A Touch of Class

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Whether planned or not, one of the results of Obama’s attempted transformation of the United States is to bring a touch of class to the country.  But not class in a good sense, but rather the growing division of the country into two increasingly distinct groups, the Elites, and the Public. Three sub-groups then divide each of these groups.

At the top of the elites are the rulers, headed of course by Obama, Reed and Pelosi.  They not only head the government, but are seeking increased control over every aspect of the country, taking over large companies, seeking regulatory control over all aspect of energy production/consumption, and now health care. If successful, there would hardly be any aspect of a person life they could not regulate.

Always near the rulers are a whole assortment of cronies and hangers on; Union Bosses, Civil Rights leaders, along with a whole assortment of leaders of special interest groups.  Like the court nobility of old, they are constantly seeking to curry the favor of the rulers in order to benefit themselves or their causes.  Finally, there is the staff, i.e., government workers. Since they work for the rulers, they receive special considerations such as higher wages and gold plated benefit packages.

The other major group is the Public at large.  At the top are the Independent Wealthy. These are not to be confused with the wealthy in general, as many of those are part of the elite. The independent wealthy are a dying breed. The elites and their cronies often portray them as the focus of all evil, even though their own wealth often equals or exceeds that of the Independent wealthy.

The problem is not really their wealth but their independence, as these independent wealthy have not paid the proper homage, normally in the form of campaign contributions, or contribution to groups supported by the elites, and thus are attacked.  Often their sin is merely one of indifference, such as Microsoft, which gave virtually nothing to either political party, until it found itself facing an anti-trust suit. Since then it has corrected such oversights.  With government taking over more and more of the economy, the independent wealthy will be increasingly pressured to conform, lest they be taxed out of existence.

Then there is the middle class. The middle class’ main function is to support the elites and the government they run.  Finally, there are the poor. Their main function is to provide the votes the elites need to keep them in power. In exchange, they get broad promises and meager benefits aimed more at ensuring their continued dependence, and thus continued support, than any actual advancement.  In fact, the more successful a program is at ending poverty, or actually improving education, etc., the more likely it will be opposed by the elites. For example, one of the actions of the Obama administration was to undercut and effectively eliminate the welfare reform of the late 1990s.

Now some would argue this has always been the case, there is nothing new here, and in some respects, they are correct. However, there is a marked change in degree with the Obama administration.  No president has attempted to take over such large portions of the economy and bring them under his personal control so quickly. Sure Obama claims he is not interested in the “day to day operations,” of the companies he takes over, but such claims ring hollow when he fired the CEO of GM because he was not running thing the way Obama wanted them run.

More importantly, there is a growing double standard in the lifestyles of elites, and their corresponding condemnation of others. While Obama condemns the use corporate jets and trips to resorts by his opponents, his supporters flew so many corporate jets to Washington for his inauguration, twice as many as any previous inauguration, that Dulles had to shut down a runway in order to have somewhere to park them. When others fly private jets that is terrible, but for the elites it just fine.  As it is when Obama flies to New York for a night out, or his wife files to Europe.  Meanwhile, the “House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.”   To be clear there is nothing wrong with this in and of itself.  Nevertheless, to do this while complaining about others flying in private jets has a more than a tinge of hypocrisy.

Meanwhile government continues to grow, as does the burden that the public must bear to support it. In my state of Wisconsin, the governor said he made the largest cuts in state history.  Still after such deep cuts, spending will still be $3.6 billion more than the previous budget, which amount to a 6.27% increase.   I wonder how many of the public who must bear the burden would see a 6% increase in the money they have to spend as a deep cut.  Yet while struggling in tough economic times, many of the public will see the money they are required to pay for government increase.  In short, they will have to make do with even less, so government can have even more.

This cannot go on forever.  As I detail in my book Preserving Democracy, the total tax burden increased 459% over the last century.  If it continues to rise like this, it will reach 100% around 2200. But that would be impossible and the system will collapse long before that.  Yet rather than slowing down the growth of government is accelerating, especially with the massive spending increases of Obama.

Bottom line: we are seeing the beginning to two distinct classes. There are the ruling elites and their minions who live a lifestyle increasingly distant from the public who are forced to bear ever increasing burdens to support them.

Aug 13th, 2009

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