Rand Paul’s Lack of Class

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The Progressive

Rand Paul’s Lack of Class

Kentucky's newly minted Senator is not ready to play nice.

Appearing on "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour on Sunday, Paul boasted that the tea partiers have will not be coopted by the Republican Party but vice versa. "The tea party is coopting Washington," he said. "We're proud, we're strong, we're loud, and we're going to coopt. And in fact, I think we're already shaping the debate."

He's shaping it in such an ugly way, too.

Paul says he favors cutting the number of federal employees by 10 percent, and then slashing the salaries of those who remain by 10 percent.

This is economic folly. We're facing a huge gap of purchasing power in the country right now, and he intends to widen that gap by decimating the purchasing power of almost three million people.

He also said he'd raise the retirement age for Social Security for everyone 55 and under.

Hey, I'm 52. What are you doing to me and my friends-and the more than 200 million other Americans who will now have to work into our dotage?

Paul and the tea partiers are intent on destroying the very idea of government for the people. They want to throw everyone to the barking dogs of the free market.

And they don't want people to see who will benefit from this.

As Rand Paul said on CNN last week, "There are no rich. There are no middle class. There are no poor."

What a cover, to say there are no classes when everything he proposes would help the rich, and not the middle class, and not the poor.

What a convenient slight of hand to say there are no classes when income inequality has widened to obscene levels. As Timothy Noah notes on Slate.

In 1915, "the richest 1 percent accounted for 18 percent of the nation's income. Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation's income."

Or as Holly Sklar, the astute progressive economic analyst, put it recently.

"According to the latest IRS data, the 400 richest taxpayers increased their average income by 399 percent, adjusted for inflation, between 1992 and 2007." By contrast, she pointed out, "Average wages are 7 percent lower today, adjusted for inflation, than they were back in 1973." To top it all off, she noted, "The richest 1 percent has more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined." "

Rand Paul can pretend that classes don't exist in America, and he can propose policies that will help the richest and punish everyone else, but all he proves by doing so is that he's the one who's got no class.

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

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