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The Progressive

Republicans Cry “Class Warfare” When They’re Winning the War

Whenever Republicans are at risk of not getting their way for their millionaire constituents, they cry “class warfare.”

So it was that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor just whipped out the old accusation again in the Wall Street Journal, blaming the Democrats and “the progressive left” for “provocative class warfare rhetoric.”

What Cantor doesn’t like is the rhetoric.

But he’s content with the class warfare, because his class keeps winning, battle after battle, war after war.

Look how much ground the richest of the rich have gained from the Bush tax cuts, which the Republicans are so intent on keeping for this cohort. The top 0.1 percent of Americans gained more than $2,326,607 a piece, whereas people making between thirty and forty thousand gained only $7,040, according to a great chart in Sunday’s New York Times Week in Review.

“Over the past three decades, income inequality has grown dramatically,” notes a recent report by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

“After remaining relatively constant for much of the post-war era, the share of total income accrued by the wealthiest 10 percent of households jumped from 34.6 percent in 1980 to 48.2 percent in 2008.1 Much of the spike was driven by the share of total income accrued by the richest 1 percent of households. Between 1980 and 2008, their share rose from 10.0 percent to 21.0 percent, making the United States as one of the most unequal countries in the world.”

Over the last decade, most Americans have been losing ground, with real wages stagnating and household incomes falling.

“Real median income for working-age households is now $4,925 below its peak in the year 2000,” according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Right now, they are desperate for tax cuts, and those tax cuts would inject a lot of money into the economy.

Whereas, the top 0.1 percent aren’t desperate for tax cuts; they’re just greedy.

But in our economy, and in our political system, it’s the richest and the greediest who win the class war, no matter what you call it.

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Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

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