In Sunday’s edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, Robert Reich wrote an excellent column about the three-part assault by the Republican Party against the middle class and its programs. The following is excerpted from his column:
The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working classes – pitting unionized workers against nonunionized, public-sector workers against nonpublic, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them and the poor against the working middle class.
By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans want Americans to believe that we can no longer afford to do what we need to do as a nation. They hope to deflect attention from the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.
The strategy has three parts.
The first is being played out in the budget battle in Washington. As they raise the alarm over deficit spending and simultaneously squeeze popular middle-class programs.
In the coming showdown over Medicare and Social Security, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will push a voucher system for Medicare and a partly privatized plan for Social Security – both designed to attract younger middle-class voters.
Please go to GOP budget strategy is lies and deception and read the rest of Professor Reich’s article. I agree with it entirely.
To me, the most important sentence is the last one, “What is the Democratic strategy to counter this and reclaim America for the rest of us?” The Republicans have revealed themselves as what they have always been, the party of the rich and powerful, the corporations, and the billionaires; the people who think, with some justification, unfortunately, that they own this country. The rest of us, starting with the President, have to start pushing back like Hell against this plutocracy that is subsuming our once strong democracy. Social Security and Medicare, among many other programs which primarily benefit the middle class, the working class; in other words, most Americans, are squarely centered in the Republican crosshairs. They want to abolish any program whose principal beneficiaries tend not to vote for Republicans. This should now be obvious to everyone. It is up to all of us to push back, to demonstrate, to talk about the struggle to our elected representatives and to everyone we meet (I do this — there is a surprising amount of agreement,) and to do everything we can to protect our rights while they are still there to be protected. What’s going on in Madison should serve as an inspiration for the rest of the country. The struggle that is going on there is everyone’s struggle.
My wife and I were discussing this issue last night. She came up with a beautiful metaphor for the situation in Madison and the broader attack by Republicans against the middle and working class. “It’s the bogeyman,” she said, “The spotlight is on him and everyone can see him for what he is. Everyone knows now what he wants to do to them.”
A moment later, she added, “Everyone knows, you can’t make a deal with the bogeyman.”