Are the Rich Always the Enemy?

A commenter, apparently an American liberal Democrat (correct?) offers an apologetics for the wealthy, and as such illustrates one of the problems with American liberalism, namely a veneration of the rich, an apology for their class politics, and a lack of class analysis:

Is it really a wrong to be wealthy? What if you generate a large income by doing something you believe in? By following your dreams? I see nothing wrong with that. Nobody gets hurt, except through their own envy. Also, as for the rich born rich, they’re no worse than the poor born poor, who have no choice but to live according to their class.

If we can’t be blamed for having inborn traits, and can’t be blamed for being born into the class that molds us, that should include the rich. Not meant to be an apologetic for evil rich people, but just a reminder that they’re people too and need to be forgiven as much as anyone else.

First of all, believe me, the rich are the last people on Earth who are in need of forgiveness. They’ve been granted nothing but, on a silver platter, from Day One.

Of course there is nothing in and of itself wrong with being wealthy. In particular, artists, actors, directors, writers, and other creative types have simply gained wealth by a lot of folks buying the product of their latest creative effort. Many of these folks never adopt the mentality of the rich and continue to be very progressive people. I hung around with these types in Hollywood for many years. As long as wealthy people do not pursue a politics of the rich, then of course we have nothing against them.

For the rest of us, the rich who pursue a politics of the rich (which is typically most of them) are the class enemy. They are not a class enemy because they have wealth, but because of the class politics they pursue on behalf of their wealth, which involves a frontal assault on the bottom 80% of society.

Those few among the rich who work against their class interests and work for the rest of us are not our enemies and are welcome to join us.

However, everywhere on Earth and at all times and into the future, the rich pursue their class interests to the detriment of all of the rest of us. The rich are always looking for ways to lower their taxes.

Lowering rich people’s taxes does not benefit the rest of us in any way, shape or form. In fact, it hurts us, because those taxes are being used to redistribute income from the unneeded vaults of the rich to starving accounts of the rest of us. In other words, taxation of the rich is a way for the rest of us to redistribute the wealth that the rich have obtained. Trickle-down economics is and has always been a fraud, but it’s amazing how many non-wealthy people believe in this fairy tale.

It’s important to note that extreme wealth in and of itself is unjust, no matter how it was obtained. Does Bill Gates or Warren Buffet have a right to all of those billions, when there are countless Americans without health care or homeless, without even any shelter? Of course not. In these cases, a just society will confiscate some of their wealth to give people homes to live in and health care if they are sick.

The rich are the class enemy as long as they are pursuing their class interests politically. When they do so, they act as an army attacking everyone else. When the bottom 80% of society is being attacked by the top 20%, it’s only logical that we organize to fight back.

Capitalist society is characterized by continuous class war. This class war is mostly being waged by the top 20%, and especially the top 5%, against everyone else. The wealth are not just trying to increase their wealth by growing the economy. They are also continuously trying to take wealth from the bottom 80% to give to themselves at the top. Since the top 20% and especially the top 5% already have way more wealth than they need to survive, it’s outrageous that they are constantly trying to take money from folks barely scraping by in order to finance their coke binges, $500 booze bottles, yachts or whatever.

Please follow and like us:
error0
fb-share-icon20
Tweet 20
fb-share-icon20

21 thoughts on “Are the Rich Always the Enemy?”

  1. What does raising rich people’s taxes do? It’s clear that Robert Lindsay doesn’t know about simple Economic concepts like interest, credit, or capital investment works.

    What Robert wants is to use money that would otherwise have been saved and invested. It reduces the demand for labor by business firms in comparison with what it would otherwise have been, and thus either the wage rates or the volume of employment that business firms can offer. For they deprive business firms of the funds with which to pay wages.

    By the same token, they deprive business firms of the funds with which to buy capital goods. This, together with the greater spending for consumers’ goods emanating from the government, as it spends the tax proceeds, causes the production of capital goods to drop relative to the production of consumers’ goods. This implies a reduction in the degree of capital intensiveness in the economic system and thus its ability to implement technological advances. The individual and corporate income taxes, and the capital-gains tax, of course, also powerfully reduce the incentive to introduce new products and improve methods of production. In all these ways, these taxes undermine capital accumulation and the rise in the productivity of labor and real wages, and thus the standard of living of everyone, not just of those on whom the taxes are levied.

    By Robert not being able to see beyond the short-term and his ignorance of Economics, he advocates a system that would detriment the whole in favor of his Marxian political ideology.

    1. these taxes [on the rich] undermine capital accumulation and the rise in the productivity of labor,

      This is almost undoubtedly true.

      and real wages

      This does not follow. Increases in capital accumulation and rises in productivity do not necessarily correspond with real wage increases among all segments of the population. For example, during the Reagan years (1980-89) real wages declined for the bottom 50th percentile, stagnated for the 50-80th percentile, but skyrocketed for the top 20 percent of the population.

      and thus the standard of living of everyone, not just of those on whom the taxes are levied.

      Neither does this follow. On most objective measures of standard of living (life expectancy, infant mortality, health care access, health care outcomes, child care access, education access, fewer worked hours, better retirement benefits, earlier retirement ages), the bottom 80th percentile of tax-the-rich European socialist nations far surpasses that of the United States, despite having slower average economic growth and lower average real wages.

      It’s true though that the standard of living for the top 20th percentile of the United States (and more specifically the top 1st percentile) is vastly higher than that of probably any nation on earth.

      1. Look David I’ve had this discussion with you before, and you exposed that you don’t understand how Economics works. Among other completely fallacious things you said, you called into question it’s aprioristic nature.

        Mathematics is aprioristic but you wouldn’t call that into question or the fact that it can contribute knowledge to real world subjects… by you quoting historical data to me it does not prove wrong Economic theory. Economics works in the realm BEFORE that of the natural sciences.

        There were Nazis who understood Economics better than you but thought it was more prudent to support the Aryan race and were willing to push that agenda forward to the detriment of the whole of their society with plans of “stopping” their intervention once they had achieved their plan.

        Even if some datum like “life expectancy” were higher in some European country, that does not prove that their Economy will continue to progress rather than implode on its untenable terms. Moreover, as I will say again and again, human beings are not bits of data. They are not homogeneous information and thus not measurable. They are human beings. Correlation does not equal causation.

        1. Look David I’ve had this discussion with you before, and you exposed that you don’t understand how Economics works.

          I understand in a general sense how economics works, but I admit that I don’t understand how Economics works. I don’t understand Christianity either, nor Islam, nor Homeopathy, nor Astrology, nor any other discipline which postulates that it is correct and meaningful a priori and regardless of empirical analyses of it’s claims.

          Economics works in the realm BEFORE that of the natural sciences … by you quoting historical data to me it does not prove wrong Economic theory.

          Ok, great. Jesus works in the realm before natural sciences as well. So does holy water. Quoting empirical studies that holy water does not have any healing capacity beyond that of placebo does not prove wrong Faith Healing theory.

          If Economics is not connected to physical reality or empirical claims and can be neither falsified nor verified, then don’t make predictive or prescriptive claims about how the real world will work or ought to work. You can’t have both at once.

          Mathematics is aprioristic but you wouldn’t call that into question or the fact that it can contribute knowledge to real world subjects…

          Don’t quite understand this statement. Mathematics contributes to knowledge of real world subjects precisely because we make observations, in the real world, that certain mathematically formulated statements have predictive capacity (others do not). Mathematics is useful because it works, not because it feels nice.

          Even if some datum like “life expectancy” were higher in some European country, that does not prove that their Economy will continue to progress rather than implode on its untenable terms.

          I agree wholeheartedly with this; nobody can reliably predict economic future as yet. I am simply describing empirical reality as it is currently existing and as it has proceeded over the course of the last 100 or so years.

          Economics as a science (not Economics as a religion) is extremely immature in comparison to other sciences and still possesses a wide array of mutually contradictory theories, and your fundamentalist viewpoint may in fact be vindicated by long term observations and examination of data. As of yet, however, the claims and predictions you make do not fit the available data. But to say that your viewpoint in correct in and of itself, with no regards to physical reality, and utterly insulate yourself from engaging in fact-based arguments (of which there are actually myriad for your position, though I happen to disagree with most of them), makes very little sense to me.

        2. There were Nazis who understood Economics better than you but thought it was more prudent to support the Aryan race and were willing to push that agenda forward to the detriment of the whole of their society with plans of “stopping” their intervention once they had achieved their plan.

          Lol, because genocide is the same thing as providing universal healthcare or social protections.

          You are sounding dangerously close to a LaRouche-ite in this paragraph.

          I guess pseudo-libertarian dictatorial cults of personality all converge into similar rhetoric though (LaRouche, Rand, von Mises, some of the crazier Ron Paul-ers).

      2. Increases in capital accumulation and rises in productivity do not necessarily correspond with real wage increases among all segments of the population.

        Here’s a chart with indexes of real wages and output in manufacturing from 1890 to 2007:

        http://www.theoildrum.com/files/wolff_real_wages.jpg

        The accompanying article and comments are interesting as well:

        http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5245

        Real wages in the US increasing every single decade from 1830 to 1970 (including during great depression), but being flat to down ever since (I am sure there are some demographic explanations). But productivity (adjusted by GDP deflator) since the 1970s due to computers, efficiencies and many other inventions have increased dramatically, and thus so have corporate profits (unless we back out costs for environmental externalities). But remember, we’ve been on a total fiat system since 1971. So flat real wages in the face of growing overall profits would have resulted in too large of notional wealth disparity which would have lead to social unrest/chaos. There had to be a relief valve, giving the guise that resource limits combined with concentration of wealth had not shut the door on Joe Sixpack. Enter leverage, easy credit, home-equity loans etc.The average person wasn’t earning any more, but they were keeping up in positional goods consumption race because of access to debt. Under an fiat system acting only as marker for real capital, a large social wealth transfer (denominated in dollars) was thus camouflaged by leverage and borrowing. As the concentration of wealth got higher, new rules had to be enacted to allow the lower quartiles of social denizens to remain above poverty – low-doc/no-doc loans, further monetary easing, repeal of Glass-Steagal so higher leverage available to wall street, 95%+ LTV mortgages, etc.

        Said differently, we have been living well beyond our means not since Peak Oil, but for almost 40 years (and less beyond for longer), – the difference has been made up by borrowing from the future, borrowing from the environment, borrowing from other social classes, and most worrisome, borrowing from thin air.

        It is telling that exponential growth in energy production per capita peaked in 1970 (Duncan), US oil peaked in 1970, natural resource backed currency stopped in 1971 and real wages peaked in 1974.

        http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5245

  2. @David I love it David. You openly admit you don’t understand Economics and yet you have the audacity to try and criticize it. You also don’t seem to have a methodological understanding of the dualistic nature of the natural sciences either.

    Economics like Mathematics and Logic deal through DEDUCTIVE reasoning. Not INDUCTIVE reasoning like the natural sciences. You can’t prove the Pythagorean theorem wrong. a^2 + b^2 = c^2, always. You know it before testing.

    Economics explores the logical implications from the unarguable fact of human action. And since we know with absolute certainty that human action is purposive, we know with equal certainty the conclusions in each step of the logical chain.

    The purposive nature of Human Action is empirically true as well, however not in the way your dumbass is used to through quantitative data. The empiricism of Human Action is painted in broad strokes of a qualitative nature. Not on history or statistics.

    Economic theory can’t be tested against the same homogeneous and uniform events that the empirical sciences use because no such events exist!! Because history is unique, combining events into statistical data can’t tell us anything!

    Would it follow that because Economics does not employ history, it disrespects the importance of history in some way? No.

    On the contrary, it’s the empirical scientists like yourself who have little respect for the uniqueness of history and try to compress the data into the procrustrean mold of movements of atoms or planets.

    In human affairs, the complexity of historical data itself needs to be examined, but it can never be truly explained. Economics shows the search for complete predictability is the search for the impossible, and is therefore PROFOUNDLY UNSCIENTIFIC.

    So in other words, Economics IS VALID for the real world. It can tell you how to proceed when performing tasks and it can also advise you of your limitations in planning. But you can’t just pick a macro topic, show that “economists” predicted incorrectly and prove Economics wrong. Why? Because in analyzing a historical even you are becoming a judger of value. You are picking and choosing which data you want to fit into your argument to build a case. It in no way proves that what you’re actually saying is correct.

    Finally, on your Jesus talk, you simply again don’t understand how Economics works. It deals with human affairs and human action, and proves the impossibility of perfection ergo Jesus could not have been god. That’s another subject though…

    1. You openly admit you don’t understand Economics and yet you have the audacity to try and criticize it.

      Sure, I criticize a lot of things that I neither understand nor really care about trying to understand. I don’t read Arabic, and I don’t understand nor have I studied Islamic theology, but I feel free to criticize Islam out the wazoo based on a rather cursory examination of the Five Pillars. Same with Christianity (don’t really understand nor have I studied the Old or New Testaments, or the Book of Mormon). Ditto on Objectivism (I actually have read The Fountainhead, but I read it for pleasure and didn’t seriously study or contemplate it, and haven’t read anything else by Rand). I haven’t read nor do I understand The Organon of the Healing Art by Hahnemann, but I’m perfectly happy to dismiss Homeopathy on empirical grounds alone. I haven’t read or studied any of the insanely large number of foundational texts in Astrology, yet I observe Astrologists making empirically untenable statements on a regular basis, so out the window with Astrology too. No L. Ron Hubbard either.

      So no, I have not read Human Action in it’s entirety nor studied it, although I would like to (I also would not mind being able to read the Qu’ran in the original Arabic, or getting around to reading Atlas Shrugged, or reading Capital in it’s entirety, or re-reading The Wealth of Nations). The fact that you harp on my ignorance of “Economics” (meaning not economics as a discipline but rather Ludwig von Mises and his intellectual progeny in particular) almost as often as actually addressing any substantive issues at hand in my view betrays the fact that your conclusions are reached in a religious, pseudo-scientific and emotional manner rather than through actual reasoned observation and analysis of the world around you.

      Economics like Mathematics and Logic deal through DEDUCTIVE reasoning. Not INDUCTIVE reasoning like the natural sciences.

      This should read: “I agree with Ludwig von Mises’ proposition that economics as a discipline should proceed in a purely deductive rather than inductive fashion.”

      At such a fundamental level, there is no arguing about whether induction or deduction is a good thing or a bad thing for studying economics. Either you think it is or you think it isn’t. Ultimately I think good science is a synthesis of both inductive and deductive reasoning (either using observation to draw tentative axioms then following out the conclusions of these principles deductively, or vice versa, formulating principles by contemplation alone, then testing these principles observationally).

      All I know is that, for most reasonable people, you will gain no converts to your viewpoint if you try to make a grand point of it being “fact-free” or “fact-independent.” Perhaps this is why the Austrian school is a heavy minority among people who study economics seriously.

      The purposive nature of Human Action is empirically true as well, however not in the way your dumbass is used to through quantitative data. The empiricism of Human Action is painted in broad strokes of a qualitative nature. Not on history or statistics … In human affairs, the complexity of historical data itself needs to be examined, but it can never be truly explained

      Ok, so ultimately your point here is: History and economic activity is so darn complicated, we can’t really explain any of it nor understand any aspects of it except in really vague, subjective manners.

      This of course begs the question of, if this truly is your viewpoint on the matter, why you jumped into the conversation with a specific, observable statistical claim to begin with (namely, that lower taxes on the rich will over the long term correspond with elevated wages and an increased standard of living). Of course, as soon as empirical points begin to be raised about the validity of this specific claim, you disavow the conversation and retreat back into meaningless platitudes and generalized philosophical rhetoric with no real content, attacking empiricism as a valid position even to begin with. You really can’t have both at once.

      You can’t just pick a macro topic, show that “economists” predicted incorrectly and prove Economics wrong. Why? Because in analyzing a historical events you are becoming a judger of value. You are picking and choosing which data you want to fit into your argument to build a case. It in no way proves that what you’re actually saying is correct.

      I honestly am not quite sure what is going on in this paragraph. Alas, I suppose it is possible that I am too stupid to partake in the glory of The One True Economics.

      1. @David

        No David, this is not something that is open to opinion. Economics is a science that works in one way and one way only. When you throw inductive reasoning into the hat you are no longer talking about Economics, but Econometrics. I don’t accept Econometrics but that’s another matter.

        For inductive reasoning to be incorporated you would first have to prove how you can homogenize human action in datum that can be replicated in a laboratory experiment. Then you’d have to come up with empirical proof that you can predict the values and actions of all individuals.

        Ok, so ultimately your point here is: History and economic activity is so darn complicated, we can’t really explain any of it nor understand any aspects of it except in really vague, subjective manners.
        No that’s not what I’m saying at all. Economics is extremely straight forward, not vague. If you approach human action from the undeniable position that value is subjective, and consequently there are no constant relations in human action, then you can build a science that follows the logical chain of reasoning around those limitations.

        This of course begs the question of, if this truly is your viewpoint on the matter, why you jumped into the conversation with a specific, observable statistical claim to begin with My comment was at dispelling his use of statistical to prove something that isn’t logically true. LOGICALLY TRUE.

        So for example, if I can 2+2=4, I know this is always true. I don’t have to test it. There is no way around 2+2, if I understand what the symbol for 2 is, then 2=2 and 2+2=4. All bachelors are unmarried. A prioristically true and universally true always. Wealth redistribution does not raise goods production: universally true at all times.

        1. @David In other words Robert wants to inhibit market forces and raise productivity. It can’t possibly work if you follow the reasoning to it’s logical conclusions. Economics teaches this.

          There’s no way of getting around the logic, because it’s the limitations of human thinking and human action. Yeah you believe the Quran is bullshit, but that doesn’t mean you don’t believe in magic, you child.

  3. Real wages in the US increasing every single decade from 1830 to 1970 (including during great depression), but being flat to down ever since (I am sure there are some demographic explanations).

    No it is not a demographic explanation, it is a political explanation as shown in Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson.

    The turning point was in the 1970’s specifically January 30, 1976 when the supreme court first created its money is speech equation which gave the rich elite its ultimate class war weapon – the ability to buy elections at will. This weapon went nuclear with Citizens United and as Robert puts it, the Going Out of business sale now begins in earnest. Keep an eye on that distribution of wealth figure as it nosedives for the middle class and soars for the 1-2% who buy elections for fun and profit.

    This pseudo-technical obfuscation from Robert Taylor rests on the false assumption that the rich will invest their savings more wisely and effectively than the middle class would if the rich were taxed instead of the middle class. This is not a matter of econo9mic prosperity but just a question of who owns the assets: a narrow rich elite or a broad middle class. This is solely a political question determined by government tax and other policies, and has no bearing on economics other than the Brazilization effect. The less egalitarian a country, the less it prospers and vice versa.

    1. I am really enjoying your comments, Larry.

      This is why I refuse to argue with others in the bottom 80% over a lousy 15% of the wealth. Whether it’s libertardians, teabaggers, corporate liberals or so-called leftists who obsess solely about cultural issues and refuse to deal with class and capitalism.

      I’m just gonna go buy some canned garden seeds and study permaculture. I think it’s gonna get that bad. I think Kevin from Cryptogon has the right idea at this point:

      http://cryptogon.com/?p=17017

    2. @Larry your claims of the existence of a middle class is nonsense. THE TERM MIDDLE CLASS MEANS NOTHING, IT IS AN EMPTY TERM. In fact you’re implying that other “classes” have to suffer in order for the “middle” to succeed.

      You’re completely ignorant about what society is: individuals working together so that everyone benefits. You advocate the opposite: political expropriation in order for one group to benefit over another. You are nothing but an elitist. Redistributing wealth does not wealth produce. Parasitism hurts everyone in a society.

      1. Redistributing wealth does not wealth produce.

        This is not so. For instance, I very much want some dental care. There is dental work that I need done, and I simply cannot afford it. That’s all there is to it.

        I advocate raising taxes in order to give ME some dental care that I need, paid by the state. Since the best place to get it is from the rich, I say tax em! Take corporations while you are at it.

        This will indeed produce some wealth. It will give me, for *free*, what I would otherwise have to pay $1,000’s for. That’s wealth for me, as good as cash in my wallet. It definitely produced some wealth for me! Also for the dentist who worked on my teeth. How can you deny it?

        1. @Robert Lindsay – Jesus Christ, Robert I’m saving this comment as probably the most telling of your understanding of Economics.

          What you have described is one of the simplest Economic fallacies known. It’s called the Broken Window Fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

          Wealth is the aggregate stock of consumer goods. You don’t seem to understand this. Beyond the amount that an individual can produce with his bare hands using nature given resources, it can be increased overall in only three ways; through capital accumulation, division of labor, and population control.

          Government cannot create wealth, it only redistributes existing wealth. This is because government is not a homesteader, or contractor. It is a usurper and an expropriator as is evidenced that consumers do not voluntarily pay for its goods but are compelled to do so by people like you.

        2. What you described for paying for your dental work can only be called PARASITISM. You acted as a PARASITE, consuming wealth produced by others.

          Because you spent money with the dentist who would otherwise not have gotten your patronage, you caused him to misappropriate resources. Eventually once you’ve destroyed your hosts as a source for money, you will be unable to patronize the dentist, and he too will go bankrupt. Like a nasty parasite or virus you just destroyed yourself as well as society.

          What you advocate is not only against your nature as a man, it’s completely unethical and ultimately futile.

        3. I lol’d at this description of wealth redistribution. Hat’s off, Robert.

          Remember though, human value is subjective: your tooth might really hurt like a bitch, but who’s to say your desire to alleviate your toothache is any more or less valid than your rich neighbor’s desire for a third yacht?

  4. Just thought I’d drop in say hi…

    This is What Class Warfare Looks Like
    Do you see a pattern?

    Increasing income disparity in the US puts us worse than or on par with much of Latin America in that category.

    A former economic advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain is advocating lowering the minimum wage.

    Someone making $100 million per year pays a tax rate just two points higher than someone making $175,000 per year.

    Wall Street bonuses are expected to rise this year.

    Businesses with rising profits are not hiring more workers.

    CEOs who lay off more workers get paid more.

    Senator David Vitter represents a state where the average household income is $43,635, but he looks out at an audience and tells them that a plan to repeal a tax cut for households making more than $250,000 per year would affect “virtually everybody in this audience.”

    Senator Jon Kyl is fighting to protect tax cuts to the wealthiest. He also fought to block an extension of unemployment benefits to struggling families in an attempt to get an estate tax bill that would benefit…you guessed it, the very wealthiest families.

    55% of all adults in the workforce say that since the recession began they have been unemployed, had their pay cut or their hours reduced, or become involuntary part-time workers.

    Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says jobless workers don’t go back to work because of unemployment benefits.

    JPMorgan Chase pretty much agrees with DeLay.

    The pattern I see is working people struggling more and more, wealthy people having more and more, and Republican politicians and Wall Street allied to get more and more from working people and give more and more to wealthy ones.

    And they like to say that anyone asking for a living wage, or to close a tax loophole for billionaires, is engaging in class warfare. What they really mean is, that opposes their own war on working people.

    http://www.workingamerica.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *