Conflict is defined as “the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests and desires between people of different classes.”
Genocide is defined as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”
With all due respect to victims of historical genocide, how is it possible to think about what is currently happening to the middle-class as anything other than the systematic destruction of a cultural group?
It’s a war among the classes that even billionaire investor Warren Buffett believes exists. It’s what he had in mind, in 2006, when he said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war. . .”
Since 2016, it’s not just the rich class heeding that clarion call. Many working-class folks have joined the war. Which is confounding because aside from the fear-mongering, anything the current administration has put into play benefits the wealthy. Well, to be fair, the Trump tax overhaul of 2017 did provide most families will a slight tax cut in 2017.
However, as time goes on, that too will disappear. All the evidence indicated that by “2019, a person in the bottom 10 percent will get a $50 tax cut and a person in the top 1 percent will get a $34,000 tax cut.” Okay, technically 50 dollars is still a tax cut but if you reside in any class below the rich, it’s negligible.
And here’s the rub — over time, even that tax cut disappears. Most of the tax cuts for the middle-class are set to expire after 2025. By 2027 “. . . two-thirds of middle-class households would get a tax increase in 2027, and none — zero percent — would get a tax cut.”
But who cares, right?
President Trump has indicated as much time and time again in various callous ways. Most recently with his debt shattering 4 trillion dollar budget. He’s only in it for the short game . . . and gain. It’s been pointed out to him over and over again how bad this is, but he is impervious to reason. Even partisan reason.
His reply to the negative ramifications of his tax overhaul and budgets?
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president has remarked.
Despite the cuts the administration is making in the new budget, according to the Treasury Department, the deficit for 2019 is still projected to be well over 1 trillion dollars. It’s worth noting that those budget cuts include:
- $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years.
- An $845 billion cut to Medicare over 10 years.
- $25 billion in cuts to Social Security over 10 years, including cuts to disability insurance.
- $220 billion cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, over 10 years, including mandatory work requirements.
Fret not, there is spending. The defense budget increased to 34 billion dollars and the budget allots $8.6 billion for the border wall. By way of comparison, the budget has earmarked $8 billion for education (a 12% reduction) and $6.2 billion for the EPA (a 23% reduction).
Aggregated, that it’s about a 9% cut to non-defense programs that will impact: the EPA, Department of Transportation, HUD, Department of Labor, Department of Education, et al.
You might note that the majority of those tax cuts are impacting a certain group of people. . . and it’s not the wealthy.
Even despite the deep cuts, the deficit increases. In fact, as a result of the tax overhaul from 2017, the deficit has swelled. This monolithic deficit will swell even larger if President Trump wins re-election. Trump has driven his businesses to bankruptcy six times. Is there any doubt he won’t do the same to America?
This debt will be left to your children, their children, their children’s children, etc. (unless you’re wealthy, and then your offspring will continue to get a bevy of additional tax cuts).
Way back in 2015, a bipartisan survey found that 65% of Americans believed that income inequality, the gap between rich and poor, was increasing and needed to be addressed.
“There has been no growth at all in the average pretax income of the bottom half of the population over the past 40 years — during which trickle-down enthusiasts promised just the opposite.”
In just a few short years, oh how things had changed. When discussing the tax overhaul of 2017, VOX pointed out, “The clear story of the Republican tax plan is that it takes the wheel of America’s already-dramatic income inequality and presses the accelerator.”
The tax overhaul also included that “other” group of individuals, corporations. They received a tax break from 35% to 21%, which is “estimated to reduce federal revenues by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.”
Now some will make the argument that this corporate tax break and a tax break for the rich will stimulate innovation and job growth. Those people will refer to it as “trickle-down economics.”
It may also be referred to under the inane platitude “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Regardless of what those people call it, they’re wrong.
Consider this quote from economics professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman:
“Since 1980…the share of national income going to the top 1 percent has doubled from 10 percent to more than 20 percent, while income accrued by the bottom 50 percent has been almost halved, from 20 percent to 12.5 percent. There has been no growth at all in the average pretax income of the bottom half of the population over the past 40 years — during which trickle-down enthusiasts promised just the opposite. Now they’re doing it again.”
All “data from the past 50 years strongly refutes any arguments that cutting taxes for the richest Americans will improve the economic standing of the lower and middle classes or the nation as a whole.”
Cutting corporate taxes and giving tax breaks to the wealthy doesn’t work. The corporate savings generated by repeated tax slashing will only go to line the pockets of the people who need it least. But you know this because, if you’re like me, you’re living it.
All the evidence, even bipartisan, indicates nothing ever trickles down. Yet, for some reason, no one wants to believe it. There is still this bizarre belief that this concept, that has proven to be an abject failure from its inception, will somehow work with a new president.
Make no mistake, what we’re experiencing is the genocide of the middle-class. Do NOT believe the hype, it’s a very clear effort to eradicate a cultural group. All of this is designed to further stratify all of the classes.
The way it’s been playing out is that from the top, the rich are financially strangling everyone but themselves. And through fear, the president has motivated the bottom to act aggressively and violently towards anyone speaking a modicum of truth about any of this. But then, historically, it’s not uncommon for the rich to get others to do their fighting.
Maybe there is some respite to be found knowing that people will only tolerate being subjugated for so long before they rise up in anger. That’s not a Democrat thing. It’s not a Republican thing. That’s a history thing. It’s called a revolution.
On our current trajectory, make no mistake, it’s inevitable.
So, in fifty years, when America is set up like some sort of post-apocalyptic, dystopian Elysium like society and looks like a cross between the hellscape of Mad Max and the posh environs of Downton Abbey, many of use will be dead. In the interim, should we simply follow President Trump’s callous indifferent “I won’t be here” philosophy?
Do we ignore all of the obvious signs and do nothing like we’ve done for every genocide in the past 100 years — Armenia, Nanking, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Russian Famine, Darfur? That seems to be our modus operandi, so I guess we just ignore the eradication of the American middle-class.
Maybe we ignore it.
Maybe we don’t.
I’m hoping for the latter.