published Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Why the war on poor and working families? Power and political donations from the 1 percenters

Why do Republicans keep living up to their nickname, the "Party of No"? And why do Americans keep ignoring the GOP's blatant wars on everything: women, the poor, Hispanics, equality?

Robert Reich, an economist, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and a former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration has the answer. And it goes something like this: money and power.

Reich isn't onto anything many haven't felt for a long time. But he's vocal about it. Very vocal.

He has written 13 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest book is "Beyond Outrage." His new film, "Inequality for All," is available on iTunes, DVD, and On Demand. He is a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

But in a new, two-minute video recently touted by MoveOn.org, Reich gives a brief but effective synopsis of the hard-right conservative Congress and suggests Americans "follow these seven dots."

• They are against extending unemployment benefits for people out of work more than six months, even though there's still only one job for every three people who are unemployed.

• They don't want to raise the minimum wage, even though today's federal minimum wage is 25 percent below what it was in 1968 when adjusted for inflation.

• They are against extending Medicaid to millions of low-wage workers.

• They want to cut food stamps.

• They refuse to invest in education or job training.

• They don't want to invest in America's crumbling infrastructure or any kind of jobs program.

• They want to bust unions.

"Do you see a pattern here?" Reich asks. "They're waging a war on the poor and working-class in order to keep people down."

Sound cruel and counter-productive? It is. But Reich, who Time magazine voted one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century, believes there is a method to the madness.

When you're poor and have no support and no bargaining and have to feed your family, you're desperate, Reich reasons.

"You take whatever they are willing to pay you, even if it's next to nothing. And you won't dare make a fuss. You won't complain about unsafe work conditions or toxic chemicals leaking out of storage tanks or anything else. You won't run the risk of trying to form a union. You won't get involved in politics. You won't make a ruckus, or rock the boat in any way. "You'll take whatever they choose to give you because you are sinking. ... You'll do whatever they tell you.

"That's fine with them [conservatives]. But it's bad for America," Reich says.

Yes, it is.

Reich's two-minute video doesn't talk about what the rabid right's reward is for this blind-side to poor and working families. But it's fairly obvious.

Just look at the many "defund Obamacare" web pages with "Donate Now" buttons. Why do sitting congressmen like Ted Cruz and conservative groups need money for Congress to vote 45 times on a law that isn't going anywhere. The members of Congress are paid by taxpayers every day they are working.

Follow the dots -- and the money.

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librul said...

Thanks to you Robert Reich. You describe our plight well.

As for the greed merchants and austerity mongers, they'll get what they deserve. They always do. But the real voice of reality these days is Chris Hedges. His narrative is far more predictive than descriptive.

http://www.truthdig.com/tag/chris+hedges

February 11, 2014 at 6:50 a.m.
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