The middle class has long been considered the backbone of America. That is the same with any society in the world. A large middle class is a sign of a country’s affluence and stability. However, for Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, too much emphasis on the middle class is not a good thing because it makes people turn against the rich.
Here the Huffington Post recounts Kyl’s words:
Declaring that the use of the phrase “middle class” is “misguided and wrong and even dangerous,” Kyl argued in a Senate floor speech that Obama is “spreading economic resentment [that] weakens American values” and ignoring “the uniquely meritocratic basis of our society.”
“We have a president who talks incessantly about class, particularly the middle class,” Kyl said.
“I just think the whole discussion of class is wrong. It’s not what we do here in America,” said Kyl, the Senate minority whip. He added, “I don’t think there’s anything called ‘middle class values’ that are different from the values of other people in this country. Tell me what’s different about the values of someone who the president identifies as middle class?”
Kyl denies that there are middle class values, instead suggesting that there are just “American values.” Presumably, that is something that all from the poor to the rich share. However, that runs counter to his claim of a “uniquely meritocratic basis” for American society. Meritocracy is defined as “an elite group of people whose progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth.” That hardly matches a society of egalitarian values as Kyl suggests. Kyl is trying to argue both sides of a position as support for his own conclusions. It doesn’t work that way.
There is such a thing as American values, just as economic classes have different values. Any social or economic niche in society has a mix of unique values that separates it from another niche. Americans are not stamped out on the production line like John and Jane Americans. That is the principle behind democracy. We are all individuals with unique characters.
Unless Kyl has recently changed his mind, he has long been an advocate of dividing America into classes with different values. It was not that long ago that Kyl said there is an “all out war on the productive class for the benefit of the moocher class.”
In Kyl’s mind, it is okay to go after the “moochers” because there values are a drag on society. Presumably, these “moochers” are the poor while the middle class and rich are the productive. Or are the middle class productive? According to Kyl, the rich should have their taxes cut because they are the job creators. So does this mean that Kyl sees those who are really productive as the rich and the rest are just bodies to fill jobs?
Whatever his position may be, it is clear that he wants to discuss class differences only when a burden is placed on the rich for greater responsibility in society, such as higher taxes. In that case, it is woe to the rich who will be unable to create jobs for all the lesser people. When the needs of the poor or the accomplishments of the middle class are emphasized, then Kyl cries out that there is nothing special there because we are all Americans and should be treated equally.
Kyl needs to learn that great societies are not measured by the rich but by the middle class. The larger the middle class, the stronger the society, and, yes, there are such things as middle class values. They are part of the working class of America who fill the jobs that Kyl believes the rich create for them. In the process, they are the productive force behind the economy, creating products and services that fuel the economy. More than that, they are the major buyers of goods and services. These people must learn to live on budgets and save for purchases like homes and cars, all without having bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Middle class values are the oil that greases the economic engine. They are also the bulk of the voters in this nation. Those politicians who dismiss them as empty job fillers do so at their own peril. Fortunately for Kyl, he has already announced he is retiring.