Don’t Blame the Rich. Make Them Pay.

It’s Superbowl Sunday. In a few moments, I’m going to light charcoal in the smoker in my backyard, and the rest of the day will be all about hanging out with my spouse and my son and daughter… while a pile of wild goose breasts covered with bacon slowly cook to perfection in the smoker….

So why do I feel compelled to toss another argument into the ether? I honestly have no idea, and I’m violating all the basic rules of blogging. I’m about to comment on something ancient—a week old—and I have no intention of turning my personal blog into a place to comment on issues of the day, so don’t come back often for more of this type of fare….

And yet, the lead opinion piece in the Washington Post last weekend was so ridiculous, so deeply and profoundly stupid, that I feel compelled to point it out.

I’ll begin with the basic premise behind the title, “Angry about inequality? Don’t blame the rich.”

Those two phrases paint a picture of petulant and lazy poor people, maybe all standing in line at the bus stop, who point an accusatory finger at a smart-looking couple driving to work in a comfortable car with leather seats.

The column says: If you were better educated, more disciplined and creative, you could have a nice car, too, you slob.

The piece then takes the reader down a narrow and illogical path, painfully avoiding honest analysis by silently re-defining the “rich” away from the truly wealthy and toward the educated middle class and repackaging a pile of old “blame the poor for poverty” yarns.

But I don’t “blame the successful.” And you shouldn’t either.

Yes, it’s true that the super-rich and corporations have rigged our nation to squeeze every possible dollar from the rest of us, both from our wages and where we spend our money. Yes, it’s true that the rich love corruption and hate a truly free democracy…. If you’ll notice, all of the “freedoms” loved by the truly rich invariably restrict the freedoms of the rest of us.

But we let them do it…. We let them pit us against each other! We let them trick us with cheap credit and the promises of the rewards of deregulation! We let them fool us into thinking that we could cut our taxes to increase our wealth, when the opposite is true! We let them target our rights and freedoms in the workplace!

That’s why the imbalance in our country has reached such severe proportions. It’s that simple. We let them off the hook, and we took on every burden ourselves.

So, no, don’t blame the rich.

We don’t have the time, really, for a bunch of finger-pointing. We need to rebuild our country, and for that we need cash. Let’s raise the money by making everyone in America pay fairly.

As our president said, it’s not a matter of blame. It’s simple math.

We’re not a bunch of lazy slobs in a bus line, pointing at the smart people and complaining.

We’re hard-working people who have been giving the lion’s share of our earnings to a bunch of over-sensitive prima donnas, and it’s time we stopped.


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