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SIMMONS: Time to end the wars of class warfare

- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 2010

Class warfare.

Ward Cleaver and the Beaver vs. Archie Bunker.

George Jefferson vs. Fred Sanford.

That about sums up the inside-the-Beltway talkathon that is putting the squeeze on America's middle class.

Isn't it high time to end the class-warfare rhetoric?

Isn't it time to cut taxes and be done with it?

Poverty pimps and champions of the poor, give us a break — a tax break.

On Capitol Hill, congressional Democrats are acting more like malcontent Archie Bunkers and scheming Fred Sanfords than the standard-bearers of a nation struggling badly at home and abroad. None of their policies in the past three years has resurrected our troubled economy or our standing in the world, where more than a few good men and women are laying their lives on the line to protect this great republic.

And what's happening a mile or so down the road in D.C. City Hall is a microcosm of what's happening on the Hill.

D.C. Democrats and those who call themselves independents want to raise taxes, claiming, like Robin Hood and his band of merry thieves, to be fighting a good fight on behalf of the least, the last and the lost — which is poverty-pimp speak for poor people.

Here's a classic example of their group-speak:

"My wife and I have not been asked to pay one more dime to help balance the District's budget — not now, and not even in the last four years. … That's why I'm introducing a budget amendment to raise the D.C. income tax for citizens with the highest annual incomes. This modest increase would be graduated: one-fourth of 1 percent for incomes of $75,000 to $150,000, one-half of 1 percent for incomes of $150,000 to $500,000, and 1 percent for incomes over $500,000. … My proposal would raise $37 million in this fiscal year and $55 million in the next. Obviously, a tax increase can't completely close the budget gap — nor should it — but it will help spread the cost of a devastating economy beyond our city's most vulnerable citizens."

So argued D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, who represents Capitol Hill and oversees the District's ballooning human services safety net, in a recent blog post.

But that could be the position of any other Democrat who refuses to face the fact that government coffers are depleted because of decreased revenues.

Here's a case in point.

Mr. Wells acknowledges there is a heavier demand on social services — including housing and nutrition programs and cash welfare benefits — but instead of urging lawmakers toward policies that would ameliorate generational welfare, he wants to further squeeze the middle class.

But a "middle class" salary of $75,000 a year in Washington, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other large metropolitan cities ain't what it used to be.

Mr. Wells is no different from his liberal counterparts on the Hill, who prefer to tax Americans so they can spend more on policies that give a handout instead of a leg up.

There's no better time than now to end the adversarial rhetoric of Archie Bunker and Fred Sanford, bigots whose father-knows-best parodies rarely rose to any serious occasion.

While we never heard Ward and June Cleaver praise or complain about their then-classic middle-class lives with Wally and the Beav, George Jefferson would have given Weezie an earful.

"Tax increases? They take enough of my money as it is," George might say, slamming the newspaper onto the breakfast table.

"But George," Weezie says after picking up the paper, "the story says our income taxes would only increase one-half of 1 percent."

"Yeah, Weez," George says, "but that's one-half too much. Them fools in Washington promised to help us move up to the big time, not hurt us after we got there."

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