You have to admire the Republicans (in a perverse “hate what you do but admire how well you do it” sort of way) for how consistently they have pulled off their game. They are running both the short and the long con. For decades now, they have been working diligently to wedge the classes further apart. At first I thought they we doing it by decreasing the size of the middle class, increasing the size of the lower class and strengthening both the resolve and power of the upper class via rules and regulations (or lack thereof) designed to achieve said results.
More recently, I've begun to think I completely missed the boat. While it is true that in the US the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, the most important statistic is that the gap between the top 1%, in terms of wealth, and the rest of us is as bad as it is has been in 90 years. The top 1% of the US have almost 39% of the wealth in the US. And a full 50% of our population own only 2.5% of the over all wealth. (All data above and below is from The Institute on Policy Study).
Change the measurement to stocks, bonds and mutual funds and that percent shifts to a whopping 51% of the wealth being owned by the top 1%. Expand that 1% to the top 10% and 90% (no, that is no a typo) of what I'll call the “Wall Street Wealth” is owned by them. Anyone still wondering why there was a Wall Street bailout and not a Main Street bailout?
It's not that the Republicans are trying to decrease the size of the middle class. They are trying to widen the gap between the wealthy and the middle class effectively reducing the middle class to a working class poor by comparison to the wealthy. I might add that they are rather successfully doing so.
While the top 1% have seen their share of capital income increase by nearly 20% over the last twenty years, the bottom 80% have seen theirs fall by almost 15%. CEO's income has risen 300% in that time. Corporate profits have increased by 106%... and worker's pay has increased a measly 4.3%. You have to hand it to the Republicans – they are good at this.
What is surprising is how well they play the working middle class. A surprisingly high number of that group of people are some of the stanchest supporters of Republicans. The Republicans are playing a long con here, making promises and appearing one way while working as hard as they know how to achieve results that rip off their strongest supporters. All the while, their actions tell the tale saying to those not in the top 10%, “get your own.”
Recent battles on the hill should be more than enough to pull the curtain back to reveal congressional Republican's real motivation, as they work hard to stop Obamacare, stop extending unemployment checks and, at the same time, extend tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%. While they do, they wrap themselves in the flag, shout things like “down with socialism” and “no taxes,” in an attempt to endear themselves to middle class America. All the while, they are working to install a plutocracy operating under the false front of a democracy in America... and they are doing it in God's name.
And that's where we should ultimately see thorough their ruse most clearly. Adopting Christian precepts to support stepping on the least of these, to intentionally marginalize part of a society, to relegate a particular segment of a population to a place where they struggle to maintain good health, shelter and food while a small percentage of the elite dine of the backs of the least of these... well, that should be a con that just won't sell.
My question is, when is the Church going to do something about it? My question is, when are you, when am I, when are we going to do something about it? We have the numbers, just not the money. We still live in a democracy (for now). When are we going to do something about it?
(Post submitted by Featured Blogger, Rev. Mark Sandlin who also blogs at The God Article).