Lest we forget, the real enemy remains the greed of the top 1 percent.
It is not that hard to figure out what America’s top 1 percent want. A passing glance at contemporary history and political maneuvering pretty much lays it all out. It seems that the super-rich want to exempt themselves and their business endeavors from all government regulations. They’d also like to rig the tax code so they didn’t have to pay any taxes either.
Any attempt to predict exactly how America would look if the one-percenters got their wish is pure speculation at this point. But there are trends already in progress that offer more than a few clues. They start with the explosive growth of income inequality in the wake of the 2008 financial market collapse.
As The Nation notes,
“A report from the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates…. In the vast majority of US states, the top 1 percent of earners captured at least half of the income gains during the first three years of the economic recovery. In seventeen states, the 1 percent raked in all of the income growth. Those at the top of the economic ladder in Nevada, for example, saw their incomes grow by 40 percent between 2009 and 2012; meanwhile, other Nevadans incomes actually declined, by 16 percent.”
If America is to continue on this path toward a two-class society, the economic landscape would inevitably change dramatically. The middle-class population that spurred America into becoming a world economic power during the 1950s would be reduced to a powerless shadow. With poverty overtaking most of the US population, there would be downward pressure on wages, workers rights and workplace safety. The low income disabled, elderly and children would likely suffer most, as they do now, only more so. It would not be a complete surprise to see mortality rates rise among the poor. This would not matter to the top 1 percent, since it would have virtually no effect on their own lives or personal wealth.
As far as some of the wealthiest people in America are concerned, poor people live easy lives because of “government handouts.” However, any time this argument comes up, the folks proclaiming that government handouts are evil and should be ended at all costs, fail to mention that the poor are not the only ones on the receiving end of federal money and benefits. In reality, the top 1 percent take a lot more from the government than everyone else.
“About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.”
Those number have only risen since, and the effect on local governments is astonishing. The New York Times discovered how deep the problem is.
“States, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.”
It does not take a college degree in mathematics to see that the more the rich take from the government, the more everyone else is forced to struggle on less.
Yet, the goal of the top 1 percent does not seem to be centered on raising the standard of living in America or promoting the overall economic success of the nation. One-percenters are utilizing their power to fund candidates that will allow them to control government policy on every level possible and rig new laws to their own financial advantage. Some call this capitalism on steroids. Others call it corruption on steroids. Whatever tag the US government wears in a post-Citizens United world, few would dare to label it representative democracy.
Tell lawmakers what you think of their plans for your future by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Maryann Tobin is the author of “Afterlife: The Journey Of A Dog’s Spirit” This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of an animal spirit that has been sent back to earth in the body of a small dog. His mission is to help a young woman discover that their destinies are connected to the powers of the Spirit World more than either of them ever imagined. If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog or any other pet, you will never look at them the same way again after reading this book. It’s available now on Amazon.com.