Burnard: Losing the class warWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of the spokespersons for the GOP these days are trying to sell the public on the premise that any attempt to get the elite in our economy to pay more in taxes is “class warfare.” I firmly believe that we are already fully engaged in a class war, and the middle class and the poor are losing that war. Many in the top 1 percent, such as Warren Buffett, agree.
Unfortunately, our so-called representatives in Congress seem loathe or unable to address these problems in any meaningful way. The influx of huge amounts of corporate money in politics has bought and paid for many in the legislative bodies and seems to have cowed most of the rest into inaction, lest these dollars be used against them in the next election. Couple this with the fact that tens of millions of could-be voters can’t tell you which party controls which part of government and pay little attention to what is being done to them, and we find ourselves in a downward spiral. The only power the average Joe has left is the vote, and even that is under attack across the country. It’s as scary a time as I’ve seen in this country and I fear for the future of our nation if this craziness continues.
We are bombarded with the inane and insane talking point that we must kowtow to the so-called “job creators” as our saviors to get through this economic malaise. We’re told that we are in a slow economic recovery. Most of the population hasn’t seen that, but the economic elite certainly has. A recent study done by economists at Northeastern University found: “Between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010 … corporate profits captured 88 percent of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent of the growth in real national income … The absence of any positive share of national income growth due to wages and salaries received by American workers during the current economic recovery is historically unprecedented.”
The New York Times report on the study added, “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average real hourly earnings for all employees actually declined by 1.1 percent from June 2009, when the recovery began, to May 2011, the month for which the most recent earnings numbers are available.”
A USA Today analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found that in 2010 the median CEO pay jumped 27 percent, while workers in the private sectors saw their wages grow only 2.1 percent, according to the BLS. Median CEO pay was $9 million last year with a median CEO bonus of $2.2 million tacked on, the highest since 2007. Meanwhile, family wealth is currently down $12.8 trillion since 2007. That’s the wealth that most of us have (or had).
John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor and their ilk don’t seem to mind this. The only thing that matters to them is making sure that Obama can’t do anything he could take credit for, and protecting these millionaires and billionaires because, according to them, they’re the “job creators.” Then where the hell are the jobs? How long are the American people going to stand for this? Have we completely given up and rolled over? Don’t you care any longer what happens to you or what kind of future your children and grandchildren will have?
We also see a concerted attack on government as the enemy, and we’re subjected to repeated calls for “smaller government.” It is quite evident that the GOP has focused for some time on strangling the government into ineffectiveness. The fact that Congress now has a 12 percent approval rating shows that it’s working.
The same people responsible for crashing the economy, and their enablers in Congress who keep us paying for their greed, can always count on us to roll over and take it. They’ll spend billions on ads to convince you that you like it too. By ignoring 200 years of governance that made us the greatest country on earth, they’ll destroy America and turn us into just another third world country. All it takes to fix this is to vote your interests instead of the interests of those who have no interest in your problems. If you don’t think we have work to do, just look at the turnout in Lucas County in the recent primary — 4.35 percent. That’s a hell of a way to run a democracy. On the other hand, it’s just what the doctor ordered for a plutocracy.
Email columnist Don Burnard at email@example.com.