I am a Conservative, but I really like what Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts is saying in this article. Her points about the middle class are, I think, something most of us have been able to actually see happening right before our eyes. We are the incredible shrinking “middle America,” so to speak.
This is something that our politicians, Democrat and Republican, have allowed to happen through policies made from a position of relative wealth. It seems to me that once good people become a part of the Washington, DC culture, they forget about the little people.
I don’t know about Elizabeth Warren’s campaign finances. I don’t know where her money came from. I do believe that wealthy Americans are buying our elections and our politicians. There can be no doubt about that. We are told to vote to change things, but I’m beginning to believe that elections are decided before we ever enter the voting booth. Money needs to be taken out of campaigns! I’m a firm believer in that. It’s my belief that the government should give each candidate a flat amount of money to use as their campaign managers see fit. Isn’t it a good idea for each candidate to be on equal footing with the other? They will have to run on their ideas, not big money’s ideas. Something needs to be done about Campaign Reform, but I don’t trust the self-serving politicians to get it done.
I’m not one to participate in class warfare. I’m not one to bash the wealthy because they have more than I do. I believe that if all politicians would take the tone of this article–and by that, I mean non-partisan and polite–instead of pointing fingers, name calling, and nasty politics in general, they could get something done together.
A great crack in America’s middle class came to light recently: While our country continues to lead the world as the richest nation, our middle class, once the most affluent in the world, has fallen behind. According to an analysis by The New York Times, Canada’s middle class is now the wealthiest, and working families in many countries have seen their incomes rise much faster than those in the United States.
The hollowing out of America’s middle class has been years in the making, but it wasn’t inevitable that working families would fall further and further behind. Instead, it was the direct consequence of deliberate choices Washington has made over the past generation to put the rich and powerful first and to leave working people to pick up whatever crumbs were left behind.
It didn’t have to be this way. America knows how to build a middle class that is the envy of the world. After the Great Depression, America made two critical decisions.
First, it put in place strong rules to level the playing field for families, putting more cops on the beat to monitor financial markets and passing basic safety rules to temper the boom-and-bust financial cycle.
Second, the country made building a future for our children the priority. We invested powerfully in our education system, and we made sure that people who worked full time would stay above the poverty line. We built infrastructure — roads and bridges, our power grids — so that we had the right foundation for businesses to build jobs here at home. We also invested in basic medical and scientific research, confident that if we built a great pipeline of ideas, our children would have opportunities their parents could only dream about.
These steps were aimed at building a strong middle class, and they worked. For a half a century, as the country got richer, our middle class got richer. America built a middle class that promised a bright future to each succeeding generation, a middle class that inched its way toward building opportunities, not just for some of our children, but for all our children.
About 30 years ago, America began to move in a different direction. Washington took financial cops off the beat by slashing funding of our regulators, letting big banks load up on risk and target families with dangerous credit cards and mortgages. Washington also worked feverishly to cut taxes for those at the top, opening huge loopholes for big corporations and billionaires. Eventually, the loopholes got big enough to drive a truck through. According to the nonpartisan group Citizens for Tax Justice, by 2008-2012, while the corporate tax rate on paper remained 35%, 26 Fortune 500 companies paid $0 in taxes. That’s right — zero.
And how did Washington propose to balance a budget with lower taxes? Stop investing in the future. Instead of supporting college kids who are trying to get an education, the government now uses them as a source of revenue, making billions of dollars in profits off student loans.
Investments in roads and bridges have nearly ground to a halt. And government research — the great pipeline of ideas that led to the creation of the Internet, nanotechnology, GPS and a million medical advances — has had its legs cut out from under it.
Today, the director of the National Institutes of Health says there’s only enough money to fund one out of six National Institutes of Health research proposals, and our investments in scientific research don’t reflect the values of a nation that plans to lead the world in new discoveries.
The impact of these policies has echoed through the economy. Big banks, powerful corporations and billionaires — people who can afford to hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers — have amassed more and more wealth. Meanwhile, the foundations of our once strong middle class have begun to crumble, and families have been caught in a terrible squeeze.
To read the rest of the article and to view a video of her interview with CNN, follow this link: