Mayday! Mayday! for America's middle class

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mayday mayday via Huckkonopackicartoons.com

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So struggling Americans, how's that GOP-supported trickle-down economics workin' for ya? Same here. It's not. It never has, but that doesn't stop Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor from sticking up for their rich buddies at the expense of those living in poverty and families barely able to make it on their minimum wage and/or multiple low-paying jobs and/or unemployment checks and/or food stamps and/or no income or assistance whatsoever.

The middle class (what little is left of it) is hurting badly as Republican lawmakers count their millions of corporate dollars from their corporate pals and lobbyists now that Citizens United is the law of the land. That's all that really matters to them, that and privatizing the entire country while pushing hard for more power over those who see their own influence and potency diminishing.

To repeat, “Post-Citizens United, conservatives look at [union decline] & smell blood.” Unions support Dems. ‘Nuff said.

Hedrick Smith, former Washington bureau chief for the New York Times, and author of "Who Stole the American Dream?" wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that goes a little something like this:

We have become two Americas — literally, the 99% and the 1%. We have what a Citigroup investment brochure called the most eye-popping concentration of wealth in a great power since 16th century Spain. The numbers are staggering. From 1979 to 2011, 84% of the nation's increase in income has gone to the wealthiest 1%, according to Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist who now chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

As the president observed at Knox College in Illinois recently: "The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009. The average American earns less than he or she did in 1999." [...]

Based on Labor Department reports, economists tell us the productivity of the U.S. workforce rose 97% from 1945 to 1973, and the income of the average family rose 95%. In short, average workers reaped the benefits of rising U.S. efficiency along with their bosses. But since 1973, the picture has changed: Productivity has risen 80%, economists report, but the average family's income has risen only 10%, and that bump has come primarily because more women have entered the workforce, not because wages have gone up.... Three decades of going nowhere.

"Three decades of going nowhere." Let that sink in for a minute.

He then quotes "unambiguous" evidence from a report by Harvard economist Philippe Aghion: Multiple studies show that "greater inequality [of income] reduces the rate of growth."

Why? Well, think about it. How can we buy stuff if we make no money? And if we don't buy stuff, how will businesses survive? And if those businesses can't survive, how will manufacturers of what those businesses sell survive? And if manufacturers can't survive, they shut down. And we all know how that story ends.

But all that decline in growth and income inequality could be improved if only Big Corporations would stop sitting on their nearly $2 trillion in cash. As Smith points out, "instead of expanding production, they have been buying back company stock, rewarding shareholders while often imposing a wage freeze on workers."

Way to grow jobs, Big Corporations. America first! Create weak demand and you get a weak economy. And as a special bonus, you can blame President Obama! Weee!

It would be helpful if people like John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and their tea party colleagues would stop pushing for budget cuts, more tax cuts for the rich, government cuts, program cuts, deregulation, and that failure known as trickle-down economics. But, hey, they're just not into "helpful." Or you.

not into you smaller

Smith:

[S]pending is the engine that drives economic growth by pushing businesses to expand production, build new plants, buy new equipment, hire more workers.

He goes on to say that those in Washington better "shift their mindset" and get past all the gridlock so they can "set a new course." In other words, dump business as usual and start using their noggins, get real, and do what's right and productive instead of obstructing and stuffing their own pockets with donations. Get off your asses and rebuild this country already.

To paraphrase what Albert Einstein reportedly said at the dawn of the Atomic Age in 1945: You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.

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  • http://www.womenofcertainage.blogspot.com CaliforniaGirl500

    Attended a dinner party with 8 women last week and butted heads with 2 of them discussing the shopping habits of the underprivileged who prefer cigs and junk food to healthy food and then on to Obamacare which is costing the Middle Class more now than if they had their own plans. I am not one to "crowd the hero bench" as my mother used to say. Of course, we got into it. The mis-information thrown out was typical. And these are not stupid women. In fact, one of them is a highly educated, well-read, fairly liberal lady. The other is your typical conservative real estate type: more opinions than facts and a tendency to exaggerate.
    I was very surprised to hear my liberal friend complain she purchased a supplemental plan to her Medicare plan and the govt considers it a "luxury" and will "penalize" her come tax time (altho' she didn't elaborate how). I asked how much her monthly premium is for the supplemental.

    "Nine hundred dollars" she replied.

    "What's your deductible?" I asked.

    "There isn't one. That's why I bought it".

    I then told her I pay $900+ per month for my health premium, not including my dental. It's for my husband and I (same as hers) PLUS I have a $6000 deductible before I am covered, excepting the usual maintenance visits.

    "Who's being penalized? I work full time, have an employer health plan for which they pay in part. I'll take your plan over mine."

    She had nothing to say after that.

    "