Explaining Republican Attacks on the Middle Class

Cartoon by Clay Bennett Bennett editorial cartoon
(click here to view)

Clay Bennett
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Feb 26, 2011


Keith Olbermann, writing at his new blog, does a great job answering the question of why Republicans are waging war on the middle and working class of America.

If you were standing at an ATM machine that spit out a thousand dollar bill every time you pushed any button – and you knew there was no real chance you’d ever be punished for keeping each one of them – how long would you stand there?

Presumably you’d stand there until you passed out. Or until you ran out of room in your pockets because they were stuffed full of thousands. Or until you could call your very best friends to bring over bags and empty pillowcases and wheelbarrows. Or until you realized that there was a finite number of thousand dollar bills in the universe and you’d better make arrangements to get the treasury to print more. Or until you calculated the tax implications of the product of the bottomless ATM and you realized you’d better use some of your thousands to bribe politicians to change those tax laws. Or until you had successfully done all that – and every other connivance you could think of to make sure the ATM kept spewing thousands – at which point you might let your friends take your place in line. Or, if not, screw ‘em – you got yours.

This is, of course, the answer to the most macro of the questions I get asked every day: why are the Republicans trying to do things like what they’re trying to do in Wisconsin? Why do they want to impoverish the middle class, bust unions, cut staples like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, postpone the retirement age, stop government expenditures on everybody except the rich, increase government expenditures on everybody who’s already rich, smother real small business, redefine “small business” by counting not the number of employees but the number of owners, and a thousand other scams worthy of an economic version of the Spanish Inquisition?

Because they’re standing at an ATM machine that’s spewing out thousand dollar bills. They know some day it will stop, or they will be stopped from grabbing them. They know that there is a tipping point coming in this country when – to borrow cartoonist Clay Bennett’s priceless imagery – the mice will realize they are mice and the Republicans are cats. They saw the polling that showed that it took barely six weeks for Scott Walker to lose the state GOP its Republican Union members. They know what the changing demographics of the nation suggest about the extinction of Conservatism.

To put it a different way, Republicans and financial elites are enjoying vacuuming up wealth from the poor and middle classes of America. Working people are the ATM and the cash that comes out is the transfer of wealth that is the product of the class warfare waged by the rich on everyone else in America. These people aren’t going to stop until the ATM finds a way to stop cash from being withdrawn.

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