Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One percenter Newt Gingrich doesn't like the whole 99 percent thing


I repudiate, and I call on the President to repudiate, the concept of the 99 and the 1. It is un-American, it is divisive, it is historically false.

Seems like The Newt, a perpetually self-aggrandizing multi-millionaire plutocrat, is mixing up concept and reality. He may not like the concept, which challenges his far-right ideological presuppositions, but there's no denying the reality. The top one percent has seen an extraordinary rise not just in absolute income over the past few decades but in relative share of the country's wealth. Indeed, what we have been witnessing is the increasing concentration not just of wealth but of power, which in America is largely derived from wealthy, in the hands of the super-rich, that is, in the hands of people like Newt Gingrich, while everyone else has been declining not just in relative but for many in absolute terms as well.

Would Newt prefer the concept of the 98 and the 2? Or the 90 and the 10? Whatever. The point remains the same.

Is it un-American? No, what is un-American, at least in terms of what what America was supposed to mean in its glory days of the 20th century, is plutocracy, the rule of the super-rich, both individual and corporate, at the expense of democracy. You think Madison and Jefferson would be amused? Even Hamilton would see in today's gross inequality of wealth the makings of discord, of a social fabric torn asunder, the seeds of the end of the American era of domestic expansion and global dominance.

Is it divisive? No, what is divisive is the reality, not the concept, and it is the Republicans, with their insistent focus on tax cuts (particularly for the wealthy) and their right-wing agenda of cruelty and brutality (including opposition to health insurance for tens of millions), that is driving, and exacerbating, that reality.

Is it historically false? No, it is the new reality, or rather the reality of the past few decades, and, if Newt and his fellow Republicans get their way, it's here to stay. Newt is an historian, if not a good one, and something of an intellectual, the media constantly tells us, a man of ideas. But he's not. He's an unabashed partisan and rigid ideologue. It just so happens he's a bit of a policy wonk, too, and one who, unlike, say, Rick Perry, can string his thoughts together and speak well. As for American history, he clearly doesn't know what's false and what isn't. Or, at least, he doesn't care.

Newt is very much a part of the problem, not the solution. If he wants to know what's destroying America, he need look no further the reflection in his own mirror.

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