Fred Thompson defines class politics

Buying votes the old-fashioned way: Take from the rich, give to the poor

Published October 16, 2007 11:00AM (EDT)

With Paul Krugman's treatise on the rise and fall and rise again of economic inequality in United States fresh in our memory, it was a struggle not to take notice of presidential candidate Fred Thompson's definition of class politics during a chat Monday with Fox News' Neil Cavuto.

Looking ahead towards a nightmarish future in which we "tax and spend ourselves into oblivion," Thompson shared his thoughts on Democrats who, if elected, will no doubt immediately start taxing the rich.

"They want to take from those who they feel like they can't get to vote for them and give to those who they feel like who can. It's just that simple."

Hard to disagree with the man there. The funny thing is: Such a strategy only works when those who feel they are losing outnumber those who are winning.

So with that in mind, let's turn to last Friday's Wall Street Journal article: "Income Inequality Gap Widens":

The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans earned 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. That is up sharply from 19 percent in 2004, and surpasses the previous high of 20.8 percent set in 2000, at the peak of the previous bull market in stocks.

The bottom 50 percent earned 12.8 percent of all income, down from 13.4 percent in 2004 and a bit less than their 13 percent share in 2000.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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2008 Elections Globalization How The World Works Paul Krugman