Sunday, June 15, 2008

Moyers on class warfare

From Bill Moyers Journal

Here we go again. No sooner does Barack Obama challenge John McCain on extending George Bush's expensive tax cuts for people at the top than cries go up of "Class War! Class War!" Look at this essay posted on the website of capitalism's op-ed page in the WALL STREET JOURNAL. It accuses Obama of a "class-warfare tirade" for a speech he made critical of "tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs."

Now, Obama's economic policies should get a full critique. As should McCain's. But, please, can we put aside that old canard spouted by Wall Street apologists every time someone calls for greater equity between working people and the rich? Truth is, there's been a class war waged in America for thirty years now from the top down, and the rich have won.

Here's the latest dispatch from the front page - this story, in the news section of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, about how some corporate executives have finagled lush payouts to their heirs if they die in office:

If Eugene Isenberg dies while still heading up Nabors Industries, his estate would get an additional $288 million dollars - that's more than the company's first-quarter earnings.

But it's less than the $298 million Brian Roberts would get from Comcast if the Grim Reaper comes calling on his watch.

Pity poor Ray Irani: His golden coffin wouldn't be quite as glittering. Occidental Petroleum would top off his estate's tank with a measly $115 million dollars.

Class war? Well, you don't see those fellows or their heirs adding an extra cup of water to their soup, diluting their kids' milk, and giving them carbonated soda because it's cheaper than milk. You can bet your Gucci slippers they're not lining up on the main street of a small town to get bread they can't afford to buy because the rise in gasoline prices forces a choice between food and fuel. And you won't find them borrowing money from their bosses just to buy gas to get to work, or abandoning their cars on the side of the road and walking away when the tank runs out.

What's happening to American workers is not the result of natural forces alone. No, it's happened because corporate and political powers connived to keep wages down while shredding their workers' safety nets. For some time now the Great American Wealth Machine has been cranking out jackpots for the people at the top and pushing working people further down the ladder. The growing divide - that roaring inequality - is the subject of this broadcast.
The rest is worth watching/reading.

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