The Republican Strategy To Keep Wages Low

The following was orginally published on Facebook

I’m freezing in Chicago. Meanwhile, in Washington, Republicans say they won’t extend emergency unemployment benefits unless their cost is offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

But they won’t even consider offsetting the cost by closing tax loopholes for the rich — such as the “carried interest” loophole that gives hedge-fund and private-equity partners an annual $11 billion tax subsidy, almost twice the cost of extending unemployment benefits.

Put this in a larger context and see the pattern:

(1) Not only do they oppose extending unemployment benefits, but (2) they oppose any jobs program to put the long-term unemployed to work, (3) they want to cut food stamps, (4) they refuse to raise the minimum wage, and (5) they’re determined to kill off unions.

Connect the dots and you have a calculated strategy to keep wages as low as possible — forcing large numbers of Americans to choose between working for peanuts or having nothing at all.

Republicans are pushing this strategy because lower wages give their big-business patrons fatter profits (at least in the short term; longer term, they reduce overall demand for goods and services).

The strategy is already succeeding: Real median household incomes are now 4.4 percent below what they were at the start of the so-called recovery, and corporate profits are up.

Democrats, including Obama, should be calling them out on this strategy. Why aren’t they?

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