by Andre Stevens
There’s an old phrase that many people of a certain age have either heard or used to describe when someone is accusing you of something that they themselves are. The phrase is “the pot calling the kettle black”. The Republicans (let’s refer to them as “The Pot” for purposes of this article) have incorporated this tactic of deflecting issues by accusing others (kettles) of the same charges as a way of justifying their far-right ideology. After all, promoting an ideology often calls for a selective use of facts.
How do conservatives respond to charges of racism within their ranks? According to a recent survey by The Brooking Institute, nearly 7 in 10 Americans who say they most trust Fox News say that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. The fact that, according to US Census Bureau data, “24% of all African Americans live in poverty in comparison to 8.6% of all non-Hispanic Whites”, or that according to multiple studies, blacks are six times more likely than whites to be incarcerated for the same crime, or that according to a recent study conducted by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, “The wealth disparity between white and black households has more than quadrupled, regardless of income bracket” doesn’t seem to matter in their equation. Unfortunately, facts never get in the way when “The Pot” is asked to look in the mirror.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain would have you believe that the participants of Occupy Wall Street are “jealous” and “want to take someone else’s Cadillac.” Cain expresses a sentiment that was proven popular during the Republican debates. That sentiment is that the unemployed are lazy and that providing unemployment benefits to them takes away the incentive to work. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 14 million unemployed contending for about 2.9 million jobs. Even “Mr. 9-9-9” can do the math here. Throw in the 1,495 mass layoffs (a mass layoff is defined by a single employer laying off 50 employees or more) and one can clearly see how the unemployed are at fault for their own situation. Only in the Republican ideology can one get away with blaming the unemployed for losing their jobs, while also blaming the President for unemployment.
Of course President Obama is the main focus of the Republican’s hypocrisy. While they refuse to negotiate or even consider any legislation that Obama endorses, they accuse him of dividing the country. Republicans repeatedly use his campaign promise to unite the country against him even as they reject legislation that they once supported, such as the stimulus package. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner all supported the 2008 Bush stimulus bill under George W. Bush, which cost $152 billion. Yet, these same politicians constantly refer to Obama’s stimulus package as irresponsible and “failed policy”. It’s kind of like when my brother would hit me while saying, “stop hitting me.”
Hopefully, thanks to a new study published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “The Pot” will finally have to face the music. The non-partisan CBO recently published its latest study, titled “Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007.” The study points out that while we have become wealthier as a nation, most of the prosperity that we’ve experienced has bypassed most Americans while making the rich, richer.
According to the study, from 1979 through 2007 income grew as follows:
18% for the bottom 20% of earners
40% for the next 60% of earners
65% for the next 19% of earners
275% for the top 1% of earners
Just as important, the share of income going to higher-income families rose, while the share going to lower-income families fell. In other words, the wealthy are getting an even bigger piece of the pie.
This is in contrast to the “class warfare” that Republicans claim the Democrats are waging on the rich. Many Republicans have taken oaths not to raise taxes under any circumstances, while also vowing to reduce the deficit. This leaves them with plans that reduce benefits to those who can least afford it. During the Reagan Administration this was called, “starving the beast.”
Class warfare has already been fought under the guise of a variety of social issues used by the far-right to mask their real intentions. When the far-right calls for less government, what they really mean is a repeal of the laws that have hand-cuffed big business and the wealthy from further increasing their wealth at the country’s expense. The CBO report shows how successful they have been. Battles have already been fought and won by the far-right. Hopefully, this CBO report will awaken the rest of America to the fact that most of the country is already on the losing side of a class-war. This is what Occupy Wall Street is about. It’s the reason why “The Pot” attempts to portray them in a negative light. I predict that armed with this latest report from the CBO, Occupy Wall Street and other forms of protest will grow and this time, hopefully, “The Pot” will have to sit in its own sooty mess.