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March 7, 2009
Is Class Warfare the New Civil Rights Movement?
The March 5 march in NYC of “taxpayers” furious with proposed city budget cuts may be just a preview of things to come.
A reporter for the CBS News affiliate in New York City writes that,
A massive budget backlash came to lower Manhattan on Thursday. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers marched on City Hall, rallying to stop proposed funding cuts.View the video report wherein several of the march participants are interviewed here . It includes statements from several union leaders in attendance:
Protestors insisted Thursday that there's a better way. They're asking for what they call "fair tax reform" -- raising state taxes for New Yorkers making $250,000 or more on top of the president's proposed hikes.
"For those of you who prosper during boom time, we ask them pay a little bit more. Pay a little more so New York can avoid cutting the services that our most vulnerable need," United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.
"The cut back is putting people out of jobs," said Ruth Cardona of Local 1199. "No health care and also the education part of it is wrong."
George Altomare, a retired teacher, made his voice heard as well. [What the CBS video does not indicate is that Altomare is more than just a “retired teacher.” He was one of the founders of United Federation of Teachers in 1960. See his bio here.]
"You can't cut the budget the way it is and still have the quality we're aiming for," Altomare said.
Workers said they will continue to fight for their part of the economic pie.
The subtitle of the CBS article reads: “Taxpayers Furious With Budget Cuts Take Frustration To Streets Of NYC.”
But if Mayor Bloomberg is to be believed, not all of those marching may have been “taxpayers.” In an interview Bloomberg said:
One percent of the people that live in the city, the households that file in the city pay something like 50% of the taxes. In a city that's about 40,000 people so, you know, a handful left, any raise would make it revenue neutral. The question is, "What's fair?" If one percent are paying 50% of the taxes, you want to make it even more? A little over half the people, half the households who file tax returns don't pay any taxes. And about 30% of the households that file get a credit from the government. The government sends them a check. That's the Earned Income Tax Credit. (The transcript is available here.)This march may be just a prelude of what’s to come if the economy worsens. Namely, multiple large demonstrations, at first non-violent, in major cities across the U.S. where residents demand “their part of the economic pie” in protests led by community organizers and labor union leaders.
Once the class warfare, spread-the-wealth fuse is lit in the incendiary environment that can accompany a severe economic downturn, events become more capable of taking a troubling turn.
Postscript: The CBS News report does not indicate that any among the wealthy Hollywood celebrities that live in NYC were featured at the rally.