The Envious One Percenters

Pamela Seley is a regular contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter: @PamelaSeley

Pamela Seley is a regular contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter: @PamelaSeley

Earlier this month, The Brenner Brief reported on the video made by the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) called “Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale.” It is worth noting  that this was posted on their website for the edification of the public. It is a rich account (no pun intended) of how the left sees public services as “poorly funded” because the evil rich get away without paying their “fair share” of taxes.

This eight minute video is narrated by actor Ed Asner, well-known for his role in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and more recently in the animated film, “Up.” His political views include supporting Obama, Obamacare and the movement to bring single-payer health care to California. He is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

To watch this fairy tale — and fairy tale it is indeed — is priceless. If this isn’t a dumb-downed cliché for the CFT to make their point of their greed for taxing the rich, then it’s true to the conservative cause that anyone who has gone through the California public school system is either dense and/or uneducated. Of course, there is no mention of government having perhaps had a hand in the “widening economic inequality.” No, the left sees the causes of our economic problems, whether in California or our nation as a whole, are because of the greedy, selfish rich.

The CFT has since taken down the video and it is now marked private.

What is the reason for the left’s hatred of the rich? When I ponder this question, I can come up with only one answer: envy.

From first-hand experience working with leftists, vis-à-vis outward Democrats but secret Socialists or Communists, their petty envy expressed itself in various ways. Some ways are so perverse as to impose their opinions as to whether I needed a certain dental procedure, or to what type of eyeglasses and how many pairs I was allowed in their view to buy.

Apparently, in their progressive opinion, I was spending too much money, whether through my insurance provider, or out of my own pocket. Why would they make it their business to get involved with how I spend my money? Was it envy they felt when I had something they did not, or could not afford themselves?

Not limited to only politicians and teachers’ unions, hardcore Communist Democrats in every day society that we may chance to meet use Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” as their chosen method of harassment. One of the rules is to ridicule and humiliate anyone they opine as not on board with Communism, taxing the rich, or living in austerity. The message, whether implicit or explicit, is that “you are greedy.”

In “The Left: Where Greed Meets Envy” by David P McKinley at, he points that the real sin is not greed, but envy. Out of the Ten Commandments, one is: “You shall not covet … anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Ex. 20:17 [NIV]).

True to what he says, it’s a good place to start, and McKinley goes on to say, “Envy is often disguised as righteous indignation against some perceived iniquity. Lately, that iniquity is most often the putative greed of others.”

Greed is not limited to the desire to acquire money, but also in the desire for power. The very “greed” that the left points out is bad is what forms the left’s principle that they are driven by greed to control others. Like McKinley writes, “There is a big difference between wanting to spend one’s own money and seeking the authority to tell others how they should spend theirs.”

Sometimes I wonder if the left’s envy comes from a deeper psychological issue that deep down they feel undeserving of living a fulfilled life. It doesn’t explain rich people, such as Ed Asner, who wants to “tax the rich.” True to form, Californians most often vote to increase their own taxes.

Frédéric Bastiat said, “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” I might modify that statement to say, “Unions are the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

In this last election, the California Teachers Association (CTA) fought to defeat proposition 32 (and won), a proposition that would allow union members to voluntarily pay their union dues. Both the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers take in over $200 million a year but pay no taxes because they have a special exempt status with the IRS. Teachers pay CTA $647 annual dues and the CFT a mere $419. With the combination of their income and tax exempt status, the teachers’ unions are the 1 percent. No hypocrisy there.


  1. As close as I think this is to the truth of the matter, I would say rather that the issue is not envy, so much as it is resentment. If you consider the November election, very few people actually voted *for* Obama or Romney: the overwhelming majority of Romney votes came from people who were voting against Obama, and the overwhelming majority of Obama votes came from people who were voting against Romney. In both cases, the issue was resentment.

    The poor who voted for Obama resent those who are financially successful, and the financially successful who voted for Obama resent those who are financially successful via methods they perceive as inappropriate–such as, for example, teachers resenting successful entrepreneurs, in the misbelief that intellect should be financially rewarded more than salesmanship.

    By the same token, however, the bulk of those who voted for Romney resent those whom they perceive as being ungrateful for what they are receiving–whether it be government largesse via welfare/SSI/SNAP etc., or government largesse via public sector jobs, including and especially teachers, whom they perceive as biting the hands that feed them by taking taxpayer money and then teaching their students to disrespect traditional American and/or Judeo-Christian values.

    The essential point, I think, is that there can be no unity among groups of people who are convinced that the other group is undermining their self-interested actions. The teachers resent the taxpayers because they are convinced that, by dint of their work to obtain college and/or graduate degrees and/or certification, they “deserve” both high pay/benefits and to be allowed to teach as they see fit. The taxpayers resent the teachers because they are convinced that, by dint of their hard work and risktaking that led to financial sucess, they “deserve” to keep what the money they have made, and that if they are going to be forced by government fiat to pay teachers, to have the authority to say what and how the teachers are going to teach.

    And this is where the unions come in. I think that teachers in general and taxpayers in general could very easily come to a rapproachment, if they were able to face each other as individuals: different schools’ teachers would teach what different sets of parents wanted the schools’ teachers to teach, the teachers would voluntarily work in the schools where they believed themselves to best fit and where they believed they were most respected, and the taxpayers in return would be happy to pay up for the teaching, just as they are happy to pay up for anything of value. But the unions are the potstirrers, because without the resentment there would be no perceived need for the unions. Since the unions in general, and the teachers unions in particular, are among the primary funding mechanisms for the Democratic Party, it will take a revolutionary approach to education reform to overthrow the unions and bring the teachers and the taxpayers back together. It will never happen at the federal level, and it won’t happen for a long time in states like California, but it is already happening in Texas and Wisconsin among other states, and the more the rest of the states see the effects, the more states will be willing to take the union-busting plunge.

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