Monday, September 19, 2011

Robbledegook Word of the Day: Class Warfare

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -- Inigo Montoya.

Except for the outrageousness of his hypocrisy,* what jars when Paul Ryan uses the word (okay, words) "class warfare" is the buff hunter-representative's lack of understanding of such a simple concept. He's got it backwards, hasn't he? Of course he has. I thought he'd been discredited for his slipped-on-the-banana-peel-of-accuracy budget proposal earlier this year but he's still lurking around, the GOP's dapper expert on all things economic. On the other hand, getting things backwards yet professing their forwardness is the right's primary oratorical weapon in its, uh, crass warfare on the English language.

Ryan suggested over the weekend that the part of the Obama plan to reduce the deficit whereby rich people pay their fair share of taxes was, sadly, class warfare, which would further divide our nation. It would spur "envy," among other mortal sins, though I can't see who'd be envying whom.

Is Ryan saying that if the poor realized how screwed they were because of the gross inequality in the distribution of wealth in America they might pay enough attention to envy their betters and, heaven forbid, do something about it? Is he suggesting that the middle classes, watching their bettors -- I mean portfolio managers -- mismanage their 401Ks and pension plans (remember those?), might clamor for more transparency by the banks and funds and corporate boards who seem to do quite all right, thank you, even as their customers suffer riding the rollercoaster of the market? Of course not. Ryan thinks that the rich will feel aggrieved that the rest of us don't just lie down and take it let them get on with creating more wealth because, as we all know, when the rich make money the extra trickles down on the rest of us. There is extra, isn't there? Or haven't the rich made enough yet? Please wake me when the gluttonous are sated at last.

Rep. Ryan has never been a genius when it comes to math. His equation that private vouchers equate to government backed health insurance was shown as faulty at best, insidiously cruel at least. And now he thinks that reeling in the rich just a little is going to make things more divisive. Backwards, Ryan! Let's look at the math. Hmmmmm, given how the top percent of earners takes more than 20 percent of our wealth (and growing), I'm not entirely sure how asking these poor rich people to pay, say, an equivalent proportion of their income as, say, their secretaries (god, sorry! "administrative assistants"), would further divide the haves from the have-lesses. Ryan thinks it would. Or perhaps he's thinking beyond mere earthly gain and is trying to save us from our sinfulness. Perhaps he has some quantifiable measure of divisiveness that this class warfare would beget. The more the well-to-do are asked to behave responsibly as citizens of our society the more, uncomfortable they get? The more irked? The more self-righteous? Of course this would make them feel bad -- more at a remove from their fellow citizens, hence: "divisive!" Q.E.D.

I thought all men were created equal and in God we trust. Clearly for Ryan the rich are more equal and in their trusts they [find] God. The rest of us can eat sausage.

Coming soon in this series: "Job Creators," "Elite" and "Socialism."

*Okay, not "outrageous"; it's expected, isn't it? The way the likes of Ryan turn words 180 degrees to suit their need is blase. Listen more closely to Ryan in the video clip above. It's as if the talking points are so embedded they require no emotion in their recitation. Soon they'll have numbers. Instead of calling it "class warfare on job creators" it'll be "doing a #2 on the #1s."

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