To The Daily Sun,
Our democracy is in trouble. As a senior citizen who has lived and worked in the United States my entire life, I took for granted that our way of government in this greatest of nations would always be a democracy. This is not the case.
The shift of power and wealth to the very rich 1 percent, plus large corporations, and away from the middle and lower classes (the 99 percent) will eventually bring about an oligarchy. A country ruled only by the rich and powerful.
It was not always this way. In the 1950s and '60s all Americans had a chance to enjoy the riches of this great nation. A husband could work and the wife could stay home and take care of the children. This is no longer possible. Now both the husband and wife must work just to get by. The wages of the middle class have not kept up with the wealth being generated in this country's businesses and industry.
Several reasons have caused this problem. Tax cuts for the rich and in some cases no taxes for big corporations — therefore, resulting in the 99 percent having to carry the load of government expenses in unfair proportions. The lack of a proper minimum wage has caused this imbalance of wealth. Anybody who works 40 hours per week should be able to handle normal expenses without the aid of the government. Currently, Walmart employee's wages are so low that many employees need food stamps and other government assistance to just get by. Meanwhile, the top executives and the Walmart corporation are making billions of dollars in profits.
Also, the demise of collective bargaining and the deliberate weakening of unions affects the middle class's ability to get a proper distribution of wealth. Some people don't like unions, but in the 1950s and '60s, when one-third of all workers were organized, all American workers benefited by the collective bargaining process with good wages and benefits. One of our nation's largest employers, Walmart, is not unionized. Establishing a union will be very difficult.
Politically, the policies of the Republican party are driving this imbalance. Tax cuts for the rich, preventing a rise in the minimum wage, and the destruction of unions and collective bargaining are undermining our democracy. The 1 percent and large corporations have bought-off government officials. Currently, senators and representatives at the national and state government levels are doing the bidding of the big money interests — leaving the "little people" (you and me) to struggle for survival.
This discrepancy of wealth between the 1 percent and the middle class is now actually worse than it was in 1928 just before the Great Depression.
My advice is remove Republicans and others who promote this negative trend from office, increase the minimum wage, encourage and strengthen the ability of workers to organize into unions, and fix the tax policy so that the rich and big corporations start paying their fair share. The redistribution of wealth or value generated by our industries and businesses must be properly spread over the workforce to bring the entire country up in wealth and prosperity. That is how our democracy will be saved.