The damage Republicans are causing to our middle-class is beyond contemptible
What would you be if you were attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis? Screwed. This is exactly what is happening to America’s middle class who are being financially driven into the dirt. And it is the business-friendly Republican Party that is providing the drills. Specifically, republicans are slowly whittling away at the protections put in place over the decades to destroy the once strong middle-class. Here is just a sample of the ways in which republicans are doing just that.
In 2013 union membership hit a 97-year low making up just 11.3% of the workforce. As a consequence of this decline in union membership, inequality and wealth concentration are at levels not seen since before the great depression. It has been proven time and again when unions are strong the economy as a whole performs better. Unions raise demand for higher wages putting more purchasing power in the economy which in turn drives job growth.
Yet Republican controlled states have hammered away at unions. Twenty-six states have passed “Right to Work (RTW)” laws that have weakened unions. The text of the law was drafted by the infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In RTW states workers earn close to $6000 dollars less; Workplace deaths are 52% higher; and workers are less likely to have employer sponsored healthcare.
War on Women
Women make up 51% of the population and republican lawmakers continue to deny any legislation aimed at strengthening women’s rights. Women on average are paid just 77 cents for every dollar men earn. In an attempt to remedy this inequity, both the House and Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair pay act of 2009 when both houses were under democratic control. However, recent attempts to strengthen the bill have fallen short after every single senate republican failed to support the bill.
In addition republicans have waged an ongoing war on women. There has been a concerted effort to weaken women’s right to abortions and access to birth control. Most recently, the Supreme Court sided with a private corporation in the Hobby Lobby case and struck down a provision in the Affordable Care Act that provided certain types of birth control to women through healthcare insurance.
Republicans have repeatedly opposed efforts to raise the federal minimum wage. The minimum wage stands at just $7.25 an hour and has not been raised since 2009. A full-time worker earning minimum wage would earn $15,080 dollars a year. Federal poverty guidelines consider a family of four earning $23,850 qualifies for federal assistance. Yet republican lawmakers fail to see a need to raise the minimum wage.
Arguments against raising the minimum wage put forth by republicans border on the absurd. They claim it will hurt the economy and force many business owners to hire fewer workers. There is also an argument put forth by economist Donald Boudreax that raising the minimum wage will actually hurt poor people by enticing college educated workers to apply for unskilled jobs and drive poor folk into unemployment.
The middle-class has been shrinking at an alarming rate and it is due in large part to systematic efforts of business-friendly republican lawmakers. Their shortsighted policies are driving more Americans into poverty every year. The wage gap stands at an all-time high (the CEO of Walmart, for example, earns 1,034 times more than the minimum wage paid to a Walmart clerk). And republicans are predicted to take control of the Senate in 2014?!