Today, the U.S. Senate is anticipated to vote on Barack Obama’s plan to help Republicans cut taxes for billionaires and the leisure investment class. Obama and the Republicans claim that America needs billionaires to get tax cuts, because when rich people get tax cuts, jobs are created.
A simple look at the fact shows this claim to be false. Unemployment has risen, not fallen since the tax cuts for the rich were first passed under George W. Bush. There has, since those tax cuts were put in place, zero net job creation.
That’s a point that Senator Bernard Sanders made during his filibuster of the Obama-GOP tax plan. One of the most poignant moments of his eight and a half hour speech came when Sanders explained what the consequences of the tax cuts’ failure to produce jobs has meant for Americans. It hasn’t just meant fewer jobs. It’s meant decreased real income even for those Americans who are lucky enough to have work.
“It means that when you look at a 10-year periodâ€“and people work very hardâ€“in many instancesâ€“actually, in the vast majority of instancesâ€“you will have both husbands and wives working and still not making enough money to pay the bills. In fact, they have less money than they used to have.
When I was a kid growing up, the experience was that in the middle class one personâ€“I know young people will not believe this, but it is trueâ€“years ago in the United States, before the great global economy, before robotics, before computers, one person could work 40 hours a week and earn enough money to pay the bills for the family. One person. Today, in Vermont and throughout this country, overwhelmingly you have husbands and wives both working. And in some instances they are working very long hours. But here is the rub: Today, a two-income family has less disposable income than a one-income family did 30 years ago because wages have not kept up with inflation, and because health care costs have soared, the cost of education has soared, housing has soared, and basic necessities have soared. This is a description of a country moving in the wrong direction.
Thirty years ago, a one-income family had more disposable income than a two-income family does today. And there are a lot of reasons for that. Maybe we will touch on them a little bit later. But one of them, in my view, has to do with our disastrous unfettered free trade policy, which has resulted in the shutdown of tens of thousands of factories in this country. Under President Bush alone, we lost some 48,000 factories. We went from 19 million manufacturing jobs to 12 million manufacturing jobs, and in many instances, those were good jobs.”