It is doubtful that throughout history, any country witnessed their own demise as it was occurring, or realized that their representatives in government were quietly handing power over to a few wealthy elites. Many Americans are not yet aware that Republicans have nearly destroyed the great middle class as well as the function of government through obstruction and perpetual preferential treatment for the oligarchs who really run this country. Political observers have known for at least a decade that the GOP intends on establishing an oligarchy to replace our representative democracy and now that nearly half of Americans are living at or near poverty, it is just a matter of time until the wealthiest 1% controls the government and all the wealth and the rest of the population are peasants.
There are two recent reports that should serve as a wake up call for all Americans who believe that American exceptionalism will prevent the decline of the country, and each is telling in its own right. One gives a bleak vision of a once-great country with an admirable standard of living that has fallen so fast and low into a land of peasants that it is nearly unbelievable. The other poll gives an indication that the American people now have a clear view of who is responsible for the gridlock and dishonest rhetoric that contributed to half of the country’s residents joining the ranks of the destitute and is no surprise that Americans blame Republicans for the dysfunctional Congress.
A Pew Research Center poll reported that 40% of respondents believe Republicans are to blame for the “Do Nothing” Congress and that Democrats (51%) are more willing to work with the other side. Conversely, 53% see Republicans as more extreme in their positions and are not willing to work at all. The same poll found that 45% of respondents felt Democrats were more honest and ethical than Republicans (28%) and are more apt to manage government better than Republicans. The poll’s results are not a revelation to most Americans who have witnessed Republicans fight tooth and nail against any legislation to help create jobs or give struggling Americans a chance at escaping poverty. Instead, the population has watched Republicans slash safety nets, cut spending for programs to help the needy, and kill jobs to protect the wealthy elite.
The Republicans have been accused of overreaching, but they have surpassed overreaching and are making a naked power grab to install a permanent oligarchy ruled by industrialists and multinational corporations. For all of 2010, Republicans have made wanton attacks on women and gays, and have done nothing whatsoever to help Americans who are not the wealthy class. In fact, Republicans are guilty of criminal obstruction of legislation to create jobs, give relief to poverty-level Americans, and maintain a stable middle class. Another report outlined the horrific standard of living half of Americans have found themselves in because Republicans reject Democratic efforts to grow the economy and create living wage jobs. That refusal to help the economy and create jobs is in great part responsible for shameful poverty numbers.
The latest census data that shows nearly half of all Americans falling into poverty or barely surviving a low-income classification is a direct result of Republican policies that favor the rich over the rest of America. The bleak report is a result of falling wages for those with jobs and rising unemployment from outsourcing and Republican job-killing policies over the past ten years. The poverty numbers would be far worse if not for safety nets like food stamps and tax credits that Republicans are trying to eliminate to make room for more tax cuts for the wealthy and their corporations. Of course, the vile folks at the Heritage Foundation insist that Americans living in poverty (under $22,000 for a family of four) do not have it so bad because some have microwave ovens. A senior research fellow at Heritage said “There’s no doubt the recession has thrown a lot of people out of work and incomes have fallen. As we come out of recession, it will be important that these programs promote self-sufficiency rather than dependence and encourage people to look for work.” If Republicans have their way, America will never come out of recession because they are doing everything in their power to kill jobs even though they promised jobs were their highest priority in 2010. Instead of creating jobs, Republicans went on a spending cut frenzy in the guise of deficit reduction that has made the jobs scene and economy worse. Republicans have blocked every proposal to create jobs and help the economy Democrats presented because their first priority is saving the wealthy from a tiny tax increase.
This week, Republicans have again threatened to shut down the government and block a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension unless Democrats agree to cut billions from senior’s healthcare, eliminate thousands of government jobs, roll back environmental regulations, and fast-track a pipeline that will increase the oil industry’s profits. Hostage taking and playing chicken over the wealthy’s entitlements is nothing new for Republicans and it is just one reason the Pew poll reported Americans think Republicans are dishonest and unethical.
One would think that even recalcitrant Republicans would be shocked and dismayed that nearly half of the population is living in dire circumstances, but they are unfazed. Instead of working diligently to prevent more Americans from falling into poverty, they are protecting the wealthy and killing more jobs. It is unclear how many Americans have to become destitute before Republicans stop working exclusively for the wealthy. There are 1.6 million homeless children and half the population living at or near the federal poverty level and Republicans rejected a 3.25% surtax on millionaires and billionaires to pay for a payroll tax cut. The nation’s infrastructure is crumbling and Republicans blocked President Obama’s jobs plan because of a 0.7% surtax on millionaires and billionaires. Firefighters, police officers, and school teachers are losing their jobs and Republicans rejected 0.5% surtax on the richest Americans that would have saved and created hundreds-of-thousands of jobs. It begs the question; exactly how much will Republicans let the American people suffer before they ask the wealthy to pay their share? Apparently, the Republicans are just getting started and are forging ahead to force 99% of the population into poverty and millions more children to ranks of homelessness.
The Pew poll that found Republicans extreme and uncompromising understates the scope of the GOP’s contempt for 99% of Americans and their intention of handing control of the country over to the wealthy elite. The census data showing nearly half of the population barely surviving, although shocking, portends a country of peasants rivaling Somalia and Afghanistan and although tragic, is not the end of the slide into third-world status for America which is the Republican Party’s goal. Without 99% of the population living in abject poverty, Republicans cannot eliminate the government and hand absolute control to wealthy industrialists. The ultimate tragedy is that in just thirty years, the greatest country on Earth transformed into a nation of peasants, poverty, and disrepair because Republicans took Ronald Reagan’s policies to heart and gave an entire country’s wealth to the rich, corporations, and Wall Street. The Republicans’ gift to 99% of the country has been poverty, homelessness, and despair; and they are just getting started. It is time to mourn the demise of a once great country.