Third Party & Independents Archives

How Many Americas?

Class warfare is a tool Democrats often use in a fool-hardy attempt to recapture what they believe is a modern-day new deal coalition, in which all those who aren’t rich will rise up and vote for the left. The clearest example of this use of class warfare is John Edward’s divisive and ridiculous notion that we live in “two Americas”. One for the privileged and one for the rest of the people.

I would like to ask Edwards and those who echo this message this question: Which of these “Two Americas” does the average American today live in? Keep in mind that the average American lives almost twice as long as those in America a hundred years ago, and lives better, by all objective measures, than kings (!!!) did throughout most of history (in terms of nutrition, medicine, average life span). For more facts of this sort, check out “The Progress Paradox” by Gregg Easterbrook: you can check out some exerpts from the book here. Even the poor in America live well in objective terms compared to most of the world and most of history. That doesn’t mean there cant or shouldn’t be improvement, but the truth is that almost all Americans live incredibly well by the standards of history and by the standards of life around the globe.

Moreover, despite the Democrats’ disingenuous efforts to convince Americans otherwise, most Americans don’t believe that they aren’t doing as well as they want because of the rich- they don’t buy into the class warfare. Dukakis failed on the class-warfare attack, and so will any democrat who runs on it against Bush. The rich pay a disproportionate amount of the tax burden in America- the top 1% carry half of the tax burden. Now you may believe that this is justified because they are rich, I wont argue that here, but it is dishonest to suggest that in that sort of system, the poor are the ones getting screwed in favor of the rich. The fallacy that the rich become rich at the expense of the poor is based upon a medieval notion of property- during that time, most property was based in land and so if the rich man had all the land, the poor people couldn’t have any. Today, most people become rich by creating a product or service, and then selling it. If Bill Gates was never born, the world would be poorer in total, not richer. As a result, most of the rich are not rich at the expense of anyone (of course there are some counterexamples, like corporate crooks and thieves)- if you see someone enjoying their wealth, you might see it as excessive, but it is untrue to blame your plight on their wealth.

Yet the democrats refuse to let up on the class-warfare rhetoric, trying to tap into the non-existent proletariat consciousness of the “common man”. On John Edwards’ Website you can find amazing quotes like -“This administration’s economic vision has one goal: to get rid of taxes on unearned income and shift the burden onto people who work.” Keep in mind that every person who pays income tax got a tax cut under Bush’s tax package. If what Edwards is suggesting is that we get rid of the payroll tax in exchange for rolling back tax cuts on capital gains, I am all for that. Or perhaps we should just do the sane thing, and adopt a flat tax that will tax people and companies on their profits, getting rid of all the loopholes that Dems like Edwards and Kerry love to complain about. That way there could be no tax-give-aways to huge companies, because everyone would be paying at the same rate per dollar made. But that kind of system would be so unfair (how?), how dare I suggest it? In any case, the notion of two Americas is nothing more than a clever rhetorical ploy, and not one serious people should be using in talking about the proper course for our nation.

Posted by Misha Tseytlin at February 6, 2004 10:39 PM