We can of course expect the upper-class tax breaks to become permanent; the White House has been organizing nationwide tours to promote the idea that the Social Security program must be cut back and privatized; Greenspan has been carted out to "speak on his own behalf" about the dangers of deficits (hmm, ya think?) and how that means we must follow the specific anti-middle-class proposals of the Bush Administration; and limitations on bankruptcy via the "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act" seek to allow the credit and lending industries extra protections for usurious practices, at the expense of middle class Americans targeted by those companies.
Simultaneously, Santorum's (R-PA/VA) minimum wage proposals seek to reduce the number of American companies which are even required to follow minimum wage laws, and to allow companies to force workers to work more than 40 hours per week on a regular basis with no overtime pay. In the very shallow background, tort reform is being pushed in an effort to limit the liabilities of companies manufacturing dangerous products, and the liabilities of the insurance industries in paying out those claims.
All this coming on the heels of curiously stalled investigations into companies such as Enron, which according to now-public taped phone conversations intentionally caused power outages in major west-coast cities -- threatening American lives -- in order to force higher overall utility prices. Add pricefixing charges on the part of Halliburton and other high-profile energy and defense contractors, other ongoing charges against corrupt corporate practices nationwide, and even the investigation into Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) for soliciting (and even strongarming) illegal campaign contributions, and it's not hard to see where the chips are falling in this new Congress.
If greed is good, we've entered the eighties all over again.
It's no accident that these proposals are all coming up at once; they represent rollbacks in consumer protection, corporate regulation, and criminal culpability that die-hard Republicans have been wanting for a long time, but only now have the confidence and numbers to move forward on. This steady stream of legislative actions seeks to increase the taxes and decrease the legal protections for middle class and other working Americans, while providing loopholes and exemptions protecting wealthy Americans from those same laws.
But how do we describe this new class warfare to the general public? What overall name can we give this Republican attack, such that less-informed Americans will immediately understand what we're talking about? Corporatism is too stuffy and obscure a word, though it fits the movement goals to a T. Class Warfare is so gauche; we've been trained by Republicans that something only counts as class warfare if the lower classes fight back.
I'm partial to The New Contract On America. But I want to hear other suggestions.
Your mission is to frame this new many-headed Republican attack on working-class America. What framing can Democrats provide that can be repeated ad nausem, on all the news channels, and used in all the op-eds? That average Americans will immediately understand, and respond to?