If you have any interest in the running debates about economic inequality, subsidies, “fair” taxation, tax breaks, crony capitalism and many other themes raised by tea partyers and/or the Occupiers, there are two articles you really must read. I’m going to provide some excerpts below, but please click on the links and read each piece in its entirety. I think most of you will find some wisdom in them, wherever you land on the political spectrum.
The first one is by law professor M. Todd Henderson, writing on Forbes.com this week:
The ‘Occupy’ movement will never succeed against its “one percent” adversaries until it begins to understand that there is not a single one percent, but rather many. …
For example, in education policy, teachers are the one percent, while students and parents are the 99 percent. But it is generally the power of the concentrated teachers’ unions that drives decisions about education spending and policy. The fact that teachers unions support Occupy undermines its power. A true movement of the 99 percents would be on the side of students, not teachers.
Examples abound that cut across typical ideological lines. For instance, military contractors are the one percent, while soldiers and the citizens they defend are the 99 percent. It is for this reason that in the recent census, 7 out of the 10 richest counties surround Washington, D.C.
The second one comes from Steve Conover, in an article on American.com called “The Class Warfare We Need”:
In short, the class war as it stands today finds “Democrats accusing Republicans of siding with the rich, and Republicans countering that Democrats were taxing small business owners who create jobs.” Voters are faced with an apparent dilemma, a contest between the two powerful emotions of envy and fear: should we let our envy of the supposedly too-wealthy, too-powerful “rich” outweigh our fear of damaging the economy’s ability to create private sector jobs? Which side should we take in the unfolding class war: the Democrats’ message exploiting envy, or the Republicans’ message exploiting fear?
It’s a difficult dilemma—but, fortunately, it’s also a false dilemma. Why? Because, as it stands today, the class war has misidentified the enemy. Not all of the rich are the “bad guys” who deserve targets on their backs. By the same token, not all of the remainder are the “good guys” who deserve to be defended — and that includes the middle class, the poor, small businesses, and any other group we don’t usually think of as rich. … the class of people who deserve our enmity is not precisely “the rich” at the very top of the income ladder; instead, the class deserving voters’ wrath is composed of society’s predators and parasites, who span all rungs of the income ladder.
Both articles manage to wrap up very eloquently some themes we’ve touched on here from time to time. Neither one is very long. Please read both.
– By Kyle Wingfield