The last 30 days or so were dominated by horse race coverage, RNC coverage, typewriter coverage, and (finally and thankfully) a growing awareness of the rapid deterioration of the already unstable situation in Iraq. But to my mind, the most memorable events of this last month didn't get the ink that those other issues did. The last 30 days provided us with two signature moments that really epitomize the unrelenting desire of the Republican Party to destroy the middle class of this country. First, in late August, the Bush Labor Department torched 60 years of overtime law to enact the biggest middle-class pay cut in American history
. And now, in late September, the Republican Congress -- unsatisfied with merely slashing workers' pay -- has raised taxes on the poorest working Americans
Congressional negotiators beat back efforts yesterday to expand and preserve tax refunds for poor families, even as they added $13 billion in corporate tax breaks to a package of middle-class tax cuts that could come to a vote in the Senate today.
. . .
"I am continually astounded that some members of Congress don't understand how challenging it is to raise a family in today's economy," [Blanche] Lincoln protested. "While the cost of everything from milk to laundry detergent continues to rise, tax relief for low-income working families decreases."
These lucky duckies who Tom DeLay and Trent Lott -- two men who never saw a millionaire's loophole they didn't fight to preserve -- saw fit to confiscate wages from? They're the millions of Americans who work full-time for minimum wage. $5.15 an hour. They're the folks of whom Jesse Jackson once said,
They catch the early bus. They work every day. They raise other people's children. They work every day. They clean the streets. They work every day. They change the beds you slept in in these hotels last night and can't get a union contract. They work every day.
They work in hospitals. I know they do. They wipe the bodies of those who are sick with fever and pain. They empty their bedpans. They clean out their commode. No job is beneath them, and yet when they get sick, they cannot lie in the bed they made up every day.
So after taking away overtime pay from the people who relied on it to pay for school supplies, the Republicans this week went for the kill. They took away the one piece of tax relief aimed at America's working poor. They raised taxes on the janitors, orderlies, and food workers who make the nation run. The Republican Party raised taxes on the hardest-working Americans, and they didn't bat an eyelash.
That's today's Republican Party in a nutshell, summed up by their own terrible deeds in one terrible month. That's why we fight.
Because if George Bush has taught us anything, it's that canceling a tax cut is tantamount to hiking taxes.