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Working Americans Hit Hard by Backstabbing Republicans Controlling Congress

By       Message Dan Merica     Permalink
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Warring Republicans

These disloyal Republicans are conspiring with enemy countries waging planned economic war against the United States. Working Americans are expendable cannon fodder in this war in which our economic sustainability and children's futures are at stake. Our global adversaries with the aid of their Republican foreign agents at this point have successfully crumbled the hot economy of the world's former superpower into a 'banana republic' economy.

Today's Republicans are adamant advocates of 'New World Order' one-sided, unenforceable global free trade agreements such as WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA pushed through Congress. These bought-off, cowardly Republicans are eager global corporatists that jump to the crack of the whip of a corporate world that no longer holds any allegiance to the United States and wants to grab it up. As a consequence, foreign firms are free to flood our markets with their subsidized, near-slave-labor made goods with which our industries cannot compete, forcing them to outsource or sell out. Then, the outsiders use the resulting profits to buy up our remaining industries. Even worse, these trade agreements require our government to subsidize foreign companies, already backed by their home countries, to come over here and set up large operations destroying surviving American owned corporations. Ultimately, large numbers of entire strategic U.S. industries have been outsourced and trillions of dollars of strategic U.S. assets have been transferred to foreign control.

Republican leadership has taken us to the state of inescapable near-total dependence on foreign lenders, employers and producers. The United States of America is the only large country in the world to rely on its global competitors to produce its goods and buy up its astronomical, Republican-engendered federal deficit to finance its government and military as well as keeping its economy afloat. Indeed, we are in a precarious predicament that has frightening national security implications.

American Dream Fading

Prospects for working Americans have plummeted since Republicans siding with corporate interests gained a stranglehold on Congress. Wages are stagnant while prices for health care, housing, tuition, gas and food have all soared. There are Americans who work two or three jobs, yet they still are unable to make ends meet. Thirty million American workers, 1 out of every 4, make less than $8.70 an hour, which is not enough to lift a family of four out of poverty. The Conference of Mayors is worried about the growing homelessness and hunger among low-income working families. But, still Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage, despite new research proving it wouldn't at all hurt business or consumers.

Our largest companies that in past years used to be high-wage, unionized industrials are today low-wage, nonunion retailers. Most job growth is now in low-end occupations such as retail, health care, food services, and temp agencies; but they pay 21% less and offer fewer benefits than the good lost jobs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the wealth of the richest one percent has grown 109% from 1983 to 2001, while the bottom two-fifths fell 46%. To make matters worse, new government data shows that Republican tax cuts have shifted the overall tax burden to the middle class from the wealthiest Americans. And, 8 million workers have been robbed of their overtime pay by being reclassified as executives due to new work rules created by Republicans to protect corporate profits.

The U.S. labor picture is dismal. The supply of jobless workers is vast and growing and official government reports are skewed and cover only a small measure of true surplus labor. Furthermore, outsourcing U.S. jobs abroad taps into the surplus labor in near-slave-wage nations to become an effective part of joblessness here. Employers are getting away with paying such low wages because the labor supply is greater than the job market. The Economic Policy Institute says corporate profits have risen by more than 62% while workers' take home pay has dropped by 0.6% and CEO pay has exploded by 27% in one year.

Republican Slanted Priorities

Republicans in Congress blindly pass budget bills that put corporate interests first and working American interests last. In the past year, Republicans gave away $22 billion to HMOs and $14.6 billion to energy companies, which will add trillions of dollars to the record deficit over the next 10 years. On the other hand, they cut $12.7 billion from student aid, $39.7 billion from Medicare over the next five years, $1.6 billion from child support enforcement and $2.2 billion from the Department of Education for 2007. They also cut every job training program in the Department of Labor, and made cuts to social services programs in the Department of Health and Human Services for a total of $45.3 billion for the next five years. Incredibly, Republicans cut funding for appropriated programs for veterans by $6 billion below the level that the CBO estimates is needed to maintain current services as well as increasing their healthcare fees. And, al-Qaeda must be pleased with the Republicans' cut to Homeland Security by $6.1 billion below the present level.

Bush Rubberstamp

Congressional Republicans have grossly shirked their Constitutional duty of serving as a check and balance to the power of the president allowing him to act as if he were above the law. Without debate, they have blindly rushed through the Bush agenda which is typically the same as their own, pro-corporate and anti-worker. At the top of the list, they uncritically went for Bush's lies calling for his war in Iraq. Furthermore, the Republicans seemed to be wearings blinders concerning this war for they have done nothing about the missing billions lost to corruption, no-bid contracts and theft. And, they have ignored widespread prisoner abuse resulting from White House and Pentagon policies, citing critics for aiding terrorism. Don't forget their own members' corruption such as Tom Delay garnering illegal campaign contributions.

Other Bush policies that Republicans rammed through Congress include the bankruptcy reform bill that is a boon to the already enormously profitable credit card industry because it handicaps the ability of indebted folks to file for Chapter 7. They passed into law the Bush/Cheney energy plan that grants billions in tax breaks to the extraordinarily rich oil companies and does almost nothing to cut foreign oil dependence, promote renewable energy and counter global warming. They passed tort reform, limiting litigated payouts to $250,000, even though jury awards account for less than one percent of total health care costs. The Republicans slipped in a highway bill larded with wasteful projects, the Central American Free Trade Agreement throwing still more Americans out of work, a reauthorization of the Patriot Act gutting our Constitution and a telecommunications bill minus 'Net Neutrality' allowing for corporate takeover of the internet.

Vote this November

These Republican laws were bought and paid for by the defense industry, banks, oil companies and other multinational corporations. This November, voters must kick the Republicans out of power in Congress or we will be in danger of losing our democracy and living under total corporate rule.

 

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Dan Merica is a political cartoonist and opinion writer battling the right wing scourge now devastating our country. His work is posted on his website, www.cartoons-political.com.

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