By Richardt Stormsgaard
Back when the Republican Party was generally a force for good, Republican President Eisenhower in his farewell address expressed his fears of corporate malfeasance infecting our government, including total disregard for the environment that we all live in and depend on.
He referred to the military-industrial complex, but could not know that an even more insidious variety of corporate greed just a couple decades later would take control of the Republican Party.
We recently received a mailer from the LaMalfa campaign justifying the Trump “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Republican politicians like Ryan, McConnell and Rubio openly admit the next step is dismantling/privatizing Medicare and Social Security. If/when implemented, this will bring devastating poverty to tens of thousands more in rural areas such as of California’s 1st congressional district.
Ten percent of the tax cuts benefit ordinary Americans in the very short term, but they will see the Social Security and Medicare dismantled that they absolutely depend on in the future. Ninety percent go to the very wealthiest of Americans.
… lower income earners in this country now make about a quarter less than they did in 1980 when you factor in inflation.
The theory of trickle-down economics as a result of huge tax cuts for the wealthy was first advanced during the Reagan Era, repeated two decades later by the Bush Administration, and now again by the Trump Administration. They have caused the stunning collapse of what a half century ago was, by far, the most affluent middle class anywhere in the world, the USA.
The 2018 World Income Report states that in 1980 in both the U.S. and Western Europe the wealthiest 1 percent earned about 10 percent of all income, and the poorest 50 percent, approximately 20 percent of all income. At the time the tax rates were similar between the two continents.
With total global wealth having grown greatly today the wealthiest 1 percent of Europeans now have 12 percent of all income while the share of the poorest 50 percent has risen to 22 percent. Everybody has benefited, and as a result in Western Europe real wages have risen three to four times since 1980. In the U.S. the story is dramatically different. The wealthiest 1 percent now have doubled their total share of income to 20 percent while the bottom 50 percent have seen their part tumble to 10 percent, half of what it was in 1980. As a result, lower income earners in this country now make about a quarter less than they did in 1980 when you factor in inflation.
U.S. media pundits have tried to justify widespread American deterioration of living standards for Americans with globalization and digitalization, but Western Europe is facing the same challenges as the U.S., and they have had a thriving middle class for the last four decades.
The fault for U.S. middle class economic demise lies squarely with trickle-down economics and the ensuing Republican tax cuts in favor of the very wealthy paid for by the rest of society. Forty percent of Americans cannot afford basic necessities. Our infra-structure is collapsing. Our institutions are under attack.
We lived in Denmark in the 1990s, and paid a bit more than 50 percent of our income in taxes. Many young people that I knew and worked with in Denmark bought homes in their 20s after just a few years working. Day care is subsidized and very affordable. Higher education and technical training even provides you with an income to live on while you are preparing yourself for a better future. Retirees, even those that never worked outside the home or on the farm, get a minimum social security that is more than double the total cost of affordable housing or nursing care.
The wealthy in Denmark are doing very well despite very high tax rates for wealthier individuals. Business Insider rates Denmark the third best country to do business in while the U.S. is rated the eighth best country.
Doug LaMalfa has tirelessly worked on behalf of the very wealthy to the detriment of his constituents. His Democratic opponent Audrey Denney will work for all, the poor, the middle class, and yes the rich as well, just like moderate Republican politicians used to do in the past.
Better economic and educational opportunities for all lead to better lives, less drug abuse, less alcoholism, less crime, less hopelessness that have spread into rural areas all over this country during the last decades since the Republican Party was taken over by right-wing corporate extremists.