Your Right to
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Most U.S.: Reduce the U.S.’s dangerously wide income & wealth gap
Repub: Ignore the wealth gap. Pass more tax laws that benefit the rich
The income and wealth gap in the U.S. has been increasing steadily ever since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Policies advanced by Republican presidents – especially George W. Bush and Donald Trump – and Republican leaders in Congress have produced skyrocketing gains for the small handful of the very richest Americans, big gains for the top 1%, no gains for the upper middle class, and big losses for 90% of the country, compared to the overall economic growth of the U.S. (the “Per capital GDP” line in the chart above). We are the worst country in the developed world, in this respect.
This horrible track record is the direct outcome of forty years of Republican “supply-side,” “trickle-down” economics: the notion that tax breaks for corporations and the very rich will result in gains for everyone else. Over and over again, most vividly in states like Kansas and in national laws like Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul, this theory has been proved not only false, but catastrophically false. Trump’s tax cut alone gave the rich a gift of $1.5 trillion.
Biden and the Democrats, by contrast, are using historic investments in addressing infrastructure needs and climate change – laws passed with no or little Republican support – to narrow America’s income gap, bring up the 90% of the country below the rich and super-rich, and ensure a living wage for the tens of millions of Americans operating at or near the poverty level.
- There are real choices and real consequences in federal tax policy – consequences that directly affect YOU and your family. Right now, voting Republican makes zero sense if you are in the 99% below the super-rich. This fall, vote for leaders who will prioritize YOU – not the ultra-wealthy.
Here’s what U.S. wealth inequality looks like in graphs that will shock you to your core.
Most U.S.: Attack inflation and run the economy with the whole country’s well-being in mind
Repub: Run the economy to protect corporate interests above all else
Inflation is on everybody’s mind. Today’s high inflation rates were triggered by many factors including the pandemic, global supply chain issues, the federal investments that literally carried Americans and the economy through the pandemic, and Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine. Who should you trust to control inflation while avoiding a recession and continuing to grow the U.S. economy for all Americans? The historical record is startlingly clear. Democrats tend to do a substantially better job of managing the economy than Republicans.
That’s true across many indicators of economic health, including growth of our Gross Domestic Product (how much value our economy generates each year – see the chart above) and job growth (see the chart below).
Which approach to economic policy seems most promising to you?
Most U.S.: Make the U.S. the world leader in worker retraining and the expanding green economy
Repub: Ignore worker retraining and the green economy. Defend the coal and oil industries to the death.
Here is what The Hill, a respected non-partisan publication, had to say about Joe Biden’s and the Democrats’ successful efforts to restore American leadership in the expanding global green economy: “If we take the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the infrastructure bill together, President Biden’s remarkable, unprecedented green achievement will remake large parts of the U.S. economy and create green jobs in wind, solar, EVs, batteries, carbon capture, remediation, retrofitting and redesign across the country. These jobs cannot be outsourced or replaced by an app and they will likely be higher skilled and better paid than many service jobs. This is a green win and will be the economic driver of our future prosperity.”
One of these bills passed with at least some Republican support, proving Biden right that there is still room for bipartisan action in the U.S. Congress. The other bill was passed without a single Republican vote – despite its clearly productive impacts for the U.S. economy, addressing the climate changes that have triggered so much weather and fire-related havoc (and cost), and its dramatic reduction of prescription drug costs for Americans on Medicare.
- Republicans have backed themselves into a terrible corner. The Republican Party has no platform – no confirmed set of policy ideas on how to move America forward. It has become the Party of No, unable to propose responsible action on ANY of the enormous challenges the U.S. faces. Vigorously addressing climate change while making the U.S. the world leader of the green economy simply makes good sense. This fall, vote for leaders in your state and your state’s delegation to Congress who will do sensible things.
What’s a Green Economy?What are Green jobs? How could all of this make your life better, and that of your family?
Most U.S.: Maintain sensible regulations that protect workers and families. Appoint gov’t workers with the skills to do their jobs
Repub: Eliminate regulations of all kinds, no matter how much harm results. Turn most gov’t jobs into political appointments, valuing party loyalty over competence.
During his time in office, former President Trump and congressional Republicans decimated regulations designed to protect workers and consumers, and celebrated the rollback of regulations that used to protect the health and safety of all Americans. They also rolled back more than 100 environmental regulations that had guarded Americans from climate change and the harmful effects of pollution. President Biden and the Democrats have been working to restore and improve these regulations to keep Americans safe and healthy.
Republicans, led by Trump, have demonized the crucial, highly complex work that federal and state governments do, calling it “the Deep State” and inventing conspiracy theories that have alarmed many Americans. They are floating a plan, if Republicans gain control of Congress and the White House, to convert most government jobs into political appointments that are 100% about loyalty to Party leaders, rather than keep them non-political and focused on actual ability to do a complex job well – as they have been for more than a century. This is a disaster in the making. You do not want inept, inexperienced, unskilled Party hacks running federal programs for disaster relief, or air traffic control, or response to the next pandemic.
- Protect yourselves, your family and your community. Do not vote for anyone whose only idea is to cut, cut, and cut – taxes, regulations, the ability of your own state government and the federal government to provide important services you count on. Vote for leaders who are committed to actually helping the people they serve. Not those whose only commitment is to destroy the effectiveness of the government they want your vote to help them control.
What the “Deep State” does for you and every other American, every day:
Most U.S.: Make child care and college affordable and accessible to all
Repub: Do nothing about child care. Obstruct access to college. Protect corrupt for-profit colleges.
Childcare in the U.S. now averages more than $10,000 per child per year – 10% of the median income for married couples and 35% of the median income for single parents. This is an overwhelming burden on American families – and unlike nearly every other country we compare ourselves to, the U.S. provides practically ZERO help to parents with this deeply important responsibility. It’s a similar situation in higher education: citizens in other countries routinely attend college and often graduate school and emerge without crushing student loans. Here in the U.S., student loan debt towers over all other forms of debt, narrowing the choices, lives, and opportunities for tens of millions of Americans.
Governments like Canada, those in Western Europe and much of Asia – supported by their tax-paying citizens – see these supports as a fundamental government responsibility and a crucial investment in the country’s future. Democrats in the U.S. generally agree. Republicans in the U.S. generally do not.
- This fall, vote for candidates who will support investments in America’s future: the education of our young people, whether as young children in childcare or as young adults in college or job training programs. Listen closely to your local candidates. Very likely, it will be the Democrats who will be making this commitment.
“I was a single dad and I couldn’t afford childcare. And I was a U.S. Senator! It’s all about our kids. So we should care for them.” HEAR BIDEN’S COMMITMENT.
Most U.S.: Stand up for teachers, excellence, and pride in U.S. public schools
Repub: Limit funding for schools, ban books, and rewrite curricula to conform with Hard-Right ideals.
Public schools have at times been a battleground for America’s culture wars. But the conflicts have been vastly intensified by Donald Trump and politicized by conservative activists with the goal of animating their political base. The debate over mask mandates and COVID safety measures became highly politicized, and Republican leaders like Florida governor Ron DeSantis have seized on these issues to attack the very idea of public education. Your local school board is likely to have experienced a wave of angry accusation – none of it with much if any basis – from activists supported by fear-mongering toolkits prepared by conservative think tanks. The entire controversy over “Critical Race Theory” was ginned up by conservative national leaders who see it as “the perfect villain” for a new era of fear-based conservative messaging.
All of this has had a terrible impact in public schools. In 2021 alone, 35 state legislatures introduced 137 bills to keep students from learning about issues of race, politics, American history and LGBTQ issues. School board members simply trying to serve their communities have faced personal threats. Book-banning has exploded nationwide, with one Texas legislator naming 850 books he declared off-limits for school libraries. Teachers in some states can now be monitored and targeted by parents for mentioning an off-limits issue – racism, for example. No wonder that 55% of all teachers right now say they want to leave the profession.
This crisis is entirely manufactured by conservative activists. School boards, teachers, Democratic policymakers, left-leaning school reformers, and unions certainly can’t claim to have solved the challenges facing public education in the U.S. But at the very least, they are working to improve schools, deepen learning, widen their connections with their community, and enhance student capabilities when they leave high school, rather than attack the whole enterprise and shadow every public school – including, very possibly, the one nearest you – inside a climate of fear.
- This fall, stand strong in defense of learning, books, good teaching, and honesty in the teaching of American history. Listen very carefully to what your candidates for local office are saying. If most of what you hear is about banning books, limiting teachers’ ability to teach, and inflaming anger over ideas that school leaders say aren’t even being taught: beware. Your schools, your kids and your community will suffer if candidates like these succeed.
“Our schools are not your church.” WATCH THIS MOM.
- Educational gag orders are state legislative efforts to restrict teaching about topics such as race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities in K–12 and higher education. Are they advancing in your state? FIND OUT HERE.
- Need to know more about your rights as a parent? LEARN MORE HERE.