The Rich Get Richer And The Middle Class Gets Poorer

Back in February I had a post opposing redistribution of wealth–that is redistribution from the middle class to the wealthy due to conservative economic policies. I was reminded of this post when a self-described tea party supporter added a comment recently, seeing this as liberal hatred of the rich. Although the proposed remedy of abolishing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would leave tax rates below those under Ronald Reagan, he also saw this as soaking the rich and punitive income taxation. There is no doubt that these are commonly held misconceptions on the far right. Despite their belief that higher marginal tax rates on the rich is the equivalent to socialism, we never hear right wingers complain about Ronald Reagan for soaking the rich when tax rates under him were higher.

The reason to oppose redistribution of wealth to the rich is not to be vindictive, but to get our economy back on track. Tax rates which are low by both American historical and by international standards prevent us from providing benefits of government which most in this country desire, and from stimulating the economy in ways which would benefit everyone, including the rich. Of course many on the far right have fallen for claims that there is nothing beneficial which can be done by government, while ignoring all evidence to the contrary. If smaller government is really the economic panacea, how come it is not China which is in debt to us? It is no coincidence that those who fall for unfounded economic myths of the far right are often the same who fall for the anti-scientific claims of creationists and deniers of climate change.

The downside to redistribution of wealth to the rich is that inevitably the middle class must get hurt. This is seen in a study from Pew Charitable Trusts which shows that nearly one-third who grew up in the middle class have slipped down. I how much of this decline of the middle class is responsible for some of the frustrations of the tea party supporters, who have been easily manipulated by those who support plutocracy and further transfer of wealth to support policies contrary to their own interests. There is no doubt that this decline of the middle class is responsible for the continued poor performance of the economy. Despite fantasies of trickle down economics, most of us who own businesses do better when the middle class has money in their pockets, now when the rich get richer. In the long run, destruction of the middle class is not even beneficial for the wealthy.