Americans are Manipulated Stealthily by the Wealthy

Americans are Manipulated Stealthily by the Wealthy

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Charlene Scott cheered and chanted with the hundreds thronging Philadelphia’s Love Park at noon Saturday protesting against conservative Republican onslaughts to slaughter remaining living standard comforts of middle and working class Americans.

But unlike most attending that demonstration organized largely to voice solidarity with public workers in Wisconsin now enduring beat-downs from that state’s Tea Party aligned governor, North Central Philadelphia resident Scott said she saw this onslaught coming ten years ago.

“When I saw jobs moving off-shore, banks lowering interest rates on personal accounts, governments passing more charges onto taxpayers and gentrification in my neighborhood, I knew this was coming,” Scott said.

Scott gave her long-view assessment as rally speakers railed against nationwide attacks on public employee unions and drivers passing by 15th and JKF honked their horns responding to protestor signs asking for support of the demonstration.

Scott’s assessment is one that too many politicians and media pundits ignore.

Scott said since the 1960s, when she marched for civil rights, she’s seen erosions in the economic well-being of regular Americans manipulated stealthily by the wealthy. Sadly the erosions correspond to the increase in complacency among most Americans evidenced by the decrease in protest demonstrations.

“When we stopped marching, they took advantage of that,” Scott said adding that today the wealthy (corporations & individuals) are moving beyond their historic bashing of Blacks and Mexicans to include whites.

“They are trying to enslave all of us,” Scott said expanding upon her assessments — assessments that corporate and political leaders indignantly dismiss as reckless hyperbole despite an abundance of objective evidence supporting Scott.

During the past twenty years income for working Americans (total take home pay dollars) has stagnated or fallen while income for the wealthy has skyrocketed.

Last December Republicans on Capitol Hill — flush from electoral victories based on reducing deficits — held the misery of many jobless hostage by conditioning unemployment benefit extensions on extending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy that will added nearly a trillion in debt over the next decade.

Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker demonizes public workers there, saying their salaries and benefits are driving Badger State budget deficits.

Yet, weeks before Walker announced his draconian initiative to eliminate collective bargaining for state workers he secured tax cuts for businesses and rich individuals — breaks adding $117-million to Wisconsin’s state budget deficit over the next two years.

Budget problems for states began worsening in the late 1980s when then President Ronald Reagan eliminated the federal revenue sharing program due to federal budget deficits he needlessly increased.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave a billion in tax breaks to the wealthy in early 2010 before cutting property tax rebates to homeowners, gutting healthcare funding for the poor, reducing aid to colleges prompting tuition hikes and attacking teachers while slashing a billion dollars in aid to public schools.

Recently Christie said he was attacking teacher union “leadership” because they’re “greedy, selfish and self-interested” — negative descriptions more applicable to Christie’s constant championing of tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals.

Teresa Prato, a high school teacher in Bucks County and a speaker at Saturday’s Love Park protest, blasted the anti-teacher stance of New Jersey’s Christie.

“In a word he is a bully. Christie belittles the importance of teachers. To say that teachers are the problem without talking to them is wrong,” Prato said referencing Christie’s posture of refusing to even dialogue with teacher union representatives unless they first agree to accept every single anti-teacher proposal he wants implemented.

Christie “made it to where he is through education,” Prato noted.

Christie attended a public high school in Livingston, N.J., and the publicly funded University of Delaware.

But like too many conservatives, Christie wants to blow-up the bridges he crossed that helped elevate him in life.

Anti-affirmative-action crusader Ward Connerly, for example, made millions as a businessman through minority set-aside programs before launching his campaigns to dismantle those programs.

N.J. Gov. Christie is the man Pennsylvania’s new Gov. Tom Corbett lauds as a role model.

Fiscal conservatives like Christie and Corbett justify balancing their budgets through gutting things benefitting the middle and working classes as “shared sacrifice.”

But Corbett is not sharing sacrifice among his top staffers, who draw six-figure paychecks according to recent news reportage — salaries higher than those paid for similar positions under former Gov. Ed Rendell.

Saturday’s protest in Love Park was a part of protests nationwide to support beleaguered public workers in Wisconsin.

Protests against the worker bashing/wealth redistribution onslaughts by conservative political leaders in state capitols and on Capitol Hill in D.C. have surged nationwide during the last two weeks.

Construction worker Gilbert Mookie, a Hawaiian native, attended the Love Park protest to support unions and workers in Wisconsin.

“The only way to stop what is going on is to unite. Things aren’t getting any better,” said Mookie, wearing a hard hat, flip-flop sandals and a Hawaiian flag wrapped around his lower body.

Some at Saturday’s protest carried hand-made signs with declarations like “Capitalism is Organized Crime.”

Kalil Salaam, a Philadelphia City worker, attended the protest in part from his objections about “too many of our jobs being outsourced.”

Salaam, like Scott, criticizes the abuses of renegade corporatism.

“Look at how these large corporations control our food supply. They use toxic chemicals and genetically modified seeds. Can we really trust these corporations to protect our foods?”

Linn Washington Jr. is an award-winning writer who teaches journalism at Temple University.