The Class Warfare Election

Class warfare has been a frequent Republican rallying cry for the past several years. Paul Krugman doesn't exactly embrace the rhetoric, but he thinks Dems need to make the electoral case.

The richest Americans pay income tax at a rate less than half that of what they payed in 1960. The rest of the 1% pay less too, but the middle class pays more. It's class warfare alright, and the middle class has been losing for a while.

Romney has promised big additional tax cuts for the richest, while the lions share of Obama tax cuts would go to the middle class.

The impact at the top would be large. According to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the Romney plan would reduce the annual taxes paid by the average member of the top 1 percent by $237,000 compared with the Obama plan; for the top 0.1 percent that number rises to $1.2 million. No wonder Mr. Romney’s fund-raisers in the Hamptons attracted so many eager donors that there were luxury-car traffic jams.

What about everyone else? Again according to the policy center, Mr. Romney’s tax cuts would increase the annual deficit by almost $500 billion. He claims that he would make this up by closing loopholes, in a way that wouldn’t shift the tax burden toward the middle class — but he has refused to give any specifics, and there’s no reason to believe him. Realistically, those big tax cuts for the rich would be offset, sooner or later, with higher taxes and/or lower benefits for the middle class and the poor.

So as I said, this election is, in substantive terms, about the rich versus the rest, and it would be doing voters a disservice to pretend otherwise.

Count on Obama to endorse this shortly after Hell freezes over.


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