What makes a real American: Part two

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 19, 2016

This is a continuation of last week’s guest column response to “What Makes a Real American,” by a resident
Last year in a Rasmussen poll, 79 percent of Americans polled think the corruption in Congress is so widespread, it renders our nation’s lawmakers worthless. And our response? To not vote. Is that “American?” This erosion of public trust has resulted in foxes rushing into the henhouses; where elections are bought, districts are gerrymandered, and lawmakers serve the interests of those powerful few who bankrolled them into office. And their interests are as follows: to profit the most while giving the least, resulting in the greatest income inequality in our nation’s history; to destroy labor unions to their current 5% membership; to maximize profits of major shareholders and CEOs, at the cost of minimizing the employees’ salaries and the products’ quality; to make sure the billions in tax breaks and subsidies for the most profitable companies in the world -continue.
Meanwhile, most American workers earn less today than they did forty years ago, adjusted for inflation. The good-paying manufacturing jobs that were plentiful forty years ago have relocated to China or India or the Philippines. Companies laid off at least 4 million workers from 2000 to now, but increased jobs overseas by 3.4 million. The 500 largest American companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits in overseas accounts to avoid paying US taxes.
So how did “real” Americans get suckered into thinking that “welfare” and its recipients are to blame for the lack of jobs, lower incomes, and less opportunity? When the truth is that over a third of struggling families receiving benefits do work, but their employers only give them 29-30 hours a week ( saving on having to give benefits) and pay them minimum wage? And our nation’s largest employer? WalMart!
” Real” Americans are those people who care enough to vote in every election, care enough to be informed of facts and not just hate-filled opinions, and are smart enough to know that we cannot be a prosperous, dynamic nation of free people unless we respect our diverse cultural differences and our freedoms expressing those differences. E pluribus unum is our national motto. It means ” out of many, one.”

Deborah Craig

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