Right-wing class warriors launch Tax Day offensive

››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

In recent days, right-wing media figures have stoked class warfare while discussing taxes, asserting that it's not "fair" for the government to "steal" money from those who "succeed" and give it to -- in the words of Wayne Allyn Root -- "those who couldn't care less, sit on the couch, and watch Oprah all day." These media figures have suggested that those without federal income tax liability or those who benefit from tax credits or government assistance are "freeloaders" who don't work hard or succeed.

Right-wing media mark Tax Day by attacking less fortunate as "freeloaders"

Stuart Varney: Is it "fair" for government to take "half" of money earned by those who "succeed" and give it to others because they make less money? On the April 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business' Stuart Varney said: "Just think of the fairness issue. Is it fair that you go out, start a small business, you work hard, you save your money, you don't spend lavishly. You succeed, and then the government takes half your income -- and that's what's happening these days -- the government takes half your income and gives it to other people, solely on the grounds that they make less than you do. So it's only fair for you to share. I maintain that's not fair."

Wayne Allyn Root: "It's greedy to ask government and the IRS at gunpoint ... to steal [money] from others" and give it "to those who couldn't care less, sit on the couch, and watch Oprah all day." On the April 15 Fox & Friends, former Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root said: "It's not greedy to want to keep more of your own money. It's greedy to ask government and the IRS at gunpoint and the threat of prison to steal it from others who earn it and redistribute it to those who don't. That's the definition of greed." He later stated: "I am diametrically opposed to my old college classmate Barack Obama, who seems to think you take it from the people that work all day to earn it, and you redistribute it to those who couldn't care less, sit on the couch, and watch Oprah all day. That's not my crowd."

Wall Street Journal op-ed: "Why should I have to carry so many people on my back?" In an April 14 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Mike Donahue, "a financial adviser in La Jolla, California," wrote: "I have more than most only because I've worked harder than most and because I am a saver. It was not easy." He continued:

Why then does the government feel so entitled to take my money and give it to others? Why should I have to carry so many people on my back? Call me cruel. I don't care. I give to whom I choose -- but since so much is confiscated (and wasted in the process) I have little left I wish to give.

During the 1990 recession I could have qualified for state and federal assistance, but my wife and I managed to get by as she worked nights while we juggled our infant daughter between us. It was hard. However, it never occurred to us to take from others to subsidize our shortage. It's not our way.

Phyllis Schlafly: Tax Day "divides Americans into two almost equal classes: those who pay for the services provided by government and the freeloaders." In an April 13 column, Phyllis Schlafly wrote: "Income tax day, April 15, 2010, now divides Americans into two almost equal classes: those who pay for the services provided by government and the freeloaders." She later wrote: "The bottom 40 percent not only pay no income tax, but the government sends them cash or benefits financed by the taxes dutifully paid by those who do pay income tax."

Bernie Goldberg: "If we continue down a road where we're giving half the country free stuff, they will continue to take it, and they will drive us and this country into bankruptcy." On the April 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg said: "You can't have a system where you give people -- half the country -- free stuff, because they're going to take it. And the other half of the people are pulling the wagon while the half that gets free stuff is sitting in the wagon. They're going to take the wagon right to the poorhouse." Goldberg later called for a flat tax and stated, "If we continue down a road where we're giving half the country free stuff, they will continue to take it, and they will drive us and this country into bankruptcy."

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