Rep. Allen West's Class Warfare

April 22, 2011 12:04 pm ET — Jamison Foser

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) took to Twitter this morning to denounce "class warfare" and "demagoguery":

Rep. Allen West tweet

That's the same Allen West who recently sent a letter to constituents bitterly denouncing the "entitlement class":

Also troubling are the events in the state of Wisconsin which mirror those that happened in Greece several months ago. We are witnessing the abject hostility of a unionized entitlement class that is being lauded by the liberal left, seemingly to include our President.

See, the truth is that Allen West, like many other conservatives who denounce "class warfare," engages in it regularly. It's just that they do so on behalf of the rich, which supposedly isn't as objectionable as fighting for the 95 percent of Americans who aren't so fortunate.

For example, West opposes the progressive income tax, blasting the "dependent class":

I oppose the current "progressive" tax scheme. It contradicts the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution by seeking equality of results rather than equality of opportunity. It accomplishes neither. Instead, it creates destructive class warfare, with an ever-growing dependent class feeding off an increasingly overburdened productive class. This is wrong. Everyone needs to have skin in the game.

This, of course, is nonsense. The wealthy are, in fact, quite unburdened by taxes. And over the past several decades, the wealthy have gotten ever wealthier, while the rest of America works longer hours for less pay — and all the while, corporate profits surge. (Allen West "wants to halve the federal corporate tax.") So who is really feeding off whom? Warren Buffet knows: "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

It should be noted that even under the right's one-sided definition of "class warfare," West is guilty:

West said Congress should consider further raising the eligibility age for full benefits and possibly apply a means test. "Donald Trump is not going to need Social Security or Medicare in his life," he said. "We need to make sure that these programs are targeted to people who really do need them, and not just have a blanket policy for everyone."

The bottom line is that complaints about "class warfare" are simply another attempt to inflame and distract people from concrete questions, like whether we should provide health care for the elderly, and, if so, how we pay for it.  

(As for West's denunciation of demagoguery, keep in mind his description of President Obama: "A community organizer is nothing more than a low-level Socialist agitator, and that is what we have sitting in the White House.")