There is a plague of economic populism emanating from the political left these days. More than ever we are seeing class warfare used as a weapon to pit the "Haves" against the "Have-Nots", the "rich" vs. the "poor" and the middle class. Democrats are the main practitioners of this ugly art, but Republicans aren't totally immune to it's allure. Florida Governor Charlie Crist has "taken on big insurers" as part of his platform because he's "The People's Governor."
This strategy is nothing more than the political equivalent of the Divide and Conquer strategy for waging war, which has been variously attributed to Julius Caesar and Sun Tzu. By pitting the majority middle class and poor (collectively referred to as "working people") against the so-called "wealthy", the political left seeks to cause a seething resentment against those same wealthy people. This resentment is then used to increase taxes and enact legislation that "levels the playing field."
A typical class warfare practitioner wrote this at the jax.com opinion board yesterday:
"The taxpayer gets very little return on investment for money spent on the wealthy. While a small amount might accidently trickle back into the local economy, the majority goes into wall-street and banking games."
Note how he refers to a tax cut as "money spent on the wealthy"? That assumes that the money NOT seized by the government is only lent to the person who actually earned it. In other words, a tax cut equals government spending. This turns property rights as we know it on it's head. The ongoing attempt is to delegitimize the wealthy person's claim to their own money.
A high percentage of my customers are very wealthy people. Oftentimes my company isn't the only one doing work at a customer's home. There are painters, crews who pave driveways and decks with paving stones, pool cleaners, insurance salesman, irrigation guys, personal trainers, tanning bed vendors, carpenters, roofers, and the list gets very long.
The companies and the crews who are employed at these wealthy homes then spend their money at stores of all sorts, pay their bills and maybe even manage to save for their children's education. In turn their customers also do well. In case you're wondering, this is true economic activity. This is the "return on investment" the class warrior attempted to diminish.
What happens when the class warrior is successful in his mantra, "the rich aren't paying their fair share" or "greedy corporations are pilfering the Treasury"?
We get a tax hike on the wealthy. Social justice, right? Not so fast! The chances are better than even that the class warrior hasn't thought through the unintended consequences of his divisive rhetoric and poisonous name calling.
The wealthy family or individual will pay more in income taxes and they receive a clear message from the rest of America; "We want your money, and we'll use the government as an instrument of plunder to make it happen."
If that "rich" guy is a small businessman, as I suspect most of them are, they'll look to trim the fat from their budget asap. They will wonder: Who are my most expendable workers? Which ones can I spare without hurting profitability? Those workers will get the axe because they were probably a detriment anyways. What's the result?
Unemployment goes up, which is usually the first unintended consequence of successful class warfare and it's resultant tax increases.
If that "rich" guy is a former business owner who is semi-retired and living off investments and/or part time income, he may prioritize expenses in different ways. He may offload a car or two (in addition to the guy who details his cars), he may decide that his total relandscaping project can wait until his investments tick up again to offset his bigger tax bill. He may only want his windows cleaned every 18 months instead of every 9 months. He may decide against that new paint job or decide that the new inground pool can wait, or ALL OF THE ABOVE!
The simple and unavoidable truth is that when you seize the wealth of the rich, they take a hit for sure. Their annual income may go from 1.3 million dollars to 1.1 million, or from 980 thousand dollars to 860 thousand. So what says the class warrior defiantly, "He still has 860 THOUSAND dollars!"
And tens of thousands--if not HUNDREDS of thousands--of "working class" people are left holding their bills and wondering, "where did my job go?"
Thank your local class warrior! That's hope and change he can believe in.