Opinion

Commentary: This isn't class warfare

Issac Bailey is a columnist for The Sun-News, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Issac Bailey is a columnist for The Sun-News, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. MCT

Call for an end to a capital gains tax rate that allows a man who makes a billion dollars in a single year, through investments, to pay a lower effective rate than a man in the middle class who takes home a bi-weekly paycheck, you are participating in class warfare.

Note the insanity of annually providing billions of dollars in federal subsidies to companies that earn billions of dollars in profit every year, you are participating in class warfare.

Raise your eyebrows after a comprehensive report is released showing that most of the companies in the Fortune 500 either paid no federal income taxes or even received a tax refund, you are participating in class warfare.

March on Wall Street to vent your frustration instead of Washington, you are participating in class warfare.

Identify more with the imperfect rage of Occupy Wall Street than the imperfect rage of the Tea Party, you are participating in class warfare.

Be horrified by the actions of countless of the world’s most powerful corporate executives who undertook risky, reckless bets that almost took us into another Great Depression, then fought rules to prevent such behavior from reoccurring while doling out record level executive bonuses even as the jobless rate stalls, you are participating in class warfare.

Point out the ugly collusion between Wall Street and Washington which has created a tax system that benefits large corporations to the detriment of small businesses, you are participating in class warfare.

Believe that an under-regulated or not-well-regulated private sector can do as much damage to the country as a bloated, unfocused government, you are not only participating in class warfare but you hate capitalism itself.

You can’t simply be concerned by the growing anger and fear of what is a clear and rising American inequality, which several studies have noted, including those showing the biggest income gap ever between the old and young and increasing hurdles to social mobility.

You can’t be pointing these things out because they are bad for the long-term cohesiveness of the country.

You can’t be hoping that detailing these problems will increase the likelihood a fairer, saner tax system might result.

No. To do any of these things means simply that you want to punish the successful for being successful, or you want the wealthy to pay for a free-and-easy jaunt through life for the not-so-wealthy, or you want government to grow to new heights and be everything to everyone.

To criticize Wall Street or the tax loopholes they helped to write and endorse isn’t to push for a better way, it is an underhanded attempt to deem the rich evil and job creators blood-sucking pariahs.

The criticism aimed at the burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement, which has a small footprint on the Grand strand, is fascinating, particularly because they come mostly from those who felt unduly and unfairly criticized because they shared the Tea Party’s sensibility and began showing up in droves for rallies beginning 3 years ago to support it.

Much of that criticism is sad. It doesn’t foster debate and discussion that will lead to political pressure to revamp a tax code and political system that seem to work to the detriment of most of us. Instead, it is aimed primarily at shutting down such thoughts before they can have real impact, the kind that will benefit us all.

It is not class warfare to say what should have been obvious decades ago, that things need to change, in a fundamental way.

And in a hurry.

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