Rape of the middle class

By WELDON PAYNE

 

Finally, as cash flows like dirty water and Republican candidates, all spouting “conservative,” mercilessly bash each other, hope stirs that average Americans in both parties may be starting to grasp how the extremely rich have flimflammed us over the past 30 years.

Maybe, also, many who have questioned those campers protesting Wall Street’s high and mighty allegiance to the very richest Americans are starting to understand what it is “they want.”

Surely more and more of us “common folks” are discovering that indeed the extremely rich already have in three decades flattened the middle class in our country.

Two young political engineers have authored a new book dealing with the conquest of the middle class by the super rich in the last three decades. The other night, on Bill Moyer’s program on Channel 8, Jacob Hacker and  Paul Pierson discussed their book “Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.” (I am anxious to read it and hope many other Americans will at least scan this book.)

In this 30th year, the authors said, 1 percent of our entire population holds a huge percentage of the wealth in this country, and that 40 percent of Bush’s tax cuts have gone to the top 1 percent while only 2 percent of the middle class citizens have benefited.

(I recently read that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in October reported that in the past 30 years, the top 1 percent “enjoyed a stunning 275 percent increase in their take.” The authors also referred to this increase.

Political power is the super prize claimed by the tiny but very rich minority in America. Through efforts of the “conservative” Supreme Court members, corporations are now in the same boat with breathing people, so enough money surely can buy the Congress and presidency while problems of determining the identity of corporate donors are magnified under this court ruling.

Part of the repulsive “theft” of our “by and for the people” government by an insatiable wealthy minority gaming the system is worsened by the fact that numerous so-called “conservatives” have pledged to supreme lobbyist Grover Norquist that they will never ever raise taxes. (Can you imagine how any county or city in Tennessee — or elsewhere — could survive if a majority of our elected officials took such a pledge? Who, in his/her right mind believes that any town or county could exist on hot air, let alone prosper?)

Now, today, with rumblings from Iran and Washington of America facing yet another war “over there,” isn’t it time for leaders to grow up, work together, forget (or at least look up dictionary definitions) false claims of “conservative” and “liberal?”?

TV magnates and political candidates are swimming in cash that equals or overshadows much of our debt, yet far more money will be thrown to the winds before this election year ends. (Yes, Obama has a huge war chest, too. How else could he, or any other candidate, survive?) When, if ever, will we ever get a handle on campaign spending?

The obscenely wealthy in this nation, the greedy unprincipled lobbyists who often pack more power than the elected representatives on whom they prey, the public servants who take the bait, the bribes, and dance to the tune of the top 1 percent of money-grabbers — any and all who have contributed to the dishonest cesspool that daily weakens and distorts the health and stability of this land must be corralled and controlled by we the people.

As to those who are camping out in cities across the country, protesting being waylaid by the one percent, don’t ask them, “What do you want?” We, the people, should know what “they” want; it is, surely, what we ourselves want: Fairness, common sense judgment and decent character.

Hacker and Pierson, the young authors, do not see their book as “depressing.” They see it as a wake-up call, a serious, well-researched report on the theft of this nation’s middle class by a carefully cultivated political system. Will we listen?


Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm