The American people are looking down the barrel of the most daunting challenge to our values and our way of life since World War II. We are being told that our economic system is on the brink of collapse and our social safety net for our elderly, poor, young and sick is teetering on the edge of insolvency.
However, we must ask this question: Can we truly believe the purveyors of these ominous messages?
We need to look at the facts.
The American worker is still the most productive globally but has not directly profited from his/her work for the first time in nearly 100 years. In the past 30 years the American worker’s pay has been stagnant at best. As a result, they have been lagging behind the increasing prices they must pay for goods and services. At the same time corporations, CEOs and other corporate bigwigs have reaped the harvest of the worker’s productivity. The average compensation of a CEO in 1980 was about 40 times that of the average worker in his company. In 2004 that rate was more than 500 times and that disparity has grown larger ever since.
During that same period, the tax rates asked of individuals in the higher income brackets fell precipitously and the actual amount these fortunate individuals actually paid dropped like a brick. Today, wealthy individuals and huge corporations are paying far less in taxes than ever before. Loopholes in the tax laws allow those with the most to pay the least. As our country has literally given away our national treasure to the well-to-do over the past three decades, our need to spend on such items as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare is constantly rising.
As we gave away our wealth to a few privilege individuals and corporations we have committed our military to multiple wars. Wars that we were told in one instance would be paid for in full by the people we were liberating. Where is that nearly one trillion dollars?
With our mounting national debt we enacted a much-needed prescription drug benefit package that prohibits us from utilizing the power of the government to buy drugs as a group purchaser, which would have driven down the cost of drugs. As a result, our precious treasury has enriched huge multi-national pharmaceutical companies along with their officers and shareholders. You see, for the past 30-years it seems our government has been on a mission to bankrupt our national treasury and as a result we are now facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis. And how are our leaders planning to deal with this crisis they manufactured? By slashing programs aimed at allowing those of us with the least real opportunity to earn a piece of the American dream.
Republicans have insisted on, and the Democrats have agreed to, cuts in programs such as Head Start, job training, food stamps and student financial aid. Unsatisfied with the cuts they have made in government services to this point, the Republicans are now employing the crisis they artificially constructed to escalate the biggest transfer of wealth in our nation’s history. They now want to transfer trillions of dollars that will be spent over the next 20 years on Medicare and Medicaid to private health care companies in the form of “premium supports” or, vouchers that seniors will have to take to health care providers to get coverage. The plan is nothing more than another windfall for the corporations that have traditionally supported Republican candidates for state and federal offices while it eats away at the ability of seniors to obtain quality health care.
These draconian measures are just the tip of the iceberg. Our national debt limit will be exceeded in the next month and Republicans are using the deadline as a bargaining tool to wring other budget concessions from the Democrats. If they block the Congress from increasing the debt ceiling, the resultant financial catastrophe would destroy our credit rating and actually increase our financial burden.
As the Republicans seek more cuts, they refuse to discuss the matter of increasing tax revenues and instead are calling for additional tax cuts, particularly for the wealthy, claiming this strategy will spur job creation in America.
The GOP needs to be sent a message: trickledown economics has never worked and does not work and we won’t stand for any more of their fiscal tomfoolery.