In Rigged: How The Rich And Corporations Have Bought Our Democracy And Are Stealing It From Us
The US economy is not in balance and the average citizen is being taken advantage of while powerful wealthy individuals and corporations reap all of the benefits.
We can learn more about how this has come to be in the book, Beyond Outrage by Elizabeth Warren.
In it, we are made aware that polls suggest that 77% of US citizens think that too much power is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy elite.
From here, we learn why: from tax exemptions for the wealthy to generous donations from oil companies to political campaigns.
Even Henry Ford was paying his workers three times what other factory workers made!
But unfortunately, we discover that despite its noble mission, the Tea Party Movement does not provide a solution to this problem.
Instead, it widens the divide between those who have access and those who don’t—making it even easier for the rich to get richer and keep their power.
The Rich Are Getting Richer While The Poor Are Falling Behind: How Tax Cuts Have Worsened Income Inequality In America
Government policy over the last 30 years has been instrumental in allowing the gap between rich and poor to widen dramatically.
Despite the fact that our economy has grown over that time, middle and working class wages have barely increased by $280 per month on average.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest 400 Americans now have more wealth than the total of all 150 million lowest earners combined.
CEOs’ salaries have surged from 40 times that of their employees to as much as 400 times of what they are making.
The driving factor behind this growing inequality is tax cuts that heavily benefit the wealthy.
Looking back at 1958-2008, the average effective tax rate for top income earners has decreased from 51% to 26%.
Plus, the income tax rate on the middle-class worker has gone up from 15% to 16%.
Speaking of income, capital gains such as those made through investments in stocks, bonds or real estate are only taxed at 15%.
It’s clear that without any definitive action taken by governments and lawmakers around all facets of social justice and taxation reform, a lasting decrease in this inequality gap won’t be seen anytime soon.
Big Corporations Spend Big On Political Campaigns For Big Returns
Under the pretense of creating jobs, the US government is often seen defending corporate interests in return for donations.
These donations, which often come in the form of political contributions, can be used for all kinds of things – from tax breaks to promises not to pass environmental protection bills.
This allows big businesses to get something in return for their money and indirectly gain influence over Washington.
For example, the oil industry spends around $150 million each year on campaigns and gets an estimated $2.5 billion a year in tax breaks – it’s no wonder they’re so keen on pouring funds into political campaigns.
Unfortunately, these companies rarely deliver on their promise to create jobs in America.
As evidenced by a 2012 Wall Street Journal survey, 35 large corporations created 333,000 jobs outside of the US while only creating 113,000 within America itself in 2009-2011.
Companies like Apple may be employing 43,000 people nationally but have close to 700,000 overseas workers – especially in China.
Although this system seems beneficial for the corporations involved, it has a negative effect on citizens as dwindling revenue due to tax cuts further reduces federal services that are meant to benefit all citizens equally.
The Reality Of Tax Cuts In America: They Ultimately Harm The Poor
The public sector is declining as budget squeezes cause large cuts in funding for essential services such as roads, bridges, healthcare, and education.
This trend mainly affects the poor, who are more reliant on these services than wealthier people.
The effects of these budget cuts can already be seen: spending on education and infrastructure has dropped from 12 percent to just three percent of GDP in 2011.
In 2012, the Republicans in the House proposed further cuts to low-income programs amounting to $3.3 trillion over ten years.
This would mean less access to health care coverage for up to 28 million low-income people and a 17% cut in food stamps – something that is especially disturbing considering a quarter of all children live in families without sufficient food at any given time!
Unfortunately, relying on wealthy philanthropy won’t help either since most charitable donations by the wealthy go toward cultural institutions or their own universities; ironically, only 10 percent of donations actually reach those who are truly impoverished.
How Elite Tax Breaks Have Weakened America’S Middle Class And Slowed Down The Economy
The decline in middle-class wages has had a dramatic impact on the American economy.
It all started back in 1914, when Henry Ford decided to pay his workers three times what a typical factory employee earned at that time.
His ingenious plan saw success as his profits doubled just two years later.
This is because Ford’s decision gave employees enough money to purchase his cars, thus turning them into customers and further boosting the economy.
This pay-to-play mentality kept the American economy strong for many years, creating job opportunities and healthy salaries along with it.
Fast forward to the late 1970s though – tax breaks helped those with wealth grow their share of the economy while simultaneously reducing wages of the middle class.
This only got worse after 2008 when people working at places like General Electric saw their hourly wage drop from $21-$32/hour to just $12-$19/hour in 2012; a decrease that can’t be ignored or overlooked.
It’s not hard to see why this matters – an economy needs spending by healthy members of its middle class in order to grow, not wealthy elites who eventually reach a point of having nothing more to purchase with their vast sums of money.
It’s important for America to recognize this trend and its effects before we can truly fix the current stagnant state its economy finds itself in today.
The Tea Party Movement Reveals How The Angry White Minority Gambles With America’S Future
The Tea Party movement is nothing if not regressive – even radical.
In their anti-government and tax-cutting policies, they seek to take the US back in time to the 1920s, where there were no social safety nets, labor laws or unemployment insurance.
At their core, they are an angry white minority mostly from rural areas in former Confederate states.
Unlike moderate Republicans, they’ve shown a willingness to be extreme and uncompromising – as evidenced by their role in the 2013 government shutdown – willing to go ahead at any cost.
The Tea Party stands out amongst other Republican groups for their specific beliefs: They’re twice as likely as other GOPers for believing that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances or that gay marriage should be strictly forbidden.
It’s clear that the populist Tea Party movement is regressive, radical and very dangerous.
It’s easy to rally behind their cause but when it comes down to it, you have to wonder what good is coming from stripping away all of your hard-earned rights?
Social Darwinism: How The Regressive Right Wants To Return To A Crueler America
The Tea Party has a very characteristic stance on social services.
In essence, they believe that individuals should take full responsibility for themselves and that the government should do as little as possible out of respect for individual freedom.
This stance is reflected in their political views about healthcare, among other things.
In its essence, it is a call to return to an environment much like life during the prehistory era – where individuals were on their own when it came to surviving and thriving.
This worldview follows Social Darwinism which states that only those who are fit will survive and progress under a free market system without any social class obligation between them.
Ron Paul’s response in 2011 to how he would handle a young patient without health insurance was a testament to this ideology – “That’s what freedom is all about: taking your own risks.” In short, if he died, it would have been his own fault – as perceived by Social Darwinists.
The harshness of his philosophy implies an idea more closely resembling life during prehistory rather than modern times.
Take Action And Speak Out: A Call To Remember The Power Of Your Voice And Passion For Change
If we want to make positive change, it’s essential that we all become active citizens and engage in politics.
The Tea Party has gained power in Washington by utilizing their vast resources as well as their strong organizational skills.
We need to counter this by getting involved and pushing the politicians to do the right things.
Roosevelt once said: “Ma’am, I want to do those things, but you must make me”.
He knew that it was up to us – the citizens – to take action and hold our leaders accountable for the betterment of society.
But we have to work together and form a powerful movement!
We won’t be able to accomplish anything on our own.
To do this, we must go beyond simply talking with people who share our views and reach out to those on the opposing side.
This can help build understanding between political perspectives, which is critical in order for us all to agree on what’s best for everyone – not just a select few groups or individuals.
Examples such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela show us that individual passion can create ripples of change if enough people unite in a common cause.
Progressing Towards A More Equitable Society – Taking Action To Ensure The Rich Pay Their Fair Share And Invest In Public Goods
We can make positive changes in our society by increasing taxes for the wealthy.
It’s simply unfair that those with the most money pay a lower income tax rate than those who have less.
We should be expecting them to contribute more to society instead of taking advantage of capital gains tax loopholes.
The richest 400 Americans currently pay lessincome tax than most middle-class workers, which is unacceptable and must be addressed.
It’s time we restored the same income tax rate as was done in the 1950s and 1960s – 70% on incomes over one million dollars – to give everyone a fairer chance.
In addition, we could levy an asset surtax of two percent on the wealthiest 0.5 percent of Americans who have more than $7.2 million in wealth, generating around $70 billion dollars per year, depending on their investments.
The final message of Beyond Outrage is clear: the political and economic game in America is rigged against the middle class.
Big corporations and right-wing groups have taken hold of the government, leaving everyday American citizens without a voice.
To combat this, we need to embrace a positive attitude that puts emphasis on policy initiatives that lay down new ground rules for fair economic progress.
We must encourage our leaders to take into account what will benefit all Americans, not just corporate interests.
By taking a stand and demanding change, we can make sure that the American economy works for everyone.