We should all roll our eyes, pick up a snowball we’ve stashed in our freezers since the middle of February, and hit the politician in his forehead whenever we hear one of them start a statement with, “The American people.” Because as many of us have realized for years, they’re not talking about us. As we discovered with the Supreme Court decision about corporate and foreign contributions to campaigns last year, corporations and the wealthy define whom most of our leaders think of when they’re saying “The American people.” Especially since Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil and NBC Comcast collectively count as “American people.”
When Speaker John Boehner says, “The American people don’t want us to raise taxes,” as he did on June 24 during the debt ceiling-blackmail meetings, who is he talking about? Not me. And not most Americans, I’d assume. But, in Boehner’s mind and actual life experience, “most Americans” are people whose last concern is “job creation” or “economic growth.” In fact, they’re the ones who want “government off our backs,” who seem to think “entitlement reform” is good for the country, because it saves them money for another yacht.
Because of people like Boehner, it’s hard to believe President Obama when he claims that eighty percent of “American people want higher taxes” on the wealthy. Why? Not because Obama might not be telling the truth via multiple polls. It’s more because his actions of capitulation let the rest of us know who’s really in charge – lobbyists and wealthy people who are as patriotic as Judas was loyal to Jesus. And corporations who as people might be as evil as Stalin and Pol Pot put together.
My question is, does the Comcast Center in Philadelphia now get the right to vote under the 14th
Amendment, as well as the right to pay federal income tax, as under the 16th Amendment? Really, what is the end game here? Do we each have to incorporate ourselves in order for a politician or some leader beholden to the wealthy notices the rest of us?
No, the end game is a pre-New Deal America. One where the majority of us work the way our grandparents and great-grandparents did in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. Where there wasn’t anything close to a guarantee of social mobility. Where the average person’s income was $1,500 a year ($15,000 a year in today’s dollars). With no unemployment insurance, retirement, health care system or insurance. Without unions, or government regulation curtailing corporate monopolies or excess, environmental damage or employee abuse.
Ultimately, the wealthy and the greedy corporations want to beat 300 million people here into subservience and submission. They want to do what they as people accuse the federal government of doing — controlling every aspect of our lives. Including every breathe we take. And make no mistake. The Supreme Court, most of the Congress, many a state and local politician and leader, maybe even the President himself, represents the interests of those “American people.” We may have to move to a more progressive nation for our interests as human beings to be fully represented. Because even as foreigners, we’ll be better off in the UK or China than here.