Animal Farm tells us that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Republicans overlook the satire and assume that Orwell nailed the truth. Bill McClellan, in his comments to the West County Dems on Monday, took some umbrage at the way Republicans grant more equality to the wealthy.
McClellan has no problem with people like Bill Gates who make $10 billion but at least create something; however, he hates to see the power in the court of those who just move the money around. That’s not right. Now that we’re through tinkering with the minimum wage, maybe we ought to tackle a maximum wage, he offered almost whimsically–not for people who start their own businesses but for CEOs who have interlocking boards of directors and who always get “‘I sit on your compensation committee and you sit on mine'” sweetheart deals. Andy Craig, who engineered the sale of Boatman’s Bank in St. Louis in 1996 to an entity that eventually became Bank of America, is a perfect example of a CEO who should be governed by a maximum wage law. For taking away local control of that bank, Craig got $10 million in stock options, $3 million a year in pay, and $1.5 million a year after retirement. Bloggers would exclaim WTF, but the pig Napoleon would just shrug and say that Craig is more equal than McClellan.
And if anybody doesn’t like that system and wants some real equality, like health care for everybody, Republicans shout “socialism”. Democrats shouldn’t back down to such mean tactics, says McClellan. They should be less compromising, not more compromising. They should recognize that they’re never going to get the votes of the Limbaugh and Beck disciples. Those people are furious about everything but ignorant of the facts. Beck screams about the debt Obama is creating, but no one on that side whispered anything when George Bush took us from the Clinton years, where the debt was being paid down, to tax cuts that put us in the red. They don’t mind socialism as long as it’s for the rich.
McClellan referred to his Monday column, which described a house in San Antonio with a sign reading No Socialism. The house was owned by … a fireman. Who apparently notices no irony in his sign.
You know how many fires my friend in San Antonio has had? None. But he still pays taxes which, in part, go to support the firefighter who lives across the street.
I’m not criticizing firefighters. They have a dangerous and difficult job – when they have a fire to fight. Happily, they have fewer to fight than they once did. That’s what firefighters tell me, anyway. Smoke detectors alert people to fires before they get out of control. Sprinkler systems are another innovation.
You know who lives in older homes that don’t have smoke detectors? Poor people.
This is completely unscientific, but when I think of the house fires I have covered, most of them have been in poor neighborhoods. When firefighters rush into a burning house to save somebody, there is an excellent chance that the person they will be saving is a poor person. Poor people don’t pay income taxes.
So taxpayers are paying the firefighters to rescue poor people. Is that socialism?
Or is it socialism when private country clubs are taxed at a lower rate than privately owned golf courses where the public can pay to play?
Is it socialism when you and I subsidize a round of golf for the members at St. Louis Country Club?
The clubhouses at the country clubs are taxed at a lower rate than are corner saloons.
Is it socialism when you and I subsidize the members’ drinks at Old Warson?
McClellan apparently thinks that the definition of socialism depends on who you want to see getting subsidies. And for him, it ain’t Republicans in Congress, who ought to give up their government health care, as far as he’s concerned. He summed up his disdain for capitalism for the poor, socialism for the rich:
Ray Hartmann, you know former editor of the RFT, The Riverfront Times, back when the new Cardinal owners, then new Cardinal owners, were trying to get a publicly funded stadium. And Bill DeWitt went and had an interview with Ray Hartmann–you know they were trying to get everybody’s support for it–and Ray said something like, you know, ‘I don’t know why you need public funding. I mean, you could get money from the bank. You own the St. Louis Cardinals. You could just sign for a loan.’ And Bill DeWitt said to him, ‘I’m not used to signing. I’m not used to putting my own money up for something like this.’ You know, and he said this to Ray Hartmann. And Ray Hartmann, everything Ray had was in that newspaper. And the government never gave Ray any help. I mean Ray, who’s considered a radical leftist, a socialist, a liberal, Ray was the real capitalist. And Bill DeWitt, who’s considered a capitalist, he was the socialist.
You said it, Bill.