"Let’s Restore the American Dream"
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By Peter J. Thomas and Peter Ferrara
America used to be about working for an even better future for our children than we had. Stay in school, work hard, and you will prosper, we told our kids. But today over half of recent college graduates can’t find a job, or are stuck in low paying, often part time work that won’t even pay for their student loans.
Instead of moving out and moving up, our kids are moving back in, with only hope that the real America will come back. Meanwhile, we are supposed to celebrate that Obamacare lets our kids stay on our health insurance until age 26. Did you see the Internet video where an earnest young woman looks into the camera and says, “Mr. President, I am 25. I should be getting my own health insurance.”
America used to be about working hard knowing you are getting ahead every day, but no more. Middle class incomes are falling, especially in real terms compared to the prices of what we have to buy.
Annual median family incomes are down over $4,000. That is like losing a month’s pay every year for average families. And that doesn’t count the doubling of gas prices, the additional $3,000 a year in health insurance costs, higher food prices, higher electricity prices, and everything else.
That is what happens when unemployment is above 8% for 43 months, which has never happened before except during the Great Depression.
Over 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months -- a record. Another 8.6 million Americans are stuck in part time jobs, because their hours have been cut back or they can’t find full time work, the government reports. For people who are finding work, the new jobs don’t pay what the old ones did.
While 60% of the jobs lost since the recession began were middle wage jobs, 60% of the new jobs under President Obama are low wage jobs.
These are the reasons middle incomes are falling under Obama, despite all his rhetoric about the middle class. Indeed, inequality is actually increasing under Obama, exactly contrary to his rhetoric.
Instead of rising home values providing a boost for retirement, millions of families suffer with their homes worth less than they owe. Millions more have already lost their homes, with more foreclosures coming. Seniors are staying at work, because they don’t have the money to retire.
America used to be the land of opportunity. Give me your tired, your poor, the Statute of Liberty says. And so they have come from all over the world, to the land where the poor can rise into the world leading middle class, and beyond.
But today, more Americans are in poverty than ever before in the more than 50 years since the Census Bureau has been tracking poverty. The poverty rate is back to as high as when the War on Poverty began in 1965. Food stamps and Medicaid are breaking records. Even illegal immigrants are leaving.
Worse, on our current course, it just seems like this downward spiral is going to continue. On January 1, already enacted in current law, virtually every major federal tax rate is going up for our nation’s job creators, investors and small businesses, the very people we need for new jobs and rising wages.
The top two income tax rates will shoot up nearly 20%, the capital gains tax rate will skyrocket nearly 60%, the tax on dividends will nearly triple, the Medicare payroll tax will soar 62% for these disfavored taxpayers, and the death tax will rise from the grave with a top rate rocketing up by 57%.
This is all on top of America’s nearly 40% corporate tax rate on average counting state rates, the highest in the world now except for the socialist, one party state of Cameroon. Even Communist China has a 25% rate. In the social welfare states of the European Union the average is even lower. In booming Canada, the corporate rate is 15%.
Yet, under President Obama, there is no relief in sight. Instead, he is continually barnstorming the country calling for still more tax increases. This is no way to get America booming again. It seems like Obama is turning America into a third world country.
America used to be the land where dreams came true. Now, millions of Americans have lost hope and believe America has seen its best days.
Peter J. Thomas is Chairman of The Conservative Caucus, a national advocacy organization established in 1974. Peter Ferrara is Senior Fellow for Budget and Entitlement Policy at the Heartland Institute, and Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.