Government Spending

Upper-Middle-Class Americans Are the New Kulaks

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America, we have a new enemy which "threaten[s] to destroy everything that is best in our country," according a range of voices on the right and the left.

You may be joining me in the reeducation camps if you have bothered preparing for your kids' college via so-called 529 plans, which allow for tax-exempt gains on higher education savings. Or if you're one of those "upper middle class" types who earn "well into the six-figure range yet don't feel rich, either because of their student loan debt or the enormous cost of the amenities they consider nonnegotiable: living in well-above-average school districts for those with children or living in 'cool' neighborhoods for those without."

What side are you on? In a new column at The Daily Beast, I take issue with conservatives (such as Reihan Salam, the executive editor of National Review) and liberals (such as Josh Barro of The New York Times and Monica Potts of the Beast) in vilifying wealthy-but-not-rich people as one of the reasons why America is going down the tubes.

"The upper-middle-class vote and get on the phone with their Congressperson any time a proposal like Obama's [529 reform] comes up, ready to kill it before it gets started," writes Potts. For such reasons, other, much-bigger tax reforms—getting rid of the deductions for mortgage interest and for state and local taxes, for example—can never happen….

Indeed, for Salam at least, the upper middle class wields power so absolute as to be unstoppable. "The upper middle class controls the media we consume," he says. "They run our big bureaucracies, our universities, and our hospitals. Their voices drown out those of other people at almost every turn."

The last time somebody associated with National Review saw such a vast, powerful network, it was probably John Derbyshire talking about "homosexualists" in the early '00s.

In my Beast piece, I suggest that trying to guilt or gull the upper middle class into paying higher taxes is unlikely to succeed, especially if your goal is to actually bring government budgets into balance and direct limited resources toward those in true need:

How to bring spending down to that level is the conversation we need to be having, not one about how to squeeze a few more dollars out of the awful upper middle class with their Whole Foods, their artisanal cheeses, and their fancy cars. The trouble with our welfare state isn't that the numbers don't add up. It's not a math problem. It's a vision problem: There's simply no way to be all things to all people….

I may not speak for many other upper-middle-class types, but I'll tell you what: I'm happy to have the government spend less on me if I know it's spending less altogether and is directing what money it does spend to people who need it more than I do. But if you're simply talking about raising taxes in order to maintain the bloated status quo plus a bunch of new programs, count me out. That's not because I'm selfish. It's because I'm not stupid.

Read the full article here.

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  1. E.J. Dionne assures us, in his column today, that people such as Sen. Warren are not motivated by “greed” or “envy” but by “social justice.”
    Yep, and Custer and the 7th were motivated by helping the Indians to avoid hearing loss by removing them from the noisy path of gold seekers and their hell on wheels mining towns.

    1. You don’t understand.

      Wanting to keep what is yours is greedy and wrong.

      Taking what doesn’t belong to you and handing it out in exchange for votes is selfless and altruistic.

      1. Heck, merely wanting to own a nice house in a good school district is greedy and wrong. That’s what Reiham Salam thinks.

    2. You leave my little waterbaby alone!

    3. E.J. Dionne assures us, in his column today, that people such as Sen. Warren are not motivated by “greed” or “envy” but by “social justice.”

      Well, that might well be true if by “social justice” Mr. Dionne means “the sick desire to have people grovel before you because you can make their lives a living hell”. And that would be a pretty accurate description of “social justice”. Things like “greed” are too decent for that kind of depravity.

      1. If, in the name of social justice and equality, I steal one of your cars because you’ve got more cars than me, then you go to the government to get justice. If I have the government do it for me, then an injustice has been done to you and you become the criminal if you seek justice. Thus social justice is institutionalized injustice.

        1. I think it’s something worse than that. Any two-bit socialist thug would be happy to rob you to give me your car. The social justice movement is something darker. They get a sick little thrill out of watching you squirm or desperately try to dissuade them knowing they’re about to take away your means of transportation. And a sick little thrill out of having me perpetually on the hook to them for that car they gave me.

          It’s an incredibly vile aspect of human nature. And it’s reared its head throughout history. Hell, it’s a major aspect of what has motivated every bully I’ve ever run across. It’s strange that there’s never been a word assigned to it.

          1. Social justice is the nouveau justification for redistribution and the silencing of the opposition, both central tenets of Marxism.

            The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism.

            1. The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism.

              So submission without protest to the tenets of socialism is peace?

              Submission? Peace? What else am I reminded of?

              1. I’d like to buy a vowel please.

              2. *slams against glass with tentacle around neck*

                peeace?… no peace…

          2. It’s strange that there’s never been a word assigned to it.

            Power.

            1. It’s closely related. Power is the engine it runs on. But the emotional state itself doesn’t have a one-word term. The closest I can think of is “lording power”.

              I mean it’s funny you make the joke just above about the other group that focuses on peace as submission, and I could just as easily imagine the same social justice gang insisting that “those who defile the prophet must die”.

              1. We’re talking about people who feel that tolerance means not tolerating anyone who disagrees with them, equality means they’re better than anyone who disagrees with them, and inclusiveness means excluding anyone who disagrees with them.

                I’m sure if they had their way, living would mean killing anyone who disagree with them.

    4. Social justice is just communism rebranded.

      “The history of all existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf … oppressor and oppressed, stood in sharp opposition to each other.”

    5. Link? Also, I thought E.J. Dionne was a woman?

  2. Oh, so that’s who controls the media this week.

  3. Just for the record though: it would sure be nice to kill the mortgage interest tax deduction and the child tax credit.

      1. People shouldn’t be subsidized for hitching their wagons to sinking ships like property ownership and procreation.

        1. I would prefer to see a lower tax rate and no deductions myself to avoid the social engineering aspect of government, but I don’t think letting people keep their money is a subsidy.

          1. The tax code is used to influence certain kinds of behavior. I think that needs to go, period, as the government not only has no business doing such things, it’s motives are. . .unsound.

            Flat tax that applies to EVERYONE over a certain income. I also think maybe we should eliminate or reduce capital gains taxes. I mean, we want to have a wealthy society, don’t we?

          2. If they take less of your money than they do of someone who makes an identical income based on your making a certain choice, that choice is being subsidized.

            1. No, the other person is being penalized. Letting you keep your own money is not a subsidy.

              1. Hugh is going full-Tony today.

            2. A subsidy is when money is taken from one party and given to another.

              Taking less money is not a subsidy, nor is ending a subsidy taking money away.

              It may feel that way. You may feel like someone else getting a tax break is money being given to them, but as long as they’re paying taxes it just means less money is being taken from them. Likewise you may feel like money is being taken from you when your tax-funded check doesn’t arrive in the mail, but that money had to be taken from someone else before it could be given to you.

            3. I think the reasoning is if 4 people live off $100,000 it is reasonable they pay less tax than if 1 person is living on that $100,000.

              Maybe reasonable, maybe not. But, I actually think if there is going to be a tax system, and if there are going to be different categories, then this one is okay with me. Which I know isn’t very Libertarian, but it is because I’ve raised 3 kids on one salary and know how tough it is.

          3. …but I don’t think letting people keep their money is a subsidy.

            The subisidy is paid by the people without mortgages or children.

            1. It is just a difference of opinion. I think taxation is immoral, so anyway anyone can keep more of their money, I say it is justified. I don’t cheat on my taxes because I’m afraid of the IRS. However if you cheat on your taxes and get away with it I say more power to you.

            2. Not really. You’re implying because one person pays more and another pays less then one subsidized the other. If it were a closed system, ie a certain amount of money must be raised, and divided amongst the payers, then you would have a point. However, almost no jurisdiction balances its budgets. So, the two valuations are unrelated to what must be paid, or what must not be paid.

    1. Yes, to be fair, nobody should get special tax break for anything. Including education.

      The problem here is that (a) these people aren’t proposing that nobody gets any special favors, they are just mad that the wrong group is getting special favors – middle-class white people. (Upper-middle-class is sort of a code word for white people on the left).

      And (b) the prejudicial language used to demean people who aspire to and/or have obtained what most people consider the standard features of a decent middle-class lifestyle: owning a nice house, being able to afford college funds for ones kids. These are not wealthy people by any means, these are just people who actually have essentially acheived the classic “American Dream”.

      And they are spitting on them and calling them scum just for having the gall to to afford a nice house in a good school district.

      You know what this is? It is old-school Marxist hate for the “bourgeousis”.
      How dare these uppity yuppies aspire to bourgeoisis success? How dare they stand in the way of the proletariat’s need for community college for all?

  4. Wait, what? You know what? I’ve been paying a shitload of taxes, so maybe I should have some voice in how badly the government screws me over. Motherfucker.

    1. I paid 40k this year in taxes. In exchange I got roads. Sooooo….win?

      1. I pay tolls for a big chunk of my commute and driving around on weekends, so no.

        1. Damn. Bamboozled again.

          1. You pay for drone process. Has the disposition matrix resulted in any of your personal enemies being eliminated?

            1. My enemies require more …. archaic methods of destruction.

      2. The wife and I paid $37.5k federal income, almost 10k state income, 13k property taxes, and whatever sales tax got skimmed off my purchases. I also paid $15k for parochial High School. That will go up exponentially later this year.

        When we do our taxes, it’s a story of how to earn a quarter million and spend every penny.

        1. But roadz so there.

          1. Yes – and whoever plows for the town seems to really enjoy plowing snow into my driveway. So much so that the post office refused to deliver or mail until I paid somebody to plow again and clear the mailbox.

        2. You’re a piker. We paid $80k federal income and over $20k statement income.

          1. Nice!

            You would think the Left would be thanking you profusely for your generosity.

            1. If you have money left, you didn’t pay enough.

            2. You’re both scum for having earned that much money. Think of how many people you two must have cheated out of the money they deserved for you to get what you got. You can’t earn that much money unless you overcharged someone or underpaid someone else.

              (If anybody knows Elizabeth Warren personally could they please send that to her. I want to know if I got it right.)

  5. “…and liberals (such as Josh Barro of The New York Times and Monica Potts of the Beast)…”

    These people are “liberals”, they are leftists. Libertarians are liberals. Democrats, (the amerkkkan communist party), are leftists. They lie about everything, including what they are, so stop helping them spread their lies and call them what they are.

    1. That annoys the shit out of me too.

  6. Salam makes some good points, and they are not about taxes but rather about occupational licensing:

    upper-middle-class people don’t just use their political muscle to keep their taxes low. They also use it to make life more expensive for everyone else.

    Take a seemingly small example?occupational licensing. In North Carolina, teeth-whiteners without expensive dental degrees would like to be allowed to sell their services but are opposed by the state’s dentists, as Eduardo Porter noted in a recent New York Times column. Are the good dentists of North Carolina fighting the teeth-whiteners because they fear for the dental health of North Carolinians? It doesn’t look like it. A more plausible story is that dentists don’t want to compete with cut-rate practitioners, because restricting entry into the field allows them to charge higher prices. We often hear about how awesome it is that Uber is making taxi service cheaper and more accessible for ordinary consumers but how sad it is that they are making life harder for working-class drivers who drive traditional cabs. Notice that upper-middle-class credentialed professionals like dentists, lawyers, and doctors rarely get Uber’d to the same degree. Even when innovative services try to do things like, say, offer a free alternative to expensive insurance brokers, state and local governments will often step in to say, “Oh, no you don’t.”

  7. Or how about this?

    Or take immigration policy: Dean Baker of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research has called for increasing the number of doctors, dentists, and other professionals allowed into the U.S. while limiting the number of less-skilled people, like would-be retail clerks, custodians, and housekeepers. The reason is that high-skilled immigrants squeeze the wages of upper-middle-class professionals, who can afford to take a hit while lowering the cost of various services for poorer people by giving them the option of going to cheaper doctors and dentists. By contrast, bringing in retail clerks, custodians, and housekeepers makes life cheaper for the upper-middle-class professionals while squeezing the wages of working people, particularly immigrants who already live in the U.S. Want to guess how popular the idea of increasing the wages of nannies is with the upper-middle-class people who employ them?

    1. I can’t stand the idea that anyone “can afford to take a hit”. Who are we, or anyone, to decide what “enough” is, and why do we begrudge them what they have made?

  8. Salam’s general takeaway is well-received, and I see no reason why a magazine which lambastes corporate giveaways with as much fervor as military handouts would be opposed to it, as it’s a classic case of rent-seeking:

    You’d almost get the impression that while working- and lower-middle-class people are expected to compete, whether with the Ubers of the world or with Chinese manufacturing workers or with immigrants with modest skills, members of the upper middle class ought to be immune. The result is that all Americans have to pay more to get their teeth whitened, to get a formal education, or to do any of the other million things that we can only get through licensed providers.

    1. The bits about rent-seeking are fine by themselves, but he offers no evidence that it’s relevant to his conspiratorial argument that the upper middle class are responsible for everything bad in America.

      Doctors tend to be upper middle class. Doctors lobby to protect their trade and their prices. Therefore, all of the upper middle class is responsible? He simply asserts that the reason these policies persist is because of broad political activism by generally rich folk. His bit about immigration doesn’t even go anywhere, he just points out that upper middle class / more liberal people are more in favor of broad immigration. Which is… the more liberal position. How strange!

      Are the middle class or poor fighting to end licensing? Rent-seeking, basic political dynamics, and stupidity are responsible for onerous licensing. Not the electoral might of the upper middle class.

      1. I think you miss the point RE: immigration and rent-seeking. Things like Uber, immigration, free trade, etc are not perfect, but they are a hell of a lot better at approaching competition than what passes for such in the fields of medicine, banking, and a vast swathe of upper-middle class jobs.

        Not coincidentally, they are also largely areas where the middle- and lower middle class has to compete and where the upper middle class can reap many of the benefits as effectively as a free lunch to themselves. Also not coincidentally, most of the decision-making apparatus of the civil service is squarely in the upper middle class, as is most of academia (and journalism at the top tier). Is it any wonder that anti-poverty initiatives are so divorced from practical concerns of the poor (and therefore so prone to abuse), and that so few issues outside this narrow cross-section of the US are given attention?

        The idea is not that the upper middle class should be drawn and quartered — I started poor and could be described (income-wise) as a member of the upper-middle class today. It is that they should be told to fuck off when they tell the rest of America what to do and when they construct hagiographies about how wonderful they are, given what they’ve done with the influence they have.

        1. Well I don’t know what to say that I didn’t say in my previous post. This just sounds like conspiratorial nonsense to me.

          1. It’s not conspiratorial, it’s cladistic. The upper middle class’ approach to politics and representation in various industries across government and society have made it so that their viewpoint is orthodox and all others heterodox, and so that their interests are favored and others are given short shrift. This is not about “eat the rich” nonsense or doling out blame, but rather about having a good understanding of the situation as it exists.

            How to deal with this? I don’t know, but I’d say it’s at least useful to be aware of the connection this has with class and culture.

            1. I think my economic profile would qualify me as upper middle class. I have never lobbied anyone for anything, at least since I was really young and still really poor (which went nowhere).

              For that matter none of my friends have lobbied for anything that I can think of.

              So, yes your rant is kind of conspiratorial.

            2. +1

              Awesome getting-to-the-point -ness. You’ve summed the problem perfectly. It’s not about eat the rich, it’s about a grating, annoying little sub-culture that has way more influence than it should.

              That they do have more influence than they should is a problem of the other “classes” failing to push their political muscle, but that still doesn’t make it OK.

      2. He’s just picking sides in the battle for control over everybody else. Another statist like the rest.

    2. Being a crony pays. A good number of people in the upper middle class are there because of rent seeking and cronyism. There is no denying that fact.

      The problem is the cronyism and rent seeking not the fact that any particular class of people do it. If those things benefited poor people at the expense of everyone else, they still would suck.

      That article points to a lot of problematic things. It is, however, dead wrong to pretend that those things rather than being problems in themselves are the result of some economic class as if eliminating that class would solve those problems.

      1. True, but it would be like talking about the French Revolution without discussing the role of the ancien regime. Yes, the general solution will always be free markets and competition, but in this case the political reality dictates that the upper middle class will have to take a backseat in making political decisions or somehow be made responsible (and not in a malevolent sense) for the decisions it takes on behalf of the rest of the country.

        1. But not all of the upper middle class are cronies. Why should they be deprived of representation? For that matter why should the cronies? That is horseshit.

          The answer is stop letting anyone stack the system so that they benefit at everyone else’ expense. If you make it about going after some economic class, you just create envy and will end up hurting a lot of innocent people.

          1. not all of the upper middle class are cronies. Why should they be deprived of representation

            Because the things that they want representation in are areas where they have no business dictating terms to the rest of the country’s citizens.

            If you make it about going after some economic class, you just create envy

            That sucks and is true. Nonetheless, I see no good way to reform the problems with the regulatory and bureaucratic state supported and staffed at its highest levels by members of the upper middle class without one of three things happening:

            1) Convincing the upper middle class to essentially become libertarians and support competition over benevolent paternalism

            2) Marginalizing the upper middle class so that they hold less influence

            3) Making the upper middle class (or at least, the parts with decision making power) somehow own the results of their political influence, where they receive benefits for good political decisions and demerits for bad ones — essentially internalizing externalities

            1. That is stupid and evil. You don’t make a better world by marginalizing large groups of people because of your generalized opinion that they hold the wrong views.

              If you want to marginalize the upper middle class to create libertopia, are you no different that Progs who want to marginalize and disenfranchise undesirables to create prog topia.

              That is a fools road that leads nowhere but to evil.

              1. Dammit TIT, stop making me agree with John.

              2. poor John, always seeing “socialists” in the shadows, no matter how reasonable people are being

      2. Most people end up in the upper middle classes because they choose to do work that is considered more valuable. Work considered more valuable is monitored more closely by the government. And, therefore tends to be licensed and restricted.

        I’m not sure they are rent-seekers. They’re just making rational personal decisions.

    3. I did agree with his points about protectionism by the professional classes. That is indeed a serious problem.

  9. So, they’re running out of other people’s money to spend? Color me unsurprised.

    Obama has a talent for making everyone think he’s talking about them when he’s talking about the underdogs–and that he’s not talking about them when he’s talking about how everyone needs to make sacrifices.

    It isn’t just the upper-middle class that are the new Kulaks. Obama wants to go after everyone who moans about paying taxes–but still uses the roads. …as if using the roads we paid for means we shouldn’t complain about him squandering our money on other things.

    …as if using the public schools means we shouldn’t complain about how foolishly they’re financed or how poorly they’re run.

    Obama isn’t just going after the upper-middle class, and it isn’t just that he’s run out of other people’s money to spend either. He’s been going after anybody that complains about him trying to increase the size, scope, and scale of government–and the people who suffer the most for that are the poor.

    Who suffers the most because of the Drug War? Who is trapped in failing schools?

    It sure as hell isn’t the upper middle class.

    1. Obama’s entire Presidency is based on the idea of convincing everyone he is going to take someone else’ money.

      1. Like Bastiat said: “Government is the great fiction where everbody endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”

  10. For such reasons, other, much-bigger tax reforms?getting rid of the deductions for mortgage interest and for state and local taxes, for example?can never happen….

    That’s not a tax reform. This is a tax reform. [Holds up bowie knife]

      1. How about an arm-mounted chainsaw?

        1. Nuke it from orbit, just to be sure.

        2. Hail to the king, baby.

    1. That’s not a tax reform, that’s a subsidy!

      1. Yes, it seems that:
        increasing taxes = ‘reform’
        lower taxes = ‘subsidy’

    2. For such reasons, other, much-bigger tax reforms?getting rid of the deductions for mortgage interest and for state and local taxes, for example?can never happen….

      And the people who would be most harmed by those reforms and go into revolt over them are nearly all blue state, right thinking, loyal Democrats. At some point it will become everyone’s duty to die for the cause.

      1. right thinking?

  11. Yeah, never mind the fact that the middle to upper-middle class already pays most of the taxes in this country now. MORE, MORE, MORE! We need to be more like Europe, Europe, Europe!

  12. Nobody reads Newspeak, I mean Newsweek. For good reason.

    1. Waiting for a doctor, otherwise no.

      1. Not even then. People have smart phones that provide reading material. The last doctor’s office I was in didn’t have the old war horse news weeklys. At this point, I really wonder if they sell any paper copy at all.

  13. The upper middle class is where the money is. You can never get big money form the wealthy because they have the ability to move and hide their money in ways the upper middle class doesn’t. They also can much more easily just leave the country if taxes get too high. The upper middle class funds the vast majority of the federal government. Since no amount of money however large can ever satiate progressives, they will if they can keep taking until there is no more to take and they have as they say run out of other people’s money.

    Right now the upper middle and middle classes have enough political power to keep the Progs from stealing everything they own. The Progs’ plan to deal with this problem by creating enough poor people, through dependence and immigration, who have enough of a culture of envy and hatred to out vote the middle and upper middle class and thus allow the progs to loot those classes. What they want to happen here is what happened in Venezuela and Argentina. Time will tell if they can do that. I don’t think they will, but I wouldn’t dismiss their chances either.

    1. The upper middle class and the poor are both wings of the left that disdain each other and support the left for different reasons. The upper middle class largely supports regulation and a strong central state, as well as general wonkiness and cultural disdain for the middle class and lower middle class. Think someone like Ezra Klein or Paul Krugman. The lower class/poor by and large are single-issue free shit voters who care very little for other aspects of politics. (If anything, their interests outside free shit align more with the middle class and lower middle class than with the upper middle class.)

      If you think of most of the occupations that are anti-market, they are in the upper middle class. Pablo the fry cook can fight to keep his job, but Special Snowflake #7217 needs cartels and regulations to protect his job at the bank, at the hospital, or at the non-profit where he works. All of the most protectionist policies in the country are to the benefit of the upper-middle class, and bureaucratic power in the political sphere is owned by the upper middle class.

      Pretty sweet gig, but the problem is that it’s only a sustainable model for so long as you have a broad base of people beneath you that can support it. Having lots of former peons go to college is having the effect of producing a bunch of people who are culturally upper middle class without the goods to show. Either the upper middle class will have to start competing, or the poor will have to give up free shit.

      1. The poor will give up their free shit. The poor generally don’t vote and since this country is armed, they can’t use the threat of riot and intimidation to force people to give them free shit. Moreover, no amount of free shit is ever enough. Once people get dependent, they never stop demanding more or pissing away what you gave them. So no strategy of sticking it to the middle class to pay off the poor will ever work. The poor can’t be bought off. Giving them free shit will just cause them to demand more and eventually turn against you when you don’t give it to them.

        Pandering to the poor gets you nowhere. What gets you elected is pandering to the middle and upper middle class. One way to do that is to pander to their sense of moral superiority by convincing them to voting for you will show how compassionate they are and how they want to help the poor (which other people’s money of course). The problem is that they have run out of other people’s money. And you can’t pander to their moral superiority if it involves spending their money. So politicians will tell the poor to go fuck themselves and the free shit train will end.

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  15. Or if you’re one of those “upper middle class” types who earn “well into the six-figure range yet don’t feel rich, either because of their student loan debt or the enormous cost of the amenities they consider nonnegotiable: living in well-above-average school districts for those with children or living in ‘cool’ neighborhoods for those without.”

    Yes, I read that retarded Slate article too.

    There are plenty of places in this country where earning well into the six-figure range will barely afford you a single-family home in an average school district.

    Most of the people spinning this line seem to come from background where “normal” is living in a tenement in Bangladesh. How dare those single-family home owners want to put their kids through college, when there are tenement-dwellers somewhere who need community college?

    1. That entire paragraph is just grossly offensive. It assumes that people living well or living better than others is automatically bad and something the government needs to stop. Unless you can show me that someone lives in a better neighborhood or has a big house or sends their kids to good schools does so with money they didn’t rightfully earn, anyone who has a problem with that can go fuck themselves. The upper middle class earned their money and can do with it as they please. Slate and people like them are just evil, loathsome people.

      1. The offensive part is the way that the writer distains “amenities” that used to be the standard of middle-class living: Being able to afford a single-family home in a decent school district.

        Surely, being able to afford a house is something that should be “negotiable”, right? I mean, all you really OUGHT to have on a six figure salary is maybe a townhouse or a large condo, in a third rate school district. Anything more is wealthy.

        1. And of course if poor people demand that section 8 housing be built in “good neighborhoods” and that their kids be bused to better than average schools, this asshole would think it was a moral duty to give them what they want and make other people pay for it. It is only people from the dirty exploiter middle class who do not deserve these things.

          These people have gone foaming at the mouth evil.

          1. What? They wouldn’t support that. That would be “school choice”, which is wrong, because it’s immoral for people to be able to escape bad school districts. Plus, then that would deprive the shitty school districts of funding, some of those teachers would have to get fired, and we can’t have that.

            What they would really do is to bus the rich people’s kids into the shitty school districts so as to ensure that rich people have an equal share of shitty teaching and the bad school districts get MORE funding.

      2. It assumes that people living well or living better than others is automatically bad and something the government needs to stop.

        That’s the entire premise of social justice.

          1. I think a lot of it has to do with people not understanding the difference between money and wealth. They’ll say “All this wealth is concentrated among so few people! Look at the Walton family! They’re worth billions of dollars! Meanwhile children are starving! Government must do something!”

            Okay… Like what? You can’t feed Walmart stock to starving children.

  16. BTW, I got a promotion today, so I’m now 6% more Kulak-y than yesterday.

    1. Lucky you. My company has been on a pay freeze for three years, meanwhile the insurance keeps going up. At least I get a bigger refund because my taxable income keeps dropping every year.

  17. “The upper-middle-class vote and get on the phone with their Congressperson any time a proposal like Obama’s [529 reform] comes up, ready to kill it before it gets started”

    It seems this person is discovering that the real problem is that *Democracy* allows the wrong people to actually have a say.

    The left loves to slather itself in the ‘word’.

    DEMOCRACY NOW! and DemocraticUnderground and People’s-Democracy and 99%!!

    its the actual *thing* of democracy, and all the other people with self-interests they despise.

    Their ‘class/culture warfare’ is really just a slow process of identifying Everyone Else who isn’t in lockstep with their maximalist-state agenda and using every tool in their toolbox to convict them of ThoughtCrimes, demonizing whole swaths of the public and blaming them for the fact that Utopia always remains over the horizon.

    Kulaks and Wreckers, indeed.

    1. Funny how the left just loves democracy until the people vote incorrectly on something like gay marriage.

    2. well I think it’s more that it’s unfair because the upper-middle classes are the only ones who have the time to engage in politics or even just vote. But they’re the only ones with that time BECAUSE they used government policy to massively favor themselves economically. IN THEORY the middle and lower classes could vote the other way, but because of upper-middle-class -created policies, they don’t have the time.

      Then again, I may be projecting my non-class-warfare, more reasonable thought process onto the author

  18. They came for the 1% and I said nothing…

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