Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The GOP - "Guilty as Charged!"

Who does the GOP think is "middle-class"? Those earning $250,000 a year or more. That's what I'd tell a judge in a court of law. The Republicans and the Tea Party wants all average working-class Americans to believe that every time they utter the words "middle-class", they are talking about you. But they're not, and I can prove my case.

If I were to present my case to a jury of my peers (the working people, not of the GOP's, such as the corporations and bankers), this would be my opening statement to a judge in a court of law, with the GOP standing trial for murdering the true middle-class:

"Your honor, the median family income is lower now than it was 30 years ago. And the GOP wants this trend to continue. If it was not clear before, it is obvious now that the Republicans are fully engaged in a project to dismantle the foundations of the New Deal and the Great Society, and to liberate business and the rich from the inconveniences of oversight and taxes - and to reduce more of us from the ranks of "middle-class" to the "working-class" (the working poor and poor).

And the Republicans have been at this for a very long time.

Recently only four Republicans (and all Democrats) dissented from voting on Paul Ryan's bill that would end the guarantee provided by Medicare and Medicaid to the elderly and the poor, which has been provided by the federal government with society’s clear assent since 1965.

Fully two-thirds of his $4.3 trillion in budget cuts would come from low-income programs. It would cut food stamps by $127 billion, or 20 percent, over the next 10 years, almost certainly increasing hunger among the poor. It would cut Pell grants for all 9.4 million student recipients next year, removing as many as one million of them from the program altogether. It would remove more than 100,000 low-income children from Head Start, and slash job-training programs for the unemployed desperate to learn new skills.

And it would do all that while preserving the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and even expanding them as regulation of business would also be sharply reduced.

The website, 2011 Executive Paywatch, notes that total compensation for C.E.O.’s averaged $11.4 million in 2010, up 23 percent from the previous year. (C.E.O.’s must now give their shareholders a ‘say on pay,’ thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that President Obama signed in July 2010.)

The website also notes that chief executives’ compensation is 343 times the median pay — $33,190 — of American workers. It adds that the $11.4 million average for C.E.O.’s is 28 times the pay of President Obama, 213 time the median pay of police officers, 225 times teacher pay, 252 times firefighter pay, and 753 times the pay of the minimum-wage worker.

And they are taxed at 15% - as opposed the higher income tax rate you pay in regular payroll taxes. Between 1993 and 2008, the top 1 percent of Americans captured 52 percent of all income growth in the United States.

But people who are rich (but not the richest) — in the $250,000 zone — see they have more than lots of poor people, but also much less than a few very visibly rich people. Then they conclude they’re in the middle, so they must be "middle class".

Why do many rich people don't feel very rich? The answer is simple: because many see those that are so much richer. It is perhaps no wonder, then, that so many people who are statistically rich call themselves “upper middle” or even “middle class.” Even though they are much, much richer than lots of poor people, but also much, much poorer than some very visibly rich people. From their perspective, they truly are in the "class-middle".

That's why I have always tried to distinguish between the middle-class and the working-class, earning a mean household income nearer to $45,000 a year (or a median wage of $33,190), not $250,000 a year and up, which Obama wants to tax just a wee bit more to help balance our budget.

During the Great Recession, it's been argued that the "upper" middle-class may have been the least scathed - as post-tax income for the rich has soared, while post-tax income for the working-class and poor has risen only modestly, after adjusting for inflation.

The nation’s income distribution is quite lopsided, but its wealth distribution is even more so. The top 1 percent of earners receive about a fifth of all American income; on the other hand, the top 1 percent of Americans by net worth hold about a third of American wealth.

But Paul Ryan, the Republicans, and those in the Tea Party (especially those earning $174,000 and up a year) are sticking to their guns. They want to give the richest among us even MORE tax break breaks, falsely claiming they will create more jobs for the working-class people (even thought with the Bush tax cuts we've already lost 10 million jobs) - - - while at the same time cutting Medicare and raising the age for Social Security retirement on the working-class (and killing Medicaid for the poorest among us).

The debate over Republicans' insistence on continued tax breaks for the super-rich and the corporations they run should come to a screeching halt with the report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal headlined "Big U.S. Firms Shift Hiring Abroad."

The richest among us have not been doing their patriotic duty, are cheap as hell, and have had the Republicans doing all their dirty work on their behalf for years. The GOP is guilty as hell for murdering the working-class.

So in closing, I would submit that it is the GOP who are the guilty ones, and that the poor and working-class are the innocent parties, and that they should no longer be further punished for the Republican's crimes.

"I rest my case your honor."

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