Why are ultra-rich Republicans suddenly adopting the same strategy as bleeding heart liberals? Because if it works for the other team, steal it for yourself!
I worry that I surround myself with too many like-minded thinkers – fellow pragmatists, who value scientific truth over faith and live by the Boy Scout code of leaving your campsite (our world) in a better manner than when you arrived. Because of this irrational fear, I stay Facebook friends with a number of old acquaintances, former roommates’ mothers, and high school classmates, who never left our small hometown. Let’s just say that our politics don’t always “mesh.”
Although a number of these characters toil in what would be considered blue collar jobs, they've delighted in posting about the minimum wage, chiefly on how raising it would ruin our country. One such post that stuck in my craw doubled-down on its tastelessness: an outraged woman dropped her jaw to the floor at the steep prices on a fast food menu, while the illiterate and clearly challenged employee tried in vain to run the cash register (I’m not going to link to it, because I don’t want it garner any additional clicks). The caption was something along the lines of, “And these people think they deserve higher wages?!?” Wow. Just wow. I did my due diligence and posted (without comment) a link to an NPR article stating that Taco Bell’s CEO received $22 million in 2013, and that the CEO to worker pay ratio now exceeds 1,000 to 1.
But those “delightful” posts haven’t been as frequent lately as these birds have changed their tunes. Why? Because the politicians these loons (in keeping with our fowl analogy) parrot have taken to a little rebranding. After President Obama’s State of the Union, which was predominantly comprised of terms like “economy,” “jobs,” “workers,” “businesses” and “pay” and received the usual riotous applause from his party, the Republican presidential hopefuls (and perhaps not-so-hopefuls) turned their sights away from bashing this rhetoric to instead incorporating the similar sentiments into their own talking points. Of course it wouldn't be our elephant friends if they didn't blame President Obama from holding back the country from achieving these very real goals that they've “definitely” had all along for us.
Don’t believe me? “Under Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty than ever before.” I bet you could guess all night before you’d predict that Mitt Romney said this. That’s right, Mr. Bain Capital, worth a cool $250 million, is bitching at Obama about the rich getting richer? Does he really hate himself and what he’s wrought that much? Or does he realize that his own party members are among the victims of this inequality, and he needs to cater to them, even if it makes him look like the same monster he wants to chase into the windmill?
Not convinced? Get this: “The facts are, we’re facing right now a divided America when it comes to the economy. The top 1 percent earned a higher share of the national income than any year since 1928.” That was straight from the mouth of Senator Ted Cruz, another multi-millionaire (by most estimations) taking the time to attack the most powerful “political” party, the extremely wealthy. This is the SAME Senator Cruz, who condemned the minimum wage bill in April 2014 with, “Those who are being hurt the most in the Obama economy are the most vulnerable among us – young people, Hispanics, African-Americans and single moms. The undeniable truth is if the president succeeded in raising the minimum wage, it would cost jobs from the most vulnerable.”
Now I know we’re mixing the minimum wage into a discussion about income inequality – as it it is only one factor that led to this extreme divide between the very rich and very poor – but I don’t understand how you can be both anti-income inequality and anti-minimum wage increase. To me, that’s being pro-death penalty and anti-assisted suicide—why can only some people “play god?” If you want your citizens to have equal opportunity, give them a fighting chance. Raise their wages, so they can contribute to the economy in a significant way. I’m not an economist (or even that good at math), but I know that if people have more money, they’ll spend more money.
Okay, here’s the final one: “While the last eight years have been pretty good for top earners, they've been a lost decade for the rest of America.” That’s former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. I know I also consider Jeb, and the whole Bush family for that matter, among the struggling Americans in this “lost decade” of income inequality. Oh wait, he’s another fucking millionaire. And he recently went on about abolishing the federal minimum wage all together, leaving it all up to the states and the business themselves (I can definitely see this going swimmingly).
I’m already popping a bag of popcorn; ready to sit back and watch my Facebook feed light up with vulgar cartoons about President Obama’s hand in creating an America just for the millionaires. I’m sure there’s a basement full of conservative cartoonist somewhere, their pencils nearly worn to nubs as they scrawl bigger ears on the president and more cash spilling out of his overflowing pockets. But all of this is nothing more than fast and loose distraction from the issues at hand: People deserve more money. Most politicians have more money than you’ll ever have. And if a strategy is working for the opposing team, rebrand it for yourself. Income inequality isn't a partisan issue, until you find your unique method of blaming it on the other guy.
Watch Jesse Ventura's take on income inequality in this Off The Grid episode:
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
More from Jesse Ventura's Off The Grid
Jesse Ventura: How Bernie Sanders Sold Out
Jesse Ventura remembers his hero, Muhammad Ali
Jesse Ventura: Snowden performed public service & is a hero
Jesse Ventura: Why voters should listen to Gov. Gary Johnson
Jesse Ventura: Clinton will do anything to win, even pick Sanders as VP
Jesse Ventura: Here's one reason why I can’t be president
Is there hope for our economy? Most Americans don’t think so.
Jesse Ventura: I am not running for president