The GOP war on workers has killed again...

It’s time to stop the conservative's war on working people in America.

Since the birth of our nation, conservatives have always been wary of average working-class Americans having too much political or economic power. John Adams, the second President of the United States and a Federalist (precursor to today’s Republicans), was very wary of the working class, which he referred to as “the rabble.”

Adams believed that if a country or society wanted to be stable, then it must have a governing elite that must be separate in both power and privilege from “the rabble.” Many Federalists of the era didn’t even want working class non-landowners to be able to vote.

In the era from the 1940’s through the 70’s, “the rabble” gained a lot of power in America, both economically and politically. They formed unions and led protests, and made life absolutely miserable for Conservatives.

This strong working class and its support for Democrats like FDR led to Ronald Reagan leading the charge in the 1980’s to take the working class down a notch. Now, that 34-year-old conservative campaign to destroy the American working class, and strip it of its wealth and power is bearing fruit – and claiming lives.

Last week, police in Elizabeth, New Jersey found 32-year-old Maria Fernandes dead in her car, which was parked in a convenience-store parking lot. Friends of Fernandes told police that she worked as many as four jobs, and often tried to catch some sleep between jobs, by pulling over in parking lots.

According to investigators, Fernandes’ death may have been caused by inhalation of gasoline fumes, from a gas can that had spilled in the back seat of her car. Fernandes’ friends said that she kept a gas can in her car because she had, in the past, run out of gas while driving between jobs.

Fernandes’ tragic and untimely death is a stark reminder of the challenges and struggles that low-wage working-class Americans face every day. But working-class Americans like Maria Fernandes wouldn’t have to face those struggles, and wouldn't have to live off of such low wages, if it weren’t for the 34-year conservative war on working people.

A new study from the Economic Policy Institute has found that, “if inequality had not risen between 1979 and 2007, middle-class incomes would have been nearly $18,000 higher in 2007.” But, thanks to Reagan and the war on the working class, all of America’s income growth over the past 34 years has gone to the wealthy elite, while everyone else has been left to struggle.

As the EPI study points out, average household incomes grew by 53.4% between 1979 and 2007 BUT those gains were far from equal. For example, the bottom fifth of American households saw incomes rise by just over 29% between 1979 and 2007, while incomes for the top 1 percent of households rose by a staggering 244.7%.

Similarly, as Anna Bernasek points out over at The New York Times, back in 2003 the inflation-adjusted net worth for the average American household was just under $88,000. By 2013, that wealth had fallen to just over $56,000.

For the past 34 years, America’s wealth has been siphoned away from the working class, and pumped up to those at the very top. As a result, we’re seeing more and more people like Maria Fernandes, who have to work multiple jobs just to survive.

It’s time for this insanity to stop. America is the richest country on the planet, and there’s absolutely no reason that working people should be living in poverty. The working class has been and always will be the backbone of the American economy, and conservatives in Washington need to accept that fact.

It’s time to end the 34-year-old war on working people in America, and give all Americans an equal shot at success.


ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 39 weeks ago

There was an article in USA Today recently (July 4, 2014) that indicated a fifties middle class lifestyle would cost $130,000 in today's dollars. When new police, firemen and teachers, for example, make around forty percent of that salary do they understand that they have just volunteered for a near poverty lifestyle?

david thurman's picture
david thurman 8 years 39 weeks ago

Re: The latest ISIS debotchery & how the parade people out in guantanimo orange jumpsuits, have been waterboarding prisoners. Another thing I have noticed is they constantly remind us of our support of Israel & Israel's treatment of the Palestine people. I recall the morning after 9-11, I asked myself, 'What have we been doing around the world that could have caused people to hate us to this extent?' Except for maybe Charlie Rose, just after 9-11, did I ever hear anyone in the MSM deal w/this question. How long can we continue to be the only country voting w/Israel in the UN aghainst ALL other countries? Just statistically speaking, how long can we continue to make enemies out of everyone except zionist Israelis??

As Rabbi Henry Siedman opined on Democracy Now recently, Israel does not wish to exist in a world where the united states doesn't have it's back; so our politicians are perpepuating the status que > the two state lie. As Rabbi Siedman clearly states, Israel simply wants ALL of palestine.

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 8 years 39 weeks ago

I’m far from being a conservative, but Thom’s argument is one sided and irresponsible. He is making the argument that the war on the working class has been waged solely by the conservatives (Republican Party). The fact that war against the majority of the population has been a collective effort of both political parties. John Adams was not alone is his contempt for working class people, this view was shared by most our founding fathers, the term used for equality during Adam’s time was “leveling spirit”, Washington to Madison used this term to describe their contempt for the under classes that wanted to create a more equal and fair society. Jefferson maybe a champion for democratic values but he has a whole host of contradiction to go along with his rhetoric on equality.

One of the worst enemies of the working class, if you go by policy not by rhetoric, has been William Jefferson Clinton. NAFTA, on its own, was a devastating blow to the working class. Clinton’s welfare reform, with ominously libertarian sounding name of Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, was a direct attack on the working poor, especially single mothers that have to work to get benefits, because we don’t value raising a child. Clinton also dealt a massive blow to banking regulation that help speculators turn working class people’s savings and retirement money into vanishing act into the void of the grand casino economy.

That is just a superficial look at one democratic presidency. Carter done his damage against the working class. Obama has not been a friend to labor. Both of the major labor leaders of their time, Hoffa and Debs, were imprisoned during the democratic presidencies of Kennedy and Wilson respectively. The idea that Democratic Party has not played a major role in the decline of the working class is dishonest. The Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the rich, but the Democratic Party, with few exception like Bernie Sanders, are completely dominated by special interest. And that interest aint the working class or any class that doesn’t pay thousands of dollars at the fundraiser dinners.

Vegasman56 8 years 39 weeks ago

We need a new game This country has increased inequality for the average working American for the past 30 years. The Downward fall started with Pres. Ronald Wilson Reagan tax cuts that he gave to the 1%, the Aristocrats, of this country that gave an advantage over the working American family. We need a new game in this country, a new game that gives back to the American working family dignity as they once had before. The Aristocrats has seized control of our government to give the power to a limited group of people. We no longer have a Government of the people, by the people and for the people as Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg Address. In his opening statement, Abraham Lincoln said.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
We are now engaged in a great civil war once again, not of armies, but instead of the power of great wealth over the average working American families. I call this great wealth the Aristocrats, which they do believe because of the wealth that they have, they should have control over our government and over you. They believe that the average working American family is not the more than peasants, only to serve the aristocrats for their pleasure, and that there are not created as equals.

there's more read my blog site

Silent Dogood

Willie W's picture
Willie W 8 years 39 weeks ago

Republicans have argued for years that reducing taxes for business is necessary to drive our economy. Lowering taxes will allow companies to invest more into their businesses. Burger King's move to Canada, and the resulting tax savings will show all the non believers just how much such a windfall can benefit the company and it's employees. More money, more employees to lighten the load, and more benefts all around. A great day for the Burger King worker, and all happening just as Republicans said it would. This day belongs to them. Not to just say they were right, but be able to prove it. Can't wait to see it all.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 39 weeks ago

How do we end the GOP/Fascist war on the 99% when most of our elected officials including the President choose to ignore this economic genocide. FDR was anything but silent about the Economic Royalists...he called them out and spoke truth to power. He wasn't intimidated by money and power like Obama has been. A planned event has shook him up. There will be no more speeches supporting unions and working people from our President. He knows the truth..... he knows a handful of Fascists like the Kochs and the Corpse media run the show now.

Why else won't Obama pull a FDR and speak out about, Citizens United, Senate minority rule, the shrink and shut down government House Teabaggers, free trade agreements for the billionaires. We the workers are paying an awful price thanks to GOP trickle down economics, and austerity madness, yet the same austerity hawks have no problem spending trillions on wars to protect the best interests of the Carbon Barons. It's obvious to me, Obama has been stopped by a Fascist threat.....on the domestic economic front anyway. Of course he'll continue to be involved in the killing/bombing/drones for profit madness.....with this the Oligarchs profit. In addition the Terrorists win in many ways by destroying our economy. One of which is the reduction of available revenue to pay for our decaying need for the Saudi's to fly planes into us anymore.

The Fascists own Obama just like they own the GOP and 3/4 of the Dems. Sadly they snuffed out Occupy as well.....!! In my opinion, what's coming is way not peaceful.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 39 weeks ago

RichardofJeffer... ~ Well said! Very well said!

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 39 weeks ago

The real war on working people in America is allowing tens of millions of illegals enter your county driving wages down and taxing your schools and hospitals. That only happens in America and no where else in the world. Can anyone give me one good reason why you allow this.

basmith13f's picture
basmith13f 8 years 39 weeks ago

So true. Clinton really did sell us out and got away with it because of his rhetoric and personal charm. Similarly, Obama gets a pass though his administration has prosecuted more whistle blowers than the previous 75 years' administrations combined. (not to mention the indiscriminate drone warfare).

When are we going to look at what they DO and not what they say?

david thurman's picture
david thurman 8 years 39 weeks ago

During the 1960's we had 4 of our most effective progressive leaders murdered w/in a span of 5 years. Unless you believe in the Easter Bunny, the "lone gunman" and Santa Claus you likely have some sense that the elimination of 4 of our progressive leaders, while still in their 30's and 40's was somehow not just the result of random occurance. They would have been our leading statesman for the progressive point of view over the past 40 - 50 years.

Certaintly the argument could be posited that the absence of these extremely able liberal and progressive voices has no doubt enabeled those on the right and far right to advocate for and enact their desired policies with greater ease than would have otherwise been the case.

I am reminded of the years immeaditly preceeding the rise the Third Reich in Germany, when over 400 persons were disapeared. They were the most progressive, intellectually enlightened and politically active voices, which one can imagine would have been the most vocal in opposing Hitlers rule.

Is it any wonder we are now talking about Fascism in America, that we are no longer a democratic republic, but now officially an "Oligarcy"; Is this not the logical outcome of removing 4 of our most effective progressive political leaders?

richinfolsom 8 years 39 weeks ago

The most profoundly destructive political power is based on the willingness of people to willingly surrender their rights to liberty and even their lives to a contrived deception of faith that their loss of dignity is pre-ordained and die in the streets, broken and neglected by messages of greed and the mass marketed message of of the self actualized achiever. The modern day heroes and lifestyles of billionaires and celebrities fill our lives with like heroin of the soul, reminding those who proliferate jobs of mindless, low paying jobs competing with warehoused, industrial overseas slaves. I grew up in the era of one income households, low cost educational opportunities, and walked into labor force that has all but disengaged into a handful of incredibly huge corporations whose only goal is to, at any cost, reduce costs and convince you and me to give them our blind loyalty. The political machine followed accordingly. What is truly amazing isn't how companies and politicians take advantage of people, rather than Americans have fully and willingly capitulated to the 24/7 marketing amnesia - without but the slightest whimper. They outsourced our jobs and we said nothing. They dissolved our right to unionized and we said nothing. They destroyed our economy and we said nothing. They monetized our healthcare system and we said nothing. Nothing. Not even a whimper.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 8 years 39 weeks ago

I agree. Clinton was not only a problem where American labor is concerned, but he was also a problem where Marijuana legalization is concerned. In my opinion, he was just another passenger on the fascist band wagon, along with all the Neo-cons. The only credit Clinton deserves would be that he knew how to manipulate the economy so that it worked better than when the conservatives were in control of the presidential office. Being that he is from the red state of Arkansas didn't help him much where progressives are concerned. He was part of the problems Americans face, not any cure for the problems by a long shot. What Democratic members need to do is clean out all the bad Democratic members and continue to replace them with good progressive Democratic members. There is no hope for the Republican party, most of them are bad for the country, but for the Democratic party, there is still some hope.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 39 weeks ago

Richinfolsom, I hear your frustration. But I have to wonder... have we the people taken all this abuse without a whimper, or has our side of the story simply been silenced by a corporate media hellbent on ignoring us? This could create the illusion of apathy and inattention.

I believe we all need to make a bigger stink; don't get me wrong! But perhaps it hasn't been as bad as you think. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 39 weeks ago

I agree Johnnie, and I hate the Clintons with a bloody passion. Before casting a vote for Hillary, I'd vote for Bozo the Clown.

Dave Thurman, I've had similar thoughts many, many times. Kinda creepy, isn't it!

And Thom, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Jeffer (post #3). With due respect, you need to call out the Democrats a lot more. That the Republicans are an evil bunch of sleazebags is a given; I think you'd have very little disagreement on that from this crowd. But Mr. J isn't the first person to point out that over the past several decades, the Dems have not been friends of the working classes either. I for one am sick of the Democrats. Everytime I get e-mails from Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, they get deleted... Immediately! - AIW

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 39 weeks ago

The plastic bits in toothpaste probably also pose the same problem as the microbeads in makeup. I now listen to the show through WCPT, and heard that Illinois has just banned those microbeads because the plastic is accumulating in Lake Michigan.

donna ford's picture
donna ford 8 years 39 weeks ago

This country spends over 100 BILLION a year on illegals(check google), no doubt that $$$ could have helped the 99% a lot. Just think how much that could have added to the quality of life for so many. People better wake up soon.

SteveZ 8 years 37 weeks ago

@donna ford Imagine for a minute you have a $100 dollar bill. You light the edge of it with a match and it burns to a fine ash. Now it is entirely worthless to you and everyone else. Then, imagine that same $100 dollar bill in the pocket of an illegal. The illegal spends that $100 dollars at a retailer. The retailer takes the proceeds, pays a portion of his bills, pays a portion of his taxes and pays a bit of the wages of his employees. He also saves or invests just a tad of it and maybe he has just a bit to spend (elsewhere in the economy) on himself. Magnify this idea multi-fold over the whole economy .Get it? Money does not stop with first use. Unless that illegal burns up that $100 dollar bill , you , me and millions of others in the 99% economically benefit. (Even if this illegal sends those dollars home, as US dollars they still get spent in the worldwide economy.)

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current
From Screwed:
"Once again, Thom Hartmann hits the bull’s eye with a much needed exposé of the so-called ‘free market.’ Anyone concerned about the future of our nation needs to read Screwed now."
Michael Toms, Founding President, New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network and author of A Time For Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth