By Jack Tuckner Most of us are still blissfully, ignorantly unaware, as our free press is mostly anything but free, corporate-owned and under contract, that the US Supreme Court changed the world as we know it at the beginning of this year. InCitizens United, the five majority, right-wing, corporatist crazies voted to grant corporations personhood, free-speech rights and the unrestricted opportunity to inject billions of dollars into the body politic, throwing their overbearing financial weight behind politicians who will support corporate greed over the needs of we the people and the commons we all share. The decision was a huge victory for Wall Street banks, big oil, the “health” insurance industry and other transnational corporations and the billionaires who run them, and a huge defeat for the rest of us, as well as the for the planet itself. A true travesty.
What does corporate money and influence buy? Everything, of course. Just last week, the heavily business lobbied Senate Republicans unanimously voted against a measure that would have finally help address pay discrimination against women in the workplace. The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House of Representatives nearly two years ago, but it can’t seem to gain traction with those Senate boys (don’t they like and respect their own wives, daughters and mothers?) despite the consistent polls showing that over 84% of Americans support equal pay for women, our elected GOPers won’t even let the bill come up for a discussion, let alone a debate. They all sided, yet again, with the Chamber of Commerce, because if they paid women the same as they paid men, there would be less money remaining for seven figure CEO bonuses. This despite the fact that women with identical education, experience and qualifications make only 77 cents on the dollar of what men make. Over the course of a 40-year career, it’s estimated that women lose out on upwards of a million dollars in total wages due to this discrimination, and the Senate and Chamber of Commerce want it to continue that way.
“School Lunches? Eat Fucking Tree Bark… Reaganomics, Ladies and Gentlemen, Reaganomics.” Richard Belzer, Catch a Rising Star, circa 1984
The U.S Department of Agriculture also recently reported that 17.4 million American households had trouble finding enough food to eat last year. That’s 1 out of every 8 homes–someone went hungry at some point throughout the year. Children in single parent households were most affected by this food shortage–all in all–14% of the households in our country experienced hunger. And these numbers could have been much higher–the Department of Agriculture reports that although the number of hungry families shot up much higher in 2007 when the recession began, it has held steady since, thanks in large part to federal programs like the supplemental nutritional assistance program and free and reduced school lunches. Moreover, economists have proven that federal food assistance programs actually have a stimulative effect on the program. Every dollar given out in food stamps produces a $1.73 in economic activity as it circulates from the hungry person to the retail stores to the wholesaler to the farmer. And yet Republicans still insist that a 3% tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, so that they can then put more money in foreign banks, is a better stimulus for America, and they are willing to cut food assistance programs to pay for it. As Thom Hartmann characterized this maddening fact; “There you have it, the Republican Party literally taking food off the table of hungry Americans, so fat cat banksters can get a million dollar tax giveaway bonus, borrowed from China and handed to those billionaires, courtesy of you and me by the Republican Party.”