Did Someone Say "Class Warfare"?

By the Web Editors 9-22-2011

In his column Thursday, Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis took on "class warfare," calling it the "hot topic" of the week here in Washington, D.C., Wallis said:

"Well, let's be clear: There really is a class war going on and the upper class is winning.

"As former President Bill Clinton also pointed out this week, 90 percent of income gains in the last decade went to the top 10 percent, and 40 percent of the increased wealth went to the top 1 percent. The middle class has lost ground in the same period. And we can now say that the only growth in this economy seems to be the sky rocketing poverty rates that the Census Bureau released last week. Almost fifty million Americans are now in poverty -- the largest rate in 50 years, including 22 percent of all our children -- in this the richest country in the world.

"Let's put it another way: The only people doing well in this economy are the people at the very top, some of whose selfish behavior caused this recession in the first place. Only they have "recovered" from the crisis they helped create. The rest of us are still trying to recover. That's a war being waged by Wall Street against Main Street. And Wall Street is winning that war."

Below are a few examples of the other conversations being had about "class warfare" this week in Washington and beyond:

POLITICO: Can Obama beat 'class warfare' rap?

When President Barack Obama laid out his deficit plan Monday, he wasn't just trying to sell a policy. When he pressed for tax hikes on the rich and announced, "This is not class warfare," he was trying to exorcise a demon that has bedeviled the Democratic Party for decades and in the process deprive the Republicans of one of their trustiest weapons. The reaction from the right was swift and sure: "Class warfare!"

THE DAILY BEAST: GOP's 'Class Warfare' Sham

It's still "class warfare," said Paul Ryan Sunday. He went on: It "may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don't need a system that seeks to divide people. We don't need a system that seeks to prey on people's fear, envy, and anxiety. We need a system that creates jobs and innovation, and removes these barriers for entrepreneurs to go out and rehire people. I'm afraid these kinds of tax increases don't work."

PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRES FOR FISCAL STRENGTH: "For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000."

THE ATLANTIC: Obama's 'Class Warfare': It's Not About Class, It's About Age

The president's budget plan has renewed accusation of class warfare against the White House, which wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for about half of its deficit reduction. "Class warfare" is too strong. It's also too simple. The deal at the heart of the president's proposal is higher taxes for the rich with no serious changes to Social Security and health care services. The rich aren't being asked to pay for an expansion of the welfare state. They're being asked to pay for the preservation of the entitlement state.

HUFFINGTON POST: Elizabeth Warren blasts GOP "class warfare" charge

Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts and former White House financial reform adviser, blasted Republicans at an appearance In Andover last month for accusing Democrats of engaging in "class warfare."

"I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,'" Warren said. "No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own -- nobody."

RAW REPLAY/MSNBC: Obama: I'm a 'warrior for the middle class'

At a fundraiser in New York City Tuesday, President Barack Obama fired back at Republicans who have called his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy "class warfare." "You already hear the Republicans in Congress dusting off the old talking points," the president told a crowd of 400 supporters at Gotham Hall. "You can write their press releases. Class warfare, they say." "You know what? If asking a billionaire to pay the same rate as a plumber or a teacher makes me a warrior for the middle class, I wear that charge as a badge of honor."

NEWSBUSTERS: WashPost's 'On Faith' Pounds Pulpit for Tax Hikes on 'The Wealthy'

The Washington Post religion page is thundering from the pulpit again, preaching to the liberal choir on the godliness of higher taxes. In "It's not 'class warfare,' it's Christianity," "On Faith" contributor and liberal theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite defends President Obama's call for tax hikes on top income earners, arguing in essence that President Obama is helping us all be better Christians through tax hikes.

COLBERT REPORT/HUFFINGTON POST: Colbert Accuses Obama of Class Warfare in Taxing Rich

No one declares class warfare in this country without Stephen Colbert calling them on it.

On Tuesday night, Colbert explained why taxing the rich is such a disastrous economic plan by illustrating the benefits of the wealthiest Americans and corporations having the lowest tax rates. He then went on to address the tax base as a whole in "The Word," outlining all the sectors where we're missing tax opportunities: the working poor, the non-working, the non-living poor, etc.

Check out both clips below, but only if you don't mind hearing the truth.

THE HILL: Rep. Ryan: 'Class warfare' is 'rotten economics'

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, criticized Obama's proposals for additional taxes on high income earners in the country, saying it would create more economic instability and hinder job growth.

REDSTATE: Class Warfare: American Communists of 1928 Compared to Barack Obama

Barack Obama may not be a communist, but his embrace of communist rhetoric and though from the 1920s on technology causing unemployment and his class warfare rhetoric truly make him the most far left President we have had in this country. It also complicates his re-election.

MSNBC: Class Warfare

"Remember," MSNBC's Martin Bashir says "that both President's Clinton and Regan raised taxes on the rich in times of recession and America came out on top. Forty million new jobs created following those two tax hikes."

Don't Miss a Story!

Get Sojourners delivered straight to your inbox.

Have Something to Say?

Add or Read Comments on
"Did Someone Say "Class Warfare"?"
Launch Comments
By commenting here, I agree to abide by the Sojourners Comment Community Covenant guidelines and acknowledge that my comment may be published in the Letters to the Editor section of Sojourners magazine.

Must Reads