Taxing the rich is not class warfare

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Elizabeth Warren (US Democrat senator for Massachusetts)
I hear all this, you know, “Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.” – No!

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

You built a factory out there – good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

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25 replies

  1. As I alude to in my blog, “Moon Landing A Fake Reveals Government” if Tony Abbott was so much against class warfare, why did he name his book “Battlelines”.

  2. because he’s an idiot ???

  3. The is an excerpt from Noam Chomsky’s book about class warfare in the USA. It sounds eerily familiar.

    “Well, there’s always a class war going on. The United States, to an unusual extent, is a business-run society, more so than others. The business classes are very class-conscious—they’re constantly fighting a bitter class war to improve their power and diminish opposition.

    The enormous benefits given to the very wealthy, the privileges for the very wealthy here, are way beyond those of other comparable societies and are part of the ongoing class war. Take a look at CEO salaries.

    CEOs are no more productive or brilliant here than they are in Europe, but the pay, bonuses, and enormous power they get here are out of sight. They’re probably a drain on the economy, and they become even more powerful when they are able to gain control of policy decisions.

    The bottom 70 percent or so of wage earners are virtually disenfranchised; they have almost no influence on policy, and as you move up the scale you get more influence. At the very top, you basically run the show.
    I suspect, but don’t know how to prove, that part of the reason people don’t vote is they just know their votes don’t make any difference, so why make the effort? So you end up with a kind of plutocracy in which the public opinion doesn’t matter much.

    The case of labour is crucial, because it is the base of organization of any popular opposition to the rule of capital, and so it has to be dismantled.

    There are major efforts being made to dismantle Social Security, the public schools, the post office—anything that benefits the population has to be dismantled.

    If you care about other people, that’s now a very dangerous idea. If you care about other people, you might try to organize to undermine power and authority. That’s not going to happen if you care only about yourself. Maybe you can become rich, but you don’t care whether other people’s kids can go to school, or can afford food to eat, or things like that. In the United States, that’s called “libertarian” for some wild reason. I mean, it’s actually highly authoritarian, but that doctrine is extremely important for power systems as a way of atomizing and undermining the public.”

  4. A good social conscience from those who make their fortunes from the rest of us would go down really well at present. There are some really good big business people who do have this great aspect but we all need to know who they are, so we can support them so they can support the country’s progress into the future. That way it will be a win win situation for all.

  5. All hail Senator Warren for a succinct and honest appraisal of the true nature of the capitalist social contract as it should be. I for one am fed up with the “I make more, therefore I deserve more, I’m worth more therefore I’m entitled to more” attitude pervading the wealthy. I’ve no problem, just like the good Senator, in the enterprising reaping a just reward for their ingenuity and effort but they like everyone else should understand that the more they gain from a society, the more they are obliged to contribute. For centuries, even under feudal systems that approximated slavery, the better off understood their obligations. Noblesse oblige. Even the ancients knew that that great privilege brought with it great obligations. Now it’s, ” the more I’ve got the more I bloody well want and NOW”!

  6. An honest statement from Warren Buffett, the mega-rich American investor. “There’s class warfare, all right,” he once said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”


  7. This Rachel Maddow video defines and illustrates the severity and permanency of the problem caused by corporate sponsored economic reforms that reduce tax for the wealthy:

  8. This TED talk by super rich businessman Nick Hanauer makes much sense:

  9. There is a publication of an interview David Barsamian did with Noam Chomsky entitled: “The prosperous Few and the Restless Many.” (1993, Odonian Press) Barsamian refers to Chomsky saying that “class” is an unmentionable word in the USA. Chomsky says that only two groups are allowed to mention the word: the business community and “the high planning sectors of the government”. Chomsky then goes on to say:

    “So they can be class-conscious. They have a job to do. But it’s extremely important to make other people, the rest of the population, believe that there is no such thing as class. We’re all just equal, we’re all Americans, we live in harmony, we all work together, everything is great.”

    He then comments on “enterprise economics”:

    “According to this picture, we’re all workers. There are firms in which we work. ….there are no managers, no bosses, no investors. They don’t exist. It’s just workers and the firms in which we work. All the administration’s interested in is helping us folks out there.”

    Here in Australia, one could perhaps add the words “elite” and “war”. It is acceptable for Abbott and his supporters to use such terms and for Abbott to declare war in his book “Battlelines”, but he pretends it is others who create gender war, culture war or class war.

  10. Mr. Abbott what about that unity ticket, and your pledge to keep the Gonski model of education funding.

  11. In the ultimate class warfare, Christopher Pyne has said any reduction in funding MUST come from the public school sector. I am so glad we had all those experts take all those submissions and work on a report for a year so that Chris could completely ignore their findings and say we will level the field by giving the private schools more money.

  12. This video on the wealthiest and poorest Americans puts the whole issue into perspective:

  13. Taxing the rich per se isn’t class warfare. Taxing workers is, taxing capitalists is, taxing landlords is.

    The question is … which class is doing the taxing, and who is being taxed?

  14. shit another bleeding heart woman! Hasn;t the rabbott made it clear that you women will get your chance when you can compete. This doesn’t clash with his statement ‘women will never be dominant or even approach equal representation….” because as soon as a woman who understands women as well as the rabbott does appears he will give her the job unfortunately there is no suitable women in government, at the moment because sophie was defeated, so he’ll keep the responsibility with him. It is not an onerous task. Just a few scone nights and openings of the birth clinics.needed when the new abortion laws take hold.

  15. Why are the Rothschilds never mention. They arent even on any Rich lists, your going to try and tell me the that Richard Branson has more money than the Rothschilds.

  16. Jane, re the Rothschilds

    Today, the family empire is divided between direct descendants and outside shareholders, which is why – according to the Financial Times – it’s difficult to tell how wealthy the actual family is. The Rothschild core global banking and private equity businesses are held by Concordia BV. First owned in equal shares by the English and French families, the company is now controlled by Paris Orléans.

    As for specific members of the modern family, Sir Evelyn De Rothschild the British financier has a net worth of $20 billion. Jacob Rothschild another British investment banker has a net worth of $50 billion. As a modern day an empire, the family’s total net worth and assets combined have been pegged in the $300 – $400 billion range.

  17. Billion or trillion!

  18. Let’s get real.
    The Bogan-Right are more confident in saying they wish to support the “aspirationals”.
    The big debate then is really about what this nation understands it wants to be; a social-democratic entity or a selfish and greedy “Tea-Party” one?
    I think the last election solved that, I think for the worse.
    Australians have shown a reluctance since Whitlam of having any lasting yearning for social justice, equity, or understanding of the issues of Nation and nation building.
    Labor has been bereft in this area, the Greens, ( the only left, remaining) too narrowly focused and the “the bogans” are having a field day.
    We are a cartoon of a nation and unfortunately we have made the story-board ourselves.

    Why was “Rabbott’s” Mein Kampf, called Battlelines? Because he’s a conflicted Catholic and understands naught but conflict.
    Pyne “The-Whyne” is a Catholic too; and me as a lapsed one find it painful for me to see that the most anti-social and vehemently brutal of the Liarbrils, all seem to be Catholic educated.

    Lucky Country… ?

  19. Only a greedy rich person could believe this rubbish !! GET REAL !! There is nothing wrong with a flat tax of 10% on the entire wage earning /interest earning population !! Any problems with this give some money to charity or raise the minimum wage !! Now that’s solved get on with your lives !! b4 you know it they (or the planet ) will be fracking over !!

  20. Thanks to author and contributing posters for your comments and links.

    I would like to add a further couple of connections to the story of inequity/Australian politicians (higher paid than those in the USA), the real truth behind ring wing religion+politics+corporatism.

    More people from an increasingly wide cross section of our community are questioning the malaise of the governments of Australia, USA, Britain and Canada and the reasons for this breakdown between citizens and the powerful and wealthy elite.

    I am thoroughly fed up to the eyeballs if I criticise the bad planning of housing and infrastructure – being told I am envious is such a load of shite – no matter how wealthy, I would no more move into a McMansion than gouge out said eyeballs – which I would need to do if I lived in the concrete cells in suburbs like Templestowe devoid of anything that hints at the earth from which these housing monstrosities were constructed.

    My first link is to a Big Ideas program from ABC Radio National, broadcast earlier this week. It looks at recent Australian political history – no, we have not heard enough:

    My second link is to a paper on Fascism – AKA Corporatism – our current system of government that favours private enterprise over government services, eradicates trade unions and infiltrates schools with a single form of religiosity via the “chaplaincy program” (current cost to taxpayer at $437,000,000 ), to qualify one does not need any training in counselling just a belief in the Nicene creed of Christianity and is currently undermining public schooling and we are sitting here watching it happen – the LNP isn’t even trying to hide its aims any more.

  21. Employers are now referred to as “job creators”. An effort to elevate them in terms of social responsibility and as wealth sharers. What I have not heard is that without there employees the “job creators” would have neither the goods to sell or the market to sell to. There are always two sides to a equation, otherwise it wont balance. Unbalanced logic is spin.

  22. thank you everyone – almost – for the fantastic additions to this post via the comments, Diannaart, Kaye Lee, VoterBentleigh, John B – I learned stuff – thank you

    Tony, are flat taxers a subgroup or off shoot of the Flat Earth Society? both make as much sense

  23. The damage was done by the continued implementation of “trickle down” economic policies in the US over the last 30+ years, and barring complete economic collapse or violent revolution I can’t see the US government or corporations redistributing wealth back to the citizens.

    It has always puzzled me why the US dollar hasn’t depreciated as an effect of the printing of 84 billion dollars each month for the last 4+ years (so called quantitative easing), QE1, QE2, QE3. Recently it has occurred to me that the most likely reason for this lack of currency inflation is due to US citizens being now so poor and needy.
    According to statistics I have seen, on some measures over 50% of US citizens are living at or about ‘poverty level’.

    Significant domestic mid-level small business interactivity in the US is greatly diminished – localised activities that in earlier times would pass the cash stimulus back and forth many times, paying wages, taxes etc and providing social support structures on the way through.

    This means that most of the money that is injected into the US economy is quickly spent by the needy masses of population – and unfortunately this ‘spent’ money quickly is soaked up by remote big businesses – only adding further to the vast accumulated wealth of the 1%.
    There is now no longer a strata of middle class or small family type business activity that would pass the money back and forth as they trade, work and pay taxes.

    When the money is gathered by the 1%, it is effectively taken back out of the US economy, with minimal tax being paid as the money is moved offshore to invest in cheaper labour and resources.
    It is a well known fact that over 50% of world trade is conducted via tax havens where no or minimal tax is paid – ensuring the host nation will slowly but surely bleed to economic death.

    Broadly, there is no ‘demand’ pressure within the US economy, as with 50% of population at near poverty level it follows that people without money can’t buy.
    Profitable multinationals are flooding the US with ‘cheap’ goods imported from their overseas factory investments – there is more ‘goods’ on the supply side than US people now have money to buy.
    Thus there is no supply pressure, an oversupply of goods with not enough money in the hands of consumers to purchase – hence no inflation pressure on the US economy- however that does nothing to improve the living standards for US citizens – and never will in my opinion, as most multinational corporations return next to nothing back to the US national domestic economy.

    Given the way the US the domestic economy is now structured, I fear for the future of its many financially struggling citizens when “quantitative easing” is removed, and the impact this will have internationally.
    They are the sad facts.

    Is my analysis wrong ??

    I therefore suggest that the biggest threat to Australia’s egalitarian society and citizens welfare in general, is the Abbott governments unhealthy embrace of multinational corporations; their desire for unbridled implementation of “trickle down” economic policies, together with adoption of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement currently being negotiated.


  1. Taxing the rich is not class warfare | OzHouse
  2. Outsiders: The Week That Was on AIMN (week ending 01-12-13) « The Australian Independent Media Network

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