People are losing their jobs, losing their health coverage and losing their homes. Foreclosures and food banks are still making headlines as the United States continues to march along the path to economic disaster.
That’s not really news. Most of the middle class is living the nightmare that was created and managed by very wealthy politicians and businessmen who held out helping hands to each other, to save Wall Street billionaires, banking and financial millionaires and major insurance emperors like those who headed up AIG.
The real news is that the people we elected to straighten the economic ship out, create jobs, cut unemployment, save Social Security, offer medical care to all, not just those with an insurance card – those politicians are at it again. And if their jawing and rhetoric continue, when the bill comes due you won’t see any of them or their rich friends and cronies reaching for their wallets. It will be down to the poorest and the weakest to pony up and pay.
In fact, for the rich, the economic disaster story has a happy ending according to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. At a recent budget hearing he offered some statistics that should make most of us take notice.
Let me repeat a few of thos statistics just so you can’t miss them.
The income of the top 1% of the population tripled since the 1970’s – from 8% to 23%. Since 2007, the average annual income for the 400 wealthiest Americans doubled – from an average of $345 million a year to just under $800 million. Under the Bush administration, this same group of people, the top 400, saw their tax burden cut in half.
Not many people offer plain talk about the current economy, how we got here and who got rich along the way. Senator Sanders does in just over 7 minutes. No slogans, no rhetoric, just facts make the case for balancing the American budget NOT on the backs of the vast majority but equitably.
Listen up. Senator Sanders isn’t talking to you and me; he is talking for us.
There probably won’t be another crash, another “Great Depression” – read Robert Reich’s new book if you don’t believe me. But unless someone in Washington D.C. “grows a set”, stops yakking about the situation and starts making choices that will right the ship, there will be the slow and deliberate unraveling that comes with an economy in decline. And you and I and every person whose income falls below $100,000 a year will pay the price.