Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently said on Fox News that the left’s "rhetoric of class division… is especially destabilizing." He claimed that the notion that there are class divisions in this country is un-American, because upward-mobility should be available to all citizens. The facts, however, show that the opposite is increasingly true. According to Congressional Budget Office, the wealth of the top 1% grew a staggering 275% from 1979 to 2007, while that the middle class grew 40% and that of the poorest 20% grew only 18%. The disparity between rich and poor, rather than closing, has increased in this "system of upward mobility" that Ryan described.
Ryan’s attack on the poor and his policies that favor the redistributing of wealth upward has led The Nation‘s contributor Ari Berman, who appeared on MSNBC with Martin Bashir yesterday, to call him a "class warrior for the wealthy." Berman warned that what Ryan and many other conservatives are attempting to do is to force America back into the 1920’s gilded age, when social security didn’t exist and the 1% controlled the country.