Quoted in a USA Today article on the changing expectations of young adults, author Morley Winograd, who writes extensively about the Millennials, said their economic situation is “completely analogous” to the depression-era generation. “They were raised in relative affluence, and just as they are about to start in that affluent world, it all comes crashing down.”
They are forced to assume that “everything that came before them was a mirage — that it was built on unsafe foundations.”
This prolonged downturn will end. They always do. People will find their way back to confidence. But especially for those growing up under the weight of its fearsome uncertainties, it will be with us for generations to come.
~ Dr. Peggy Drexler, The Huffington Post (via http://charlesbivona.tumblr.com)
Here we are, my friends, in a time and place in our lives, at a point when, in our parents generation, they saw their retirement funds growing; due to the housing and bank bailout, ours are gone. Our parents used the equity in their homes to improve their lot, adding a spare room, re-doing the kitchen, paying for college and weddings; we are upside-down, with no hope in sight. Our folks could get good, secure jobs with which they could raise families, have benefits, and pensions; we have to go deep in debt to get advanced degrees to compete for the few pension-less jobs out there, all the while having to pay for our own health insurance as costs skyrocket. Our parents paid for weddings, college for some of us, took us on cross-country trips for summer vacations to see the best of our land; we’ll be hard-pressed to pay for their grandkids’ weddings, or to help them through a state college, and to put aside enough to have some local fun on a “stay-cation.” Union-busting, teachers cut, firefighters and cops getting minimum wage (Scranton, PA, folks, google it!), GOP pushing to cut government jobs to their lowest numbers ever, in the middle of the worst recession we’ve had since the Depression, just when we’ve started to climb our way out of the Republican-created ditch.
Yet, the GOP continue to insist that the rich don’t need to pay their fair share: $250,000 tax cuts for the top 1% in Ryan’s (now Mitt’s) budget. Middle class, hard-working families are asked to shoulder more and more of the burden. “Noblesse oblige is dead, long live Citizens United!” the corporate raiders cry, while Mitt dumps his funds into a charitable trust in his wife’s name the day before he becomes governor, and invests his money in Swiss Banks, the Caymans and several other tax-free, untraceable accounts overseas. Because he can. Because he will only release a year’s worth of tax returns despite his father setting the precedent fo releasing 12 years’ worth. Because if he distracts us and lies and repeats the lies enough, he’ll make people believe it’s true.
John Fugelsang said, on The Ed Show today, some choice words to a colleague, in reference to health care (but it applies to our topic too well):
“The Republicans have had thirty years to implement it! They’ve done nothing, and you know it! Look, Mitt Romney’s running on one thing: he’s running on trying to do exactly what Bush did and calling it something different. And for anyone who’s not a millionaire to still vote GOP, they’re a damn sucker, because no Republican president has balanced the budget once since Nixon, none has had a surplus since Eisenhower, there’s no reason to trust your money with these folks anymore, and all they are good at is two things: redistribution of wealth to the top 2%, and making conservative Americans think that’s a good thing.”
All the while, Romney has $25,000-a-plate fundraiser after fundraiser, day after day. The oblivion of the rich, and of Mitt’s campaign staff, to the appearances means either they don’t understand the harm it’s doing to their campaign, don’t care, or, as Our Gal Rachel marveled, it’s a really well-written spoof, a la the Millionaires for Bush and the Billionaires for Wealthcare. Seriously, you have to see this to believe it…we couldn’t write this kind of parody! Take a look:
So, which is it? Parody? Hell, even The Daily Show or Colbert couldn’t write satire this good! Are they clueless? Yes and no. The regular working stiff whose family has been GOP for generations actually seem to believe that the present day GOP is working for them – that’s the brilliance of the Republican Party, getting folks to vote against their own best interests. But I am talking to friends (and, yes, I have Republican friends, and we do discuss politics!) who say they are disgusted with the candidate, the Romney campaign’s “We don’t care if you know we’re for the rich” strategy and with the constant flip-flopping. In all seriousness, the GOP just doesn’t care what anyone thinks about Mitt or the party. Why? Because they will have more money than God, and will use it to lie, manipulate voters with the lies, and buy all the airtime available to repeat those lies over and over until they’re considered to be the God’s honest truth. Between $50K -a-head fundraisers, two or three a day, days on end, the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove’s SuperPACs who will spread the lies with more money, and the Citizens United decision by an activist court, it won’t matter, all of this, in a month or two. Not when the negative attack ads saturate the airwaves and The President is outspent 100 to 1. Toss in a little (okay, a lotta) voter suppression, and you’ve got what makes for a winning Republican campaign. That’s how they will try to win this election.
I’m not much of a prognosticator. But looking at my Magic 8 Ball, “All signs point to ‘Yes’” when we talk about whether this will be a close campaign. Dams will have to fight hard to get the message out and to get out the vote. Because money may not buy happiness, but it sure as hell can buy an election if there’s enough of it to spread their lies.
That’s where you and I come in. Talk to all of your friends and family, and make sure they are registered to vote – NOW. What else can you do? Use your favorites of my list below, the things that you believe have made the biggest difference in your or your family’s life. Just pick a few to bring to the family gatherings and toss ‘em out there once Uncle Lou starts with his “Obama’s a secret Muslim” rant. You’ll come off looking smart, informed and sane in comparison. Here’s your cheat sheet:
- Make sure everyone you know has proper ID to vote in your state (the GOP has made it a friggin’ nightmare…however, your concealed carry permit might be considered acceptable in several red states).
- Contribute what you can: $5, $10, your time, your blog or podcast.
- And encourage the Obama Administration to run on their record – tell them to keep talking about what the core battle is, us vs. the 1%, and keep talking about Mitch McConnell’s declaration of the only Republican goal: to make Obama a one-term president.
- Tell your friends about the nearly 3 million private sector jobs and 21 months of economic growth The President has created.
- Talk about The President’s saving the auto industry and 1.4 million jobs, and the 3.6 million working-class jobs created or saved by the stimulus package.
- Discuss President Obama’s kick-ass foreign policy record: The Iraq War ended, Al-Qaeda top commanders killed, and, oh, yeah, there’s that Bin Laden thing…and The President’s devotion to our military families and bringing them home.
- The President supports unions, teachers and police officers, firemen and steel workers. Beats the hell outta the Rethuglican tactics for union busting!
- Got a student loan? Guess what? Your rates won’t double now, as the GOP had planned…
- Want the middle class to have a voice, and yes, even continue to exist instead of shrinking into oblivion? Better go Dem in 2012!
- And Health Care, Health Care, Health Care! The President did what Democrats since FDR have been trying to do and passed comprehensive health care reform. Kids on your insurance until they’re 26, no pre-existing conditions (like asthma, heart conditions, umm…what else? Oh, yeah, being a WOMAN!) and the medicare “donut hole” closed, substantial savings for seniors, and rebates from your insurance company if they don’t spend 80% of your premiums on care.
- Are you liking that whole GOP War on Women thing? The Prez’ first signed legislation was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it illegal for women to be paid less than men for the same job. If you have a wife, a sister or a daughter, guys, this one benefits you, too!
- Dems are fighting tooth and nail against the GOP war against a woman’s right to choose. They keep saying creating jobs is the number two priority (you know, behind unseating tThe Prez), but they’ve managed to pass truckloads of anti-choice legislation in their time in control of the Congress. The so-called “personhood” amendments, the clinic regs designed to put them out of business, and the support of folks like the murderer of Doctor Tiller: providing safe and legal access to a legal medical procedure is not a GOP goal, it’s their antithesis.
- And don’t forget the well check-ups each year for women (and the rest of their families, too!), contraception coverage and mammograms, free of charge.
“…And for anyone who’s not a millionaire to still vote GOP, they’re a damn sucker, because no Republican pres has balanced the budget once since Nixon, none has had a surplus since Eisenhower, there’s no reason to trust your money with these folks anymore, and all they are good at is two things: redistribution of wealth to the top 2%, and making conservative Americans think that’s a good thing.”
We aren’t asking for much. Fairness. Jobs. A fair tax system. Honoring our vets. Health care for all Americans. We want a President who will commit to women, their families and the middle class. Sounds like an America that makes sense, and one where we can all find common ground. It’s gonna take all of us to pull this off against the corporate GOP money machine. Keep fighting the good fight, in whatever way you can.