In 1970, 85% of US consumption of goods and services came from labor income. Today that number has dropped to 61%. In 1970, 75% of US personal income came from salaries and benefits. Today they dropped to 64%. The income gap in this country is rising and the middle class is being squeezed into oblivion. It is not a coincidence in 1970 union membership was at its highest levels and today is at its lowest since the early 20th century.
An eroding middle class is a great threat to our national security than terrorism will ever be. A shrinking middle class is a much more serious values and morals issue than gay marriage or gun control or even immigration. Yet, since they took control of the House, Regressive Republicans don’t seem troubled by the widening income gap and shrinking middle class. Do you remember Bush's famous line..."we represent the haves and the have mores."?
Since they stormed back in the Speaker's chair, Regressives have not made a single proposal to increase jobs or income for working Americans. They fought like junkyard dogs to preserve taxcuts for the richest 5% of Americans. (40% of consumer spending is generated by the top 20% of the richest households). They used unemployment benefits to blackmail the President to get their way. After achieving this laudable goal they have proposed a budget, which would cut $60 billion from the federal budget and increase unemployment, derailing an already fragile economic recovery. They have passed laws to exempt the dumping of pesticides, by agricultural corporations, from the Clean Water Act. They are trying to kill a program to help Americans facing foreclosure to stay in their homes. They want to de-fund the health care reform legislation and gut the new Department of Consumer Affairs. Despite opposing every every proposal offered by the President, and despite doing nothing to create a single job, the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.8%. It's still horrible but gradually improving and Obama should get the credit and they should be ashamed.
In Iowa, Regressive candidates for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 lined up to make their case to their base. Mississippi Governor Haley Barber ignored millions of out of work Americans, two wars (maybe 3), and the revolutions in the Middle East and proudly announced his state is the safest state in the country for an unborn child. He failed to also mention, Mississippi is the worst state in the union for a child after he or she is born. Newt Gingrich, unable to offer a single idea about putting Americans to work, told Iowans to be wary of another Obama term. He said Obama could push policies, which would result in his children inheriting a secular, atheistic country dominated by Islamic extremists. He was not asked how an atheistic, secular nation could be dominate by religion, but who noticed?
Republicans want to cut $60 billion from the budget. They won't touch the Pentagon. They won't raise taxes on the rich and they want to cut corporate taxes even more. (G.E. made $15 billion in profits last year and not only didn't pay any taxes; they got a $3.2 billion rebate. Exxon made $19 billion in profit and paid no taxes and got a rebate.) The $60 billion is to come out of Medicare, Medicade, and Social Security. (by the way, Social Security is solvent until at least 2043 and even then will still pay out 90% of all promised benefits. It is neither broken nor bankrupt. The reason the government borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund is to pay for the over $2 Trillion in tax breaks passed by the Bush Administration for the top 5% of the nation.)
While failing to offer one new proposal to put Americans back to work, Regressives have not been idle. Across the nation, they have proposed a series of bills to crush the labor movement once and for all. Bills to gut collective bargaining rights are springing up faster the Gingrich ex-wives. Legislation to weaken child labor laws and reduce the national minimum wage are waiting for action. Attempts to further limit a woman's right to choose are gaining momentum. Donald Trump wants to see Obama's birth certificate.
In 1970, a working American could make enough to own a house, send the children to college and look forward to a world where future generations can surpass their parent's economic achievements and success. All of these hopes and dreams are in jeopardy and the progress made in the 20th century to close the income gap and expand the number of American who can share in the economic promise of this nation, is shrinking. It really is a battle for the future of this experiment in self-government and as Warren Buffet has said..."...there is a class war going on in this country and my class is winning."
What do you think Americans will do about this?