Thursday, July 16, 2009

Class Wars, Take 34,567,890

I've always found it very hilarious that we are supposed to only see class wars when the lower classes fight, because in reality class wars are an ongoing business, and mostly they are waged by the powerful against the rest.

The propaganda is everywhere. For instance, I'm sure you've heard how very hard the rich work and that's why they deserve their incomes. The poor don't work, not at all, and no rich person has ever inherited all that dough.

Then there's the argument that all the societal wealth comes from the rich working so hard. If they decided to 'go Galt' then nobody would have those cushy minimum wage jobs any longer and wouldn't we cry then! So better not try to tax them back into poverty!

Anyone who argues differently is a) a communist, b) a welfare queen and c) just unwilling to pull herself up by those stiletto heels. Something of that sort. Yet none of this is interpreted as another battle in the class wars.

I thought about all this when I read some of the reactions to the new plan to use an extra tax on the high-income people to fund some of the health care changes the Obama administration is working on. Even if that extra tax is very small in percentage figures, those old arguments crop up.

One argument that is less and less founded in reality these days is the one about capitalists being the risk-takers who deserve high incomes because they are always just one misstep away from going bankrupt. The service they provide is supposed to be the carrying of risks in ways which allows for more innovation and more of those cushy jobs for the rest of us.

But the other side of that argument should be that a) workers don't have to carry that same risk and b) that the market is allowed to punish bad entrepreneurs by actually making them face the consequences of poor luck or bad decisions.

Neither of those is what I see happening, rather the reverse. If workers are left with so much of the relative risk from the failing economy and outsourcing via globalization, and if entrepreneurs get golden parachutes and big bonuses, who is it who is carrying the risks here? Hmh?