There is an easy way to confirm that a presidential election is approaching; Republican wannabes are talking about the working class. Until they have an opportunity to reside in the White House, the GOP fights legislation which would improve the lives of those who struggle to survive from week to week. Words have no meaning when their goal is political gain rather than advancing the cause of working men and women and those living in poverty. Never forget who Republicans work for; the wealthy. While we’re at it, let’s attack the core of America’s problem. We are a capitalistic nation. This system which was once beneficial for both management and labor has devolved. Here in the 21st century income inequality is widening.
The core problem with capitalism is that over time the number of jobs available decline. In addition, the talents of workers are wasted as they are forced to accept employment merely as a means to an end. In addition, our government rewards corporations for outsourcing many of our better jobs.
The war on the working class began in the 1970’s. The first major act was accomplished by Ronald Reagan when he fired the nation’s air traffic controllers in 1981, and his theory of ‘supply side,’ or ‘trickle down’ economics began to destroy the economy. This became the benchmark for future Republican actions which destroyed or undermined the strength of unions, the only recourse many American workers possessed to receive fair treatment and just wages in the workplace. Subsequent legislation has increased the difficulty to establish unions, and ‘right to work’ states reserve all power for big business. In these states unions are restricted from forcing all workers to be union members, thereby removing strength in negotiations.
When the United States entered a deep recession in 2008, capitalists were given an even greater advantage in the struggle between employer and employee. They used the economic downturn to unnecessarily reduce the workforce. During this difficult time for the working class big business benefitted as their profit margins grew. When they were forced to rehire workers from necessity, those who did find employment were given part time jobs at lower wages, and received no benefits or benefits which had a lesser value.
Today business retains all of the power. Protests by underpaid workers produce little or no reaction by corporations who are aware of the lack of good paying jobs. With billions of dollars in profits they have the ability to purchase the votes of our legislature ensuring their riches will grow, and the wages and benefits of those they are forced to employ remain near the poverty level.
In a society where the interest of government is its people, the primary concern would be wages at a level which would ensure a secure life for workers and their families. In the United States lobbyists have coerced Republicans to deny an increase in the minimum wage, forcing working men and women to live near poverty levels, and guaranteeing a growing profit margin for big business.
Today big business owns its own political party whose sole purpose is to remove or control social programs beneficial to the working class. As with all political organizations they created a name which appears to be representative of the majority of Americans, when in truth they represent special interests. They call themselves the TEA Party, which stands for ‘taxed enough already.’ Those taxes refer to the one-percent; not yours.
What concerns me is that far too many Americans either don’t see or are denying the truth. Supporting Republicans with your votes is a vote against yourself and your family. Neither party is devoted entirely to the working class, but Republicans make deliberate efforts to destroy us. If a Republican had been elected in 2008, our nation would never have recovered from its worst recession since 1929. Don’t listen to false rhetoric, look at the facts and learn for yourself where our nation’s fiscal health is now compared to when a Republican president left office; and he inherited a surplus from the outgoing Democratic president.
Commentary by James Turnage