The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan was on MSNBC this morning. In the two minute, 23-second video embedded below, Mr. Ryan, who is one of the brightest Republican lights criticizes President Obama for stoking resentment and "class division," "pitting people against each other." Moments later, Mr. Ryan says, "let's stop subsidizing the wealthy. Let's stop subsidizing their health and retirement benefits."
Look, Paul Ryan is a smart guy. Maybe he can convince people that President Obama is engaging in divisive class warfare when Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, but that Paul Ryan isn't doing the exact same thing when he calls for cutting Medicare or Social Security benefits for the wealthy. And sure, there is a difference between letting a rich person keep his own money and taxing some poorer person so that the government can pay for the rich person's Medicare or Social Security benefits. But those rich people have already paid in a lot of Medicare and Social Security taxes. Eventually some third politician is going to get into this discussion and make the argument that neither Mr. Ryan nor Mr. Obama is making: that the government should just treat everyone the same, regardless of whether they are "wealthy" or not. That third politician might say that Mr. Ryan is being inconsistent when he calls for means-testing government benefits at the same time he faults Mr. Obama for stoking resentment and "class division," and "pitting people against each other." Anyway, it's not just Democrats who can divide people by class.