Bill Maher closed Real Time on Friday by ripping Republicans’ embrace of the phrase “middle-class economics.”
“It’s the new bullsh*t, and it’s what’s for dinner,” he said, noting that both Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney had started decrying income inequality. (At least, before Romney eliminated himself as a presidential candidate on Friday.)
Even former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) tried to get into the act, Maher noted, before showing footage of her mangling the term “status quo” during her infamous speech in Iowa last week.
“This raises a troubling question,” Maher said of Palin’s performance. “If Sarah Palin suffers a stroke, how will we know? I don’t know from that if Sarah Palin is for or against helping the middle class. And there’s no way to know. But there’s a lot of that kind of talk going around.”
Republicans, Maher argued, used to call the gap between the rich and the poor “the new normal.” Now they pretend to care about the issue before going back to “servicing eight rich d*ckheads who own coal mines.”
But the middle class both major political parties say they want to restore, he continued, was actually created through socialism. Following World War II, Maher said, the country imposed high taxes on the rich, and redistributed that income to create a thriving middle class with the GI Bill.
“Yes, for a brief, shining moment, we were Finland,” he said. “We can debate whether that’s a good thing or that’s a bad thing to go back to. But the fact is, that’s what happened.”
In the larger history of capitalism, Maher explained, a middle class is a fluke; the Black Plague created one because it killed so many people that the remaining workers had more bargaining power and were able to secure higher wages.
“So that’s one way to create a middle class,” he said. “But it is kinda hard to see on a campaign poster.”
Watch Maher’s commentary, as posted online on Friday, below.