Commentary: A Thanksgiving Message to the GOP

As they celebrate their blessings, Republican lawmakers should consider how little millions of struggling Americans have to give thanks for.

Posted: 11/23/2011 09:20 AM EST

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. It is a time when we pause to reflect on all of the blessings that our creator has bestowed upon us as a nation. And, as a nation there is much for which Americans can and should be thankful.

 

This Thursday, millions of American families will gather at their respective homes and sit down to a hearty meal of turkey, stuffing, yams and cranberry sauce. Many of us will over-indulge ourselves in food, drink, football and good times.

 

But for many Americans, this Thanksgiving won’t be as festive. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 46.2 million people living in poverty in this country. Less than 10 percent of the nation’s 38 million elderly live in poverty. There are 16.4 million children living in poverty in the U.S. Each year there are 3.5 million people who will experience homelessness. In addition, 13.9 million U.S. citizens are suffering from unemployment. If those numbers aren’t daunting enough for you, consider this while you wolf down that second piece of apple pie: there are 48.8 million people who live in food-insecure households. In other words, there are over 48 million people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Sadly, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are suffering from the above-mentioned social ills in disproportionate numbers.

 

Contrast these numbers with the fact that in the past 30 years, the nation’s top one-percent earners tripled their after-tax income while the bottom 90 percent’s income decreased by a staggering 20 percent. This wealth gap is largely due to economic policies such as the infamous capital gains tax that was instituted by the Republican Party. Even in these tough economic times when the majority of us are seeing our income shrink, the top one percent has seen their incomes grow exponentially. Unfortunately, these fat cats — the so-called job makers — haven’t used their record profits to create new jobs nor are their rich cronies in the GOP willing to increase their taxes to help. If the Native Americans had been that selfish when the pilgrims were starving, who knows where this country would be today?

 

Call me what you want: liberal, bleeding heart — whatever, but I believe that to whom much is given, much is required. This is why in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am urging the nation’s top one percent and GOP legislatures to strongly consider accepting President Obama’s tax increases and expand and adopt his job program as soon as possible.

 

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(Photo: John Moore/GettyImages)

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