Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2011 30 Elul 5771
Postmodern Class Warfare
By Victor Davis Hanson
When President Obama's polls hit 40 percent approval, he fumed at "billionaires and millionaires," "fat cat bankers" and "corporate jet owners." In his sloppy targeting, Obama doesn't care much that a billionaire has 1,000 times more than a millionaire -- or that his new tax proposals will take a lot more from those making
Instead, the president is in a populist frenzy to rev up his base against "Them," who supposedly "are not paying their fair share." The president's argument apparently is not that the top 5 percent haven't paid enough taxes. Indeed, they pay almost 60 percent of all income taxes collected, while nearly 50 percent of households pay no income taxes. Obama seems angry that the top 5 percent will still have more money after taxes than do others, and so they should pay a redistributive government still more taxes.
But 21st century class warfare is a weird thing.
Take the technology that gives most what only the few once could afford. Most Americans now expect as a birthright iPhones, iPods, laptops, DVDs and big-screen televisions, thanks to cheap overseas fabrication and fierce price-cutting global competition. The typical welfare recipient now owns a sophisticated cell phone; a fat cat corporate CEO not long ago did not.
For the president, riding on a private jet from
The president believes that those who make more than
In the old days, class warriors were proverbial men of the people who made an effort to match their lifestyles with their rhetoric. Not now. When President Obama rails about "millionaires," we expect that in a few hours our Class Warrior in Chief will golf with
The battleground of class warfare has moved from the streets of yesteryear to the TV studio green room, the golf links or the seaside hotel retreat. And when we really do see street violence -- looting in
Class warfare is now not about brutal elemental poverty of the sort
These are hard times, with high unemployment rates and economic stagnation. But we are not a nation of the malnourished and starving who are preyed upon by idle rich drones who pay no taxes. And a government that borrows
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
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