Assault on the Working Poor

billionaires

I wonder whether the Republican Party is deliberately sabotaging America’s working poor in order to create an even more vulnerable underclass.

First, consider Paul Ryan’s budget.  It would slash billions from welfare programs and offer the rich even more generous tax breaks. It would also privatize Medicare, funneling more money to rich corporations. It would undoubtedly widen the already obscene gap between rich and poor, leaving a permanent underclass at the mercy of an almighty elite.

Then, there’s the blockade of the President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage. If ever a proposal made sense, this is it.  The way it is now, low-wage employers are, in effect, subsidized by the government. Walmart, for example, saves an estimated $6.2 billion annually by paying employees so little that many of them rely on food stamps and other taxpayer-funded programs to survive.

By requiring these employers to pay more reasonable wages, the government could ease the pressure on the welfare system and reduce the national deficit. But that’s not what Republicans seem to want. While lamenting the rising cost of government and professing a desire to shrink the federal budget, they actively oppose programs that would help achieve those goals.

Republicans in Congress are also blocking help for the long-term unemployed whose benefits have expired, adding millions of Americans to the ranks of the destitute.

Meanwhile, across the country, Republican controlled legislatures are enacting union-busting laws, depriving workers of the right to bargain for decent wages.

It’s no secret that Republicans oppose welfare on principle – except corporate welfare, which they vigorously defend. But the party’s current policies seem to go beyond mere ideology. These policies, taken together, would reduce the standard of living for the vast majority of American workers, eventually leaving conditions in America on a par with the sweatshop economies in Asian countries.

The benefit to the corporate elite would be enormous. With a pool of desperate job seekers to exploit right here at home, their profits would soar.

When you consider the billions of dollars being invested in “conservative” crusades by people like the Koch Brothers, the Waltons and Sheldon Adelson, you have to wonder what’s in it for them. These are shrewd businessmen. They didn’t become billionaires by wasting money on ideological pipe dreams.

Of course, there are complex factors at work in American politics. The Kochs, for example, are eager to avoid financial penalties for their pollution practices. And Adelson has a Zionist agenda to promote.

But. when you consider the think tanks, the college endowments, the charter schools, the astroturf organizations and the myriad other  initiatives funded by right-wing billionaires, you have to conclude that their real goal must be financial.

Creation of a system of serfdom in America would make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Click for more on the minimum wage issue.

Click for how Walmart benefits from food stamps.

Click for the Waltons’  crusade to privatize education.

Click to read about billionaires in politics.