Governor Chris Christie thinks Bruce Springstein "feels guilty that he has so much money, and he thinks it's all a zero-sum game: In order to get poor people more money, it has to be taken away from the rich."
In a country where worker productivity has been on the constant rise for decades, but compensation for their work has stagnated (or gone down relative to the cost of living), the notion that anyone wants to "take" anything from the rich is stunningly wrong. I can't imagine how much anger one must be harboring to frame a quest for fair compensation for increased productivity as "taking" instead of what it is: earning.
A prominent governor in the wealthiest country in the world should not be denigrating poor people by positioning them as "takers" and not human beings who happen to be in a different station in life than he's fortunate enough to be in, and who deserve to be spoken of and lobbied for with as much dignity and respect as anyone else in this country.
And he isn't alone in his party; he's joined by former VP candidate Paul Ryan; Texas Governor Rick Perry; and of course, the most infamous for his seething vitriol against 47 percent of the country, former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
It's clear the elite-supporting Republican leadership are harboring a misdirected anger towards struggling Americans. Americans who are struggling precisely because of their party's economic and tax policies that have bred a massive inability to survive on the scraps their corporate donors are willing to toss at the working class.
And this anger is poisonous, not just to those who harbor it, but to the people who look up to these people as a leaders. They should be leading all of us, rich and poor alike.
It's unconscionable to accuse poor people in this country — who want their government to actually act as our Founding Fathers called for them to act: for the common good — of being "takers."
As Teddy Roosvelt famously said, "We grudge no man a fortune which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard to the welfare of his fellows." And truly we don't. Seeing the successes of others around us acts as an inspiration! We know we live in a free country where opportunity abounds. But we need to know that we have security in our lives; security that can only come when our hard work is compensated in direct proportion to our productivity, and not less; and in proportion to the rise in profitability of the companies we labor for as a result of that labor. Is this not a fair request of those who control the purse strings?
Progressives and Democrats want what most people in America want: freedom, opportunity, and security for all of us. With our economic policies, Progressives consistently legislate with those ends in mind.
We expect our Legislators to work on our behalf to fix the broken system so we at least get to take home for ourselves what we earn through our work. Not 100 percent of the profits "belong" to the owners, CEOs and shareholders. They should be shared with everyone who participated in generating them, including the working-class man on the assembly line, the customer service representative who saved a sale or prevented an angry customer from never coming back, the stock clerk who keeps product on the shelves so consumers can find what they need and buy it, the truck drivers who haul the merchandise from the ports to the warehouses, the secretaries who schedule the meetings so the bigwigs can brainstorm their next big idea.
We are all part of the process. And most of us wouldn't be poor if we got to put what we've earned into our own bank accounts and not have to watch it going only into CEO and shareholder accounts.
And the country as a whole would be doing better if workers were compensated fairly for their labor.
- A thriving wage allows families to do more than just live from paycheck to paycheck, barely able to meet their basic needs.
- A thriving wage allows families to have a savings account so they don't go bankrupt or lose their homes with a single catastrophic event such as a job loss or major illness.
- A thriving wage allows families to have enough to set aside so they can enjoy their retirement without having to rely solely on Social Security.
- A thriving wage allows families to save for their children's college educations so they don't have to have a lifetime of debt just to earn a degree.
- A thriving wage allows families to enjoy time together on vacations to our nation's wonders (Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Mount Rushmore) and our incredible cities aching for tourism.
- A thriving wage allows families the ability to spend a bit frivolously on a cool iPhone or Android, or the latest kicks on the market (and why shouldn't they be able to?), which also keeps demand high so companies continue to profit.
That's why President Obama talks about leveling the playing field for small businesses and middle-class families. When families struggle, we all suffer the consequences. When families thrive, we all prosper.
So readers, talk to your neighbors, your friends and your colleagues and remind them that all we want is what we've earned, and which party is actually making that their mission on behalf of all of us: the Democrats.
Listen and watch as Economists Jared Bernstein and Larry Mishel from the Center on Budge and Policy Priorities discuss rising wage inequity and the effect it has on the middle class, and as a direct result, the entire country:
- Thriving wages (not "living").
- Workers (not employees).
- Earned Benefits (not "entitlements").
- What we want is what we've earned.