Thursday, November 04, 2010

Choosing Up Sides

Tuesday and Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh returned to arguably his favorite cause, tax cuts for the wealthy. On Tuesday, he played portions of his 2009 speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), including the claim

The war on poverty essentially started in the '30s as part of the New Deal, but it really ramped up in the '60s with Lyndon Johnson, part of the Great Society war on poverty. We have transferred something like $10 trillion, maybe close to $11 trillion, from producers and earners to non-producers and non-earners since 1965.

But the Economic Policy Institute presents a pie graph (which it attributes to its "The State of Working America, 2008-2009") depicting the nation's unbalanced income growth over the preceeding three decades. As it indicates, 34.6% of all growth went to the top .1%, and 55.6% to the top 1%, of the population. The next 9% accrued 39.7% of all income growth, leaving the bottom 90% with 15.9% of the increase.

It's not surprising, then, that from 1973-2006 the wage growth of the top 1% has far outstripped that of the bottom 90%, as depicted by this graph, also from EPI:

That is a transfer of wealth- and one Rush Limbaugh heartily applauds. On Wednesday, Limbaugh clarified whom he believes the "producers and earners" and "non-producers and non-earners" are, arguing

The question is not should people who make $250,000 or $500,000 or one million for some reason pay a higher burden of supporting the folly and the irresponsibility of people like Barack Obama and most people in government? Why are we even debating the premise if we really believe in liberty, if we really believe in freedom? Why do we acknowledge a premise that states the successful are gonna get punished, the successful are gonna pay the price?

That's pretty clear- the worthwile inhabitants of this country are those who "make $250,000 or $500,000 or one million." Those who fail to do so are the dregs of society.

And in the same segment, this same talk show host, brave and bold enough to stand up for the rights of people who make a quarter of a million dollars or more, actually accuses the Administration of mounting "a direct attack on freedom and it creates class envy and resentment and anger between the classes."

This is, unfortunately, a core value not only of Rush Limbaugh but of the party he so effectively and consistently represents. What isn't, fortunately, a core value of the Repub Party is reflected in this tidbit from Limbaugh on Tuesday:

I have no idea. But the idea that you're going to take 3,000 people and you're booking over 500 rooms in a hotel and you're taking 40 airplanes, what that tells me is that you have a guy and a family who thinks this nation owes 'em. And while they're in a position to, they are going to live off of this country as much as they can. They are gonna get theirs. That's what this tells me. No president has ever anywhere close to 40 airplanes, 3,000 people, 500 rooms in one hotel. And that's just one hotel, for a ten-day trip, $200 million a day. It's never been done before. This is somebody that says, "It's my turn. My turn, our turn to get what has been denied us all these years," that's what I think.

Limbaugh's claim about $200 million a day is likely bogus. But the reason he claims the Administration is living in luxury is really, well, special: "our turn to get what has been denied us all these years."

Denigrating the middle class as "non-producers and non-earners," fighting a class war on behalf of the wealthy against all other Americans, and promoting racial envy among whites toward blacks, all in the course of two days. That is elitism as only Rush Limbaugh can practice it.

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