By John Kubinski, co-founder of “The Middle Class Action Project”
There are many who believe that our economy can be fixed if we simply tax the rich. There are those that believe raising the minimum wage will do it. Others believe that bringing back outsourced jobs will cure what ails our crippling financial woes. Those are all very viable options; however any one of those alone will not get the job done. It wasn’t a single act that brought our economy down (even though a great deal of our problems could be attributed to the banking crash) and it’s not going to be a single act that remedies it. It was a series of events over a long period of time that got us to where we are today. It will take a combination of changes to resurrect our struggling working class and restore the American dream.
When F.D.R. enacted the New Deal its focus was on what historians call the three R’s (Relief, Recovery and Reform). That meant Relief for the poor and unemployed, Recovery for the economy and Reform on the laws and practices that led to the Great Depression. With this economic stimulus Roosevelt was not only able to restore the economy but his actions built the strongest middle class in history. All of these principles have been chipped away and we have become worse off for it. Tax cuts for the rich have ensured that tax funded programs have suffered. The most glaring of these is our public education system. The Reagan philosophy of “trickle down” economics has proven to do nothing but redistribute all the wealth upwards, leaving less and less for the working class. Clinton’s deregulation of the banking industry led to the recent collapse. His signing the NAFTA trade agreement led to the outsourcing of American jobs. George W. Bush led the country into an unfunded war that had no end in sight. Instead of having a plan to pay for the costs he cut taxes for the rich even more.
These actions by our presidents and other elected officials are the results of corporate influence in politics. Lobbying is a multi-million dollar operation. The “citizens united” ruling by the supreme court has opened the flood-gates for unspeakable amounts of corporate money to enter the political arena. Corporate lobbyists introduce anti-worker legislation and so-called “right to work” laws. Groups like The American Legislative Council (ALEC) continue to write pro big business legislation and then have their puppet politicians introduce them into law.
The demise of the American Dream wasn’t an over- night occurrence. It is the result of many years of strategic planning and scheming by corporate powers that are motivated by nothing but greed. Thanks to their actions the middle class has been depleted. We have a new class called the working poor. Our college students graduate so deep in debt; it will take years to dig themselves out. Corporate profits continue to rise while workers’ wages remain stagnant or go lower.
Do our elected officials propose laws similar to the new deal? Do they do whatever they can to provide relief, recovery and reform? No. They cut unemployment benefits, cut food stamps and other programs that aid those that really need help. They refuse to raise the minimum wage and enact laws to weaken labor unions. They keep proposing anti-worker, pro-business legislation. They refuse to create any public sector jobs. They refuse to rebuild our infra-structure. They even outsource the repairs of some this country’s most iconic landmarks to Chinese companies. Instead of jailing corrupt bankers they bail them out. Do they provide relief for the small business owner? No. They show preference to giant corporations making it virtually impossible for the independent businessman to succeed. Instead of proposing legislation that encourages American business, they propose even more damaging free-trade agreements (The Trans Pacific-Partnership) that would allow even more American jobs to be lost.
One action won’t fix what is wrong. One change won’t correct all that needs correcting. There is no quick easy remedy. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t sit back and think that all is lost. Stand up!!! Fight Back!!! Demand better!!!! Contact your elected officials and tell them you want a thriving working class. Tell them you want Americans put back to work. Tell them you don’t want to leave those less fortunate behind. TAKE A STAND!!!!! Action Beats Apathy. Take to the streets. Write a letter. Make a phone call. DO SOMETHING!!!!! What you allow is what will continue. TAKE ACTION!!!!!!!