Archive for the ‘Voting’ Category

Inequality for All: The Republican Goal

Monday, September 8th, 2014

people1As inequalities increase in America over the next couple of decades, life for some will become bleak. Income inequality is just one aspect of the fight for inequality for all. It extends into inequality in education, healthcare, voting, wages, women’s rights and sexual orientation. If the Republicans have their way, the top 1% would control everything and everyone. The Koch Brothers would literally own much of the country, deciding on your kids’ education, your families’ healthcare and your future.

If these inequalities become the normal way of life in America, these actions will create an austere country in which the American Dream will be dead. It would be replaced by long work hours for little pay. No chance of advancement. Owning a home or sending your child to college would no longer be an option for most.

Free elections encouraging everyone to vote would be a memory, instead reverting to the days when only white, male landowners could vote. Originally, the U.S. Constitution did not define who was eligible to vote, allowing each state to make that determination. In the early history of U.S., most states allowed only Caucasian males—who either owned property or, had taxable incomes—to vote.[1]

With fewer well care programs and healthcare services available, people’s lifespan would decrease. More diseases would infect the previously healthy society, and slum conditions would spread contaminated conditions resembling third world countries.

How did we get to this point?

Elected officials and corporate CEOS need to realize that massive inequalities have consequences. By lowering taxes on the wealthy, not closing corporate loopholes, and allowing corporations to avoid paying taxes, government revenues will be depleted and government services will no longer be available.

Do we want to live in a country where there are inadequately staffed police and fire departments that aren’t able to control crime or destructive fires? Where libraries vanish, national and state parks become extinct and schools decline…a place where former middle-class neighborhoods, as well as shantytowns, become dilapidated.

The loss of the tax base will partially be caused by tax inversion schemes allowing companies to locate their headquarters in foreign countries to avoid taxes while enjoying the benefits of America. Today, one in four companies pays no taxes. Additionally, many large profitable corporations, such as GE, not only don’t pay taxes, but they actually get subsidies paid to them…with your tax dollars.

Business taxes now make up less than 10 percent of federal revenue, and in some years as little as 6.6 percent. That is sharply down from the years after World War II, when about 30 percent of federal revenue came from corporate taxes… Only 6 percent of businesses are traditional corporations subject to the corporate income tax, according to the Congressional Research Service. That is down from 17 percent in 1980. The result is that less than half of the government’s business income comes from corporations, down from about 80 percent in 1980.[2]

Between 1979 and 2010, real median income of 99 percent of Americans increased by a lowly 36 percent. During the same period, real earnings of the top 1 percent grew by an astonishing 280 percent. One-quarter of income growth in the United States from 1979 to 2010 flowed to the top 1 percent.

As the Republicans continue their war on labor, negotiating for better wages and conditions is eluding most workers. Higher salaries and benefits are flooding to executives, while workers, who are losing their unions and bargaining strength, are barely able to pay their mortgages.

As corporate executives bask in their wealth, they are failing to realize that without the multitude able to buy their products, their companies will falter. The stock market will eventually realize that sales are dropping, which will trigger a downward spiral to oblivion.

With nothing being spent on crumbling infrastructure, it becomes difficult to get from home to work to entertainment venues. Without roads and money, not enough people are buying automobiles, tires, batteries and gas. The automotive industry will collapse, and with it many other industries.

Inequality in income, education and personal freedoms will destroy America if it continues at its current pace. Republicans are fostering inequality in wages for women when they don’t support equal pay for equal work legislation. They are bankrupting the country when they don’t raise minimum wages so laborers can earn a living. As more and more Republican governors take funds from school budgets, schools are closing and textbooks are limited resulting in only the elite getting a world-class education.

Yet the so-called fiscally responsible Republicans have no problem spending money to send Americans to war, but they don’t want to take care of them or help them find work when they return. Showing no biases, they continue their stand on inequalities for all, including our wounded warriors.

Climate change is a scientific fact, but not to the far right. Legislation to help protect our planet and preserve it for our children is overridden by those who support big oil, drilling and fracking everywhere. Not concerned with tainting the water that nourishes crops and cattle, or annihilating a rural communities’ water supply, their only concern is feeding the big oil industry with more drilling. Inequality for many, oil profits for a few.

By continuing to cater to the rich who don’t want to impose reasonable regulations on Wall Street, Republicans continue to propel the injustices of the past. The corruption and the fraud that made the rich richer and collapsed our economy continues to be unrestrained. The lack of proper financial and labor regulations are two major reasons inequality is growing in America, not by small steps, but by leaps and bounds. Those people who were able to invest in the stock market the last five years, saw unprecedented profits; those who couldn’t, continue to struggle.

As the president works to level some of these inequities, the Republican Party threatens another costly government shutdown or wasting time and precious resources suing or impeaching Obama. Americans need to vote in 2014 to make sure these disastrous scenarios don’t come to pass.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_rights_in_the_United_States

[2]http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/businesses-find-ways-to-avoid-corporate-taxes-but-a-fix-seems-unlikely/

Sidebar

Top 10 Corporations with Inequality Income Disparities

McDonald’s average hourly worker wage: $7.73
McDonald’s CEO hourly compensation: $9,247 (1,196 times the average worker wage)

Starbuck’s average hourly worker wage: $8.79
Starbucks CEO hourly compensation: $9,637 (1,096 times the average worker wage)

Dollar General average hourly worker wage: $7.67
Dollar General CEO’s hourly compensation: $7,720 (1,007 times the average worker wage)

Gap Inc. average hourly worker wage: $8.67
Gap Inc. CEO’s hourly compensation: $8,209 (947 times the average worker wage)

T. J. Maxx average hourly worker wage: $7.85
T. J. Maxx CEO’s hourly compensation: $7,256 (924 times the average worker wage)

Target average hourly worker wage: $8.35
Target CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,882 (824 times the average worker wage)

Walmart average hourly worker wage: $8.86
Walmart CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,898 (779 times the average worker wage)

CVS Caremark average hourly worker wage: $8.81
CVS Caremark CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,777 (769 times the average worker wage)

Best Buy average hourly worker wage: $9.78
Best Buy CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,517 (666 times the average worker wage)

AT&T average hourly worker wage: $13.28
AT&T CEO’s hourly compensation: $7,412 (558 times the wage of an average worker)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2013/1212/CEO-vs.-worker-pay-Walmart-McDonald-s-and-eight-other-firms-with-biggest-gaps/Best-Buy

Study by NerdWallet

If you don’t vote, you get what you deserve

Monday, June 30th, 2014

vote2Have you ever thought…my vote doesn’t matter so why hassle with it? Or, decide not to vote because you didn’t want to wait in line or drive to your designated polling location? Have you ever chosen not to vote, but then found yourself getting angry about the course of action an elected official took? It is crucial for everyone to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot…even in midterm elections like the one coming up in November.

After all the ballots are counted, someone is going to win whether you take part or not.

The Midterms Elections typically have small turnouts, but this November needs to be different if Democrats want to keep the Senate and make a substantial move in the House. To accomplish that goal, everyone will need to put the excuses aside and vote. Citizens, whether Republicans, Democrats or Independents, all have much to gain by voting for politicians who are interested in the good of the country: interested in working together, listening to each other and compromising. So, take a stand, get involved and go to the polls to choose the candidate that best represents you and your interests.

If you are part of the LGBT community or support marriage equality, make sure you know where your candidate and their party stand on equality issues. Did you know that a draft of the Texas Republican Party’s platform cuts language claiming homosexuality “tears at the fabric of society” but recognizes the “legitimacy” of so-called reparative therapy to “escape from the homosexual lifestyle?” Did you know that the Texas GOP’s stand could become the national GOP stand? If you are a Log Cabin Republican, please explain to me how you can support both the GOP and your partner.

If you are a woman, please enlighten me on how you vote for a party that wants to control your life in the bedroom and the office? How do you vote for a party that didn’t support the Violence Against Women Act? The GOP wants to take away your right to choose the best course of action for your body, doesn’t want to pay you an equal wage for equal work, wants to cut food stamps to the needy and won’t assist you if a violent crime is committed against you. While you may be pro-life, do you support extremists who think abortion should be banned even in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life? If you are opposed to abortion, are you also opposed to contraception, welfare, and unwed teenage mothers? When you vote, remember that the Republicans closed Planned Parenthood in many states, limiting options for many women, especially in rural areas, for mammograms and other medical care.

Are you interested in good health insurance for you as well as others? Did you know that almost all the red states turned down the Medicaid expansion, costing these states billions in federal dollars, reducing healthcare and costing jobs for thousands? Taxpayers in red states do pay into the system, but unfortunately all the benefits of the Medicaid expansion go to blue states.

Despite the Republicans attempts to repeal the ACA 50+ times and turning down the Medicaid expansion, the latest jobs report suggests that the broader economy—and the healthcare sector, specifically—are adding jobs at a brisk rate. Since March 2010, when the ACA was signed, the healthcare industry has added nearly a million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.*

If you are a minority citizen, an immigrant or a person who embraces diversity, do you realize that the Republican Platform does not support immigration reform? In addition, the GOP is actually taking steps to make it more difficult for minorities to vote and earn a living wage. I believe if African Americans and Hispanics do not come out to vote this November, the clock could be turned back to the era of Jim Crow laws or worse.

Veterans have historically voted Republican. Have you noticed that the GOP, however, is more interested in sending our soldiers to war than taking care of them when they return? Consider the Republican view on benefits, homelessness and job creation once our heroes come back home.

If you drive a car, have a house, or own a business, do you ever consider alternative energy sources or the cost of oil? Democrats support the research and development of alternative energy rather than depending on foreign oil. The United States’ own resources along with wind and solar can solve our energy problems if we invest in that technology and it would create good jobs at home.

If you are part of the working class, and tired of struggling to make ends meet, are you coming out to vote for the candidate that represents you and your best interest? Republicans continue to deny workers a living wage, healthcare and a safe working environment. Did you know that most Congressional members are millionaires? How can the GOP choose to deny an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for average Americans?

When did America become an oligarchy or plutocracy, rather than a democratic republic? When did what Citizen’s United, the Koch Brothers and the NRA want mean more to Congress than what their constituents who voted them into office want? Maybe it’s time to vote these opportunists and obstructionist out, and vote for candidates who care about rebuilding the middle class, generating jobs and creating a prosperous, healthy country.

When did a majority mean that one person, like John Boehner or Ted Cruz could completely stop our government from functioning, even though the majority of Congress and the American people want them to work together and get things done? Why does it now take 60 votes for a majority in the Senate rather than 51?

Americans should stop accepting the status quo and begin to demand answers to these questions. They should come out this November and vote for candidates that represent their values and their best interest. The far right extremists are well organized and will turn out the vote…the good news is they are a minority. If Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans vote in 2014, we can win and start making a difference!

* http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/06/1304959/-Obamacare-a-job-killer-No?detail=email#

Why I’m no longer a Republican

Friday, June 13th, 2014

donkeyandelephant

In 1988 when I voted for George H. W. Bush for president, there was nothing unusual about it. From the time I turned 21, I had always voted Republican. But, after he broke his promise not to raise taxes and the country was in the midst of a recession, I reconsidered my position in 1992.

As Bush floundered, the brilliant and charismatic campaign and message of William Jefferson Clinton hit the scene and I voted for my first Democrat.

During the next eight years, I watched how President Clinton oversaw the longest peacetime economic expansion in our history; how the nation enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate in decades; how the home ownership rate grew to the highest it’s ever been in the country’s history; how he improved economic equality that led to a strong economy and a surplus federal budget. Though his tenure was plagued with scandals and impeachment, it is important to remember, he was acquitted of all charges.

In 1996, I still didn’t consider myself a Democrat, even though I voted to reelect Clinton. I was an Independent who voted for the best person. But, when the Republican Party nominated George W. Bush in 2000…I began to think of myself as a Democrat.

Living in Texas, I saw Bush’s policies and ignorance first hand. I could foresee many problems the country would face if he was elected and, unfortunately, he didn’t prove me wrong. Against strong counsel from his own financial advisors, he cut taxes while starting two wars; something no other president had ever done. These decisions began the immeasurable damage to our country that would take decades to recover from.

He took a substantial surplus, and turned it into a huge deficit; he changed America’s standing in the world, by trying to force his views on other cultures; he chose to invade Iraq first, rather than Afghanistan, allowing Osama bin Laden to continue his reign of terrorism for years; he destabilized the Middle East which led to more insurgents. Bush and Cheney did not listen to Americans or our Allies and millions of lives were lost.

As the neocons continually promote just one more war to spread democracy, I believe we should fix America’s democracy first before we try to change the cultures of other countries to mirror our own.

Near the end of Bush’s disastrous two-term Presidency, it was an easy decision for me to vote for Obama over McCain. But, it was the creation of the Tea Party facet of the Republican Party in 2010 that turned me into a loyal Democrat, rather than an Independent. I don’t feel I abandoned the Republican Party but, I do feel the Republican Party abandoned me. Their emerging views on government, religion, women’s rights, workers’ rights, income inequality, violence against women, equal pay for women, minorities’ voting rights, made me move away from these radical ideologues as quickly as possible.

In 2014, the Republican Party is now split between the old GOP idealists and the new GOP obstructionists; between those who know their message is losing voters and want to change it and, those who would rather suppress and buy the vote, than change the message. The GOP no longer stands for Grand Old Party, but for Greedy Old Plutocrats.

Democrats must rally their base. There are many smart and educated Republicans who believe their Party’s lies, support their Party’s positions and who will come out to vote Republican at any cost. In America that is their prerogative. But, it is up to the rest of us to make sure these extremists are defeated in 2014, in 2016 and beyond. It is critical to this country’s future, maybe more than any other election in our history that you vote in November. Choosing not to vote because you think your vote doesn’t matter is just plain wrong. I worry that if people do not stand up for what they believe in, and vote, then our future right to vote may vanish.

I support the Democratic message because I’m for job creation, rather than obstructionism. I support healthcare for all, rather than repealing the ACA with no alternative plan. I think we should keep the safety net for those who need it and have paid into it all their lives. I support Social Security, and believe the system could be solvent for years if the income cap was removed and people paid into the system for every pay check they received. And unlike many Republican Governors, I also support Medicaid expansion which saves lives, adds billions in federal funds, and creates jobs.

I’m for keeping America safe and strong, but not for sending Americans into harm’s way when it isn’t necessary. I’m for helping veterans when they return from serving our country, rather than cutting their benefits. I’m for lowering Congressional pay and perks, so that elected officials’ jobs aren’t about becoming millionaires, but rather are about their responsibility to serve their constituents and their country.

I believe in food stamps for the hungry, but not subsidies to big agricultural firms. I believe in healthy school lunches for our children, but not Republican supported junk food lobbyists. I believe in putting people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and bridges, rather than blocking the vote on job development, and asking “where are the jobs?” I believe in energy independence, but not at a cost to our society and way of life. I believe we should do something about man-made climate change, not deny it exists. I believe we should leave America, and the planet, a better place for my kids and my grandkids, rather than a worse place.

I’m for easy to vote elections, rather than designing restrictions that make it harder for minorities, the poor and the elderly to vote. I’m for term limits for all elected officials, rather than lifetime politicians. In other words, I’m for democracy…a democracy that is quickly diminishing under the current Republican leadership.

War…The Cry of the Republicans

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

elephantWhether it is Iraq, women, the poor, the elderly, college students, healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), public education, the post office, hardworking Americans or voters…Republicans are shouting for war. Unlike our forefathers, they are not fighting for democracy and equal rights, but rather for a plutocracy.

Four decades after Roe v Wade was decided, the Republicans continue to argue against women’s rights to control their own bodies. The party advocates against women having abortions under any circumstance, but don’t want to provide any assistance to help raise the children. They want to disallow coverage of birth control by insurance companies under the ACA, while allowing them to cover the cost of Viagra.

In addition, Republican governors in 20 states refused billions of dollars from the federal government, preventing millions of eligible people from receiving healthcare, while Congress and state officials enjoy premium healthcare benefits at taxpayers’ expense.

On another front, they fight to defeat any jobs bills that would help lower unemployment, but vote against extending unemployment benefits, school lunch programs and food stamps leaving the hungry without basic nutritional needs.

Republicans are constantly talking about the “takers” and the “makers” by pointing to people on Social Security and Medicare (both of which were paid into by recipients). In reality, congressional members are the “takers”…not the elderly, disabled, veterans or hardworking Americans. With salaries beginning at $174,000, this Congress chooses vacations over work. Even when in session, they spend taxpayer dollars trying to repeal the ACA more than 50 times, rename 60 post offices, and look for nonexistent scandals.

They continue to attack the basic right of everyone to vote. Rather than helping insure this right, they are passing state laws aimed at discriminating against students, the elderly, the poor, women and minorities. Republican state legislators’ have slashed the number of early voting days and hours creating reductions that include nights and weekends. The reduced time directly affects working class Americans and infringes on their ability to vote. In addition, many are requiring special photo IDs to combat nonexistent fraud. This law is the real voter fraud, and is being challenged in court as unconstitutional.

The Republican war on minorities, especially African American males, is evidenced in our prison system. After privatizing a number of the prisons, the population of minorities incarcerated for minor crimes has skyrocketed. Increases in prisoners multiplied by the tax dollars given per inmate equals a substantial profit for those people who invested in the prison system. Privatization of our jails is not aimed at justice or rehabilitation, but revenue.

In addition to the jails, the Republicans are trying to bankrupt the U.S. Postal Service, which was a standalone, profitable government entity, by taking unprecedented funds from it. They want to privatize it so that postal rates and delivery are no longer for the people, but by and for the greedy.

The education budget is another combat zone. From Pell Grants to research and development dollars, Republicans think appropriating some of the allocated money to for-profit charter schools, that can hand-pick the students they want, is how taxpayer money should be spent.

As they wage war to cut spending, the cutbacks disproportionately affect the poor, middle class and small businesses, while giving enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. The Ryan Budgets of 2012, 2013 and 2014 trim only from safety net programs, but provide large funds for oil and gas subsidies, farm subsidies to the biggest agricultural corporations and insane amounts of money for defense. They continue the battle cry for war…in Syria, Iran, Ukraine…who knows what land will be next.

Republicans continue to diminish our rights and ensure that average Americans’ freedoms aren’t there. When you stand up and sing The Star Spangled Banner words, “Oh, say does that star-spangle banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” The answer is no, it doesn’t. It waves over the land of the impoverished and the home of the wealthy.