The People Built This

When the GOP says ‘we,’ you know they mean ‘me, me, me’

One of the reasons it’s so easy to forgive the Founders who embraced the prejudice of their time and even wrote it into our founding documents is because of how the first line of the Constitution begins: We the People…

In a time when only white males who owned land were permitted to vote, this was a tremendous nod to the notion that this was a document and a county built to evolve until all people were recognized as equal in their inherent rights.

America’s great vision is a place that invites all to rise up and succeed together. That’s why I love it when the people who want bigotry against gay couples written into the Constitution accuse others of dividing people.

The idea that Democrats are trying to divide the country is a constant Republican complaint, which means they know it’s something Republicans are obviously guilty of. They seek to set workers against their right to bargain, seniors against affordable health care for all Americans, women against their own bodies.

But the Republicans’ disdain for America’s great middle class is their most grievous fault.

Last week at their national convention, they ranted again and again how “WE” built this as if the only people who should decide an election are those who sign a paycheck on the front.

America as we love it was built by the great mass of those who sign both sides of paychecks.  What made this incredible country thrive – with its millions and millions who own homes, pay for their kids education, save for retirement — is by and large the labor movement.

So how does GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor celebrate Labor Day?

No, Mr. Cantor. That’s what we do every other day of the year.

Workers get one day in America. And Republicans even want that. If we, the people, don’t get what’s at the heart of this plot to pit the bosses against the workers, we better get used to living a life where we’re lucky if we get to shop at the company store.

  • kirke123

    The American people are angry. They are angry that they are being forced to live through the worst recession in our lifetimes – with sky-high unemployment, with millions of people losing their homes and their life savings. They are angry that they will not have a decent retirement, that they can’t afford to send their children to college, that they can’t afford health insurance and that, in some cases, they can’t even buy the food they need to adequately feed their families.

    They are angry because they know that this recession was not caused by the middle class and working families of this country. It was not caused by the teachers, firefighters and police officers and their unions who are under attack all over the country. It was not caused by construction workers, factory workers, nurses or childcare workers.

    This recession was caused by the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And, what makes people furious is that Wall Street still has not learned its lessons. Instead of investing in the job-creating productive economy providing affordable loans to small and medium size businesses, the CEOs of the largest financial institutions in this country have created the largest gambling casino in the history of the world.

    Four years ago, after spending billions of dollars to successfully fight for the de-regulation of Wall Street, the CEOs of the big banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and the others, went on a losing streak. The enormous bets they made on worthless, complex, and exotic financial instruments went bad, and they stuck the American people with the bill.

    Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world. But it was not just the $700 billion that Congress approved through the TARP program. As a result of an independent audit that I requested in the Dodd-Frank bill by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided a jaw-dropping $16 trillion in virtually zero interest loans to every major financial institution in this country, large corporations, foreign central banks throughout the world, and some of the wealthiest people in this country.

    And, instead of using this money to provide affordable loans to small businesses, instead of putting this money back into the job-creating productive economy, what have they done? They have gone back to their days of running the largest gambling casino in the world. In other words, they have learned nothing.

    The American people are angry because they see the great middle class of this country collapsing, poverty increasing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else grow wider. They are angry because they see this great country, which so many of our veterans fought for and died for, becoming an oligarchy – a nation where our economic and political life are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.

    In the United States today, we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income since the 1920s. Today, the wealthiest 400 individuals own more wealth than the bottom half of America – 150 million people.

    Today, the six heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune own more wealth than the bottom 30 percent.

    Today, the top one percent own 40 percent of all wealth, while the bottom sixty percent owns less than 2 percent. Incredibly, the bottom 40 percent of all Americans own just 3/10ths of one percent of the wealth of the country.

    According to a new study from the Federal Reserve, median net worth for middle class families dropped by nearly 40 percent from 2007-2010. That’s the equivalent of wiping out 18 years of savings for the average middle class family.

    The distribution of income is even worse. If you can believe it, the last study on this subject showed that in 2010, 93 percent of all new income created from the previous year went to the top one percent, while the bottom 99 percent of people had the privilege of enjoying the remaining 7 percent. In other words, the rich are getting much richer while almost everyone else is falling behind.

    Not only is this inequality of wealth and income morally grotesque, it is bad economic policy. If working families are deeply in debt, and have little or no income to spend on goods and services, how can we expand the economy and create the millions of jobs we desperately need? There is a limit as to how many yachts, mansions, limos and fancy jewelry the super-rich can buy. We need to put income into the hands of working families.
    Labor Day, 2012 http://www.sanders.senate.gov

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robato-Kestrel/100002797067553 Robato Kestrel


      they know that this recession was not caused by the middle class and working families of this country. It was not caused by the teachers, firefighters and police officers and their unions who are under attack all over the country. It was not caused by construction workers, factory workers, nurses or childcare workers….
      This recession was caused by the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street. ”

      They would be lying to themselves. This mess was caused by every single American, corporation, state and federal governance that built up debt that far exceeded it’s income, PERIOD. Millions of people defaulted on their credit lines and/or had houses that were foreclosed on causing large volumes of toxic assets held by banks. The banks in turn compounded that problem by repackaging and reselling of those toxic assets at inflated costs. All while government was insisting more people be loaned to through lower lending standards. States running budgets in the red consistently year after year, and taking in more federal aid than their state is capable of making. The federal government cutting revenue and spending its ass off simultaneously. All of these are to blame for this mess equally. The truth of the matter is, there are very, VERY few people and organizations that are blameless victims in the current state of the union.

      But you are right, the middle class will more than likely be the ones to sacrifice the most, pay the most, and suffer the most due to all of this. The people that buy policy sure as shit won’t. Just be sure everyone acknowledges that almost NO ONE is blameless for this crap.

      • Joel

        I propose to you that there are a lot of completely blameless people in this country. I’m 23 years old, I can look at the mess and say that I didn’t create any of it. I haven’t borrowed more than I can afford to pay back. I don’t live a life of credit. I live within my means. I have borrowed some money to help finish up my education, but I fully understand the size of my monthly payments, and I understand what it will take to pay them. In the early- to mid-2000s when all of this debt was being racked up, I was a preteen and early teen. Now that I look out into my future, I see a massive mess that I will have to help clean up. I also look across the population and see a lot of others who are in the same position as myself. I find it extremely difficult to blame those that are currently children, or those who have recently lost the designation “child” for the economic state of the Union. There is a whole blameless generation that is going to have to deal with what this country has gotten itself into.

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