Everyone is born with the right to live a decent life free of exploitation. Or at least, with the right to receive equal opportunities to fight for a better life.
The most advanced economy in the world leading from the front as the forerunner of innovation and technology seems to have been turning a deaf ear to the growing income inequality despite its booming economy under its current administration.
In fact, income inequality in the US is currently at its highest range since it was monitored more than five decades ago in 1967 by the Census Bureau.
Income and wealth are not fairly redistributed as more and more wealth is generated.
Greed of the rich
The rules of the American economy favor the rich to make them richer, leaving the poor to struggle for a meagre better life. The right to live a decent life free from exploitation is denied to the 99% of population in the most advanced country in the world.
The gap between the rich and the poor are widening steeply as it instigates public anger and demands reforms to their economic policies that give them a fair chance for better lives.
These demands led to the growing popularity of socialism in the US.
However, the rising popularity of socialism is not new in the US. Thomas Paine, one of the prominent freedom fighters during the American revolution rooted for a social welfare system where the poor people can have improved living conditions.
Unfortunately, during his days he was not acclaimed for his vision that he had for championing the cause of the poor but was hated for his views on religion and federalism.
Eugene V. Debs, ran for president five times since 1900 and won 6% of the popular vote in 1912, when he was in prison. Later on socialism became a stigma in the US politics until recently.
The greed of the rich stood on its way of gaining prominence for championing the cause of the working class.
Socialism has been made a nasty word in the history of the United States since the overthrow of the Russian empire by the Bolshevik revolution, which handed over power to the working class population.
After the end of the First World War, when the working class Americans became wary of the exploitation by the rich, they started a rebellion against the establishment taking inspiration from the Soviet revolution.
The rich Americans who wanted to accumulate and protect their wealth influenced their political power to stifle the rise of socialist thoughts among the American public.
Their motive was to prevent redistribution of wealth to all Americans giving everyone an equal opportunity to flourish.
After the Great Depression, the New Deal by FDR adopted socialist principles to improve the lives of all Americans and redistribute wealth.
His Wealth Tax Act that imposed 79% income tax on income above $5 million made him “a traitor to his class.” Even though, the New Deal brought back some prosperity to the American people, the policies adopted were termed as the “foul breath of Communist Russia.”
The hatred of the rich was not toward the socialist policies or the Russian administration but safeguarding their claimed right to protect and keep accumulating wealth denying the working class Americans an opportunity to lead a better life.
FDR responded by saying ‘we have earned the hatred of entrenched greed…. [B]ut now … they seek the restoration of their selfish power”.
The current political scenario in the US has the Republican Party, which was once the party of the lesser privileged that fought to abolish slavery under the helm of Abraham Lincoln, can now be precisely termed as the ‘Party of Greed’.
The party under Trump’s administration is protecting the interests of the top 1% heedless to the welfare of the working class Americans.
In its agenda to protect the rich and sustain their wealth accumulation, the current administration diverts the attention of the public with fear of immigrants, and nuclear threat, which are lesser threats to the US.
The president’s speeches keep the income inequality problem at bay while focusing on attention that spreads fear among the American working class.
On the other hand, the left-leaning Democratic party has a huge task in its hands to move Trump away from the White House in 2020. The Democrats either have seldom sounded like a party with policies that fix the growing inequality in the American society.
Now in the 2020 election platform, they see an opportunity to safeguard the political activism of Thomas Paine, and Martin Luther King Jr. and give everyone an equal opportunity for life with no exploitation.
The rise of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC, Rashida Tlaib to prominence in the Democratic party should be embraced and seen as an opportunity for bringing the change the party is committed to. They have the opportunity to become the Republican Party envisioned by Lincoln to protect the poor.
Blue has the opportunity to become the new RED of the USA.
Featured Image Source: EquitableGrowth.Org