Several important news items in the past week underscore the dire situation of the poor and the working class in the United States, but they got little attention from the corporate media or the political elite. The number of Americans in poverty has climbed to 44 million, the highest number in 50 years. In 2009 alone, 4 million people fell into poverty, and it would have been higher without the extensions in unemployment and other benefits Republicans opposed.
The number of people without health insurance climbed to 50 million. The health-care crisis continues to worsen, while the right wing calls for repealing the health-care program that will cover 30 million more people. Health insurance companies already are gouging people and dumping children and sick people before the law is fully implemented, while Republicans want to cut all public health-care programs and throw us all at the mercy of insurance companies.
While corporate profits and CEO pay continue to skyrocket, even after the Great Recession they created out of greed, the wages and income of working-class Americans continue to decline. There is a class war, but it is a war of the corporate rich being waged on the working class.
What I don't understand is why the Tea Party, which claims to represent "we the people," is taking the side of the corporate rich. They defend private insurance companies which are rationing health care based on the ability to pay while increasing their profits and CEO pay. They are siding with corporations against unions and the right of workers to organize and improve their working conditions.
Instead, the Tea Party is following millionaire corporate lobbyists like Dick Armey and corporate front groups like "Freedom Works" and "Americans for Prosperity," which are nothing but cover groups for insurance companies and energy companies that oppose "regulations" which would protect the environment and increase access to health care.
Tea Party members want to reduce the deficit and cut government debt, but they also want to continue to cut taxes on the corporate rich, without any cuts to pay for them. It is this combination of careless tax cuts favoring the rich, along with unpaid wars and increases in military spending, that has caused the explosion in the deficit, all the result of the policies of George W. Bush, which they want to continue.
The Tea Party is taking over the Republican Party, pushing a radical agenda to impose corporate and theocratic rule over the United States. They want to cut or eliminate Social Security, the most successful social program in history, which has nothing to do with the deficit. They claim to be opposed to "big government," but they want to impose their religious beliefs on everyone, and they seem to love big business.
The Boston Tea Party was a revolt against unfair tax cuts for a multinational corporation, the East India Tea Company, which undermined the small businesses in the colonies. The British were imposing taxes on the colonies, while cutting the taxes of the East India Tea Company. We need a real Tea Party revolt against tax cuts and corporate welfare programs that favor the corporate rich and put the interests of Wall Street "banksters" over the interests of the American working class.
We need to pay more attention to the common good and less attention to the whining of rich people who don't care about the general welfare of "we the people."
On Saturday, October 2nd, in the "One Nation Together March" in Washington, D.C., thousands of people from labor, environmental, peace, and civil rights groups will stand up for "we the people" and demand the change we were promised and voted for.
Jim Maynard is a member and organizer of the Democratic Socialists of America.