Populist Daily

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Returning the Great American Middle Class

October 21st, 2011 · No Comments · Politics, Populism

This is about returning government to the People. This is about returning the Middle Class to America.

If you read this and you are not a Republican, you will understand it immediately. When you do, you should send it to everyone you know and tell them to send it to everyone they know. Now they are probably not Republicans either. But they may be Independents. And they know some Republicans. Sooner or later it will reach an Independent or a Republican who is concerned about the way the county is going.

And which way is the country going? It’s pretty clear to most of us. It is going backwards. It is regressing–not back to the 50s, 60s and 70s–but all the way back to 1932. In fact, in many ways the country has already returned to the early 20th Century, the Gilded Age, the age of the Robber Barons. Most Americans, Democrats or Republicans, do not want a return to the 1930s and a return to an era before we had a thriving Middle Class.

Among the huge and powerful corporate forces there are unfortunately many with a sinister side. Oil corporations tell us that they want alternative energy but they work constantly against it. The careless and greedy among the pharmaceutical companies tell us how hard they work to create safe drugs, yet it takes years and millions of dollars and countless people’s lives when they sell products that are not ready or safe for the marketplace. Health insurance firms tell us that they are doing their best to provide insurance at reasonable costs. Yet we discover that fully 40% of their profits, and their CEO salaries that average $14 million a year tell us that this is not true.

And yet gas prices reach $4.00 a gallon. Fifty million Americans cannot even get health care. Miners die in accidents because safety costs too much in the coal business. All these outrages and still corporations come back to government for fewer regulations, to pollute the air and water, to create new financial speculations, and to allow the indiscriminate to neglect the safety of our foods or the integrity of our banks.

We have turned back the clock since Ronald Reagan. Anyone who came of age in the Reagan Era, that is, anyone born in the mid-1960s or after never knew the kind of life that Americans experienced in the period of thirty years after World War II. Yes, there were Communist witch hunts…but there were also Communists. Yes, there was segregation, but there were protests and marches and sit-ins. Yes, there were wars and a Cold War, but there were also two very large nations who were still dedicated to our demise. Communists in China and Russia were opposed to Capitalism and they were determined, even using military might if necessary to stop the advance of Capitalism.

And then came Reagan. The single issue about the Reagan administration that you need to know is this. He cut taxes and said that it would not leas to massive government deficits. Whether he lied or was just plain wrong, the fact is that from the beginning of the Reagan administration until today, the Republicans have lied every single day for 30 years, and every day our national debt went up.

The reason that is important is that early on, a number of the hugely wealthy individuals who did not want to pay taxes to support our government began to support the Republican Party and tax cuts, which became the single important issue to Republicans. Of course, now the Republicans will say it was both Parties who caused the deficits…but that is not true. The only Democratic President before Barack Obama actually raised taxes, balanced the budget and created 22 million jobs. (To George W. Bush’s 1 million.)

As soon as Ronald Reagan left office, Republicans began to cry that deficits were a problem (which they were) and so the only way to reduce the deficits was to cut government spending. They would not consider tax increases. The only way Bill Clinton go any kind of tax increases through Congress to balance the budget was by having Al Gore go down to the Senate and break a 50 to 50 tie. Every single Republican Senator voted against a tax increase.

Tax revenues have fallen dramatically, especially after the Bush Neo-conservatives came into power in 2001. Government revenues fell to less than 19% of GDP in the 2000s. Government has always needed about 20% of GDP in revenues to break even. But the Republicans issued three big tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

Then came the coup de grac. The Republicans and their allies in Wall Street engineered a major economic recession, timed to happen exactly as they were leaving office. The stock market went from 11,000 to 6,900 and 14 million people went unemployed in a matter of about 5 months. It was staggering. Naomi Wolff calls it the Shock Doctrine.

In essence, she says, you create a horrific crisis. (Think 9/11.) Then you take advantage of the patriotism and collective need of the people to come together. You begin to drop your own biases and prejudices into the mix of those things that the People should be against. You start by telling people that they are not secure and they need “protection.” You follow that up by using that enhanced military power to favor your political friends with contracts and with protection abroad…even creating wars (Think: Iraq.) Anyone who disagrees, you condemn.

When, as in the case of the Republicans, your supporters own 90% of all the electronic media…radio, television and the Internet…you can virtually stifle all opposing viewpoints. Now you have a very large segment of the population who listens to your rhetoric every day…how the Democrats are doing stupid things, how the Democrats are unpatriotic, how the Democrats create “stupid” regulations that inhibit “progress.”

Soon, they own a large percentage of the population, especially those who have been allowed to continue their racist and chauvinist attitudes so long as they go along with the Republican tax-cut and smaller-government mantra.

So now you have about 25% of the U.S. population who are dedicated to creating a disaster so long as they can have their guns, their racist attitudes, their well-paying jobs with cancer-causing corporations, the military complex corporations in their neighborhoods, and health insurance that their neighbors can’t get. Oh yes, they also want their religious views read into the children’s curriculum and science out of the schools.

So what happened? The lower tax rates enabled people who were making half a million bucks a year and up to keep about 80% of it. At that point, there was no need to invest it. They could pay the 20% in taxes and put the rest in the bank. And that’s fair except that economics, it turned out, dictated that the rich be more involved and less selfish. They didn’t. There was no incentive to do so.

The result was that the middle class earned less and less. At this point the income distribution is so far favoring the already very wealthy that huge numbers of people (even before the Bush Financial Collapse of 2008) have fallen into poverty. And that is where we are now…but there is one more thing that has destroyed much of the way we used to live.

According to OpenSecrets, there are about 11,700 lobbyists in Washington, D. C. today, down from about 14,800 at the peak of the Bush economic “bubble” in 2007. Those lobbyists primarily work for very large organizations that now, thanks to 30 years of increased incomes for the rich and for powerful corporations (at the expense of a $14 trillion debt hung around the necks of the American people) are focused on destroying the Middle Class.

They have already done it. In 2010, corporations began to exercise their new “Citizens United” power, in which the Supreme Court decided that they could spend as much money as they liked to defeat every politician from the local school board to the President. The result was a campaign in which the monopolistic corporations elected 30 state governors and an overwhelming number of members of the House of Representatives. The result of that was an all out attack on unions, on cops, on nurses, on teachers, on firemen…and on public workers in general.

The idea was to take out the one last remaining strong source of opposition….the public sector unions. The private sector has not been able to effectively organize union membership for decades because of the anti-union legislation of the Republicans which keeps them from organizing.

Finally, we see the people fighting back. They are taking back the state government in Wisconsin, and Ohio and other states. The Democrats are organizing more and more people, recalling the anti-worker Republican legislators and fighting against the Right Wing monopolist corporations and the billionaires.

We need to keep things moving. Every day the Rush Limbaughs and the entire staff of Fox News reinforces the lies of the Republicans. The lie that we need to keep our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The lie that cutting government will help, rather than hurt the economy. The lie that the rich pay too much in taxes. The lie that the bottom half of society pay no taxes when we see that they pay all kinds of taxes every day. The lie that the Republicans want to create jobs, when we know that the Republican Senate has filibustered (basically means vetoed) job creation over 200 times. The lie that the stimulus did not work, even though we have it documented and clearly attributed by many, many economists to have created 2 million jobs or more.

If the rich pay no more in taxes, government continues to lose money. If the government continues to lose money, it must cut services. Big corporations and billionaires want to cut government because they do not need Social Security or Medicare. And so by cutting these things, it assures them that government will grow smaller and they will never have to pay taxes. It is all about greed.

In the President’s new jobs bill, a man earning over 1,000,000 would have to pay $500 more on the next million than he paid on the first. The Republicans vetoed it. Instead they want to cut Social Security and Medicare for those who make the Social Security average, which is about $15,000 a year.

We need to tax the rich. We need to close the door on sending jobs abroad. We need to tax the products that come in here that are made by U.S. corporations in factories abroad. We need to see to it that all corporations pay at least a minimum tax of 10% of sales and that if health insurance companies do not want to sell cheaper policies and sell them to everyone, that we nationalize health care and convert it to a 100% Medicare system. If we did that we could automatically raise payments to doctors while reducing dramatically the cost of health care operations at the same time.

So tell your Republican friends. Stop watching and listening to Fox News. They never tell the truth. They are spouting Republican talking points created by their President, Roger Ailes who, for God’s sake, was the national chairman of the Republican Party!

We need that 25% of Independents and disenchanted Republicans in every state in every election so that we can take Congress and the state houses back for the People.

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