It’s a movement that is growing by the minute. Millions of Americans across the nation have decided that now is the time to revolt against the greed of Wall Street. In cities all around the country, Americans are holding their own ‘Occupy Together’ protests to revolt against the super wealthy and super greedy top 1% for taking over the government and stealing hundreds of billions of dollars from the people.
As these millions of Americans exercise their right to peacefully protest to demand economic fairness in the United States, I’m reminded of President John F. Kennedy’s famous call to the American public to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
This is a dire time in America. Wall Street, the big banks, corporations, and the wealthiest among us are bringing in trillions of dollars. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are unemployed, can’t pay their bills, can’t feed their children, are losing their homes, and can’t find good jobs that pay living wages. Americans are struggling to survive on a daily basis while the wealthy in this country live lives of opulence.
Americans are desperate for their government to take action on their behalf but the Republican Party has turned Congress into a defunct body. They simply refuse to take action to bring jobs and living wages to the people who need them. Instead, Republicans in Congress have catered to the wealthy and corporations. They have allowed corporations to outsource millions of jobs. Entire industries have been shipped overseas and American workers have paid a heavy price. Even the conservative leaning US Chamber of Commerce fully supports the outsourcing of American jobs to cheap labor overseas.
The great financial institutions of this nation have blindly robbed the poor and the middle class. After bringing the economy to near ruin in 2008, the big banks were saved with billions of taxpayer dollars. America was very close to experiencing a second Great Depression, yet the banks still want less regulation and more money. They want to gamble with our hard earned money and if they lose, it’s on our dime. This was the way it was before the Great Depression and America was lucky to elect a President who then enacted strict regulations on the financial sector. These regulations worked perfectly for decades, and then Republicans slowly began to dismantle these crucial protections. Now the banks are poorly regulated and again it is the American people who have paid the price.
Americans have had to sit and watch as corporations were granted personhood and unbridled power to finance elections. They have had to sit and watch as tax rates on the wealthy get lower and lower. They have watched as big business and Republican politicians tear apart critical programs that Americans need, such as health care, food stamps, heating assistance, and several more. They are trying to eliminate all regulations and want to repeal child labor laws and the minimum wage. And now, Wall Street and their Republican allies seek to destroy Medicare and privatize Social Security so it too can be gambled away.
For too long, the wealthy and corporations have had all the breaks. And those breaks have caused such an imbalance in our economy that it now threatens our democracy and way of life. Take for example this information.
Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
2010 . . . 8.9%
Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of GDP
2010 . . . 1.3%
Individual Income/Payrolls as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
2010 . . . 81.5%
As you can see, corporate taxes have gone down to the point where the rest of us have a much heavier tax burden. Corporations are clearly no longer playing their part in funding the government, unless you count the money they’ve used to pad the pockets of their Republican allies in Congress. Many corporations, in fact, don’t pay any taxes at all. Corporations like GE, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Boeing, and many others have not paid a dime of income taxes for years. That means the government hasn’t been properly funded which gives Republicans an excuse to kill programs like education and health care that Americans really need. But that’s not all. Did you know that the average CEO to worker pay ratio in America is the worst in the world? In the US, the pay ratio of CEOs and the average worker is 475:1. Most nations in Europe fall under the 20:1 range and Japan has the best ratio at 11:1. Venezuela is 50:1 and Mexico is 47:1. So we are the most unequal economy in the world. It is also undeniable that there is a strong connection between recession, corporate greed, and Republican presidencies.
Eight of the last nine recessions have been under Republican presidents.
Democratic presidents create 2 times as many jobs per year as Republican presidents. Republican presidents’ deficits are 3 times higher than Democrats’ and 2 times higher as a percent of GDP. The economy grows 41% faster under Democratic presidents and businesses invest 3 times as much under Democratic presidents. Those are revealing statistics.
The last three decades have been all about greed and decadence. We have allowed corporations and the wealthy to infest government and use the American people as slaves. Because of that, 15% of Americans are on food stamps. That is 1 in 7 Americans. That is 46 million residents of this country and another 50 million that are without health insurance. Here are the last statistics you need to see, and this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the wealthy haven’t been sharing in the sacrifice.
Tax rates on the top tax bracket:
2008 Great Recession
2011 “Effective ” tax rate–17% and still declining.
2012 Great Depression II?
There is a dangerous pattern in these statistics. As taxes on the wealthy get lower, our economy slips further toward certain economic disaster. It is no coincidence that our greatest economic power came in decades when the wealthy paid higher tax rates. We must raise the tax rate on the wealthy to those levels.
Americans must stand up and fight back. It is our sacred patriotic duty to do so. The moneyed interests in this country think they have squashed us. They think they OWN us. What they fail to realize is that ‘we the people’ can shut this country down if we so choose. And that will do serious harm to their bottom line. Unions are joining the ‘Occupy’ movement. Steelworkers, teachers, nurses, transportation, and countless other unions are taking a stand. In addition, college students are walking out of classes to occupy their campuses in solidarity with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters. The only people defending the greedy Wall Street barons are the Republicans and the NYPD. America has reached the tipping point and we are not going to take it anymore. Every patriotic American should take part in the ‘Occupy Together’ movement. This could be our last chance to revive democracy in America. If this movement fails, our republic will fall. This is our revolution. This is our battle cry of freedom. This is our time to fight for the right to affordable education, affordable health care, collective bargaining, clean energy, wealth equality, environmental protection, civil rights, pacifism, religious freedom, corporate accountability, social justice, privacy, jobs, voting rights, and we must stay in the streets for as long as it takes to achieve these goals. ‘Occupy Together’ is what we can do for our country. Rights have never been handed to us. They have always had to be taken, not pleaded for on bended knee. Our children and grandchildren depend on us being victorious. Let us always remember the immortal words of John F. Kennedy and be inspired by them. If enough Americans rise up to take this country back, we can truly make the changes we believe in. And THAT is what America is all about.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
~John F. Kennedy