vocal critics of wealth and capitalism are among the most affluent beneficiaries of our free enterprise system. Like all socialists though, while they condemn the greed of big business, at the same time they cultivate those very same human failings, greed and envy, in an effort to incite the less fortunate and convince them that they deserve more — that they deserve what the affluent have created.

Until recently, class warfare has not gained much traction in America. Our country, after all, was founded to escape the European class system. But we have forgotten that it was never intended to be a land of equal affluence and property, but rather a land of equal opportunity. Unless we return to those principles, we will fulfill the prophecy of another famous enemy of capitalism. It was Nikita Khrushchev, who once said "We will bury you."

Obama has successfully divided the country along socio-economic lines. After the next election, he will likely become irrelevant, but the schism he has created will not, and cannot heal until Americans abandon his war on wealth.

© Peter Lemiska


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Peter Lemiska

Peter Lemiska served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Secret Service. Following his retirement from the Secret Service, he spent several years as a volunteer for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Like most of his contemporaries, he's always loved his country, and is deeply dismayed by this new and insidious anti-American sentiment threatening to destroy it. He's a life-long conservative, and his opinion pieces have been published in various print media and on numerous internet sites.


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