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Why the standard of living in America is falling

Why the standard of living in America is falling
Why the standard of living in America is falling
Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images

Over the past decade, conservative ideology has come to dominate US domestic policy. Deep budget cuts for the middle class and poor, we are told, are good for America. We are also told that lower taxes for the rich is good for America. But, it seems, the more congress cuts from the working class and gives to the rich, the worse things get.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the entire concept of trickle-down economics. Why would anyone think that giving the wealthy more money benefits anyone but the wealthy?

Yet, Americans have been convinced to support candidates who openly admit that their top priority is to go to Washington, cut government programs, and redistribute more wealth to the already wealthy. For some reason, they think this will somehow make their lives better. But it makes no sense whatsoever. The money the government spends circulates throughout the economy. When that money is cut, the economy shrinks or stagnates.

Those who don’t believe that government has the power to shape society and our personal economics are missing a very important point. How and when we are taxed matters. And government programs like college education grants, Social Security and Medicaid, are as important to our economic health as defense spending.

Some 57 million Americans receive Social Security checks every month. They are entitled to these payments because they had money for it deducted from their paychecks while they were working. For the most part, Social Security payments go straight back into the economy every month. They fuel businesses which then create jobs, pay for goods and services, and generate local sales taxes.

The same applies to other government spending. You can’t just slash and cut billions in spending and expect nothing bad to happen. Budget cuts effect real people.

In fact, the US government is like massive money distribution machine, taking in taxes and then fanning them out at targeted recipients, whether they be oil companies, billionaires, or programs for low wage workers. And here is where the system is breaking down. The government spending that helped maintain a powerful middle class has shifted its targets from lower incomes to higher ones. Since the rich don’t spend their money as freely as everyone else, there is less money circulating and thus a poorer overall economy.

You get what you vote for. And what Americans are saying with their votes is that they want less help paying for college, healthcare, their retirement plans, and just about everything else the government can do to make their lives better, and think billionaires should pay less taxes. If this were not the case, no Republican would ever get elected. This is what they preach, this is what they do, and this is exactly what they will continue to pursue on behalf of the people who fund their election campaigns with multimillion dollar donations.

In short, Americans are using their votes to ensure a lower standard of living for themselves, and are well on their way to achieving their goal.

Author’s note: The opinions and commentary included in this report are based on the author’s original reporting and independent analysis of official documents and public information.

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