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September 27, 2010

Elitism

I've allowed myself to wallow in indignation this weekend over the fact that the party who consistently blames the problems of this country on the liberal elites is now holding 98% of the nation's population hostage to extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2%.

You can argue over the semantics of whether a household income of $250,000 a year is actually "rich", but the simple fact is that it's more than almost everyone else in America makes. I admit that there is a huge difference between making $250,000 and $1 million, and I can understand that looking at that difference one could say they aren't rich. But seriously - they aren't poor either, and are more fortunate than 98% of Americans.

Yet these top 2% (which probably includes most of the members of Congress) are complaining about how unfair it is to be targeted, and what a hardship it would be to have their taxes raised a whopping 2% to pre-2000 levels. That it wouldn't really help the economy, and that they're not really rich anyway.

I don't understand this at all.  I wouldn't mind letting all the Bush tax cuts expire (not just those on the top 2%).  I thought they were a terrible idea in 2001, and I still do. I consider myself rich, and our household income is considerably less than $250,000 per year - closer to 1/5 of that.  Yet I make more money alone than the rest of my immediate family combined.  I have a house, two reliable cars, a good job with insurance and benefits, including the luxury of taking a sick day (like today) without losing pay. We can pay our bills and usually can do what we want and buy what we want, and still have enough to save and make the occasional charitable donation. It helps that we don't have expensive tastes, but I don't think that's worth an argument over whether or not we're rich. I feel rich, and I personally know lots of people who are less well-off than we are. If they want to call me rich, I'm not going to argue with them.

So I really have a hard time with people making $250,000 or more insisting they're not rich. And it REALLY makes me angry that the party that's portraying itself as being the party of real Americans is championing the cause of this top 2% as somehow consistent with their message and a part of their Pledge to America to lower the deficit. To me, it's just further evidence that the Republican party doesn't care about the poor or middle class. It looks like the elites aren't confined to the left.

But what angers me the most is that, despite the fact that they are assuredly in the right on this issue, the Democrats will most likely just to roll over and let them win - extending the tax cuts to everyone and letting the deficit balloon further. Which the Republicans will then use against Democrats in 2012, conveniently forgetting that it was all their idea.

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