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The Civility Of The Wealthy

By The Reverend Published: March 18, 2014

I refer you to this Politico piece today. The piece is entitled "The Rich Strike Back" and it is almost as disgusting as the title suggests.

You see, the rich few are under attack, that is, according to the rich few, and they have been very, very afraid that the unwashed masses, aka the undeserving.....might coerce elected officials to increase taxes on them. Well, by god, the rich few are fighting back and Politico is here to inform you about that fight.

In two-dozen interviews, the denizens of Wall Street and wealthy precincts around the nation said they are still plenty worried about the shift in tone toward top earners and the popularity of class-based appeals.

But wealthy Republicans.....also say they see signs that the political zeitgeist may be shifting back their way and hope the trend continues.

I just bet they do.

First came the Occupy Wall Streeters. Occupy, though disparaged by corporate media at every opportunity, was a very insensitive protest movement. Rather than talk quietly (behind closed doors as Mitt suggested) about such things as third world income disparity.......in America....Occupiers forgot their manners and dared to make income disparity their most prominent complaint. It was all so rude.

Then came the new pope. What a crazy guy, huh? Right away, Francis began denouncing supply-side economics and mentioning....in public for crying out loud....how the amassing of fortunes by only a few was creating a dangerous economic situation for everyone else in the world who isn't already very rich.

Occupy and the new pope were followed by the elections of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the liberal Democratic Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio. Warren could be marginalized by Republican obstruction....so no worries for billionaires there. But that tall New York Mayor won 75% of the New York City vote, in part, by promising to raise taxes on millionaires or better by 1% to pay for universal pre-kindergarten for the city's children.

Any serious talk of raising taxes on the wealthiest few is, as you know, and act of unforgivable rudeness that must be immediately squelched. In our once-prosperous nation, taxes used to be routinely raised or lowered depending on necessity. But those days are long over. Today, even talking seriously about raising taxes is unacceptable in a polite society that, you know, wants to maintain civility.

What is not rude, however....what is not considered a sign of incivility in our political discourse.....is stuff like this....

“I hope it’s not working,” Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and major GOP donor, said of populist political appeals. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”

It's very important to understand what constitutes incivility or rudeness in society. It is not impolite, or rude, for instance, for American billionaires to characterize Occupiers, or liberal big city mayors, or Massachusetts senators, or even popes as Hitleresque. Not rude at all.

If you are a billionaire, or comparable, and you want to share your comparisons of the Third Reich...with Americans who dare to direct the population's attention to the egregious nature of income and wealth disparity data in the U.S.....then corporate teevee, radio and the press always will make room for that characterization to be heard.

What I'm attempting to explain is not a partisan screed. While the Democratic Party still insists they are the Party of the People....they're really not. Yes, there are actually a handful of congressional Democrats who are genuinely liberal.....but nowhere near enough to ever pass genuinely liberal legislation. Way too many name brands in Democratic circles, instead, talk like this....

“Reducing inequality is good, but it’s 50 times better to do it by lifting those up who are low than by tearing those down who are high,” said Larry Summers.... “The politics of envy are the wrong politics in America. The better politics are the politics of inclusion where everyone shares in economic growth.”

See how it's done? With tax rates on America's richest at near historic lows in the modern era, with the 99% falling further behind as the top 1% accumulates more than ever,....any talk of, perhaps, raising taxes on the top 1% is an attempt at "tearing those down who are on high" and "the politics of envy." No, Summers didn't use the words loved by conservatives...."parasites", "takers", "hammock dwellers" etc. but the sentiment is identical.

Finally, best for last and all that.....here's as concise of a description of what's gone wrong with American politics over these last three decades as any good Republican, or Democrat, could make....

Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, whose Connecticut district includes many wealthy Wall Street executives, said the populism associated with de Blasio and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was never as dominant as the media suggested. “All too often people forget that this is just one politician from Massachusetts and one from New York City and what they say is not going to dominate politics in Arkansas, or Florida or Texas or anywhere else,” Himes said. “Income distribution may be far from ideal, but people don’t necessarily only want to hear about increased taxes on the wealthy.”

Translation: 'Yeah, for awhile we were all worried about the future of our wealthy benefactors, what with a couple of unicorn sightings in the likes of Warren and de Blasio and a liberation theologian in the Vatican. Ain't no thing now though. Sure, there's an "income distribution" problem, maybe, but talking about raising taxes on my colleagues' benefactors is boring.....and did I mention, uncivil?'

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