This Is What the Class War Looks Like

by: David Sirota

Mon Mar 23, 2009 at 13:00


I was on Fox News this morning talking about efforts to re-regulate Wall Street and reign in executive pay (I'll post the clip later). I made a simple point that America is now more economically unequal than it was just before the Great Depression. I subsequently received a wave of very angry hate mail (as I always do when I am on Fox), and this one stuck out to me. I don't think I've ever seen the class war crystallized so well:

I think I am in the majority of Americans who are sick and tired of the unproductive living off of the government. They have become satisfied with a meager existence because it requires no effort on their part...

The recent "tax cuts" for Americans is a farce. Taking money from the productive and giving it to the non productive creates an even larger segment of do nothing folks. I own 6 four family units and one 12 unit building in Cincinnati, Ohio...When the so called tax cuts were announced, I immediately raised the rents on all units to be a few dollars more than the "cuts". I raised the rents, not because I needed or wanted more money but as an act of rebellion and anger at what is happening in this country.

The emailer is referring to the more progressive tax cuts that President Obama put into the stimulus bill - tax cuts I didn't support (because data showed spending would be a better economic boost) but that are decidedly progressive in focus.

As we can see, after 30 years of right-wing propaganda, the class war has come out into the open - a brutal class war by those at the top, waged against the Rest of Us. In this email, we literally have a landlord bragging about taking his anger out on renters, because the renters had the nerve to get a meager tax cut.

There is an incredible amount of hate out there right now - and the most intense of it is coming from those at the top, who despise the idea that our society should do something - anything - to address rampant inequality. I'm not shocked by that - but I must say when you see that hate in such unvarnished form, and when you see that hate being taken out on regular working folks, it's just damn depressing.  

David Sirota :: This Is What the Class War Looks Like

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Your emailed must be a very "productive" person (4.00 / 12)
I think it's ironic that your emailer is so livid about the "unproductive," when he's the one who is working so hard and producing so much for this country by... renting out apartments he owns.

John McCain <3 lobbyists

fighting the class war (4.00 / 8)
Did the gentleman who wrote that email happen to include his name? Because I wonder if his tenants might like to know about his actions. There might even be grounds for a lawsuit.....

A fool and his money... (4.00 / 13)
Now is not a good time to be raising rents; there are a lot of empty units out there. My apartment offered me a renewal at an increased rent and I said "Eh, I'm looking at maybe finding a place closer to work." They offered a renewal at no increase so fast that I wish I had asked for a decrease. The rust belt must be worse...

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

yeah (0.00 / 0)
After 3 straight years of rent increases, my apartment in the suburbs of CT complex offered to renew with no increase - without me having to ask them. There's probably an increase in vacant units, though I haven't looked carefully.

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers


[ Parent ]
God, What A Perfect Document! (4.00 / 14)
I immediately thought it would make a good item to run in Random Lengths News.  It really is just about perfect.  The only way it could get much better is if he told us about how he inherited it all.

But, probably not.  He probably used enterprise zone financing, or some such socialism for the rich.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


What that landlord doesn't understand... (4.00 / 14)

 ...is that in the eyes of the ruling class, he's every bit as much worm dirt as his renters.  

 And he'll find out soon enough. The hard way.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


although the e-mailer is probably lying (4.00 / 6)
It would be worth checking if his acts are even legal in his area.  


New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

My landlord is also a Republican (4.00 / 4)
A very hard core Republican. He rails against rent control, which limits rent increases in Los Angeles to 3% per year, but doesn't say a word about Prop. 13, which keeps his property tax very low as well.

But he's not stupid. This year, for the first time in eight years, he did not raise my rent. He could have raised it 3%. But he didn't.

Rent prices have started falling in LA, for the first time in a decade. My landlord knows I'm paying market price, and raising my rent again might make me start looking for a better deal. So he's a smart businessman by not trying to squeeze out some more money during a horrible recession.

The guy who wrote you that email sounds like a buffoon. Hopefully his renters move out and find a landlord who won't squeeze them just for the heck of it.


Keeping the lid on (4.00 / 7)
President Obama's job is to ooze confidence. Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke's jobs are to rescue capitalists at all costs, and capitalism if possible. Something less than capitalism as we've known it will do, of course, if it prevents landlords and AIG traders from being hanged in the streets.

Most Americans will be happy enough -- for a time -- if they manage to pull it off. Whether they can or not is the subject of arguments above my pay grade, but in the end, I think that there's a far more important question which no one except us is addressing directly, although folks like Robert Reich do address it obliquely. Simply put, what happens to us?

The capitalists don't give a shit, of course. You don't have to read Ayn Rand Sirota's self-righteous landlord to figure that out. You can read Samuelson today in The Washington Post, or anybody any day in The Economist. It's a very familiar litany: chaos, disorder, and worst of all, subsidized left-wing intellectuals leading the people into irretrievable error. We must be quiet as mice, and trust our betters, especially the ones who manage investment banks, which are -- as everyone knows -- the most fruitful and beneficial institutions ever devised by human genius.

Still.... Even if they manage to convince all of America that preservation of our banana republic is in everyone's best interest, they'll still have to address the fact that the arc of the middle-class, from a living wage in the Sixties, to putting the wife to work in the Seventies, to investing in dot-coms in the Nineties, to borrowing on the inflated equity in their cracker-box of a suburban house in the Oughts has now well and truly reached the bottom.

They're going to need to think seriously about this. More reality shows on network television won't help, nor a frenzy of increased Wal*Mart construction. They're going to need a bigger army.


I welcome this fight (4.00 / 7)
Class warfare has been going on for DECADES, but got very little attention until recently. In fact it was a dirty word to even bring it up.

If anything good comes from this economic crisis is that it shined a big light into the dark room and now we can see all the roaches scurrying about.

Maybe enough people will see the light and demand real, lasting change to our entire system to make it more equitable and just for everyone who responsibly participates.


wow, that sounds like the 'master' (4.00 / 5)
making sure the servants don't get ahead.
Feudalism isn't dead folks.

No sh*t! (4.00 / 4)
And did everyone notice he freely admits his tenants - part of his so-called "unproductive class" - are living a "meager" existence. And yet he's raising their rent simply out of spite and to send some kind of message.

Yeah, that'll get those worthless no-good layabouts off their asses and being productive!


[ Parent ]
Grammar police (0.00 / 0)
You don't reign in executive pay, you rein it in, as you would a horse.  Reigning is ruling, as a king does.

Not to pick on you David, everyone gets this wrong, in fact I think I've seen it wrong about five times as often as right, recently.

Just the curmudgeon in me talking.  You should see me on "optional" turn signals.


sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


im surprised the ruling class is doing this wrong. (0.00 / 0)
you are supposed to keep the victim alive but only barely.  suck blood regularly, but not enough to kill the food source.  but the vampires got too greedy and crushed their victims financially.  didnt they realize they could have fed off of us for many more years if they werent so greedy?

someone needs to show these folks how feudalism is done.


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