Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Reminder Of What's Important In This Election Year

As the Democratic Party meets this week in Philadelphia, I wanted to remind supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders what is most important in this election year. It's not who is nominated by the convention, but what they will do to improve our economy and make the lives of all Americans better.

The chart above (from advisorperspectives.com) shows what has been happening to wages in the last half-century in this country. While the top 20% (and especially the top 5%) have done well, and seen their income climb to new heights, that has not been true for all Americans. In fact, the bottom 80% of Americans have seen very little increase in income (and actually have experienced a drop in income when inflation is taken into account).

This was not always true. Before 1980, productivity was shared, and all groups saw their incomes rise. This is no longer true because in 1980 the Republicans were able to institute their failed "trickle-down" economic policies -- policies that tilted the economic playing field to favor the rich, and to the detriment of most Americans. And they cling to those policies to this day, refusing to allow a change to a fairer economic policy -- a policy that would benefit everyone.

The Republicans nominated a team that wants to continue the failed "trickle-down" policies. They still want people to believe that giving more to the rich will benefit everyone. But that is simply not true. Nothing has trickled down from the rich in the past, and nothing will trickle down in the future. All this policy does is fatten the bank accounts of the rich and the corporations, and keep all other Americans struggling for the crumbs left over.

It does not have to be that way. The Democrats want to institute fairer economic policies -- policies that will narrow the gap in income and wealth between the rich and the rest of us. They want to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage, strengthen labor unions, regulate the excesses of Wall Street and the giant financial institutions, raise taxes on the rich, and make corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

That's why it is important for Democrats to come out of the Philadelphia convention unified, and ready to fight to make sure a Democrat is sworn in as president next January. We must not let our support for one person or another stand in the way of this goal. And we must not let Donald Trump get anywhere near the White House.

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