Friday, December 09, 2011

The Gingrich World of Aristocrats and Serfs

There's a very cynical calculation that goes through every Republican mind, a dollar calculation. If you're a rich Republican it's how long and hard you can get people to work for how little and how little you can get away with paying in Lincoln's hated income taxes on the earnings your underlings are sweating out for you. If you're a poor Republican you obviously can't do calculations.

John Nichols of The Nation magazine converted Gingrich's calculation about poor children and "overpaid" school janitors to a simple equation using Gingrich's income as a metric. What it boils down to is plain fat ugly rich man's greed and prejudice.

Nichols summation of Gingrich Mathematics is worth posting wherever you post things: "Even in a party where cruelty is now considered a political virtue, there is something unsettling about a man who collected $30,000 each month to offer an hour of historical counsel to Freddie Mac administrators attacking elementary and secondary school janitors who, according to fresh Bureau of Labor Statistics data, earn a mean wage of $13.74 an hour, or $28,570 per year."

So Newt, who earns $30,000 an hour to "advise" bankers and financiers about history thinks school janitors are overpaid. In the old way of things Newt imagines he would have been one of the overseers on a horse watching his peasants till his land, and his peasants' children too, preferably peasants of a different color and owned instead of paid.

In Gingrich's world of aristocrats and serfs with government regulations and taxes happily out of the way, we get back to the world that our Founding Fathers fought the revolution to overturn. The nasty brutish world of European aristocracies and poor people who fled in ships to these savage shores. This country wasn't founded to evade taxes or to "liberate" the rich. Those who think taxes are evil actually think society is evil, or are rich enough to think society is unnecessary. George Washington thought otherwise when he mounted an army to collect taxes from recalcitrant citizens in western Pennsylvania. Education? Jefferson left his presidency off his tombstone but included his founding of the University of Virginia. (He had no grand plans for making poor students work as janitors.)

Thomas Paine had this to say about citizens' obligations to the public good. He took a dim view of the very rich, of people like Gingrich and his clientele:

"All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."

Lizz Winstead (the creator of the Daily Show, who by the way grew up in my neighborhood) takes a shot at laughing Gingrich out of the race. Which may be unwise. He's such a monster we could do worse than keeping him around.

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