There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.
Almost everybody, by now, has seen this video of Wall Street banksters sipping champagne on a balcony, looking down on and smirking at the Occupy Wall Street protesters below:
(And again, for the record, I chose my nom de blog for reasons entirely different than a desire to associate myself with the “swells” identified on that balcony.)
Now, today, via Digby, we have this photo from Chicago’s Board of Trade Building:
You know, we should really pay attention more than we do. That opening quote was something Buffett said back in 2006. He knew the War was raging, had been raging. The War had been raging for about 25-odd years when Buffett pointed it out to us, and it certainly hasn’t let up since then.
And, of course, it was the rich who launched the War. They didn’t declare the War, mind you, they just launched it and hoped the rest of us wouldn’t notice for a good long while. And – for about 30 years – we didn’t . . . even when well-meaning gazillionaires like Warren Buffett tried to point it out to us.
We were given cheap and easy credit, and so we didn’t bat an eye when our wages and benefits stagnated. America ran up enormous trade deficits, which helped to make all the things we bought at K-Mart and then, later, Wal-Mart cheaper, so we seemed to be living better and it never occurred to us to wonder why suddenly the American family needed two incomes in order – not to thrive – but just to survive.
We were told time and again that we were all going to be rich and that it wouldn’t cost us anything, that taxes were a drain on society, that there was no longer any need to re-invest in America and -- by blowing a series of asset bubbles, one right after the other -- they convinced us to believe them. And that entire time the already uber-rich were siphoning off more and more of the nation’s prosperity for themselves, while simultaneously telling us that the country “just couldn’t afford” to invest in our children’s education, or in health care reform, or in infrastructure, or in new technologies, and that having the government make an effort to do so was a waste of money.
It was Stealth War. And it was incredibly successful.
And who knows? Perhaps this is how the uber-wealthy always pictured it ending. The stealth phase of the war is over, and now people are waking from a 30 year coma and wondering what happened. We’re starting to get a little pissed off too, now that we’re waking up, but the aggressors don’t seem to mind. Whereas during the stealth phase they would deny that war was even being waged, now they smirk and mock and sip champagne and proudly proclaim themselves to have already won. We Are The 1% . . . .
And maybe they have the luxury to do so. They’ve not stolen a single march on us, they’ve stolen thirty years’ worth of marches, and they feel pretty sure of themselves. Cocky, even. Maybe they always figured that when the time eventually came when the rest of us would wake from our sleep and look around and figure out what they had done, that it would simply be too late. They’d be invincible, impregnable, and incapable of being torn down.
And maybe they’re right. They are certainly acting like they are, without shame, without concern, without conscience for the world they have wrought.
But I don’t – I can’t – believe that. What I believe is that the Stealth War is over, but now the rest of us finally realize that we’re in the middle of a fight. And, yes, I’m mixing metaphors here, but we’re well into the rounds, we’re well down on points, but we’re still on our feet and the fight isn’t over. Not yet.
The one thing I do believe is that it is well past time to take stock of where we are: this is a war, and right now we are losing. And we won’t stop losing if we refuse to call it what it is. Every time a Republican, every time a 1-percenter accuses us of “class warfare,” the only appropriate response from now on should be: Yeah. It is. You started it, and WE’RE gonna finish it.