[commentary from Ed Stein]
You knew this was inevitable. The Republicans have fallen back on their tried-and-true talking point, the one they use every time anyone asks for some simple fairness in the tax code. It’s class warfare. Never mind that the wealth of the nation has shifted dramatically to the richest Americans, that, in fact, America now boasts an income inequality that would make a Third World despot blush. One of the reasons we’re mired in this recession is that the middle class has lost so much economic clout it can’t spend what it used to, and it’s getting worse day by day. In saner times, politicians understood the value of a progressive tax structure. Now one party fights like a cornered animal to protect the assets of those who need the least protection, and ignores the needs of the rest of us. They call progressive taxes, derisively, “redistribution of wealth,” as though that’s a bad thing. Redistributing wealth is what governments do, at least when they’re doing their job. They take our tax money and give it to soldiers, policemen, firemen, sewage workers, trash collectors and the others we hire to keep our country functioning, and we take slightly more from the wealthy because, well, they can afford it, leaving the rest of us with enough to buy a few luxuries and keep the economy humming. When things get out of whack, as they are now, and we ask to restore what’s worked in the past, and it’s “class warfare.” As Warren Buffet famously noted, it’s a war the rich have already won.