Children of the early thirties cherish those fond memories of life on the South Side, throughout their brief journeys from infancy to teenager, during the Great Depression and the Great War that followed. They were unaware of the promise of America, bestowed of inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, reserved today for a relative few elite.
Immigrant parents confronted those extraordinary times, inspired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s remarkable resolve to “Make America Great.” And so he did, accompanied by the Greatest Generation of Americans.
When he initiated the progressive income tax in the mid-thirties, America’s top earners paid the lion’s share of this historic “game-saver.” Jobs programs and the advent of Social Security added a large measure of hope for America’s workers and retirees. When the war ended in 1945. congressional Democrats continued to dominate American politics, opening the door for the common man to capture the American Dream.
Today America is witness to a besieged middle class being lowered into the abyss of deep despair. So, what was there not to like when fickle-minded voters suddenly turned to perverse Republican policies to deprive struggling Americans of the promise of America? Stagnant worker wages, ongoing inflation and lavish tax cuts being hoarded into the coffers of America’s rich and famous, added to a soaring national debt and widening disparity of wealth.
Last January, President Trump lured America into believing his $1.5 trillion feint offer to restore America’s crumbling infrastructure, converted into into a $1.5 trillion tax reform bill, only a month before. That Trump 40 percent corporate tax cut intended for employee pay hikes, finds companies on track to plow 1 trillion into buying back their own stocks, this year, by boosting share prices to artificially increase a company’s earnings per share. This past July, the Trump administration contemplated a $100 billion capital gains tax cut, with 86 percent slated for the top 1 percent. In August our president reneged on a promise of a 2.1 percent pay raise scheduled for federal employees. This criminal confiscation of America’s wealth receives scant attention from cable news networks, too preoccupied with Trump’s daily tweets that lack inspiration and common decency.
“If rising inequality is not properly monitored and addressed, it can lead to political, economic and social catastrophes.” (World Inequality Report 2018)
This portrayal of a president’s attempt to rearrange America to suit his own self-interests is certain to fall on the deaf ears of those indifferent to the lackluster behavior of one Donald Trump. No FDR he.