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Middle Class Values Do Differ From the Rich -- My Answer to Senator Kyl

Posted: 07/24/2012 8:51 am

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the Republican minority whip, is probably best known for explaining his lie about Planned Parenthood as "it was not meant as a factual statement."

Hence, it is not possible to know whether his recent ridiculous statement that middle class and the wealthy have identical values is meant as a factual statement or not.

Of course, Kyl was trying to criticize President Obama for even talking about the middle class. That is a pretty good recommendation that it is exactly what the President should be doing.

Here are my answers to Kyl. Perhaps you have others you might want to add.

1. The middle class does not squirrel its money away in Swiss, Cayman Islands and Bermuda accounts. To the middle class that would be, well... unpatriotic.
2. The middle class would not ever say or think, "I like firing the people who serve me."
3. The middle class would not refer to others as "you people."
4. The middle class believes that money made from hard work should be taxed at the same rate as money made from investments.
5. The middle class values the social contract -- believes both in reward for hard work and the obligation to give something back.
6. The middle class would never throw their fellow workers out of work, or force a company to bankruptcy, in order to get bought out before the company tanked.
7. The middle class values time with family, and believes the economy should be structured to provide them with wages from their hard work so they can spend time with family.
8. The middle class would think it is immoral to lobby the government to provide a tax loophole, then take it, and defend it as being "within the law."
9. The middle class believes that businesses exist for their customers and their employees and their communities and their shareholders, not only for their shareholders.
10. The middle class believes in telling the truth.
11. The middle class believes that they should be paid for their increases in productivity, not have all those gains go to the wealthy.
12. The middle class believes it holds America's natural resources and beauty in trust for future generations, and that those who despoil it, should pay to have it restored.
13. The middle class believes that people who promote war should be willing to fight it.
14. The middle class believes that the wealthy should pay higher taxes.
15. The middle class believes that the social safety net of Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid should not be squeezed to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy.
16. The middle class believes public education should be strengthened to provide their children with a world-class education.
17. The middle class believes that teachers, firefighters, police and public health workers are public servants, worthy of our respect.
18. The middle class believes that finance needs to be regulated.

The wealthy have opposite beliefs and values.

A key mistake made in middle class messaging is acquiescing that the wealthy are "job creators," disagreeing only on whether they need incentives. The wealthy do not create jobs. No one creates a job unless it is needed for the business, regardless of incentives.

The middle class, by contrast, are job creators. When they earn enough money, when their wealth is not destroyed by Wall Street, when they are not forced into debt to pay for their children's medical care or education, their ability to purchase goods and services creates the need for more employees to produce or deliver those goods and services.

One word on Michael Jordan, whom Kyl referenced. He was spectacular. He would have been just as spectacular whether he were taxed at a 35%, 39.6% or 50% of his multimillion dollar income.

How does one know this? Bill Russell was also spectacular. Tax rates were 90% and 70% during his time playing on his income that was 10-fold lower than Michael Jordan's.

But, here's the cruelty of the Kyl argument. Making policy for the country because some people might become Michael Jordans leaves out the rest of us who, let us admit it, will not be Michael Jordan, regardless of salary or tax rates... or moving our income to secret accounts in Switzerland.

Senator Kyl is retiring. Thankfully. He will probably get a job as a lobbyist, certainly not on behalf of middle class values.

He does not know what they are.

I am sure you have many other differences in the values of the middle class and the wealthy. Please add them.

 

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