Elizabeth Warren has built her career on advocating for the middle class. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), on the other hand, is the Republican’s face for privatizing Medicare in order to subsidize enormous tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, a position that is not exactly popular with a majority of Americans.
Nevertheless, Ryan has become the GOP’s answer to the Elizabeth Warren juggernaut, and his responses to Warren show just how entrenched the right is with corporate interests.
At a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation Ryan attacked Warren directly for calls to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans, predictably pulling the “class warfare” card. But it is not just Ryan’s insistence that attacks on social policy that focus on economic fairness amount to “class war” while attacks on poor Americans amount to “brave and necessary austerity measures” that shows a significant tone-deafness to the current economic situation. It’s his insistence that the American myth of upward mobility has remained untouched by the Great Recession that should worry anyone hoping for serious domestic policy suggestions from the right.
That’s because there is no longer upward mobility in America–and that is precisely why thousands have taken to the street in protests. In fact, downward mobility is more likely to happen for middle class Americans than upward mobility.
Once that reality is acknowledged, then the case for taxing high-income earners to shore up a safety net and domestic infrastructure sounds a lot less like class war and a lot more like common sense.
Photo from davidshankbone via flickr.