John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

What’s in a word, after all?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right?

Well, this particular little blossom stinks like Denmark in Hamlet’s day, and the tremulous waves of its perfume are threatening to pollute our future.

The word of the week is, well, it’s not really a word, it’s a phrase, and that phrase is “class warfare.”

That’s what the Party of No (Republicans, in case you’ve not been paying attention) has chosen as its ultimate swear word when it comes to any attempt by those awful Tax-and-Spend Democrats to make life a little easier for you and me.

I say “you and me” because I can’t imagine many of the 1 Percent read this column regularly, unless they are the kind who like it when we whip them.

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No, I think most of you out there are a lot like me – sick and tired of being stepped on and shoved ever further down the ladder of social and economic welfare in this benighted nation.

Anyway, the “class warfare” alarm went up as soon as President Obama proposed a piddling little tax, relatively speaking, on millionaires in order to pay for extending the year-old payroll tax holiday for workers.

Let’s be clear about this. According to federal estimates, if the payroll tax cut is not extended, roughly 160 million of us will see our take-home pay shrink by as much as $1,000 next year.

Can you afford that?

I sure as hell can’t, and I have a job. That makes me lucky, even though I saw my salary drop uncomfortably when the recession squeezed the publications I work for.

Loss of that big a chunk of cash is going to hurt me, but I believe it will hurt others far more, particularly those forced to find lower-paying jobs when they were downsized, laid off or otherwise booted down the stairs as a result of the recession.

This, at the same time that the millionaires kept right on rolling in it, and some in fact got richer, on paper, as they bought up property at distressed rates, which they can then turn around and sell for a profit when the economy rebounds, or rent to some poor schmuck who lost his house when the bubble burst.

Now that, to my way of thinking, is class warfare.

So, you might ask, what is YOUR word to describe what Obama is trying to do with the payroll tax cut?

Simple, I respond. But again, it’s a phrase, not a word. And that phrase is, “greater economic equality between the 1 percenters and the 99 percenters.”

To me, that’s “tom-ay-to” to the 1-percenters’ “tom-ah-to.”

A thousand bucks in my pocket will do a lot more to stimulate the economy than any tax on millionaires would do to harm the economy. That’s because I spend my money on goods and services that I need to live, which boosts the economy.

The 1 percent, of course, also purchase goods and services, but they use a far smaller percentage of their money to do so, and an awful lot of what they buy is either foreign made or a luxury-item in nature, not much of a stimulator to our basic economy.

“But the 1 percent are the job-creators,” their apologists say.

Horse puckey. It is axiomatic in our culture that the small businesses of America are the main source of jobs in America, and they are not run by millionaires, by and large. They are run by hard working people who, while they typically are better off than their employees, are not among the 1 percent.

Millionaires too often tend to sell businesses, or run them into the ground while selling off assets and laying off workers, as a way of becoming multi-millionaires or even billionaires. ‘Nuff said.

Anyways, the real class warfare is from the top down, not the bottom up.

jcolson@aspentimes.com