Obama v. Republicans: Like it or not, it's Class Warfare

How did the Republican Party become a private club for millionaires while selling themselves to the public as regular Joes?

EASTON, Md., September 19, 2011 — Raise taxes on millionaires? Ask billionaires to pay their fair share? Require corporations to pay taxes and not hide off shore?

Such requests are branded Class Warfare, even when someone like billionaire Warren Buffett calls for higher taxes on the wealthy few. And guess what? It is Class Warfare. So let’s call it what it is.

The Republicans have declared war on the American Middle Class. They are card-carrying members of what I call the SOBs Club (Save Our Billionaires). Speech after speech on the floors of Congress or at their town hall meetings they lament the fate of the corporations who can’t possibly create jobs without further tax breaks. You know the ones, the big tax dodgers: GE, Google, Exxon-Mobil, Merck, Pfizer, the list goes on and on.

Meanwhile those same corporations sit on bundles of cash, pay zilch - or close to it - in taxes, reward their fat cat CEOs with wads of money, and keep squeezing the dwindling number of American workers for ever higher levels of productivity while keeping their salaries stagnant.

In other words the rich keep getting richer. And some of the wealthiest are – GASP! – your Republican Representatives and Senators, who are fighting like the dickens to keep those tax breaks for Richie Rich and his ilk. 

Maybe you will recognize some of these Congressional millionaires:

Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.),

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.),

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)

Before a whole batch of you start writing in, ranting about the millionaire Democrats and there are many, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), keep in mind that they are not working to extend their extravagant tax breaks. Instead they are fighting for a better deal for the Middle Class and the jobless.

Believe it or not, there is a group that calls itself Patriotic Millionaires who have called out the Republican millionaires in Congress to stop protecting their self-interests and recognize that they too became millionaires thanks to government investment in public schools and research, giving them the necessary education and tools to launch successful and lucrative businesses.

Yet thanks to friends like Cantor and Boehner, the rich only get richer. While you and I? Just how well are you doing even if you have a job? Or if you’re living on a fixed income? 

Think I exaggerate about the disparity in this country?  Then take a look at some nasty facts that you might not like to sample. But here they are anyway.

Facing the Truth with Facts

First off: this past week we learned from the Census Bureau that the poverty rate in America is now over 15 percent, higher than it’s been in 50 years. That means 46.2 million fellow Americans now live in poverty.

The unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, but the hard-core unemployment is actually 16.2 percent, according to the US Department of Labor. That’s people without jobs and probably at this stage of their unemployment, they have probably been years without a job, without hope.

Then there are those of us with jobs: “[The] Middle Class has been progressively weakened by stagnant wages, outsourced jobs, and too much debt.”  Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary

Yet there is good news out there for some Americans, a silver lining in this dreadful economy, well, actually a golden lining. As Reich notes in New York Times column: “Right now the richest five percent of us are making 37 percent of all consumer purchases.

And profits are zoom, zoom, zooming. Just ask the luxury retailers. Ready for some really heady news?

LVMH, which owns expensive brands like Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, reported sales of 13 percent in the first half of 2011 to $14.9 billion.

PPR, home to Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and other lux brands, said their sales shot up by 23 percent in the first half of this year.

BMW reported that it has more than doubled its quarterly profit from a year ago as sales rose 16.5 percent. Mercedes-Benz recorded July U.S. sales growth of 21 percent with its high-end S-Class sedans, including those with a $200,000 sticker price. Porsche reported its first-half profits rose 59 percent.

Tiffany’s flagship store in New York had a 41 percent sales increase this year, the largest since 1990, according to Paul Lejuez, Nomura’s retail analyst who tracks global financial markets.

And so it goes: luxury sales, corporate profits, and unemployment are all on the rise. Welcome to the new America.

More Jobs or More Politics?

Caricature or reality?

Now Congress has a second chance to go to work for the American people. The President presented the American Jobs Act that would jumpstart the economy, begin building a better America, and put people back to work from teachers to construction workers. 

 He has a plan, not an overly ambitious one, but one that most economists say could kick start the economic engine. It will require closing corporate loopholes and raising taxes on the super wealthy five percent, who haven’t paid their fair share in decades, while the rest of us, the Middle Class, have carried the cost of two wars and an economic meltdown.

The Republican response? Millionaire Congressman and Leader of the House Republicans Boehner put it most succinctly in his speech before the Economic Club of Washington last Thursday: “Tax increase, I think, are off the table and I don’t think they are a viable option….Taxes destroy jobs.

Gee, Mr. Speaker is that really true? Just how many jobs have the $1.3 billion Bush tax cuts given us? 

The answer: none. Instead they cost us 7,796,000 jobs. 

 So today people stand in unemployment lines or before tables at job fairs, clutching résumés in hand, while others in our society belly up to the counters of Tiffany’s or Gucci, a Black American Express card in hand.

What is happening in this country is Class Warfare pure and simple and people need to wake up and start voting their own self-interest and not of those of the millionaire politicians they stick into office, you know, the ones who don’t answer to the American public, but who would never refuse a call from big oil or big pharma.

Like it or not, until we stop fighting one another, start helping one another, and open our eyes to the terrible truth, America is in for a long, dark night in its history.  

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on the Democrats for America’s Future.

 


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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