The GOP's contract on America
By: Cahir O'Doherty | Published Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 2:37 PM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 10:23 PM
I'm not sure how long it will take or when the American public will decide to admit it, but the country has changed for the worse in the last 25 years.
It's the conversation the GOP doesn't want us to have.
I'm talking about the massive and growing gap between the haves and the have-nots here. In the past decade the richest percentile saw its income grow by a remarkable 17 percent, while in contrast the middle class saw their real income fall.
Thank our tax rates. The richest Americans saw their effective tax rates fall from 30 percent in 1995 to just 17 percent in 2007.
The top one percent of Americans now take home nearly a quarter of all income and own more than 40 percent of the countries wealth (which, ironically enough, is roughly the same amount as the bottom 90 percent).
Who would suggest that's fair? Who would try to tell you the super wealthy are somehow now worth more to the United States than at any point in our history?
For the rich it's really the best of times. In fact, it's an unprecedented gilded age. They're clearly enjoying a record bonanza, but where are all the trickle down jobs that we've been promised?
Did you know that the majority of Americans now support raising taxes on the rich as well as cutting spending to reduce the nation's deficit? Did you know they support a restructuring of America's tax systems to ensure a much more equitable society where each citizen pays their fair share and where high priced accountants can't get you out of your responsibility?
America now ranks below every nation in Europe in terms of income equality. Read that again. Our collapsing infrastructure, our run down highways, the soaring costs of our education and our health care are all symptomatic of much wider crisis: there's an elite class in America that has retreated to its gated communities and need never concern itself with the struggles of the citizens or the nation beyond their well guarded electric fences.
At some point, unintentionally, the contract with America became the contract on America. There's still plenty of profit around, but it's being hoarded, and not invested, as the nation falters.
Why does the GOP not want to talk about this? Surely it's their patriotic duty?