Classism is foul any way you cut it. It’s nasty, it’s uncharitable, and it often relies on shame and embarrassment as a means to control those at the bottom. It's also very un-American, given our nation's extremely egalitarian culture in comparison to almost anywhere in Europe.
The Democrats and their media boosters, however, have a classism problem.
When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., used the word “crumbs” to refer to tax reform-related bonuses and wage increases, it seemed like a one-off political blunder. In her haste to attack anything bearing the Republican brand, it appeared the California congresswoman merely didn’t fully think through what she said. We’ve all been there before. But the attitude that $1,000-plus bonuses and wage increases are actually insignificant amounts, and that the people who are excited about them are perhaps not particularly bright or well-educated, has persisted in the anti-GOP ranks, casting Pelosi’s remarks in a new light.
That is, it seems increasingly clear that the strategy to counter the GOP's tax reform efforts includes not just the usual attacks on congressional Republicans, but also a campaign to shame the not-too-terribly-wealthy who are now enjoying the benefits of the bill’s passage.
Consider the following tweets from MSNBC’s Katy Tur, who is decidedly not a fan of the recent bill:
“Gentleman at Ohio Trump event says he's going to save to start a family with his 1,000 dollar one time bonus. Average cost to give birth to one child in Ohio is $5,836,” she tweeted as President Trump spoke Monday at a tax event.
She added, “Woman who just spoke says she's going to use her $1,000 bonus and tax cut to help buy a home and pay for her two kids who are going to college. In Hamilton Co, Ohio (where they are) avg home is $277,582 Avg cost of private college nationally ~35,000 Public $19,000.”
Surely, Tur doesn’t assume said gentleman is under the impression that the cost of birth is roughly $1,000. Surely, Tur doesn’t assume said woman is under the impression that the cost of college tuition is roughly $1,000. Surely, the MSNBC reporter understands the concept of savings.
“Crumbs,” pooh-poohing “your $1,000 GOP Tax Reform Bonus,” suggesting that individuals have no idea what they’re talking about when they say they’re going to set aside their $1,000 — this is beyond merely criticizing tax reform.
This sort of stuff seems designed to shame and embarrass people into not cheering about the bill’s benefits. It’s as if to signal silently that, sure, $1,000 is a lot of money — if you’re poor. It reeks of condescension.
It’s not enough to go after tax reform on substance. No, those who may benefit from the bill must also be made into examples. They need to be shamed and silenced. They're too poor and stupid to realize the bill is actually bad.
Amazing as it sounds, Democrats and their allies in the press are managing somehow to look more out of touch and more disdainful of low- and middle-income Americans than a billionaire real estate mogul who lives in a gold tower.
I didn’t think it could be done. Yet, here we are.