Since the economic crash hit in the fall of 2008, Americans have been looking to their elected representatives in Washington for support. While the financial crisis was a gut-punch for the country as a whole, the hardest hit were the long-suffering members of our middle class. Not long after the crash, grassroots organizations began popping up across the country. Groups like the Occupy movement became headline news, and almost overnight, the 99% entered our political lexicon.
Massive drop in civilian employment levels under trickle-down
The 99% started out meaning the average American man and woman, but in the wake of the crash, the meaning changed to the unemployed. Rapid advances in technology, corporations taking advantage of favorable tax codes and moving operations overseas and government budget cuts at all levels came together to kill the U.S. job market. A study recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the dramatic drop in the percentage of employed civilians in America.
Naturally, the party of God, guns and gynecology organized with fervor to meet the unemployment challenges facing their constituents. They gathered their forces and quickly went to work, putting together not one or two, but forty two bills designed to address the one critical problem facing Americans: Obamacare.
Of course the GOP did also offer legislative packages they referred to as “GOP Jobs Bills,” but careful analysis of these programs revealed that they all were based on three common Republican ideals.
- Eliminate regulations governing corporations.
- Kill government programs like the Environmental Protection Agency.
- (Wait for it…) Cut taxes! (especially the top marginal rates and capital gains tax).
Simply put, Republicans’ suggestions to help the middle class find jobs were carefully disguised efforts to strengthen corporate America. They’re intent on doubling down on their beloved trickle-down policies. The same policies that the GOP has championed for 30 years, and the same policies that have given us a society where all the wealth has been funneled directly into the hands of a few robber barons.
Where trickle-down economics have left us
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke in 2012 about the real effects of trickle-down economics when he said,
“Today, the top one percent own 40 percent of all wealth, while the bottom sixty percent owns less than 2 percent. Incredibly, the bottom 40 percent of all Americans own just 3/10ths of one percent of the wealth of the country.”
Then there’s the issue of the Republican push to cut government spending at every turn (except for defense). Draconian austerity measures have been shoved down guileless Americans’ throats since the beginning of the economic crash. The GOP idea of macroeconomics consists of,”When you’re struggling, cut, cut, cut.” In an excellent analysis in yesterdays Politicus USA describing the destructive power of vaunted austerity programs, Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman was quoted:
“It is the devastating cuts in public investment, all justified in the name of protecting the future from the wildly exaggerated threat of excessive debt” that is killing jobs at the same rate as a recession. Krugman also says that the lack of investment in the private sector is lagging because of the weak economy and lack of jobs that creates more long-term damage in multiple channels. He notes that “the long-term unemployed eventually come to be seen as unemployable; business investment lags thanks to weak sales; new businesses don’t get started; and existing businesses skimp on research and development.”
Republicans’ Uncle Remus tar pit
The Republican Party is mired in a sort of Uncle Remus tar pit. They accepted trickle-down economics as their lord and personal savior in 1980. Their religious devotion to the trickle-down principle has led to a recurring pattern of: cutting taxes (and pledging never to raise them, no matter what), creating a budget deficit, railing about the resulting debt, then demanding severe cuts in government to fix the problem created by their policies.
Their endless pursuit of corporate dominance is hurting Americans. Jobs are not being created, they’re being given to the citizens of third-world countries who will work for slave wages. Corporate profits are exploding at record rates, and those profits are NOT being rolled back into the economy (trickling down) because tax policies make it easy to stuff the extra money into their fat-cat mattresses.
An astonishing 40% of Americans now live below the poverty line, and Republicans are calling those people “lazy.” Simply put, they want to elevate corporations and the wealthy, while simultaneously depressing (shrinking) government.
Our democratic government was designed by the Founding Fathers to serve as the voice of the people. Republicans want to muffle your voice and hand the reins of control to a few deep-pocketed corporate CEOs. Creating jobs does not fit in their master plan!