When I was growing up, I was always confused by the term “bourgeois.” It seemed like “everyone” hated the Bourgeois: Communists, Fascists, Aristocrats–whatever the context in fiction, “bourgeois” was always an insult.
Obama tells us he wants to “tax the rich,” which in and of itself would be an OK idea according to Catholic Social Teaching, but the problem is one’s definition of “the rich.”
“Rich” is a vague term. “Upper class” is defined as anyone whose primary source of income is *not* from working a job. A longtime medical doctor, for example, who may have millions of dollars in investments but still has a practice, is just “upper middle class.” As soon as he retires, however, he becomes “upper class.”
This gets to the notion of “the 1%”, so touted by the Occupy Wall Street folks: 1% of Americans are “millionaires,” but that means a lot of things. When they talk about “the millionaire next door,” they’re talking about the fact that most “millionaires” live middle class lifestyles. I know a few people who are technically very well off financially, and even millionaires, who could be much better off but live the Church’s teachings and engage in a great deal of both personal and organized charity.
The “millionaire next door” is your grandparents who technically own their middle class home outright after paying two or three times its worth in mortgage payments, and have a few hundred thousand dollars in life savings that they live off of.
Now, in other circumstances, I might address such people to consider, voluntarily, whether they’ve done enough to store up treasure in Heaven.
However, I do not think that such people should be considered “rich.”
Regardless, when I hear liberals talk of “the rich,” they often mean “small business owners,” “entrepreneurs,” and/or “people with jobs,” even if those people are barely staying afloat financially.
Now, I have repeatedly said that, whether or not Obama is a “Communist,” he is certainly a Marxist in his historical and economic theory (and no less than the former Soviet propaganda engine, _Pravda_, has described Obama as a Leninist).
In “real life,” there are various social strata described by various terms and indicated by various conditions (i.e., actual wealth versus where that wealth comes from, net worth, debt, etc.)
So in terms of my pre-graduate school confusion, the bourgeois may be just as “rich” as “aristocrats,” but the aristocracy look down on the bourgeois because they are “nouveau riche”. The “poor” and socialists look down on the “bourgeois” because they are capitalists. In some contexts, “bourgeois” refers to having a sense of social morality.
Generally speaking, “bourgeois” is supposed to refer to the upper middle class, to capitalists, entrepreneuers, etc.
However, in Marxist theory, there are only two classes: bourgeois and proletariat. In Marxist theory, anyone who works is proletariat; anyone who employs others and/or owns land is bourgeois. So a person could be both in different relative contexts.
A person who makes $200,000 a year for an employer is still technically the “proletariat” in Marxist theory. A person who is an entrepreneur with a small business and takes home only $40,000 a year is “bourgeois.”
So, yes, in Marxist theory, most Americans are “rich,” because most Americans qualify as “bourgeois” in some regard: i.e., if you hire a tutor for your kid, you’re bourgeois, or whatever.
So, yes, Liberals, when Obama said he wanted to tax “the rich,” he meant to tax YOU.
Enjoy your 2% tax hike and whatever else is coming.