When President Obama proposed higher taxes on the very wealthy this week, Republicans were apoplectic. Once again, they screamed, "Class Warfare." A look at the numbers exposes that lie. Paul Krugman writes in this morning's New York Times that:
Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.
Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.
The Republicans have been very successful at selling the myth that the rich create good, high paying jobs. The truth is that those jobs were created by unions who took on the captains of industry. During the last thirty years, the captains of industry have declared war on the unions and won.
Meanwhile, everyone else has been paying for the roads to transport their goods and services, the police to protect their places of business, and the teachers to educate their children. As Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the Senate in Massachusetts, said this week: "There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody!"
Republicans would like you to believe that the very wealthy owe their fellow citizens nothing. And they are prepared to go to war to make it so.