Republicans love to talk about class warfare. Only Communists in the days of Lenin seem to have loved the phrase more, or used it with more gusto. Here's the latest, via Politico:
Acually, Ryan's got it backwards. Using "class warfare" as a rallying cry is great politics. There are still a few Americans left who harbor a visceral antipathy for anything that reminds them of the Reds. And many more of us, virtually all, take seriously the idea that our society, however stratified economically, is still classless in the sense that all people are equal under the law.
So talking about "class warfare" hits us all in a sensitive place, because we cherish the idea that we're all in the same class. And, so far as the criminal code goes, that is more or less true. More or less, since black people are clearly not in the same class that white people are, at least so far as rates of conviction and incarceration, as well as what lawyers call "collateral consequences."
But economic stratification does create different classes, at least economic ones, and it bewilders us that Republicans perpetuate the idea that there is something wicked about a tax code that recognizes these differences.
In fact, it was those Commie-symp pinkos of the Greatest Generation -- you remember, the ones who fought WWII and built the suburbs -- who voted into effect the sort of progressive tax code that created a thriving and productive American middle class. Nobody called it class warfare in those days, though. They called it common sense and good citizenship.
As for economics, the myth of the "trickle-down" remains deeply beloved of the right. They believe, in the face of all evidence, that when the wealthy are left to do whatever they want with their money, they will choose to create jobs. That this is nonsense ought to be shown by the fact that America has, right now, the greatest concentration of wealth in the fewest number of hands since the Gilded Age, and yet it also has the deepest unemployment crisis since the Depression. After they buy a few houses and some yachts, the super-rich don't create jobs; they create big bank accounts. Lots of jobs for investment advisors, but not so many for the rest of us.
The irony, of course, is that Ryan is attacking a proposal nicknamed "the Buffett Rule," after one of the most successful investors in history. Buffett has long argued that rich people don't pay enough in taxes, and when asked whether he would lend his name to the President's proposal, answered, "Sure, its what I believe."
So if Paul Ryan and the Republicans want to argue that the proposal is good politics and bad economics., they will first need to convince us that they aren't scoring cheap political points, and that they know as much about economics as Warren Buffett.