Classless warfare

Posted: May 12, 2005 12:00 AM
The rhetoric of class warfare is as old as dirt. Even Pharaoh kept the slaves fighting among themselves to extend their captivity. But there is nothing classy about stirring people?s jealousy and envy, making people feel as if the world owes them something, or bashing people who take risks to create jobs and help drive our economy. It is classless exploitation to appeal to a person?s weakness of understanding instead of their strength of character.

Not surprisingly, Democratic Party leaders were quick to attack President Bush?s most recent proposal to help restructure Social Security by labeling it a ?benefit cut on the middle class.? The president?s proposal would, in fact, provide lower-wage workers a higher increase in benefits than wealthier retirees. This idea was to complement optional personal retirement accounts for younger workers. But once again, Democratic leaders heard only what they wanted to hear, even if they didn?t hear it.

Following the president?s press conference House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated, ?President Bush struck another blow to Americans? wallets last night when he proposed the single biggest cut in Social Security benefits for the middle class in history.?

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) echoed, ?Privatization plus deep benefit cuts to middle class citizens is even worse than privatization alone.?

Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) argued, ?The president?s offer of sliding scale benefit cuts would result in the biggest cut in the history of Social Security.?

These baseless accusations are easily refutable. First, Bush did not propose a cut in Social Security benefits. He proposed a higher rate of benefit growth for those who need it the most.

Second, those aged 55 and older will continue to receive their expected benefits. Third, younger workers will have opted out of the system and, over time, begun funding their personal retirement accounts. Social Security benefits have never been cut in the history of the program, and they never will be unless Congress fails to enact Bush?s proposals.

Democrats would surely laud the president?s plan as a ?21st Century New Deal? if it had been proposed by a Democratic president. Since Bush is a Republican though, his plan must be demonized as a ?benefit cut on the middle class.?

Liberals love to divide us by economic class, and discuss policies in terms of which class will benefit or suffer by their passage. The problem is that class is a moving target. What are the magical income levels that define poor, middle, and rich?

Further, Democrats assume that no one has the ability to rise above the economic situation into which they were born. People climb up the income ladder everyday when they work at it.

My dad worked three jobs at one time in his quest to become financially comfortable. His dream was to own a house he could be proud of, own a nice automobile, accumulate enough savings to help send his two sons to college, and have enough left over to supplement his and my mom?s golden years.

Today, a Democrat would say Dad was a member of the ?working class? or the ?middle class.? The truth is, he never looked at himself as a member of someone else?s description of his economic situation, and he did not have much time to care about someone else?s label. When all your time is spent providing for your family and working on making your American Dream a reality, you do not focus on your economic situation today ? you focus on building the situation you desire for tomorrow.

The rhetoric of class warfare is directed toward the majority of those who consider themselves in the middle and lower income levels. They must be made to believe they will receive some benefit by simply voting ?against the rich.? Of course, that is false. As Abraham Lincoln stated, ?You don?t help the poor by destroying the rich.?

In a free society which elects its leaders, leftist politicians cannot force citizens at gunpoint or the threat of a prison camp to support their policies. Instead, they must convince those with the least economically to support policies that force redistribution of resources from the wealthiest to the poorest.

The unyielding quest for power always blinds those who seek it to one important fact. Economies based on the redistribution of wealth, and not wealth creation, are not sustainable long term. History and economics have demonstrated that only societies whose economies are based on the free market model can produce the food and capital necessary for the nation and its citizens to prosper. And yet, blind to history and the laws of economics, each generation of American political leaders contains a group who falls prey to the false promises of power and use the language of classless warfare rhetoric.

The content of a person?s character is the key to success and happiness. It is not the content of a government program or someone else?s bank account.