20
Sep
11

MATH WARFARE!

I was cruising the news pages all day yesterday trying to find a unifying theme to another raving post about math and economics. Obama brought tax hikes for the privileged back to the table and once again cries of “class warfare” erupted from both sides. To which Obama responded that it was not class warfare but simple math.

One thing I know for sure is that math is never simple. Another thing I know is that class warfare is a harsh reality at any period in human history. And math is usually the biggest weapon of mass destruction ever wielded in that struggle. I’m not talking about normal math. You know, the kind where you add or subtract things. I’m talking about the bullshit kind of math which uses ancient Greek symbols and abstract theorems and basically is designed to be mastered by a few and yet applied to all of us.

I went back at it this morning and found this opinion piece by Eamonn Butler at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, a publication with a notoriously Borg-like disposition. If the rich were a football team the WSJ would be a bunch of horny, anorexic cheerleaders. Borg cheerleaders. Which, just as an aside, is way hot when I think about it. At any rate, the piece sums up the case against taxing the rich in this way: it’s immoral because it makes them unhappy. Or something like that.

You can check out the article here. And reading it will probably make my paranoid ranting easier to understand. While well-written, and admittedly not all that out of touch with reality for an article in the Wall Street Journal, it does underscore my point that this entire debate focuses on the concerns of the rich. Concerns which are not shared by over 90 percent of us. Absolutely this is class warfare.

Are the grandiose concerns of the wealthy more important than your ability to afford life saving medicine? Or to keep your house? Or have money to retire when you’re just too fucking old to work anymore? Yes, it’s important to have an American Dream. In fact I’m all for it. It’s just that my American Dream involves not having to scrape together change to put gas in my car or resort to a charity to feed my family as much as it does the hope that one day I’ll be successful at something. Yeah, I want a nice car too. I want a swimming pool. I want to be sued for sexual harassment and then use my deep pockets and deeper political connections to get the case thrown out.

But is that dream, no matter how remote, that important? How good does your life have to be? And when does the quality of life for the rest of us become more important than the morality of putting limits on that dream for the few lucky enough to achieve it? And is it moral to lower the hopes and aspirations of the vast majority of us who will never make it that high up the ladder? No. It’s not. It’s a matter of survival and that’s why I wouldn’t think twice about giving the rich the economic equivalent of a prison shower rape. In the end they’ll still be rich. So they can blow me.

The wealthy have the luxury of riding out economic crises. The rest of us, historically, get fucked. And not in a fun, Rocco Siffredi way either. America’s fiscal calamity has been little more than an academic exercise for the top ten percent of earners. For everyone else it has been prolonged economic combat. And we are closer to the point of being beaten into submission than we are like to have been in generations. Yeah, it’s class warfare. It’s always been class warfare. Sometimes it’s dressed up as ideological warfare or cultural warfare. But, in the end, it’s about rich people making the decisions for the rest of us. So don’t be afraid to call it what it is.

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