Once you get past the ranting coming from the GOP as they blame the economic woes of our country on the little guy instead of the corporate fat cats, the truth is the Republicans have no policy agenda or constructive ideas about the future of America. All they have is a divide and conquer strategy intended to pit Americans against each other.
Complicit in this divide and conquer strategy is the likes of Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Fox News as they demonize public workers, especially teachers and cops. Attacking the little guy has become the favorite pastime of the corporate right as they pit the “small people” against one another while the rich get richer at the expense of our middle class. The Republicans can only survive by inciting a sense of grievance about what someone has taken away from me. We saw this strategy play out at the notorious town hall meetings touting the idea that by attempting to bring health care insurance to 30 or 40 million Americans our Socialist, Kenyan-born, President was somehow taking ‘something” away from them; but what exactly was that?
In all probability the biggest Republican lie intended to drive a wedge between young and old is that Social Security is “going broke." Social Security can’t go broke, it’s not a pension fund that you put money in and then draw it out when you are old. Social Security is an immediate transfer from workers today to retirees today. It has always been that way and it will continue to work unless we make the colossal mistake of privatizing the system. The only thing the Republicans are trying to do is pit young workers against the older retirees. Pitting Americans against each other has become the primary GOP survival tool.
For more than 30 years the financial investment firms have peddled this same lie. The truth is that the Bernie Madoff-like investment firms want to get their greedy hands on that money flowing into the Social Security System by privatizing the system. Do you really think your money is safer with people like Bernie Madoff?
Social Security could face a short-fall in about 25 years but the fix is simple. Under the current system any wages over the first $106,800 are exempt from Social Security withholding; if we close this loophole the shortfall would be avoided. By removing this exemption for the 6 percent of Americans in this income category we ensure that the other 94 percent will have retirement security for decades to come. Although, Republicans would rather force Americans to work until they die by dismantling Social Security.
Pitting public workers against private workers, young against old, the middle class against the poor, it’s all part of the GOP divide and conquer strategy and everyone should know that. Not once do we hear the GOP mention that while the little guy struggles to pay his taxes and send his children to college the big corporations are paying little or no income tax and sheltering their profits in overseas tax havens like the Cayman Islands.
Republicans love to use the socialist bogeyman cry of “redistribution of wealth” in order to graciously ignore the fact that middle class families, despite having two working, are finding it impossible to put their children through college and at the same time save for retirement. Instead of attacking “ordinary” Americans like teachers, cops, and firemen, the GOP should be concerned with the fact that over the past 30 years the only redistribution of wealth that has taken place in our country is that wealth has been redistributed upward on a scale never seen before.
The Republican strategy of turning Americans against each other is intended to distract us from the true core issue, the real problem. Over the last 30 years the American economy has doubled, so where did the money go? According to Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary, the bottom 90 percent of Americans has only seen a 1 percent gain in income over the same period. On the other hand, the share of our national wealth going to the top 1 percent has tripled. The richest 150,000 households in America, 1/10th of 1 percent, earn as much as the bottom 120 million put together.
All over the country Republicans are attacking Social Security, Medicare, state and federal grants for college, vital public services, public schools, teachers, and cops. In state after state more sacrifices are forced on the middle class but the GOP refuses to talk about the real solution and that is to restructure our tax codes to eliminate the loopholes, not for those that make $250,000 a year, but a new tax bracket for the real fat cats, the big money.