by David T. Bruce
As the presidential election year looms over the political horizon, President Obama finally has something to say during the most recent State of the Union Address about income disparity in our country, as if the debate about the income gap and tax liability were new. Most of us have devastatingly realized that the thirty-year economic experiment in this country has proven that Reaganomics works only for those citizens and companies that enjoy wealth and the power to augment that wealth. No one in this country who has lost a job, lost a home, and struggled to get by during this perpetual recession is oblivious to the fact that it takes money to make money, and for those who do not have money, striving to break even is a way of life. This is the reality of the American Dream, and this reality is unlikely to change any time soon. During the battle to remain in power or obtain power, our elected officials choose now to acknowledge a problem that has been inherent in our capitalist society for many decades.
Republicans and Democrats posture and politic as they draw lines in the sand and point fingers across the aisle, each blaming the other for dividing the country and building a national debt in excess of $15 trillion. These are the same leaders who enjoy a lifestyle at the expense of their constituents, a truth made painfully clear to American citizens now aware of Mr. Romney’s wealth and associated tax burden. This not only highlights the disparity in income and tax liability between “the haves” and “the have-nots” in this country, but it also highlights how brutally out of touch our elected leaders are with the majority of the American public. How can leaders argue on the behalf of a demographic of which they have no understanding? How can we believe that our leaders will lobby to balance the country’s tax burden in favor of the lower- and middle-class when doing so would obviously raise their tax burden?
Burden: “something that is carried, something oppressive or worrisome.”
We are told by President Obama that the country is on the mend; we are told that the economy is bouncing back. Please do not insult our intelligence. According to GasBuddy, the median price for gas in 2012 is forecast to reach $3.95. The USDA has projected that food prices will increase overall 2.5% to 3.5%. An “alternative economic forecast” released by researchers in the White House suggest “an unemployment rate of 9% in 2012. These are not realities that suggest the country is mending or is bouncing back. Those that live and thrive on Capitol Hill, those that are voted into office by their constituents do not want for food, healthcare, education, or a future. Those that live and thrive on Capitol Hill have no idea what “burden” is. They have created an economic disparity by their ignorance, their indifference, and their arrogance.
This is indeed class warfare, a battle that has been waged for centuries between “the haves” and “the have-nots.” The malicious intent of the 1% – the “Mitt Romney’s” and the corporate “Goliath’s” of America – , however, is to convince those who have a bit more than “the have-nots” that those who have the least in the United States are trying to take away what they have earned. In truth, the argument is that the tax system is structured as such that the “Mitt Romney’s” can conceivably pay less tax by percentage than those that earn minimum wage. Major industries can relocate to foreign lands to avoid paying United States taxes. The wealthiest citizens and companies of the United States need to pay their fair share. This has nothing to do with Republican, Democrat, or American values. This has everything to do with human values, and the majority of our elected officials value the citizens of the United States as humans only once every two or four years. Beyond that, we are as insignificant as the pointless posturing and “policy prescriptions” presented as a way to placate a populace that is sick to death of the endless pandering by leaders who could not care less about our burden.