The GOP Doesn't Want Voters Thinking About Economic Issues
Republicans and the GOP media mobilize voters by getting them to focus on terrorism and wars and bigotry. When voters come down to earth and think about the real problems that face them and their families-- jobs, income, financial security, health, retirement-- the Republicans do not stand a chance. The video above from Paul Clements' campaign addresses issues and solutions Americans actually want to hear about. His GOP opponent, Fred Upton, has a long and sordid record of offering his constituents no solutions. It's how-- despite monumental DCCC incompetence-- progressive candidates like Clements can win. (You can help him make sure that message gets communicated to voters here.) Obviously, if you've been following Bernie's campaign, it's also what he's talking about-- almost to exclusion of just about anything else.
Remember, a big part of our national belief system is that we're a middle class country-- all one big happy middle class family. But we're not anymore and that assessment is based on a new study from the Pew Research Center.
There were 120.8 million adults in middle-income households in early 2015, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined. It’s the first year since the nonpartisan research entity began tracking this data around 1970 that the latter total dwarfed the middle-income figure.Bernie's platform-- Bernie's entire record in public service-- has been addressing that. "Today," he wrote on the issues page of his campaign website, "we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time. The reality is that since the mid-1980s there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthiest people in this country. That is the Robin Hood principle in reverse. That is unacceptable and that has got to change... Despite huge advancements in technology and productivity, millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages. The real median income of male workers is $783 less than it was 42 years ago; while the real median income of female workers is over $1,300 less than it was in 2007. That is unacceptable and that has got to change... This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: 'you can’t have it all.' You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America, if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans." OK, so what is he going to do about it. He's glad when people ask. He lists 13 steps to reduce income and wealth inequality:
...The nation’s shrinking middle class is a key issue shaping the 2016 presidential campaign, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders centering his candidacy on income inequality. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in January found that 47% of respondents considered reducing income inequality an absolute priority for the government to pursue this year, with Democrats placing far greater importance on it than Republicans.
...The portion of U.S. adults living in middle-income households fell to 50% in 2015 from 61% in 1971. The overall share of the upper-income tier increased to 21% from 14% then, while the overall portion of lower-income households increased to 29% from 25%.
Within that, the extreme ends of the income spectrum have grown the most. This year, 20% of American adults are in the very lowest income tier, up from 16% in 1971. On the other side, 9% are in the absolute highest income tier, more than double the 4% share in 1971.
Among the demographic groups that stood out are people age 65 and older. This age group was the only one that had a smaller share in the lower-income tier in 2015 than in 1971, Pew found. That’s in part because more seniors are working, and Social Security checks are helping keep them afloat.
1- Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. As president, Sen. Sanders will stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. He will create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. He will also enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings.
2- Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020. In the year 2015, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.
3- Putting at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $1 trillion over five years towards rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs.
4- Reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs. If corporate America wants us to buy their products they need to manufacture those products in this country, not in China or other low-wage countries.
5- Creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program. Today, the youth unemployment rate is off the charts. We have got to end this tragedy by making sure teenagers and young adults have the jobs they need to move up the economic ladder.
6- Fighting for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. It is an outrage that women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.
7- Making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America. Everyone in this country who studies hard should be able to go to college regardless of income.
8- Expanding Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000. At a time when the senior poverty rate is going up, we have got to make sure that every American can retire with dignity and respect.
9- Guaranteeing healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system. It’s time for the U.S. to join every major industrialized country on earth and provide universal healthcare to all.
10- Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 days of paid sick days. Real family values are about making sure that parents have the time they need to bond with their babies and take care of their children and relatives when they get ill.
11- Enacting a universal childcare and prekindergarten program. Every psychologist understands that the most formative years for a human being is from the ages 0-3. We have got to make sure every family in America has the opportunity to send their kids to a high quality childcare and pre-K program.
12- Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act. One of the most significant reasons for the 40-year decline in the middle class is that the rights of workers to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits have been severely undermined.
13- Breaking up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer too big to fail. Seven years ago, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because they were too big to fail. Yet, 3 out of the 4 largest financial institutions are 80 percent bigger today than before we bailed them out. Sen. Sanders has introduced legislation to break these banks up. As president, he will fight to sign this legislation into law.
Bernie's campaign is doing well, but not because millionaires and billionaires are financing him; they're not. This is where their money is going. If you'd like to see Bernie in the White House-- and see our country turn around for real-- please consider even a small contribution to his campaign here. Think of it as an investment in the future, your future and your family's future.