Richard Eskow makes a powerful point in a piece for the Huffington Post, leaving me wondering why the hell every other progressive in the country isn’t shouting it from the rooftops until it finally starts to penetrate the Washington bubble:
Only 6% of Americans think Congress should concentrate on reducing the deficit or changing the tax code, according to the latest CBS News poll. Nearly ten times as many people, 56%, want it to focus on creating jobs and fixing the economy. Guess which set of policies is the center of attention in Washington right now?
That’s right—the big battle going on in Washington right now is about extending the Bush tax-cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Specifically, just how much are the Democrats going to cave-in to Republican demands to make the tax-cuts permanent. Will we extend them for everyone making under $250,000 a year or will we push that limit up to $1 million? Will we extend them for two years? Ten years? Just how much money are we going to give to the rich?
Meanwhile, some estimate that the real unemployment rate is about 17.1%. Nearly one out of every five Americans doesn’t have a job, and the debate in Washington right now essentially boils down to how many Rembrandts or Picassos rich people can afford to hang in their foyers.
But once we get that issue cleared up, we’ll start focusing on jobs, right? Nope—we’re going to be talking about the deficit commission’s proposals to slash Social Security, Medicare, Veteran’s benefits, and nearly every other program that benefits ordinary Americans, in order to reduce the deficit, something only 4% of Americans say should be Congress’s top priority.
Now is not the time to fret over the deficit, and the vast majority of Americans understand that. But Washington seems to think that the last election was all about the deficit, which they brilliantly plan to reduce by…giving tax-cuts to the rich? Something’s not right here.
In fact, something is deeply, profoundly f***ed up.
People, why are we not out in the streets already? Washington’s top priorities are slashing entitlement programs for the middle class and giving tax cuts to the super-rich. They literally want to take your money and give it to the rich. They might as well just send people to physically come to your house, take whatever money or valuable items you might have, and deliver them straight to the people living in the mansions across town.
How long are we going to let 6% of the country dictate our priorities? How long is Washington going to ignore the plight of average people in order to please the powerful? How long is the media going to let them get away with it?
Answer: as long as we continue to do nothing about it.