May 17, 2004
I’m a Democrat, and I have often heard Democrats accuse Republicans of being selfish. In this year’s election, I think we will be better off if most Republicans become a lot more selfish than they have been.
We Democrats picture Republicans as top-hat-and-cane gazillionaires, because we look at the policies that the Bush Administration enacts and see only the richest few benefiting. But a large percentage of those working class white Americans who vote tend to vote Republican.
If your income is under a quarter million and you have voted Republican in the past or failed to vote at all, let me urge you to develop more greed. Vote to make yourself wealthier! Let’s look at what a Republican national government does to your wallet and mine.
Since Bush took office, unemployment has soared the way it did under his father, in contrast to the sharp drop under Clinton. This is good for the owners of huge corporations who want to lower wages, but it’s bad for you and your community. If you ever become the owner of a huge corporation and want to continue to vote out of greed, then at that point you should vote Republican. I won’t care. You’ll be vastly outnumbered by those of us who do not own huge corporations.
Since Bush took office, we have fewer jobs in the country. That hasn’t happened since the administration of Herbert Hoover. Even the first President Bush created a small number of jobs, though nothing like the huge job growth under Clinton. Again, this outcome is to the advantage of the 650 people who have raised the bulk of Bush’s campaign funding, but it doesn’t help you or me.
Under Bush the minimum wage has not even once been even partially adjusted to keep pace with inflation. Even at higher income levels, wage gains for those who have jobs have slowed under Bush, whose recently passed changes to overtime rules will deny time-and-a-half pay for overtime to millions of Americans.
There is an upside to the Bush Administration’s economic accomplishments. Debt is up – both your personal debt and the government’s. Poverty is up. Homelessness is up. The number of people lacking health insurance is up. And in many states the cost of state college tuition, as well as the fees and taxes you pay for various state services are up.
Of course, you did get that tax cut of between nothing and several hundred dollars. But that was more than made up for in higher state taxes and fees. And then there’s the cost of a decent education, which in more and more parts of the country is coming to mean private school tuition or home schooling. As you know, when Bush gave you that piddley little tax cut, he simultaneously gave away hundreds of billions to the wealthiest individuals and those corporations still paying anything at all. The resulting shortage of cash allowed him to cut funds for schools, health care, housing, transportation, and infrastructure, all the places where we should be spending money, creating jobs, and restoring our economy.
The cuts we’ve seen in the past three and a half years have not been anywhere close to the give-away to corporations and millionaires. And Bush has dramatically increased spending elsewhere, further driving us into the kind of deficits we hadn’t seen since his father’s administration, and surpassing his father’s. The largest increase in spending under Bush has been to the Pentagon and to the war on Iraq. Much of that money has gone to a handful of the same corporations that have benefited from the tax cuts. Some of that money has found its way into wages for workers willing to risk their lives in Iraq for a job they can’t find at home. Meanwhile, it’s your friends and family members dying in the military for the goal of:
1-Finding vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction,
2-Bringing civilization and human rights to Iraq, or
3-Seizing Iraq’s oil and public services for U.S. corporations without regard to whether it makes Americans less safe.
You can vote your own interest in November or Halliburton’s. Vote your greed or vote respect for Enron’s greed, but remember that they are two different things.
The views expressed above are not those of any organization or group.