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What planet does presidential wannabe Rick Santorum live on? When it comes to grasping the situation of America’s hard-hit workaday majority, this sweater-vested, ultra-right-winger is further out than Pluto.
In a recent debate, Santorum assailed a tax plan proposed by front-runner Mitt Romney. It wasn’t the plan’s details that caused Rick to stamp his tiny feet, but Romney’s expressed intent to help the “middle class.” Tut-tut, chided the ideologically-pure Santorum, Republicans mustn’t use such language, for it creates an impression of class warfare. After all, he lectured, “There are no classes in America. We don’t put people in classes.”
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Sure, Rick – forget today’s jobless economy, a national epidemic of union busting and wage knockdowns, absurd tax giveaways to the superrich, the ongoing Wall Street bailout, inexcusable corporate subsides, rising poverty, the slashing of anti-poverty programs, and a decade of falling incomes for the vast majority, while the elite one-percent makes off with triple-digit increases in their wealth – there’s no class war happening. Just close your eyes, hum a happy tune… and live on Pluto.
Meanwhile, in the same week that Santorum spoke, the Pew Research Center released a new survey showing how far removed he is from regular people’s experiences and concerns. Two-thirds of Americans see “strong conflicts” between the rich and poor in our country, a stark division between those few who have wealth, power, and security and the vast majority who don’t. The few do not have the same objectives as the many, and the survey found that this class separation – yes, class – is the number one source of social tension in America today.
Interestingly for the far-out Santorum, not only do 73% of Democrats and 68% of independents agree, but so do 55 percent of Republicans.