Yesterday, the Patriotic Millionaires e-mailed their supporters that "If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we can no longer ignore the widening disparity between the richest Americans and the rest of the country. We’ve seen billionaire wealth (and some billionaires themselves) skyrocket to unprecedented levels, while most Americans are just struggling to get by. This is simply unsustainable-- we are reaching a point where inequality is so extreme that it’s starting to feel like France on the eve of the French Revolution. The uncontrolled surge in wealth and income gaps has only gotten worse over the last four decades, and that’s no accident. Inequality doesn’t just happen, it’s the direct result of years of economic policies, specifically the way we tax the rich (or rather, the way we DON'T tax the rich), that have left the rich richer than ever and everyone else worse off. In recent years, especially since Republicans passed their massive overhaul of the tax code in 2017 that gave over a trillion dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy, the divide has been widening at an even faster rate.
We have some very tangible examples of this massive shift in wealth ownership across America since the rise of Reaganomics and the “trickle-down” myth in the 1980s. In 1989, the top 1% held 23% of all wealth, compared to 32% today. Meanwhile, the bottom half of American households owned 5% of the nation's wealth then, but now only hold 2%. The top 0.1% of American earners are even more obscenely wealthy when compared to the rest of the country, owning nearly 20% of all American wealth, up from 7% in 1978.
...The US tax code is an incredibly powerful tool in the hands of the government that can help mitigate the disaster that is wealth inequality both here in the US and abroad. Yet rather than use this powerful tool for good, lawmakers continually tell us that tax cuts for the rich and corporations are good for the economy as a whole. It’s a lie. Instead, we see time and time again that they favor the richest among us.
While this growing concentration of wealth did not happen overnight, or even in the last year, the Republican party’s tax overhaul has absolutely played a role in exacerbating the problem, as 21% of their tax cuts went directly to the top 1%. Out of all of the problems facing the people of this country, the Congressional GOP chose to give the wealthiest Americans the lion’s share of their $2 trillion tax cuts.
Over the last 40 years, our government has failed the majority of Americans. It has allowed a minute fraction of the population to amass more wealth than they and their heirs could ever possibly need. For decades, Congress has helped the ultra-rich absorb all of the benefits of a growing economy while ignoring the needs of the poor and the middle class. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our country has multiple options on the table right now, and many more on the way, to reverse the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and return to our values our equal opportunity. All Congress has to do is tax the rich.
This kind of grotesque financial inequality manifests itself in a kind of just-as-grotesque perversion of democracy and political inequality. Just as I was sitting down to write today I got a message from Lucas Kunce, the populist candidate for the open Senate seat in Missouri, saying that Bernie Marcus, who is the Trump-financing fascist billionaire who co-founded the Home Depot had pledged $1 million to help defeat Kunce and put disgraced sex maniac Eric Greitens into the Senate instead. Kunce isn't going to have any million dollar campaign donors. "It makes sense," wrote Kunce's campaign, "that wealthy elites are dumping in millions to defeat Kunce. They're scared he'll disrupt the status quo that's enabled them to amass billions at the expense of the hard-working people in our country... He's working to break up big banks and big ag. He's fighting for universal health care and to put forgotten towns and cities first."
If Democrats want to re-learn the lost art-- lost by them-- of attacking one's opponent on economic issues, they can look at how Republican governor Brian Kemp and his allies are savaging Trumpist shill David Perdue in their first TV ad (above), one that probably has Stacey Abrams singing and dancing. Some of this almost sounds like Lucas Kunce! Notice, the GOP governor, has no problem denigrating his Republican opponent as a "millionaire," something establishment Democrats are loathe to do. "America first," says the narrator, "means more jobs for Georgians and the best state for business. Millionaire David Perdue built a career putting himself first. Searching for cheap labor, Perdue outsourced jobs to countries like China. He made a fortune for himself but left communities broken, families ruined. Perdue even bragged, 'Yeah, I spent most ofmy career doing that.' That's not America first; that's David Perdue putting China and himself first, Georgia and Georgia families last."
Conservative governance-- almost by definition-- leads to severe economic, political and social inequality. This morning I was looking over Politico's report on how each state has fared, so far, during the pandemic. Republican-led states did worst. They were "more resistant to mask mandates and stay-at-home edicts while Democratic governors, by and large, embraced those public health precautions, even at the expense of the local economy. That pattern is evident in the scorecard’s health category; the states with better health outcomes tend to be run by Democratic or moderate Republican governors who imposed health restrictions and reopened slowly." Of the 15 states that served their people best from a health perspective, 14 voted for Biden and just one, Alaska, voted for Trump.
These are the 15 states with the best health outcomes-- along with the percentage of the vote that went to Trump in 2020. You'll notice that just one had a majority of residents too stupid to understand that Trump is a con man and a shill for the billionaire class.
Vermont- 98/100 (30.7% Trump)
Maine- 93/100 (44.0% Trump)
New Hampshire- 85/100 (45.4% Trump)
Hawaii- 83/100 (32.3% Trump)
Oregon- 79/100 (40.4% Trump)
Washingtion- 79/100 (38.8% Trump)
Alaska- 78/100 (52.8% Trump)
Minnesota- 78/100 (45.3% Trump)
Rhode Island- 77/100 (38.6% Trump)
Massachusetts- 76/100 (32.1% Trump)
Maryland- 73/100 (32.1% Trump)
Connecticut- 72/100 (39.2% Trump)
California- 70/100 (34.3% Trump)
Virginia- 70/100 (44.0% Trump)
Colorado- 67/100 (41.9% Trump)
And how about the states that did worst for their residents? These are the 15, listed from bad to worst-- and of course, every one of them in a red state and included on the list is every state that gave Trump a landslide. Most of them are also the states with the lowest vaccination rates:
South Dakota- 31/100 (61.8% Trump)
Tennessee- 31/100 (60.7% Trump)
Texas- 31/100 (52.1% Trump)
Arizona- /30100 (49.1% Trump)
Indiana- 29/100 (57.0% Trump)
West Virginia- 26/100 (68.6% Trump)
Wyoming- 26/100 (69.9% Trump)
Montana- 23/100 (56.9% Trump)
Kentucky- 21/100 (62.1% Trump)
Arkansas- 20/100 (62.4% Trump)
Louisiana- 19/100 (58.5% Trump)
Georgia- 17/100 (49.2% Trump)
Oklahoma- 17/100 (65.4% Trump)
Mississippi- 16/100 (57.6% Trump)
Alabama- 12/100 (62.0% Trump)