Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Realties Of Our Class War

There are times when we shake our heads in confusion and frustration as we look at the world around us. Maybe it's a form of the fog of war, the class war that Americans continue to be in ever more painful denial of these days.

Warren Buffet isn't the only one who's noticed that despite all the wringing of hands and broadcast lies, and column inches published trying to deny the truth, the facts still remain the same: America is up to its neck in a ongoing class war.

Lately, we've repeatedly been hitting you over the head with these facts:

Poverty has hit a 50-year high - yet the rich are still getting richer. One in four American children now lives in poverty. Real income hasn't significantly increased since 1967 - unless you're in the top ten percent, and then things look great for you.

We could sit here and list statistics and facts, and link to charts, until almost every word of our commentary was supported with reams of data as solid as granite. That still wouldn't solve the problems our country faces.

We have millions of people out of work, and millions more being underpaid - or overworked. Most of these people aren't lazy; there simply aren't jobs available that they're qualified for. They can't easily move to different locations, either.

We have a Congress that's been held hostage by the ideology of a small group of people on the far right. Their version of compromise is:  they get everything they want, and everyone else can go to hell. Since that's not realistic, our government limps along with short-term fixes that are more political theatre than actual results.

We have a President who is desperate to try and fix the problems of the country he's trying to lead - and a Congress that a majority of Americans don't trust to do anything right. Of course, it would help if they showed up for work more than one or two weeks a month. [They're on vacation right now. Again.]

The bills pile up, the layoff notices come in - some of them from banks that we Americans taxpayers paid to bail out, but now they refuse to do the same for us. Our kids have it worse than most of us ever did, and yet the solutions are right in front of us.

Yes, we need to tax the rich more. During the mythical golden age of the 50s that fake conservatives wax nostalgically about, the income tax rate on upper income earners was 90%. Other taxes were also higher.

Yes, we need to cut government programs. We've already been cutting in many areas over the last decade, as the economy declined. Where we haven't cut are places like wasteful military spending. Spending billions on a flying submarine when we have no need for one is stupid - and we have hundreds, if not thousands of similar projects sucking federal taxpayer dollars out of each of our pockets.

We need to cut tax breaks for corporations and individuals. If tax breaks alone really generated jobs, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now experiencing. We are in this situation though, proving that tax cuts don't automatically generate jobs.

Most of all, we need to get back to reality.

When a person creates a job - a solid job that pays a fair day's wage for a fair day's work - and that job lasts a fair amount of time, then and only then does that person qualify as a "job creator." But there shouldn't be a special benefit to being a job creator that separates one class of Americans from another.

After all, under the definition of some - that any job is a job - even our editor's dog creates a job multiple times a day. That doesn't mean the mutt should get special treatment just for taking care of its business.

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