Monday, December 22, 2014

Elizabeth Warren, on video, counters 'class warfare' attack

Elizabeth Warren shoots down the charge that raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans is "class warfare."

Elizabeth Warren, on video, counters 'class warfare' attack

Maybe this video of Elizabeth Warren campaigning in Massachusetts isn't the "must see TV" that TNR's Jonathan Cohn portrays it as, but the clip is worth watching - especially the segment where she shoots down charges that it's "class warfare" to propose raising taxes on people who earn $1 million or more a year.

That's been a consistent line of attack on right-wing talk radio ever since President Obama included higher taxes on the richest Americans in his plan for reducing the nation's deficit.  Dom Giordano, the morning guy on WPHT-AM (1210), has repeatedly called the proposal "punishment" of the wealthy and successful. Rush Limbaugh compares it to Mao's "cultural revolution." (Never mind that some other successful people, such as Warren Buffet, think it a good and necessary idea.)

There's nothing magical about a particular tax rate, and there's nothing about adjusting tax rates, up or down, that is intrinsically good or bad, even if everyone prefers lower rates when the nation can afford them. Right now, we plainly can't - and lowering them at the same time we waged two wars was a phenomenally bad idea, as Warren also points out. The trick of the moment is how to raise more revenue while doing minimal damage to the economy, and raising rates on the highest earners is the best possible bet.

Watch for the part midway through the video when Warren reminds her audience what it means to be part of a society where everyone has a chance to succeed but some people will inevitably wind up much wealthier than others.  As Warren points out, no one is totally self-made:

Jeff Gelles Inquirer Business Columnist
About this blog

Jeff Gelles, who writes the Inquirer's weekly Consumer 14.0 and Tech Life columns, takes a broad look at the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas.

Reach Jeff at jgelles@phillynews.com.

Jeff Gelles Inquirer Business Columnist
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