The American people are hardworking, honest, kind and caring. They care about the refugees in other countries having to leave their homes because of war. They care about the African Americans who have been and are still being treated shamefully in this country. They care about the Muslims and other religious groups that are being treated unfairly in this country. They care about the homeless, the hungry, the aged and those unable to help themselves. Americans do the best they can to take care of themselves and their families but they are all being treated unfairly.
Who is standing in the way of progress? The “politicians”! With too few exceptions, congress, many in the administration and, both political parties have become “pawns” of the corporations and the wealthy. This is nothing new. It has been going on for years. However, this is the first presidential campaign year where, more than ever, the voters have “discovered” the extent of the corruption, not only in the government itself but in our election system as well.
These politicians have a large salary, “select” the number of days they work, have the finest medical care, large retirement pensions and, many more perks for being a member of the U.S. congress*. This is not enough for them! They sell their souls to the corporations and wealthy in return for making laws that will benefit these greedy people. It is a vicious cycle that continues throughout the entire political system. This is where it begins and it effects all aspects of every American’s life. This is true for city, county and state government as well.
The fate of the middle class has been changing since the 1970’s. It became more pronounced during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Reagan believed in free markets and passed policies to help private business but did nothing to help the middle class. Reagan’s firing of nearly 12,000 striking air traffic control workers was the beginning of the decimation of the Unions that helped workers get a better wage and better working conditions.
President Bill Clinton moved to the right when he began “Republican policies”. Clinton brought members of Wall Street into his administration. Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall and two other laws that eventually led to the Great Recession in 2007. This deregulation of Wall Street and Banking allowed Clinton, the Democratic establishment, members of a Democratic administration, Democratic members of congress, to continue with these policies, earning millions of dollar while the middle class was losing their way of life. Bill Clinton made the trade agreements, NAFTA and others to benefit the corporations that shipped U.S. jobs overseas. Clinton also cut investment taxes for the wealthy.
The next president, G.W. Bush, signed into law tax cuts that reduced the top income tax rate, the capital gains and, estate taxes. The wealthy Americans received the most benefit from these tax cuts. Twelve top corporations paid no taxes and over a three year period between 2008 and 2010 actually received “subsidies” in the amount $62.4 billion! They paid no taxes on $171 billion in profits! These twelve corporations were Boeing, Verizon, Dupont, Yahoo, IBM, Wells Fargo, American Electric Power, Exxon Mobil, FedEx, General Electric, Honeywell International and United Technologies.
President Obama has done many good things for America and, I give him credit for all he has done. However, Obama is still part of the “political establishment”. Hillary has reminded us that he too, took money from Wall Street. Obama is working hard to push another trade agreement (TPP) that will ship more jobs overseas with less control over corporations and other countries than in any other agreement. It is obvious this is a move to help the wealthy corporations once again. At one point Obama approved offshore oil drilling in one of the most pristine places in Alaska. It was only the oil company that withdrew this action. Obama has never held accountable any of the Wall Street and Bankers “gang” that caused the Great Recession. In fact, Obama filled his administration with many Wall Street people. I do believe Obama did not do this for personal wealth. However, once again, it was just another “Democratic establishment” move which did nothing to help America.
The Great Recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. The wealthy are prospering. However, for most American families, the recession has not ended. The struggle to make ends meet is unending. It is happening to the middle-class, the retired, soon-to-retire, college grads, high-school dropouts and more. It is not happening in just one state. It is happening nationwide! Families are still trying to make a go of it week to week, month to month, pay check to pay check. Even with both parents working the questions are still; which bill do we defer payment on to feed the family? How are we going to pay for the oil or electricity to heat our home this winter? How are we going to pay for car repairs? How do we pay for the costs of a child in school? What happens if we have an emergency? Families do not have enough to survive much less have any savings. So when the “experts” say the economy is good, just ask these people living in a continual state of trying to pay the bills every month!
I’m stressing DC politics but it is the same for state governments as well. Politicians feign concern for the American people in election years. However, what have these politicians done for the middle class? Politicians “promise” to cut the taxes of the wealthy but they never do. They promise to make wages higher but few states have even taken up the issue. Politicians make promises they never intend to keep. Yet, the same politicians keep getting elected for several reasons. The first being the fact no member of congress will pass a “term limit” bill. Who would want to give up all the money that is so easily made being in congress? Second, because the “party” determines who runs and how much money they get for their campaign.
The Republican and Democratic Party establishments have a “lock” on what happens in congress, what bills are even considered and which ones are “stalled” or passed. Former members of congress become lobbyists. Even though they are collecting their government pensions, these “retired” members are still being paid by the corporations to “lobby” those who are still in congress.
They also have a “lock” on elections, selecting who deserves” to run for office, especially national office. If an elected official “plays the game”, they are eligible to “climb the ladder” to higher office. Name recognition also helps. Democrats blame everything wrong on the Republicans and Republicans blame everything wrong on the Democrats. When, in fact, they are both responsible for the state of affairs in America.
What is happening in this 2016 presidential campaign is Americans are finally telling the politicians “enough is enough”! We will no longer accept “corporations, the wealthy and corrupt politicians running this country! These Americans aren’t just Republicans or Democrats. Independents feel the same. The young, the old, the disenfranchised, the working poor, etc. all feel betrayed by the very people they elected to serve them. The only people happy with this arrangement are the corporations, the wealthy and the “political establishments!
*see politicsbahhumbug.me article dated November 6, 2015 titled “U.S. House of Representatives Will Work 110 days in 2016 and Make $174,000 in Salary”