Tuesday, September 20, 2011

They Just Don't Get It About "Class Warfare"

This is actually quite incredible. That this Louisiana politician can seem to imply with a straight face that having $400,000 in disposable income after feeding his family is somehow a hardship is just bizarre. Of course, he goes on to say that he needs this $400,000 to create jobs. But in an economy with a higher than 9% unemployment rate, and with an average income before feeding one's family of around $40,000 -- one-tenth of what Fleming has after he pays his bills and feeds his family -- Fleming's whine just sounds tone-deaf. The wealthy think that class warfare is always and everyone one-directional. But what folks like Fleming just don't ever get is that, when people are out of work, staring poverty in the face, on the cusp of losing their homes or their health insurance, through no fault of their own, his cavalier attitude towards the tough times average people are facing coupled with a kind of gross notion that almost a half-million dollars a year in disposable "fun" money is bordering on the "hard life" for him is a kind of "class warfare" of the worst kind. It's a "let them eat cake" kind of class warfare. It won't play well in a context where these very wealthy people are calling for average folks to endure more austerity and belt-tightening in the name of "fiscal" responsibility, all the while resisting such austerity and belt-tightening for themselves.

5 comments:

Eric said...

What's incredible to me is that the interviewer doesn't even know the difference between gross and net income. Then she can't do simple math, because what he is actually saying (starting at the 30 second mark) is he lives off $200,000, not $400,000. He has $600,000 in net income from his business, but he re-invests $400,000 of it back into the business and his family lives off the rest.

So this guy grosses $6 Million+ in income, creates 500 jobs, and we want to squabble about how much of the $200,000 that is left over he gets to keep?

I don't know if it's class warfare, but it is stupidity on an epic scale.

Huck said...

Eric - Fleming himself uses the words "left over" in describing the $600,000 that he has as part of his "net income." He then says that after he feeds his family, he has $400,000 of this $600,000 left over. So his personal income is $200,000, which also presumes that he's not counting his personal income from the $5.4 Million+ that it takes to run his business. I don't know if he draws a salary, but usually the CEO's salary figures into the operating expenses of a company's budget. Regardless, the $400,000 that he himself says is "left over" after every single expense related to his business is covered, is pure profit. He can do what he wants to with that amount, including paying himself a dividend/bonus or giving it all away to charity. He says he uses that profit to re-invest in his businesses, which is fine. That's his choice. But the point still holds that this man has a potential yearly disposable income at his fingertips of $600,000 and that he tries to spin this as some kind of a hardship. That just won't sit well with the 9% of unemployed in this country, or even people who make $40,000, and who are asked to tighten belts even more. Whether you like it or not, that's how it will play out in the street. That was the reporter's point.

Eric said...

I'm just saying, Huck, the guy should get a freaking medal for reinvesting $400K of his personal income in his business to try to create jobs in this economy. Instead, everybody wants to talk about what an asshole he is. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you...

This is what the left never gets. Individuals who can create hundreds of jobs, even low paying jobs, are exceedingly rare. We should be trying to create more individuals like this, we should be trying to bring in individuals like this from other nations... instead we are just trying to drive the ones who live here away. Good luck with that.

Huck said...

I get it, Eric.

The issue, again, is not that he's wealthy; it's that he pretends that living off of $200,000 (with an additional $400,000 security blanket) is some kind of hardship.

And I'll give the guy a medal for creating jobs when it's apparent that he is, you know, actually creating jobs. With a 9% unemployment rate, in the era of Bush tax cuts, it's hard to buy that argument.

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