- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004

They call it class warfare. For the life of me, I don’t know why. There’s nothing classy about pitting one group of people against another.

There’s nothing classy about telling the rich in this country that their gains are somehow ill-gotten.

There’s nothing classy about saying the rich get back more money but never saying boo about the simple fact they pay more money — a lot more money.

And there’s nothing classy about lying. Because truth be told, this isn’t about us and what we’re paying. It’s about the government and what it’s keeping.

Some people really like and trust the government and want to give more money to the government. I am not in that camp. I am in the camp that says I would much sooner trust you with your money than any bureaucrat with your money.

But it’s more fundamental than that. The reason I find myself throwing things at the television every time I hear Democratic candidates speak is they all but say they hate rich people. Rich people are greedy. Rich people are selfish. Rich people don’t deserve a break.

Well, give me a break. Look, I have known rich people who were fools and poorer people who were fools. Trust me on this one: Charlatans know no pedigree, and decency knows no salary range. You can make a lot of money and have zero scruples or make no money and have no scruples.

But I’ll tell you this: Most rich people I’ve known are good, hard-working, start-from-scratch people. Contrary to the impression they have somehow come into this world with silver spoons in their mouths, government statistics show the vast majority of John Kerry’s targeted $200,000-and-over crowd is self-made. If they have a silver spoon, they bought it with their own money and their own sweat.

You know, not once in my life has a poor person hired me. Rich guys, or at least richer guys, did. Trust me, they weren’t all saints, but all the ones I’ve known were willing to give this Italian-Irish kid from working-class roots a chance … whether it be scooping ice cream in a shop or churning out perfume in a factory.

Poor people get their breaks from rich people. The government can hand out a check. But the rich guy makes an investment. There’s a fundamental difference here that marks the very essence of capitalism. The best way out of the gutter isn’t a payment from a bureaucrat but an opportunity from a businessman.

The class of our system of government is that it doesn’t distinguish between classes at all. All can share in the American dream if they toil long enough and sacrifice enough. Some have neither the appetite nor work ethic to bother with this, but that doesn’t mean we abuse those who do.

Only in America can we turn on those who made this country great and tear them down precisely because they did. Look, I’m not saying we have to all shout a big “thank you,” but they’re due a lot more than a “drop dead.”

There’s nothing classy in that argument, just as there’s nothing classy in saying the rich don’t already more than foot the bill. The top 1 percent of wage-earners in this country account for more than a third of the taxes collected in this country. The top 5 percent pay more than half. If that’s getting off lightly, what’s considered getting bludgeoned?

You make more in this country. You pay more in this country. It was that way before the president’s tax cuts. It’s been that way since the president’s tax cuts. It’s amazing to me that bureaucrats who live off the system are bashing the guys who give ‘em the sustenance.

That’s the real class story.

Pity there’s not a politician with the class to report it.

Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News Channel and is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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