The Republican American Dream: Downward Mobility for the 99%

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Child labor in Wisconsin

After carefully reviewing the multiple comments from the various Republican candidates regarding education and immigration reform, it is clear that their intention is to close the opportunities for American citizens to move up by pressuring the middle class to become the working poor. These statements are also evident in the Wisconsin Republicans. Let's review three issues and see how they are interrelated.

First: Immigration. The Republicans are strong on sending undocumented immigrants back to their homelands. These undocumented workers are the ones who work at the lowest paying jobs in the country. One of the recurring arguments is that these undocumented workers are taking jobs from American citizens. These are the entry-to-the society jobs that immigrants have held continually throughout America's history. Many of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents held these positions as their first jobs in America. My own great-grandfather came to America as a teen and worked as a cook for the “Sooners” at the opening of the Oklahoma Territory.

In Wisconsin, just in case adults are not interested in working for low wages, our Republican legislators are in the process of revising child labor laws.

The modern-day Republicans want to keep the immigrants out so that Americans can take these lowest paying jobs.

Second: Education. At the World University President's Forum in Bangkok in 2006, the purpose of higher education was stated as twofold. First, to prepare citizens to work in an economy and second, to prepare citizens to live in a society. Careful review of the statements of Republicans and the actions of Republicans in Wisconsin regarding higher education makes it clear that they only consider higher education as a means to preparing citizens to work in an economy. In fact, the recurring message from Republicans is that too many people are actually going to college. The Republican lack of support for education at all levels is too extensive to address here.

The modern-day Republicans want to prepare citizens to be loyal workers rather than engaged citizens.

Third: Immigration Revisited: All of the Republicans, and especially Mitt Romney, support “stapling green cards to foreign students who have graduated in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) without worrying about them taking middle class jobs from American Citizens. These STEM graduates are most often from wealthy and influential families in their home countries. At the same time, the Republicans do not support investing in strengthening the STEM programs and creating incentives for Americans to major in STEM subjects. The National Defense Education Act of the 1950's and 1960's created a generation of mathematicians, scientists and math and science teachers that led this country in putting a man on the moon. The successful model is there and it can easily be replicated with federal investment. But, the Republicans refuse to support increased investment in education grants and scholarships, much less loans.

The modern-day Republicans would rather employ foreign graduates than invest in incentives to enable Americans to qualify for high paying jobs.

Summary: Move the undocumented workers out of the workforce so that American Citizens can have these low paying jobs. Spend less on higher education because a loyal workforce is more important than an engaged citizenry, and provide opportunities for foreign graduates to take high-paying American jobs rather than support American citizens in preparation for these high-paying jobs..

This continues America's race to the bottom for the 99% while the 1% who are funding the Republicans continue to accumulate more and more of America's wealth.

 

(disclaimer: these are very complex issues and this brief summary leaves out multiple nuances regarding issues and policies but the tone is appropriate and the conclusions are accurate)