By MARK PENN
Published July 29, 2009
It sounds so simple: Just tax the few to pay for social programs that benefit the many.
Yet no political idea — embodied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call to tax the wealthy to cover health care for everyone else — has ever proved more contentious. The country was founded on the principle of unlimited and unbounded opportunity. Despite what poll questions often appear to say, class warfare language, outside the Democratic primary electorate, has always been politically counterproductive, because it divides Americans from one another and from their own aspirations and dreams.
And class warfare could be especially problematic now, considering that many of the Democratic Party’s newest supporters are among the highest-income categories — groups that had previously voted overwhelmingly Republican.