As congressional Republicans get ready to spend the month of August on recess beginning this Friday, they will no doubt leave Washington with some very good news they are unlikely to want to share with their constituents. They will, instead, spend the next three weeks decrying the federal government and promise their supporters to expand their war on Washington and attempt to convince them that more crippling spending cuts is the only way to thwart President Obama’s economic agenda. However, when they are out of the public eye they will revel in another indicator that proves their war against Americans is ahead of schedule and succeeding beyond their wildest dreams.
After Republicans crashed the economy, many Americans knew at least one family that was having a difficult time paying bills, affording healthcare, finding work, or sending their children to college, but a new analysis reveals that, despite economic recovery, most Americans do not know anyone who is not struggling to stay afloat financially, much less prosper. That is good news for Republicans and their wealthy corporate supporters, but it is doubtful they will share the statistics with their constituents. Instead, they will spend three weeks promoting the policies that drove 4 out of 5 Americans into unemployment, near or at poverty, or reliance on government assistance they intend to ravage in the upcoming budget and debt limit battle with President Obama.
In survey data exclusive to the Associated Press, 79% of Americans are suffering the result of Republican-caused income inequality primarily driven by the loss of living-wage jobs in the manufacturing sector and construction industry, while part-time minimum wage jobs are becoming the rule instead of the exception. According to a new economic gauge due out next year, the economic insecurity borne of declining wages and job losses will affect over 76% of white adults by the time they reach 60 years of age. Economic insecurity is defined as income below 150% of the poverty line, unemployment over a year, or reliance on safety nets such as food stamps, and it is an increase in Census Bureau numbers citing over 50% of Americans living in poverty in 2010.
What is curious is that more than 60% of poor white people are concentrated in Republican dominated states in the Midwest and the South, and it is an indication that their opposition to the President and his efforts to create jobs and spur economic growth is either driven by racial animus or sheer stupidity. An unfortunate truth Republican supporters will face soon enough is that unless they start opposing the Republican economic agenda, by 2030, 85% of all adults in America will experience economic insecurity. The Washington University professor, Mark Rank, who calculated the coming economic apocalypse said “Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them’, it’s an issue of ‘us’,” and that “only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.” Obviously, if 79% of Americans are economically insecure and living at or near poverty, it is a mainstream event and Republicans are plotting to use the upcoming budget negotiations and debt ceiling increase to make it universal.
All of the poverty being spread is down to Republican policies in Congress and Republican state legislatures beholden to follow the edicts of the American Legislative Exchange Council. It is well-documented that states suffering the worst decline in wages are victimized by ALEC’s right to work laws that reduced wages by about 2.8% in less than 3 years at the same time worker productivity increased 4.5% further enriching ALEC’s corporate members. The middle class has taken the brunt of the Republican assault on workers as their income fell by over 8% over the course of a couple of years, and it is precipitated by Republicans cutting over 835,000 public sector jobs as of late and does not include the devastation being wreaked by the GOP’s sequester.
There have been job gains since the recession, but they are primarily low-wage part-time jobs that increased by 322,000 since May and are the only employment available for over 8.2 million Americans with families, health care costs, and barely surviving on assistance like food stamps Republicans eliminated as “extraneous.” According to job growth projections, the poverty-level wage trend will continue and comprise most of the job gains within 7 years, and they all pay minimum wages that will not help 100 million Americans living in poverty. The travesty is that Republicans will go to their constituents during recess and convince their supporters that eliminating the minimum wage will create jobs, and likely their supporters will cheer and support their effort.
It is unlikely that any Republicans will tell their supporters the top 1% of income earners took 93% of the income gains in the first full year of the recovery (it has since increased), while the poorest 50% of Americans own just 2.5% of all the nation’s wealth. Republicans will succeed convincing their acolytes that giving the rich more wealth is the key to universal prosperity as evidenced by a Republican town hall a few months ago decrying the wretched waste of a high-speed rail project slated to create over a million living-wage jobs for over ten years. The congressman bemoaned the expense of building the rail line and told supporters the money was better spent creating jobs with tax incentives for corporations interested in investing in the district if right to work laws were enacted.
The notion that 4 out of 5 Americans are living examples of income insecurity and unemployment, poverty-level wages, and dependency on government assistance is a travesty in the richest nation in the history of the world. However, it is exhilarating news for Republicans who have every intention of increasing those figures in the coming budget and debt ceiling battle with President Obama. Republicans will have unflagging support from their stupid supporters who would rather drag the population down into poverty than admit an African American can help lift them out of their miserable existence. There is a reason Republicans, conservative belief-tanks, and ALEC state legislators are cutting education and condemn critical thinking, because keeping their supporters stupid, suspicious of minorities, and devoted to superstition pays electoral dividends. There are Americans who say the Republican devotees deserve what they get, but effects of Republican policies are not confined to their supporters. Because although Republican voters make up less than half the population, they have created economic demise for nearly 80% of the people to the point there are few Americans who know anyone who is not suffering.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.