People love lists. Forbes publishes a list of the wealthiest Americans each year — and I was staggered at how little the results surprised me. The worst kept secret in America today, is that the rich keep getting richer, while their Republican and TEA Party representatives in the House and Senate block everything from minimum wage increases, fair pay for women, student loan modification and small business tax relief (yes, it’s true).
They also stopped legislation that would give employers tax breaks for bringing overseas jobs BACK to America, federal grants that would help states rehire teachers, cops and firefighters, legislation to repeal subsidies for big oil companies and (because it worked so well the first time), they blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act (again).
Along the way, they’ve also blocked efforts to stop the flow of unlimited money pouring into our political process, AND bills designed to force “corporations, super PACs, labor unions, and other groups to disclose donors who give in excess of $10,000 for political contributions.” They killed the bill designed to repeal loopholes in the IRS code, too — so millionaires would pay a 30% minimum tax. So not only is it difficult to tell WHEN they’re lying to you — there’s a torrent of political ads flooding media — you don’t even get to know WHO it is that might benefit from swaying your vote.
The usual suspects made Forbes’ list: David and Charles Koch are now worth, collectively, $85.8 billion (which puts into perspective the estimated $250-300 million they’ll spend influencing the 2014 midterm elections). The Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart money are on the list, too. In a separate report, Forbes found “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing.” Think about that the next time a conservative friend reminds you they’re “America’s largest employer.”
The combined net worth of the 400 most affluent families in America stands at TWO and ONE-QUARTER TRILLION DOLLARS; last year they only “made” an additional $270 billion to divvy up. It’s high time we disabuse our friends and relatives of the notion that “job creators” are ever going to allow anything to trickle-down, without us punching a hole in the bucket.
With dark money contributions to political campaigns shielded from public view, it’s sometimes difficult to know who is pulling which politician’s strings. The old ways are usually best; just ask yourself, “cui bono?” Who benefits? It sure isn’t you or me. VOTE.