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Does Anyone Have an Actual Plan for America's Middle Class?


Jul 19, 2011
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Lost in the screeching over paper losses on fake assets backed by fiat money (or, more charitably named, "the stock market") is the reality that the United States middle class is on the verge of collapsing and disappearing.

The end of the middle class has been a long time coming. Reagan started it with his budget-busting tax cuts, ridiculous defense spending increases, and the unregulating corporations and the banking cartel that fuels them. Clinton did his part, signing off on free trade agreements like NAFTA, which oddly enough did not offer "free trade" at all. Bush completed the circle with tax giveaways to billionaires and the beginnings of privatizing our very social contract — the epitome of fascism, if you will.

So, naturally, Americans rise up and vote for Captain Hopey Change for president, and he doesn't disappoint...the bankers. They break the economy and get a giant bailout. The bailout taxes our economy to where some jackals can claim we can't pay Social Security, and, well, the old people don't get a bailout. They were not too big to fail, it seems.
By all accounts, Americans are getting tired of this. The Tea Party, however wrong-headed their policies are (and I think they are way off base), have at least given voice to the idea that someone needs to pay attention to Middle America. At least, that's how the Tea Party started off. Now it's just another arm of the Republican Party — despite official protests from within the movement. In any case, they identified the problem: the doomed and depressed middle class. Has anyone offered solutions to fix that?

I found one group that has. They call themselves "Rebuild the Dream". You can find their group here and their political platform here.

What do they believe? "We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice. . . for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity, and give their kids a better life. Every one of us – rich, poor, or in-between, regardless of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender – has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill – but only by working together."
Their political platform is ten simple ideas. Reading through them, it's hard to see why anyone (outside of partisan Washington, of course) would find issue with these ten ideas. Let's look at them, one at a time.

Invest in America's Infrastructure:

"Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit. We must invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. To help finance these projects, we need national and state infrastructure banks."

Create 21st Century Energy Jobs:

"We should invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And we should put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy."

Invest in Public Education:

"We should provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. A high-quality education system, from universal preschool to vocational training and affordable higher education, is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now."

Offer Medicare for All:

"We should expand Medicare so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a good start and we must implement it -- but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country -- paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results."

Make Work Pay:

"Americans have a right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights bring down wages and benefits for all of us. They must be outlawed."

Secure Social Security:

"Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us."

Return to Fairer Tax Rates:

"End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us -- or our kids -- must pay eventually. Also, we must outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. Lastly, with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, we should add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million each year."

End the Wars and Invest at Home:

"Our troops have done everything that's been asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs here. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America."

Tax Wall Street Speculation:

"A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trading," and outrageous bankers' bonuses -- and we'd have a lot more money to spend on Main Street job creation."

Strengthen Democracy:

"We need clean, fair elections -- where no one's right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn't buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C., and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary's respect for the Constitution. Together, we will reclaim our democracy to get our country back on track."

I know, I know. Controversial stuff, right? Make it so corporations can't subvert democracy by buying elections, save money for everyone by putting health care under one payment plan, keep wall street from speculating the economy into disaster, make rich people pay slightly more in taxes.

I'm sure the GOP will have a fit over the idea that rich people should have to pay a little more in taxes in exchange for old people not having to survive on cat food. If previous stories are an indication, the email responses I get today should be interesting, to say the least!

Source: Benzinga

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