Class Warfare: As American As Apple Pie


When the President proposed increasing taxes on the rich by 3% (from 36% to 39%) and eliminating tax loopholes for oil companies (projected to be worth $78 billion by 2015) the GOP response was predictable: “Obama and the Democrats are trying to start class warfare.”

It’s a great propaganda technique that makes it sound like Obama wants to revive the Soviet Union.

Here’s the truth.   Class warfare has been going on since time in memoriam.

In the extreme, it’s Robin Hood robbing the rich and giving to the poor. On a larger scale it is The Peasant Rebellion (1525) in Germany that grew out of the beginnings of The Protestant Reformation.  Or it could be a Communist revolution.

These are the kind of violent acts of class warfare that are inevitable when the more numerous underclass is left without peaceful ways to change the rules of the game.  Rules they want to change so they can put food on the table, keep a roof over their head and clothes on their kids.

The history of the United States was founded on class warfare. Our revolution was born out of a commercial class defeating a monarchy that was taxing our fledgling Middle Class for the benefit of Britain’s landed gentry that controlled the Parliament.

If the Civil War is too, too obvious, consider child labor laws. I’m pretty sure the Rockefeller, Frick, Morgan and Carnegie kids were not the ones sweating for pennies an hour to line the pockets of the rich. Same for minimum wage, mine safety and pure food and drug laws.

In their day, such laws were all attacked by the rich as “class warfare” instigated by the Bolsheviks. It was definitely un-American.

Class warfare is as American as apple pie.

Human beings are naturally acquisitive of power and wealth. All of us want to change the rules of the game to achieve one or both. Denied change at the ballot box, and desperate enough, people will turn to the gun.

Class Warfare Helped Middle Class Thrive

Between the 1865 and 1900 the Upper Class had the upper hand. We bought into the Calvinist concept that wealth was bestowed upon a select few by Jesus Christ.  Asked about his money, John D. Rockefeller would say: “God gave me my money.” Apparently God also told him to slaughter the Oklahoma Indians who had improvidently settled on oil rich land.

The first big act of push back on the rich was the Income Tax Amendment.  With the rise of the New Deal, the tide became a title wave.

By The Golden Age of the American Middle Class in 1961, corporations were paying taxes on 40.6% of profits. Beginning with Ronald Reagan, the rich began a steady reversal of those gains. Today, corporations pay taxes of 10.5% of their profits.

The rich also got plenty of tax breaks since the Reagan era.  The result is that the great American Middle Class is being squeezed between the poor who pay no taxes and the rich who pay less and less taxes.  Real Middle Class income is no better today than it was forty years ago.

The four hundred richest Americans now have as much wealth as the bottom 150,000,000!

Society should have three goals in no particular order: security, prosperity and freedom.  To listen to the rich and their Tea Party flunkies, reducing taxes on the rich is the divine plan of Jesus Christ that will lead us to the Promised Land.

But if you’re White Middle Class, these policies have led to a decline in family wealth by an average of 16%.  If you’re Hispanic it’s 66%.  If you’re Black…forget-about-it.

When it comes to self interest, aka greed, the rich are just like the rest of us.  They are just better equipped to foist their vision on the rest of us. They have convinced too many us that their dream is our dream.

The rich touted the benefits of “free trade.” How did that work out?

In exchange for importing cheap goods made on Chinese slave wages, we have exported our manufacturing base and our kid’s future.  And you know who got rich off of this. Hint, it wasn’t the American Middle Class or the working-class.

The greatest lie the rich ever sold was that our prosperity is based on them being given unfettered wealth.

It’s time to reconsider two old tee-shirts from the 60’s: ROBIN HOOD WAS RIGHT! And EAT THE RICH!

28 Responses to “Class Warfare: As American As Apple Pie”

  1. Orserver says:

    If there is anything sadder than the complete failure of Obama it is the silly wailings of his apoligists.

  2. Floridan says:

    Actually, Obama’s proposal was to increase the marginal tax rate 3 percent points. The wealthy would not pay 39 percent on their total income.

  3. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Or,
    Apparently you do not believe that there are such things as class warfare or self interest. You live in America where we’re all “gods chillen”.
    “Oh, who’s being naïve Kay”

  4. What? says:

    Orserver – yes, reading your sentence. First, it’s spelled “apologists.” Second, you should respond with something to support your view, because it is not just self evident that Obama is a failure or that Mr. Field’s comments are “silly wailings.” Please educate us.

  5. Reality says:

    Why tax the rich? Why tax anyone? The only reason is so that government can then spend money.

    Our fiscal issue is caused by government spending too much on credit. If a household was facing that issue, there are only two ways to address it, either bring in more money or spend less (or a combination of the two). Government has the same options; either tax more or spend less, or a combination of the two.

    This is where the two major factions depart. The left says government taxing the “rich” more should be the primary way out of our fiscal mess; the right says spend less.

    The populace would not be so split if everyone had “skin in the game.” 49% of Americans pay zero income tax. I do not propose that our graduated tax system should be changed to a flat tax, but all should pay some. It is only when a person pays some into the system that they really care about how the system is spending money.

    I do have a grander framework in mind, but that is not the subject here. I do suggest that the first step to agreement is for everyone to pay something, even as small as 1%, so everyone sees their money going to the government (sales tax is pretty well hidden). Once that happens, more people will genuinely care about how the money is spent.

  6. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    Don’t try to confuse the Tea Party with math.

    One of my BCC teachers from years ago told us in class to always pay attention to how you can manipulate an interpretation if you don’t follow the math.

    He gave us an example of an institution run by a president who pleads times are tough and can only give a 3% across the board raise to be “fair” to everyone.

    “Well, if I am making 30K and he is making 3 million, 900 dollars does not seem that fair compared to his $90,000 after 1 year. Now what do you think the income gap is after 10 years of being “Fair” goes by?”.

    I have had many bad experiences trying to explain to my Tea Party friends what tax brackets are. Kinda like trying to explain the 3rd Reich to a drunken C/W singer before kick off time.

  7. Le_Philosophe says:

    A few observations:

    Sam mischaracterizes the Tea Party as flunkies when in fact they are patriots, protesting for their freedoms and property rights.

    I applaud Sam for seeking historical justification for his argument; however flimsy and irelevant it may be. Last I checked Robin Hood was not an American, nor did he fight for freedom from Monarchical tyranny, nor did he even recognize that it was a problem. Rather the return of the King was his salvation.

    The real class warfare noted in Sam’s article was the systematic massacre of the native Americans by US Cavalry. Going back to the Trail of Tears with the Cherokees, even further to the tribes of the Northeast siding with the French before the Revolutionary war where the honorable George Washington got his initial military experience: in theatre training. Not to forget the desire of American Presidents to eliminate the “Indian Problem” on the US frontiers, and the fame of little big horn and George Custer’s fatal charge, one skirmish in a long battle against the indigenous aboriginal people of this hemisphere. Such is the power of an overbearing government.

    To characterize sociological/ political conflict as class warfare is to say that Karl Marx was correct, and of course he was not. Sam shows his real roots here. His real ideas come to the fore. His true motivations are revealed in his words. He does not respect property rights. He believes that society has a right to take away from you something you have earned with your own sweat and blood. Finally we see some of Sam’s true perspective of how government should operate.

    FYI, a true patriot, Thomas Payne proposed that the US government be funded by an inheritance taxes of 100%. His justification was that it would level the playing field for all people and fund the government without impeding the progress of capitalism. Of course he was wrong too and that did not fly nor will your socialist/ communist leanings either, Sam.

    Finally, it would be intellectually dishonest not to recognize the disparity in the growth of the difference in income between those that have capital and those that do not. Something has gone awry in the American capitalistic system when 50% of the population does not pay taxes, because they are deemed to be existing in a condition of poverty which will not permit them to do so. It is obvious that the working man has lost ground, even in times of prosperity in the last half of the previous century and the first part of this one.

    I am not enough of a sociologist, economist, or political theorist to unequivocally state the problem, the cause or the cure. Nor do I claim to be one. Might I add, neither is Sam Fields. But by trying to force a political solution before we understand the problem is like going to a turkey shoot wearing a blind fold, trying to throw horse shoes when you cannot see the opposite pole, or shooting hoops without knowing where the back board is. In a situation like that is it productive to claim that those of opposition are not true patriots? They are simply trying to take back the rights that they feel they have lost.

  8. Lois says:

    Sam, will you never tire of spewing your anger and hatred at those with whom you disagree? Most of us are content merely to believe what we believe without trying constantly to force our beliefs down the throats of others. Did your Mommy never pay any attention to you?

  9. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Phil,
    The poorest of poor and working poor pay plenty of taxes. Social Security, Medicare, sales tax, etc. Even if they rent, their money is going for property taxes.

    The working poor and lower middleclass are also more likely to pay with their blood. Who the hell do you think is fighting our stupid ground wars?

    Certainly not the five Romney boys. Cowards to the core.

    Dear Lois,
    That’s why it’s called an opinion page. Who made you read it?

    I suggest you stick to watching Paula Deen while you eat your Malomars

  10. watcher says:

    most of the people effected by the proposed tax hike are not producers of anything…they are money manipulaters…the jobs they “create” are paper-pushers…they have limited their risks through corporate entities…they sell and broker money and for this they get special tax breaks….now after sucking trillions from the value of real estae they cry “poor me”…ugh

  11. Duke says:

    Very well said Mr. Fields. A most interesting read.

  12. Le_Philosophe says:

    Mr. Fields which of the taxes below does the working property owner NOT pay in addition to his income tax?

    “The poorest of poor and working poor pay plenty of taxes. Social Security, Medicare, sales tax, etc. Even if they rent, their money is going for property taxes.”

    Critical thinking skills are obviously not your strong point. A Red herring is a Red herring by any other name.

  13. Who is John Galt says:

    I am always hearing the Dems throw around words and phrases though often used are never defined.
    I know that you can help.
    Define the following so that I can get a better grasp on your article:
    -Rich people
    -Middle class
    -Working people
    -Fair share
    p.s. please credit your sources for the above definitions.

  14. Groucho K. Marx says:

    Sam Fields,
    You need to keep your mouth shut because this is our space. Comments mean readers commenting on your writing. SHUT UP ALREADY.

  15. watcher says:

    @Galt…I gave up Fountainhead when Roark didnt get evicted from his big city loft because the landlord trusted him for all that back rent while he turned down work

  16. Tamarac Talk says:

    Sam, brilliant and insightful Op Ed as usual. Your articles belong in a major newspaper editorial section.

  17. Sam the Sham says:

    “I suggest you stick to watching Paula Deen while you eat your Malomars”

    Fields, you are the ugliest of bigots. You call Allen West a bigot when he defends America, while you stoop into the gutter for your hateful rhetoric.

  18. Sunrise Observer says:

    Very well said Mr. Fields. A most interesting read!

  19. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Phil
    You need to read what you write. Your exact quote is: “Something has gone awry in the American capitalistic system when 50% of the population does not pay taxes.”
    Maybe not income taxes, but they certainly pay all kinds of other taxes– most of which are highly regressive.

  20. Lois says:

    Amen to Sam the Sham. Fields always reacts like a playground bully when someone disagrees with any of his opinions. He is utterly predictable in both his actions and reactions.

  21. things that make you go hmm says:

    The age old democratic gripe, taxes. If person A is paying a 36 percent rate on the 1 million dollars and person B is paying 36 percent on 50,000. Which person is paying more in taxes?

    The issue is, person B will be paying a lower percentage, than 36%. Yet people are complaining that person A is not paying enough.

    Perhaps we should cut spending and maybe ask Michelle not to spend so much on trips

  22. John Galt is waiting says:

    Dear Sam:
    Please read #13 above, then respond.
    I will await with bated breath.

  23. watcher says:

    Galt let me help you….rich people look forward to the first of month…middle class are pleased to still be in their homes on the 15th and the poor dont wear watches….fair share…what you get when you get a fair shot

  24. John Galt still waiting says:

    now define.

  25. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear John Gault,
    It sounds like you want me to write your 9th grade Civics paper for you.
    One additional note, I am pretty sure atheist Alice Rosenbaum did not create the kind of character who would hide behind a phony name.

  26. watcher says:

    Sam that’s not fair…Objectivists stay principaled into their 30s or at least until the realize that capitalism isnt based in honesty and integrety

  27. John Galt says:

    I rest my case…

  28. John Galt is right says:

    As Ayn (Alice to you) would say to Sam “check your premises”

    Sam, like most dems, gets it wrong. Robin Hood did not rob from the rich to give to the poor.

    He took back, from the evil king’s henchmen, the taxes seized by force from the overtaxed and oppressed citizenry, and returned the monies to them. The only “rich” were the government officials.

    Who’s supports Robin and his merry mens’ position, Sam? The tea party or Pelosi, Obama, Reid et al?