For well over thirty years since Republican man-god Ronald Reagan declared that government is the evil destroying the great middle class, Republicans have maintained their demigod’s position that the solution to help the middle class is giving the richest Americans all of the nation’s assets and wealth. Since then, the rich have gotten richer and what was once a vibrant middle class is now less than vapor and on the verge of vanishing altogether. Instead of changing course and helping the majority of the population, Republicans still propose heaping wealth on the rich and increasing taxes on the bottom 90% of the population to complete the utter destruction of middle income earners. According to yet another report they are succeeding beyond their wildest dreams.
In recent data from Pew Charitable Trust research, over 70% of American households are facing regular monthly “financial strains,” and that over half of the population (55%) cannot generate enough income to cover even one month’s living expenses from savings or other liquid assets (things to sell). What that means is that the preponderance of Americans are barely making it from paycheck to paycheck and that just one bout of illness, even a temporary layoff, or other calamity means complete and utter financial ruin and poverty. This is the condition Republicans began creating 30 years ago and persist in exacerbating by their obstructionism in service to the one-percent.
According to the director of Pew’s financial security and mobility project, Erin Currier, “Our analysis finds that many American families, even those with relatively high incomes, are walking a financial tightrope. Most have little if any cushion to absorb an unexpected financial setback. It’s a precarious state that threatens not just financial security, but upward mobility.” The sad fact is that despite regular household spending falling to levels unseen since the 1990s, “half of all American families report being ‘income-constrained‘” which means their household spending is greater than or equal to their monthly income. It is the epitome of barely making it from paycheck to paycheck and it includes most families in the rapidly vanishing middle class.
Republicans continue lying that they want to help the middle class, but their adherence to trickle down robbery is increasing the income gap. Coupled with their blatant obstruction and opposition to any of President Obama’s pleas for congressional assistance such as raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, or passing legitimate jobs bills, their drive to wipe out well-paying union jobs, robbing retirees’ pensions, or help Veterans is exacerbating the rapid decline of the middle class. In particular, Republicans have fiercely fought to obstruct equal pay for women who make up nearly half of the workforce further driving the population into financial despair while the rich continue increasing their fortunes.
A report from Pew last October reported that in order for American workers to have the same buying power they had before Reagan Republicans imposed their trickle down scam, they would have to earn at least $22.41 per hour to have the same purchasing power as when the average hourly wage was $4.03 in 1979. The abomination is that as of last month, worker productivity has steadily increased by over 80% since the late seventies but wages grew by only 11 percent.
According to a report from the New York Times that put the situation in real numbers; “To maintain their buying power, middle income workers who earned $20,000 in 1970 would have had to make $42,474 in 1980, $67,371 in 1990, $88,763 in 2000, $112,400 in 2010 and $122,388 today.” America’s median income has been steadily declining since the Republican recession and is about $48,500; what an upper-middle class American family would have earned in 1980 before the trickle down scam was fully in place. No “average American worker” is earning anywhere near $122, 388 today and if they were they would barely be keeping pace with late 1970’s buying power.
Republicans claim this horrid financial situation is due to the President’s economic policies and that corporate America is suffering higher taxes and “job-killing regulations” forcing corporations to pay wages comparable to those of 30 or 40 years ago. Republicans like Paul Ryan claim that the other reason corporations pay Americans insufferable wages is because of ‘entitlements,’ socialism, and Obama’s liberal tax and spending policies. Of course all of the Republican claims are lies according to a report from last year revealing that “corporate profits are at their highest levels in at least 85 years while employee compensation is at the lowest in 65 years.” It is upward redistribution of income that Republicans work tirelessly to perpetuate until the bottom 99% have nothing left to give.
Also, during the first five years of the Obama Administration, corporate profits averaged nearly 9.3 percent of GDP; two full points higher than either Clinton or George W. Bush and are the highest corporate profit rates of all time. That is not all. The stock market under President Obama recorded all-time highs with annual gains of 17.7 percent that is “the highest of ANY previous President.” The horrid financial situation for the great majority of Americans is NOT because the economy has failed to recover under the Obama Administration; it is because of Republican policies supporting corporate greed at the expense of the great majority of the American people who continue sliding into poverty.
According to a CBS News report six months ago, since the onset of the recession there are “2.3 million more lower-wage workers” and “1.2 million fewer mid and higher-wage jobs than before the Bush-Republican Great Recession.” The report also noted that in all occupations real wages have declined since 2009 and there is little chance they will increase anytime soon despite President Obama’s calls for Republicans to help the American people.
Now that the Koch brothers control Congress, there is no chance Republicans will do anything other than continue helping the rich “keep their boots on the throats of the American people.” Because with only 70% of the population in financial distress, there is still 28% of the population to send into poverty and at least a two-year window for the Koch Congress to complete their long-cherished goal of a nation of peasants serving the wealthy elite.
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.