We Are the Majority

  1. I started to post this as a response to the thread "Taking away your Time and a Half!", but decided to make it a new thread.

    We Are the Majority
    by Representative Bernie Sanders

    How do we build a political movement in this country that represents all of the people and not a handful of millionaires?

    The middle class is collapsing, the people on top are making out like bandits, and the poorest people are struggling just to keep their heads above water.
    Today, the concentration of wealth and income in this country is not only greater than at any time since the 1920s, but it is far greater than in any other major country on Earth.

    It is not acceptable that the wealthiest 1 percent of the population owns more wealth than the bottom 95 percent.

    That's not America.

    It is not acceptable that the 13,000 wealthiest families in this country earn more income than the bottom twenty million families.

    It is not acceptable that the greed of corporate America has resulted in the CEOs of large corporations earning over 500 times what their average worker makes.

    That's not America, and we're going to change that.

    Today, the largest employer in America is not General Motors. It is Wal-Mart, which pays people subsistence wages and minimal benefits. It is now being sued by workers in twenty-eight states because the company is not even paying the overtime it should be paying.

    But it's not just Wal-Mart. It is the transformation of the American economy that Congress is not talking about, that the President certainly is not talking about, and that the media is not talking about.

    In the last three years alone, we have lost over two-and-a-half-million manufacturing jobs that were paying people decent middle class wages. And when you talk about patriotism, and when you talk about the American flag, what is corporate America doing by throwing American workers out on the street, moving to China, moving to countries where people can't even form a union or stand up for their rights? Let's talk about patriotism. Let's talk about investing in America and expanding the middle class.

    Corporate America essentially is saying the hell with the American worker, the hell with the United States of America. We will do anything we want in order to make more and more profits.

    And my friends, it is not only manufacturing jobs that are going abroad. If some of you say, "Well, I went to college, man, I know how to work that computer. I have a good job," think twice. They're after your jobs, as well. If there's a computer or a telephone job, it could be done any place in the world at a fraction of the wages that are paid in America. And that's where corporate America is moving.

    We want the people in China, in India, all over the world, to do well, but we want a globalization that does not lead to a race to the bottom but uplifts all of the people of the world.

    Now when we talk about what's happening in the middle class today, hear this. A hundred years ago, workers all over this country held huge demonstrations, and they had big banners that said, "Give us a forty-hour week. We're not animals. We're not beasts of burden. We want to spend time with our families. We want to get more education. We want some vacation time."

    Now how many of you know that today the American worker is working longer hours by far than the people in any other industrialized country? Today, 40 percent of American workers are working fifty hours a week or more. That's the collapse of the middle class, and we have got to turn that around.

    The scandal of our time is that with all the explosion of technology and productivity the average American is not working fewer hours and making more money. We are not down to a thirty-hour week. The middle class is not expanding, and poverty has not been eliminated. On the contrary, it has increased.

    Because of the greed of corporate America, real wages in the private sector are 8 percent less than they were thirty years ago. And where has all of that accumulated wealth gone? It has gone to the people on top, who have seen a huge increase in the percentage of wealth and income they receive.
    Let me say a word about those people. And it's important that we talk about that because you're not going to read about it in most newspapers or see it on television.

    It is very clear that these people have put their own greed ahead of the middle class and working families of this country. What they are now doing is living in guarded compounds. They don't have to get on the airlines like you do. They fly in their Lear jets. They don't get on crowded mass transit to get to work. They don't have to worry about how their kids are going to go to college or high school because they have the money to send their kids to the best private schools in America; they have enough money to buy their way to get their kids into any college in America. That's how they live--separate and segregated from what's going on in this country. And our job is to tell them that if they don't come back to America, then the hell with them. We'll go forward without them.

    For the full article see - http://www.progressive.org/feb04/sand0204.html
    •  
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   orrnlori
    This author refers to himself as a SOCIALIST democrat, sorry not my party. The republicans take from the middle class and give to the rich. The democrats take from the middle class and give to the poor. Neither party takes care of the vast majority of us, us good ol middle class, least of all a socialist democrat.
  4. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from orrnlori
    This author refers to himself as a SOCIALIST democrat, sorry not my party. The republicans take from the middle class and give to the rich. The democrats take from the middle class and give to the poor. Neither party takes care of the vast majority of us, us good ol middle class, least of all a socialist democrat.


    Actually, the author refers to himself as a democratic socialist and he belongs to neither party. It's too bad that you read through that whole thing and decided to focus on a label. What did you think of the article?
  5. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from WyomingRN
    I started to post this as a response to the thread "Taking away your Time and a Half!", but decided to make it a new thread.

    We Are the Majority
    by Representative Bernie Sanders

    How do we build a political movement in this country that represents all of the people and not a handful of millionaires?

    The middle class is collapsing, the people on top are making out like bandits, and the poorest people are struggling just to keep their heads above water.
    Today, the concentration of wealth and income in this country is not only greater than at any time since the 1920s, but it is far greater than in any other major country on Earth.

    It is not acceptable that the wealthiest 1 percent of the population owns more wealth than the bottom 95 percent.

    That's not America.

    It is not acceptable that the 13,000 wealthiest families in this country earn more income than the bottom twenty million families.

    It is not acceptable that the greed of corporate America has resulted in the CEOs of large corporations earning over 500 times what their average worker makes.

    That's not America, and we're going to change that.

    Today, the largest employer in America is not General Motors. It is Wal-Mart, which pays people subsistence wages and minimal benefits. It is now being sued by workers in twenty-eight states because the company is not even paying the overtime it should be paying.

    But it's not just Wal-Mart. It is the transformation of the American economy that Congress is not talking about, that the President certainly is not talking about, and that the media is not talking about.

    In the last three years alone, we have lost over two-and-a-half-million manufacturing jobs that were paying people decent middle class wages. And when you talk about patriotism, and when you talk about the American flag, what is corporate America doing by throwing American workers out on the street, moving to China, moving to countries where people can't even form a union or stand up for their rights? Let's talk about patriotism. Let's talk about investing in America and expanding the middle class.

    Corporate America essentially is saying the hell with the American worker, the hell with the United States of America. We will do anything we want in order to make more and more profits.

    And my friends, it is not only manufacturing jobs that are going abroad. If some of you say, "Well, I went to college, man, I know how to work that computer. I have a good job," think twice. They're after your jobs, as well. If there's a computer or a telephone job, it could be done any place in the world at a fraction of the wages that are paid in America. And that's where corporate America is moving.

    We want the people in China, in India, all over the world, to do well, but we want a globalization that does not lead to a race to the bottom but uplifts all of the people of the world.

    Now when we talk about what's happening in the middle class today, hear this. A hundred years ago, workers all over this country held huge demonstrations, and they had big banners that said, "Give us a forty-hour week. We're not animals. We're not beasts of burden. We want to spend time with our families. We want to get more education. We want some vacation time."

    Now how many of you know that today the American worker is working longer hours by far than the people in any other industrialized country? Today, 40 percent of American workers are working fifty hours a week or more. That's the collapse of the middle class, and we have got to turn that around.

    The scandal of our time is that with all the explosion of technology and productivity the average American is not working fewer hours and making more money. We are not down to a thirty-hour week. The middle class is not expanding, and poverty has not been eliminated. On the contrary, it has increased.

    Because of the greed of corporate America, real wages in the private sector are 8 percent less than they were thirty years ago. And where has all of that accumulated wealth gone? It has gone to the people on top, who have seen a huge increase in the percentage of wealth and income they receive.
    Let me say a word about those people. And it's important that we talk about that because you're not going to read about it in most newspapers or see it on television.

    It is very clear that these people have put their own greed ahead of the middle class and working families of this country. What they are now doing is living in guarded compounds. They don't have to get on the airlines like you do. They fly in their Lear jets. They don't get on crowded mass transit to get to work. They don't have to worry about how their kids are going to go to college or high school because they have the money to send their kids to the best private schools in America; they have enough money to buy their way to get their kids into any college in America. That's how they live--separate and segregated from what's going on in this country. And our job is to tell them that if they don't come back to America, then the hell with them. We'll go forward without them.

    For the full article see - http://www.progressive.org/feb04/sand0204.html


    Every member of the working class in America should be furious because the current administration has waged a war on us from the beginning. Unfortunately, at least half the country is in the grips of some sort of denial (or is it apathy), are easily distaracted by nonissues like boobs on TV or gay marriage and refuse to see what is being done to them. I don't suggest that the Democrats are any better, indeed they are all in this thing together and until the vast majority of Americans decide to educate themselves and demand some sort of acccountability from their leaders then nothing is going to change.
  6. by   orrnlori
    I think that politics are divisive and I think this particular person is in la-la-leftist land. Sorry, I'm partly independent, mostly centrist and probably more libertarian party than anything. I don't believe in either major party and vote for the best person, which sometimes means throwing away my vote but I vote in every election. I actually believe in corporate America because our system is set up as a capitalistic system, socialism and communism are total failures. Capitalism has worked for over 200 years making us the richest most educated country in the world. Do you have a retirement plan, are there mutual funds in that plan, that's corporate America you're investing in. Do you run to WalMart when you need something, that's corporate America you're investing in. Do you own an American car, that's corporate America you're investing in. Do you have a savings account at a bank, that's corporate America too. Do I think there are rotten CEO's, yep, do I think most of corporate America are pigs? nope. In a free market society some people get very very rich, most people tread water but keep plugging along to give their kids more than they had, and some drown.

    I still believe that anyone can be anything they want to be, they just have to work at it. I don't believe in give aways for corporations or for people who refuse to work. I don't believe in excuses, only reasons, reasons can possibly by changed by changing circumstances, excuses are just that.

    I don't believe in either leftist drivel or right wing whining. I believe in us, as a country.

    My husband is a mechanic, I'm a nurse, we aren't rich, we're middle class. My son is 19 and going to college, something I couldn't do til I was 39 years old. His life will be richer than mine in more than money. He knows if he works hard and is flexible, he'll probably never be hungry. But there's no guarantees to anything. It's called life.

    I think the writer of your article is a little screwy. Please remember, you asked my opinion and I have given it.
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    Well spoken points regarding the author and his article.

    I don't buy for a minute that ALL corporations are greedy evil entities. Most of the rich have earned their wealth. Looking at the Fortune 400, quite a few even of the very richest people came from a standing start, while others inherited a small business and turned it into a giant corporation. (John Weicher, February 13, 1997 Washington Post Op-Ed).

    In 2001, of all Federal Income Tax paid in the USA, 96.03% was paid by the top 50% of wage earners. 64.89% was paid by the top 10%. 53.25% was paid by the top 5% of wage earners.

    The top 50% were those individuals or couples filing jointly who earned $26,000 and up in 1999. (The top 1% earned $293,000-plus.) So when we read articles bashing "the rich" .. well, the rich are some of us. A small family farm, on paper, can make the farmers look pretty rich until you look at expenses. That $293,000 can be reduced pretty quickly from gross to net.

    I think, personally, that there is a large bit of hyperbole in alot of the complaints about rich evil corporations. These corporations, as orrnlori graciously pointed out, ARE American and Americans.

    Maybe one of the reasons corporations feel they are being forced out of the market here in America is their high tax rate, high workmen's comp rates, SOME ridiculous regulations (example: my husband cannot move any large equipment from one landing in the woods to another using a highway on a national holiday and don't ask me why because I have no idea . . .so, he couldn't move logging equipment 3 miles. The whole job had to close down and the company and fallers and skidder drivers lost thousands of dollars of income because of one silly government regulation).

    Because I believe in moderation and common sense in making rules and regulations does NOT mean I'm in favor of "raping the earth". Another example of hyperbole used by the extremists on the left.

    I've mentioned on some other posts recently that there are wackos on all sides of arguments and until we can see through the gibberish of each, and actually take a look at each other and realize we are NOT enemies but just Americans trying to make a living, we are going to keep buying into these emotionally wraught arguments that ALL CORPORATIONS ARE EVIL, EARTH-POLLUTING, WAR-MONGERING HORRIBLE PEOPLE OUT TO WRECK EVERYONE'S LIVES. And that is just plain silly.

    steph
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Feb 15, '04
  8. by   donmurray
    You say socialist like it's a bad thing!
  9. by   skaosiris
    Hi,

    Okay, lets see. We are definitely the richest country in the world, but we are NOT the most educated. In most other industrialized countries, usually, the citizens can speak more than one language--we cannot even get half of our population to speak english (our native language) anywhere near correctly. Unlike other countries, we do not know history too well and we do not value education nearly as much as we should except for its ability to increase our chances of obtaining employment. Regarding corporations, we are now to believe that THEY have high tax rates--compared to what? Rediculously high workman's comp rates? Right, why should we care about someone who was injured on the job. Workman's comp does not even pay 100% of what the employee was making. Finally, half the reason kids today expect that the world owes them something is because advertising (corporate america ) tells them they deserve it and that they've got to have this particular thing. Even though many corporations are not trying to be sleazy per say, their line of thinking leads them right down that path anyway. What would you expect to happen when increasing profits, decreasing costs, and keeping the business afloat are THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS to the business. I have worked in many businesses and do you know what I have found? I have found the businesses themselves will tell you that they will let people go because payroll is the biggest expense they have--or they will have their work done in another country. We have been duped into not even noticing the twisted nature of believing that the business is all important. This non-entity, an abstract idea, really just a front for the rich owners, is more important than the people who work for them.
    As for me, I won't shop at Walmart ( unlike their claim, little of what they sell is made in america and they treat their employees like **** as is reflected in their pay and benefits--I know since I worked their for a little while before my first clinical job), my car is made in Japan, and I do not go to McDonalds (one of the "Big Three" in sleazy fast food chain restaurants).
    What about the the Ceo's of some asian countries that take pay cuts rather than lay off people when its time for the business to tighten its belt?
    Gee, I wonder if its because the employer sees the benefit of retaining its employees so that the business still has a chance of doing well. I wonder if they feel some measure of responsibility to their employees. I wonder if these business realize that these are their people and throwing citizens out on the street so that you can make even more money is very short sighted to say the least. I wonder how it is that those of you in favor of corporate america don't see it as sleazy that many companies will hire only part time employees so that they do not have to give them benefits. Why does even our federal government give one month vacation a year to its employees STARTING WITH THEIR VERY FIRST YEAR, but nearly every private company give only two weeks until many years have passed?
    Yes, I believe that everyone should be responsible, productive, and accountable, but I am so tired of these pro big business people spewing nonsense about, essentially, 'Survival of the Fittest'. We are not a nomadic society, vagabonds, nor wild animals living in the woods. WE ARE A CIVILIZATION--WE NEED TO BE TAKING CARE OF ONE ANOTHER AS WELL AS TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES. We have become this so that we as a whole survive and grow--like one big family and families look out for one another. This 'every man for himself' thing will not work for us humans--sorry to tell you. As I have mentioned in other posts, I know that for the most part, the differences between democrats and republicans is largely a thinly veiled distraction. It is the same age old class war where differences are contrived to be important to keep us fighting while the CEOs take all the money and as long as we allow this, yes, RAPING to continue, everthing detrimental to our society will grow and everything beneficial will dwindle. Someone on this board mentioned an understanding, perhaps which they cited from somewhere, of the meaning of wealth. Wealth is not a certain amount of money, it is the sense that one no longer needs to be in survival mode anymore--that their basic needs will be met--yes with effort and sometimes resistance from natural occurences, not with resistance from our own kind. This is so that, as humans and unlike the other animals on this planet, we can devote our time to more intellectual pursuits and goals, do greater things, and become more than we are.
    Many times it has been mentioned by some on this board that without capitalism, big corporations, and the money to be had from it, what would be the incentive for anyone to work hard or at all? I am 36 yrs old and not an idealistic child, but are we so far gone that we cannot even see how we could be productive without greed as a motivator? Is this how we choose our friends and mates for life, too? Should we believe or accept the fact that humans in this country are motivated by greed, fear, hate, and desire? Do ethics, morality, compassion, or character even enter into the human equation anymore? I am pretty sure that this latter set does not usually enter into the equation for businesses, but it should for us--especailly for nurses. Bye for now.
  10. by   ernurse2244
    Alot of good points here on both sides of the argument. Some of corporate America is greedy. Some of corporate America still sticks to old fashioned integrity. Sam Walton worked hard to get his billions. But, I no longer shop at Walmart because of the way the company eventually evolved. I will buy a Toyota Prius in the coming months because no American company has a comparable energy efficient car. I bank at a locally owned bank. The majority owner also owns a hardware store and shows up every day despite being over 80. During a blizzard 10 years ago he walked over a mile to open the store because he knew people would need extra heaters, etc. I don't begrudge him a dime he makes from me. I try to read the news and not do business with companies whose policies I do not like. Just my take on things.

close