Too unjust to excuse


To the Editor:

I hear all too often rich people, who usually call themselves conservatives, accusing more liberal and poorer people of resorting to “class warfare.” This happens when the less prosperous suggest that the rich people pay more in income taxes. Leaving aside that “class struggle” would be a more adequate description, I suggest that the continuing economic struggle between rich and poor is as old as history itself. It is well known by psychologists and psychiatrists that there is a strong tendency for people to accuse those who oppose them of being guilty of just the faults that they themselves most abundantly have.

It has become increasingly clear in this country that in the economic struggle the rich have been growing richer and the poor becoming poorer. This is not a coincidence. A significant number in the USA make at least $10,000,000 per year, which is a thousand times more than many of our poor, who make no more than $10,000 per year. It is also true that 30 large and prosperous companies, which make large profits for their stockholders, paid no federal taxes in a recent year. This is neither fair, nor just, nor sustainable.

Yet, I do not hear of the rich and conservative complaining of class warfare when, through their disproportionate political power and dubious, if not underhanded, political and economic power, they have decreased taxes on the rich while increasing taxes on the poor. In olden times, most slave owners never complained of class warfare when the grinding of their poor workers resulted in riches being heaped up at the top. This led to such grave injustice that slavery was forcefully thrust aside as too unjust to excuse any longer.

Alden Besse

Vineyard Haven