One of the oldest plays politicians pull out of their playbook is class warfare. President Barack Obama campaigned on it, as did George W. Bush before him and Bill Clinton before him. It’s a despicable way of pitting one group against another and drawing attention away from important issues and onto ancillary and unimportant ones.
In Embematical Representations, Ben Franklin wrote:
History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy… These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened.
It was true then. It is true today.