Fox News recently did a poll that showed only a only a small minority of their viewers (13%) think the government should do something about the fact some people make a lot more money than others; 25% say income inequality “stinks,” but still think the government “shouldn’t get involved; and 62% of their viewers are okay with disparities in income “because that’s just how the economy works.”
Really FOX viewers,“Because that’s just how the economy works?" Newsflash: That's not how the economy is suppose to work. But years of GOP policies have redistributed wealth towards the top 1% of Americans. Currently the richest 10% of Americans control roughly 2/3 rds of the wealth . So how did we get to where the gap between the rich and the poor in this country has never been wider? One of the main drivers has been an unfair tax system that has benefited those at the top of the wealth chain. The ultra wealthy are protected by tax loopholes and are benefiting from having their tax level tied to the income levels of the upper middle class. Another reason the gap has widened is that real wages for the working class have stagnated over the years. For a quarter of a century, from 1980 to 2005 for example, while U.S. gross domestic product per person rose by almost two-thirds, the wages of the average worker fell after adjusting for inflation. Over the three decades from 1972 to 2001, the wages and salaries of even those Americans at the 90th percentile (those doing better than 90% of their fellow citizens) experienced income gains of only 1% a year on average (bearing in mind that wage stagnation for the lower and middle class is felt much harder relative to upper middle class earners). Those at very top however, the 98th percentile, saw their income rise by 181% over these years (to an income averaging almost $1.7 million). Those at the 99.99th percentile had income growth of 497%!
Over the last several decades big business has seen extraordinary rising profits. A portion of those profits were driven by advancements in computer technology and outsourcing of manufacturing and production has reduced the number of American workers needed. Another portion was driven by the practice of holding profits overseas is used as a strategy to avoid paying taxes. In 2010 for example, GE paid very little or no U.S. taxes at all. In fact, there were 60 big U.S. companies analyzed by the Wall Street Journal that on average kept more than 40% of their annual profits overseas. Thanks to these practices, the U.S. is not only losing tax revenue but money that could be invested in programs being cut today that are the lifeblood of the poor, our vets, our seniors. Moneys that could be invested in our schools and after-school programs. Can we afford to sacrifice the opportunity of our young and in doing so harm our country's future prospects? Our childrens education should be our main priority. Like President Obama has said many times, we have to invest in fresh young minds to stay globally competitive and to provide a landscape of opportunity for these kids to keep America on the forefront of advancement in medicine, science, and technology.
To his credit President Obama has proposed reforming the taxation of the overseas income of multinational corporations, but it's not enough. When you couple the fact that big business has been increasing profits with fewer resources and that the effective tax rates they pay is lower then that of the working man, it provides them an unfair and unnecessary economic advantage on a field that was is already slanted in their favor. This doesn't make any sense. As productivity ratios go up, taxes should also rise.
Widening gap between rich and poor, wage stagnation for everyone except big business and the wealthiest Americans, outsourcing of jobs, the GOP asking for more tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the elderly and the education of our young- keep this Republican Party wish list under consideration when you go out to vote in the mid-terms this November.