If you love America, then you’ve gotta love America's rich. They all work hard to earn their fortunate place in life, and in return they benefit all the rest of us (who, of course, have done nothing but watch video games and collect food stamps) with jobs and other largesse. That at least is the view of Bill O’Reilly who spent quite a while last night describing how the rich (well not exactly the rich – more like himself) benefit America, and flaying the Democrats for stoking up class envy and hatred. But he didn’t get a lot of support from either of his guests.
He began as he would go on – with a story of himself, and how middle class he was when he grew up. “We didn't have air conditioning, never bought a new car, ate spaghettios and tuna. But never once... never once did my parents show jealousy toward the rich...America 50 years later is a far different place…Now we have class envy that is being stoked by the Democratic Party." He pointed to a new Gallup poll according to which 34% of Americans (and 46% of Democrats, horror of horrors) think the US does not benefit from having a class of rich people. (Really? According to Gallup, that's the same percentage as in 1990, long before anyone was accusing Democrats of class warfare.)
The statistic made O’Reilly all prickly as he detailed how he benefits America by being rich. “I pay all my taxes…My foundation … gives away millions of dollars to the poor, to military families in need, and to fight disease worldwide… I employ dozens of people, BillO'Reilly.com is my small business. Because "The Factor" is successful, people are hired by the News Corporation to work on the program. Also, because I work very hard, I employ people in my house and to do other things that I can't do…So now I hear that almost half of the Democratic Party believe I provide no benefit at all to America?” He wondered rhetorically if he shouldn’t move to Costa Rica and get out of everyone’s way.
His guests weren’t so ready to give the wealthy an easy ride. Democratic pundit Kirsten Powers, who sometimes sticks as close to the Fox News line as any Republican, didn’t do so this time. “I think the issue is…that we aren't supposed to have classes in this country as you know this country was founded on the idea of equality... So I think that the question for me is why do so many Republicans think that we should have a rich class?” Mary Anne Marsh, former senior advisor to Senator John Kerry, noted that it was no longer so easy in America to move up the economic ladder by working hard and playing by the rules. “Since the `80s in particular, here is the difference, we now have an economy that rewards those who least need it at the expense of those who can least afford it"
Judging by O’Reilly’s counter-rant he took that as a personal slight on his initiative or something. “My father worked very hard. And he came back from World War II and he had a college degree and he got nowhere, Mary Anne. Nowhere. Ok? Why? Why? Because he didn't take enough chances. My father had a good life. But he didn't leap classes. I'm the first one of … my family, who's got out of that middle class working class, the only one. So don't tell me it's stacked now. It's always been stacked.” He added that income inequality was "bull." "Nobody gives you anything. You earn it." (Really? Like Romney did?)
But both his guests stood their ground. Marsh tried to get him back to the issue of the shrinking middle class "who aren't getting the opportunities by the rules we used to play by." But I guess it’s useless telling O’Reilly the issue is about anyone but himself. He's promised to write President Obama asking him to publicly acknowledge his (O'Reilly's) contribution to the USA. "In his next press conference I want the President to open up with I just want you all to know what Bill O'Reilly is doing for the country." Mmm-hmm. Think the President will actually do that?
How many limos can they buy to make up for the cars average Americans can’t afford. The rich have become extremely short-sighted and seem willing to destroy the economy and their own future incomes in order to keep low tax rates today. Just because people make a lot of money doesn’t mean they are wise, but it often means they are greedy.
Lesser folks hate it that I can pay $2 million for a sexual harassment lawsuit to keep my sorry ass covered.