Although he did so in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way, tax-hater extraordinaire Grover Norquist amped the “class warfare” rhetoric against President Obama’s “Buffett Tax” all the way to eleven.
Shortly after the President announced his plans to adjust tax formulas and make the hyper-wealthy “pay their fair share,” Americans For Tax Reform president Norquist tweeted, “Obamas [sic] “new” strategy to divide America: Get the Kulaks.”
You’ll remember from your high school history lessons that the Kulaks were the “wealthy peasants” Stalin scapegoated in the late 1920s and early 1930s, as the Soviet regime stumbled through agricultural and economic chaos. With catchy slogans such as “We must eliminate the Kulaks as a class,” Stalin rallied the masses against this alleged enemy within.
The Kulaks largely operated outside the collective farm system, and given the vaguely capitalist inducements available to them they tended to fare slightly better than their communitarian counterparts. The Soviet authorities responded by accusing them of hoarding food and provoking famine. The vicious campaign against them only just avoids being termed a genocide because the Russians insisted on a UN definition that bases the crime on race and religion, but not on class.
To use today’s jargon, one might say the Kulaks were the “wealth creators” of their age. However, despite their demonization, they were also fairly small scale, and their minor successes really did little to shake the Soviet state.
As far as Norquist is concerned, they are the appropriate historical parallel for those Comrade Obama wants to hit with the “Buffet Tax.” According to Washington Times reporter Emily Miller, Norquist told her the President wanted to raise the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 35 percent. He also gave her this dire warning :
“@GroverNorquist told me Obama’s Buffett rule enacted would cause the markets to collapse from the 35% capital gains tax.”
Having slammed Obama as a Stalinist class warrior, Norquist’s subsequent tweets called him out as something even worse: a smoker.