Republicans are up in arms that Obama wants to raise taxes on millionaires. "Class warfare" was the common refrain on this weekend's political shows.
Democrats are no better, really. They try to spin things around, saying that it's the wealthy who have been waging class warfare on the poor and middle class for the past 30 years.
They're both right. But they're also both missing the point.
In it's most basic form, economics is the mechanism through which a group of people allocate scarce resources.
The key word is 'scarce'. In other words, everyone needs to fight for their piece of the economic pie. So rich people use their influence to grab more and more goodies and the rest of us use whatever means we have available to try to grab some scraps for ourselves.
It should not surprise anyone that this battle is often one-sided. Those with more resources will always have an easier time accumulating even more. Money begets power. Power begets influence. Influence begets policies that help funnel more of the kitty your way.
We shouldn't blame the rich for gaming the system. It's only natural to want a larger slice of the pie, particularly when that pie appears to be shrinking as it has in the last few years.
Instead, the rest of us should be figuring out how to get our share.
We need to be informed. Most Americans greatly underestimate the amount of inequality in America.
We need to care. Understanding is great, but without passion, it means nothing.
We need to act. Write your congressman. Sign petitions. Attend rallies. And most importantly, vote. And I don't mean blindly pulling levers like you normally do, I mean actually understanding the consequences of your decision and then acting on it. Don't just sit there and let political advertising dictate who you choose. Do a little damn research on your own. It's amazing how often people choose to vote against their own interests. Ignorance is almost always to blame.
Need more affordable health care? Vote for the person more likely to make it happen.
Wish the roads weren't so crappy? Send someone who cares about infrastructure to Washington.
Want to pay 0% tax on your capital gains? Vote Republican.
It's really all quite elementary. Call it class warfare if you must. But don't act like that somehow negates the struggle most Americans face each day.
We all want a little piece of the dream. If that means we have to occasionally hurl stones at the castle, so be it. I just wish those doing the hurling weren't so quick to run away every time the king starts crying.