Class Warfare Has Arrived!
by Dene McGriff
Class warfare between “haves” and “have nots”, between the establishment and the people is spreading world-wide. We have emigrant riots in Europe, and riots throughout the Middle East – the “Arab Spring.” Now demonstrations are arriving on our shores and it started with a movement called “Occupy Wall Street.”
It is growing and it is spreading – 10, 20, 30 cities and growing. As the Tea Party movement was absorbed by the conservatives and the Republican Party, the Democrat Party is making moves to embrace this latest movement which is an out and out attack on the fat cats, the bankers and Wall Street greed. It is twice as popular as the Tea Party – or twice as disgusted and, judging from the antics of the crowd, twice as disgusting.
The movement is extremely amorphous. When leaders are asked what they are trying to accomplish, there are only vague answers. They can’t be pinned down. Certainly there is enough discontent to go around. Unemployment is at Depression era levels (if judged by the same standards) so there is an abundance of people with time on their hands – from the highly educated and skilled workers, students and graduate students facing an uncertain job market, plus the masses of unemployed, underemployed, youth and minorities.
The irony is that President Obama continues to enflame people with his class warfare rhetoric that the rich are not paying their fair share. Yet, the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve have overseen the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world to Wall Street and the Bankers. Their actions enabled the excess of Wall Street. Yet, the demonstrators rail on the rich rather than the administration that bailed them out and permitted the payment of huge salaries and bonuses.
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is galvanizing people from all walks of life and it is catching on across the country. The question is, where it is headed. No one knows for sure, but fanning the flames of class warfare during an election year may have dangerous consequences as we saw back in 1968 – the year of the Democratic convention in Chicago, the Watts riots, etc. Where is this going and how will it end?
This is going to be a very controversial article and there are some out there who like to take things I say, add a little character assassination, and blow me up publicly on the internet. So let me begin by talking about class warfare. There is a lot of disinformation out there and misperception of the real problem. So first of all I would like to say that I am not taking sides in this. Both the rich and the poor are fallen sinful creatures that need to be “born again” and have the Indwelling Spirit to transform them. None of us are worthy. None are good – no not one! All our righteousness is as filthy rags. Jesus certainly favored the poor in Scripture. The poor know they need help and have a lot less to lose. It is far easier for a poor man to humble himself and ask for divine help – “not many noble are called.” He told rich people to go and sell all that they had and give it to the poor and then come and follow Him. This certainly set the bar high and made it very difficult, although not impossible, for the wealthy and learned men of the world to come to Jesus and forsake all for Him.
Now for the controversy.
That said there is nothing good or “better” in a poor man than in a rich man. The Scripture is not about class warfare, pitting the rich against the poor. In Christ we are one body and the New Testament way was to have all things in common. The rich should not consider anything to be their own – it all belongs to the Lord. The poor should not covet what the rich have but should be content with what they have for our peace and eternal prosperity is found in Christ. If we have received something from the Lord, we give it freely to all because nothing we have is ours. It is all from Him. One of the main characteristics of the early church was helping the poor, the widows and orphans. These should be natural functions of the Body of Christ, true believers – not a function of the State. We, as groups of believers, should be doing this of our own free will, not because we are coerced or someone “lays a trip” on us and shames us into caring for the poor among us.
That said, neither Jesus nor His followers ever told anyone to rise up and overthrow the Roman government. He never told workers to strike their employers. Slaves and employees were to honor and obey their masters as unto the Lord. They were even told to respect and pray for their government leaders because God had put them there.
When Jesus returns at the end of this age, He will set up His kingdom for one thousand years. At that point in time, He will set things right and everything will be equitable and fair. Until then, life isn’t fair. There is no such thing as some claim of a “Gospel of the Kingdom” where the rich and the poor are pitted against one another and things are made right in the here and now. It is utterly disingenuous to get the poor of this world all stirred up and angered over the “haves” because they “have not” – in a word: Thou shalt not covet! This will have to wait until the millennium. At the end of the day, the rich and the poor alike will face their destiny for eternity depending on what they did about Jesus Christ. In addition all believers, whether rich or poor will be held accountable for the things they did or didn’t do.
This in no way gives the rich or poor believers any reason to abuse or take advantage of one another – it gives both opportunity to express the love of Christ to one another. In the “end times” there is every indication that the gap between rich and poor will continue to grow.
Why the Wall Street Occupiers?
When it comes to controversy raised by the Wall Street Occupiers, there is absolutely no doubt that something is wrong and I completely sympathize with them. There is no reason why a CEO should make thousands of times more than his employees. I worked for United HealthCare and, at the time the CEO was getting staggering bonuses in the tens of millions. What did he do to deserve it? How about his employees? We know that Wall Street bankers and fund managers have also made exorbitant bonuses, even with government bailout money. I agree, this is unconscionable. The very people who caused the problem were being rewarded with our tax money – and the people we put in power were letting them get away with it! Why isn’t anger directed at the politicians that allowed this to happen?
The movement has much in common with the previous protests. In this case, it is against the weak economy. Georgetown professor Michael Kazin says, "This is like some of the protests in the 1930s, which started ... with protests about joblessness and was then funneled into the rising labor movement," he said, noting that now, like then, students, intellectuals and union workers share the same basic goal - a good job.” Social media drive and direct the movement. A recent report by ABC news seeks to discover the why of the movement. It seems to be mainly directed against Wall Street although the White House is trying to lump all the “rich” which he defines as those making over $250,000 a year.
Who will benefit from the movement? Ironically, it will probably be Obama who has been hammering his class warfare message. He doesn’t expect to get his jobs bill passed, but he will get his tax increases by pitting the poor against the rich and the Tea Party’s low tax message. The class warfare message has broad appeal with the voters, but let’s look a little deeper.
Who allowed the Wall Street/Banker rip-off to begin with? Who gave away trillions of tax dollars to save them so they could continue to pay themselves big bonuses and salaries? It may have started with the Bush administration but Obama upped the ante and never objected as trillions flowed into the money changers coffers. The biggest transfer of money in history was the government bailout of the banks, when combined with TARP ($700 billion) and Federal Reserve loans the total amounted to 16 Trillion according to the first audit in since the Fed was founded! These were loans made not just to US Banks but banks around the world. They make a big deal that most of the TARP money was paid back. Sure, if you borrow money from the Fed for practically nothing and loan it back out for say 6 percent, how could you not make money? The rest of the money is unaccounted for – this is perhaps not only the biggest transfer of wealth ever, but it is undoubtedly the biggest rip off ever perpetrated upon the human race concentrated in the USA, and the tab goes to the American taxpayers!
Creating Jobs @ $278,000 Per Job…am I missing something here?
How about Obama’s stimulus? According to a report written by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, “the council reports that, using “mainstream estimates of economic multipliers for the effects of fiscal stimulus” (which it describes as a “natural way to estimate the effects of” the legislation), the “stimulus” has added or saved just under 2.4 million jobs — whether private or public — at a cost (to date) of $666 billion. That’s a cost to taxpayers of $278,000 per job.” It is a dismal failure by any standard. The big difference is one of philosophy. Obama and most liberals feel that only government intervention will get us out of the recession. Of course, massive government expenditure will help a little as would spending any amount of money, but the $278,000 per job is patently absurd. The argument is that the private sector could have done a lot better job for far less money.
So who should be blamed? One can only conclude that the blame lies squarely on both the Bush and upon the Obama administration which has continued the Bush policies and multiplied it many times larger. This is something the Wall Street Occupiers should really be upset about. Wall Street does not create or produce anything. They just move money merely by moving it from one place to the another – worse than their “creative financing” ploys; whereas the small business person actually creates something or provides a service. It is small business that fuels the economy.
Here are facts provided by the Small Business Administration:
· Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
· Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
· Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
· Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.
· Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
· Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).
· Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
· Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007.
· Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.
These are the businesses that innovate, create and hire people. These are the so-called rich that Obama wants to tax. The problem isn’t the “wealthy” making over $250,000 a year. An article titled “Carpe Diem: The Public Sector vs. The Private Sector” compares the higher salaries, greater benefits, retirement packages offered in the public sector.
Government jobs drain resources. The problem is the masses in these demonstrations look to the government to save them and the government is more than eager to try. The money for these programs has to come from somewhere. The pie is only so big. The more we spend in the public sector, the more taxes the private sector has to pay. The “growing of government” is insatiable insofar as the Obama Administration concerns – the jobs these stimulus funds were supposed to create in the private sector simply did not happen because the philosophy is bent on creating a “dependent workforce” – a workforce primarily centered on government handouts, and, consequently, little, if any, private-sector growth.
Ripping Off The Shopkeepers
We need to focus on who really creates wealth – the big corporations like GE? In the 2000’s big corporations moved 2.9 million jobs overseas. Who really supports and builds the economy? Certainly not Wall Street or big business, but the small business. These folks invest locally. They buy locally and they hire locally. They just happen to be the poor suckers that Obama tells us are the greedy rich that need their taxes increased so they can pay their “fair share.” Obama diverts the attention from the fat bankers and Wall Street racketeers and tries to vilify these small businessmen as the rich. This is the Pizza franchise down the street, the laundromat, the restaurant, the auto parts store, the coffee shop, and the hardware store. These people invested their own money in their businesses, hired people, pay their share of taxes. You hit them harder and they will not invest in expanding their businesses. They won’t hire more people.
This is the problem. There are two diametrically opposing views: one part believes the less government, the better. Government should encourage private sector growth, not grow government. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “the government which governs best, governs least.” The other part believes the government will make the economy grow by spending money, stimulating the economy, doing FDR type projects. Listen, since 1989 the Japanese have pour billions of Yen into their economy – but absolutely to no avail.
From 427 BC to 346 BC Athens, Greece, experimented with the first direct democracy. Two political parties (and social classes) vied for power: the oligarchs who were the elites, land and business owners, and the democrats who insisted that all male citizens had the same rights. No, I’m not kidding. That is what they were called – democrats! These might be more commonly referred to as the “haves” and the “have nots”. There were death squads and juntas – all kinds of nasty things going on and they called it “class warfare”! Plato compared the state to an expensive ship. “Democratic self-government does not work, according to Plato, because ordinary people have not learned how to run the ship of state. They are not familiar enough with such things as economics, military strategy, conditions in other countries, or the confusing intricacies of law and ethics.” The tyranny of the masses resulted when they realized they could take the property and success of the elites because they had the majority vote. The democrats were viewed as uncouth, uncivilized and uneducated – not fit to run a country. In the end, they bankrupted the country, killed the aristocracy and were left with nothing (Plato’s Republic).
Class Warfare Today
In the 1960s the anti-war movement was powerful because you not only had the masses of poor and unemployed, but you had the student intelligentsia and a whole group of disenfranchised upper middle class kids. It wasn’t just demonstrations at Kent State where the National Guard fired on students. It was the demonstrations at the Democratic convention in 1968, the Watts riots in Los Angeles and across the U.S. This was a movement that resulted in the civil rights movement and the beginning of rampant socialism in America – entitling rather than enabling the poor.
Flash forward to today and you have Depression Era unemployment (statistically hidden in low digits – 9.2% - by trained bureaucratic statisticians designed to hide what Donald Trump declares is at least 21% and perhaps more like 30%. Yes, you have 50 percent unemployment in the central cities but it isn’t limited to the poor. It has spread to graduate students who have a hundred thousand dollars in student loans and no job prospects. It is the computer programmer, even the bank employee who lost his job two years ago who has lost his house and is one step away from living on the streets (if not there already). The Occupy Wall Street movement has many names and many participants. The movement is for anyone who is disgruntled about anything from losing their job to taking care of the whales and owls, stopping the big corporations from polluting and trying to stop the “military-industrial complex” and their wars. They openly have no real mission, goals or objectives. They just want change.
And the Panderer in Chief (Obama) keeps up the mantra. The rich have to pay their fair share. In other words, we can solve all of your problems if we get the rich to fund more programs. If this isn’t pandering and dishonest, I don’t know what is. When Warren Buffet says he pays less taxes than his secretary, that is because his taxes come from investments (long term capital gains tax is 15%). But the top 1 % earners pay 38% of the income taxes, the top 5% pay 58% and the top 10% pay 86 percent of all taxes!
Although I am below the bottom, it still seems to me that they are paying their “fair share”. The bottom 50% earning less than $33,000 a year, pay a mere 2.7% of their income in taxes. (National Taxpayers Union) And what kind of society begrudges the entrepreneur, who takes risks, invests his own money and works hard to grow his business?
Why on earth does Obama keep egging the crowds on with his mantra that the rich need to pay their “fair share?” Could it be that he depends on the “have nots” for votes? Does it seem a little strange that the very administration that supported bailouts for corporations and banks (which led to the excess of Wall Street) is championing more taxes from the rich (to supposedly trickle down to the poor and for jobs)…but that never really seems to happen, does it? The same President that gave away trillions to big business is now the champion of the poor? There’s something wrong with this picture.
His idea is to tax those making over $250,000. This sounds good on the surface. But most of these people are the small businessmen that provide 95% of the jobs. Doesn’t it seem counterproductive? If you tax them more, are they likely to do any hiring? Remember, the top 1 percent already pays 40 percent of the taxes and the bottom threshold for that is $410,000! Why not go after the bankers, hedge fund managers and others that made millions from government bailouts!
Government stimulus did not bring us out of the Great depression and it has had no effect on this one either. Twenty two years of stimulus, public works, and deficit spending, along with bank bailouts has done nothing to lift Japan out of its long depression. All it’s done is devour the savings of the people. No amount of stimulus has worked. Today Japan’s debt is 200% of their GDP, the highest in the developed world. The much-vaunted savings of the Japanese has been wiped out! Japan has bailed out banks and businesses alike, preventing the economic system from the natural healing that comes from failure and readjustment. Japan in the ‘80s was the miracle growth economy (like China now) but has become a study in failure. The big difference between Japan and the U.S. is this: Japan had personal savings – Americans have debt and no savings. We finance our deficits with debt.
By our own measure, Obama’s stimulus packages have not worked. Even the Democratic Senate rejected his jobs bill. Jobs are created by encouraging the private sector, not discouraging them with higher taxes and onerous programs such as Obama Care. The problem with the protests and the false hope given by the Orator in Chief, is that he is stimulating expectations which will lead to failure and greater frustration. Beat up the rich. March on the rich – but whatever you do: GROW GOVERNMENT – create entitlement, a dependent society that will keep you in power!
I’m not endorsing any candidate – but it’s sure a contrast to hear candidate Herman Cain, an African-American success story and a cancer survivor, tell black men to get off their rears, get jobs and take care of their families. My only criticism of Cain would be he should be saying that to a bunch of white guys too!
Analysis & Conclusion
Where is this headed? It could lead to escalating riots and a government crackdown, making the average American “feel safe.” Another irony is that these poor stooges demonstrating for Obama’s war on the rich end up as fodder in his class warfare – redistribution of wealth philosophy. Obama’s approval rating plummets but the more he promises, the more money he raises – an unbelievable $43 million (98% from the “little people” who give under $250.00 each – as Plato once said…once the Democrats figured it out how they could be entitled, then the first democratic experiment ended). One thing is certain. The masses are being played by the government and money interests and don’t even know it.
From a prophetic point of view, we know there will be a growing disparity between the rich and the poor and the resulting class warfare will only play into “the authority’s” hands. This is a sign of the “end times” – deception and lies, creating a problem and providing a worse solution, leading the masses by creating fear and anger. Once things get out of control, the masses will demand more government control. Eventually, when Babylon the Great’s commercial empire collapses and she burns, the only people grieving over her demise will be the infamous “merchants of the earth” . . . “The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for feara of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and peals! For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’ They threw dusts on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate” (Revelation 18:15-19).