Here is an economic primer for all your teabagger friends from Fred Clark at slacktivist. It deserves as wide circulation as it can possibly get. Now Iíve done my part. Do yours.
Hey you. You there in the Glenn Beck T-shirt headed off to the Tea Party Patriot rally.
Stop shouting for a moment, please, I want to explain to you why youíre so very angry. You should be angry. Youíre getting screwed. I think you know that. But you donít seem to know that it doesnít have to be that way. You can stop it. You can stop it easily because the system thatís screwing you over can only keep screwing you over if you keep demanding that it do so.
So stop demanding that. Stop helping the system screw you over.
Look, you can go back to yelling at me in a minute, but just read this first.
1. Get out your pay stub.
Or, if you have direct deposit ó you really should get direct deposit, it saves a lot of time and money (I point this out because, honestly, Iím trying to help you here, even though you donít make that easy Mr. Angry Screamy Guy) ó then take out that little paper receipt they give you when your pay gets directly deposited.
2. Notice that your net pay is lower than your gross pay. This is because some of your wages are withheld every pay period.
3. Notice that only some of this money that was withheld went to pay taxes. (I know, I know ó yeearrrgh! me hates taxes! ó but just try to stick with me for just a second here.)
4. Notice that some of the money that was withheld didnít go to taxes, but to your health insurance company.
5. Now go get a pay stub from last year around this time, from January of 2009.
6. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld for taxes in your current paycheck is less than the amount that was withheld a year ago.
Thatís because of President Barack Obamaís economic stimulus plan, which included more than $200 billion in tax cuts, including the one youíre holding right there in your hand, the tax cut thatís now staring you in the face. Republicans all voted against that tax cut. And then they told you to get angry about the stimulus plan. They didnít explain, however, why you were supposed to get angry about getting a tax cut. Why would you be? Wouldnít it make more sense to get angry at the people who voted against that Obama tax cut?
But taxes arenít the really important thing here. The really important thing starts with the next pointÖ
7. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is more than it was last year.
8. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is a lot more than it was last year. I wonít ask you to dig up old paychecks from 2008 and 2007, but this has been going on for a long time. Every year, the amount of your paycheck withheld to pay for your health insurance goes up. A lot.
9. Notice the one figure there on your two pay stubs that hasnít changed: Your wage. The raise you didnít get this year went to pay for that big increase in the cost of your health insurance.
10. Hereís where I need you to start doing a better job of putting two and two together. If you didnít get a raise last year because the cost of your health insurance went up by a lot, and the cost of your health insurance is going to go up by a lot again this year, what do you think that means for any chance you might have of getting a raise this year?
11. Did you figure it out? Thatís right. The increasing cost of health insurance means you wonít get a raise this year. Or next year. Or the year after that. The increasing cost of health insurance means you will never get a raise again.
Thatís what I meant when I said you really should be angry. Thatís what I meant when I said youíre getting screwed.
OK, weíre almost done. Just a few more points, I promise.
12. The only hope you have of ever seeing another pay raise is if Congress passes health care reform. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will swallow this yearís raise. And next yearís raise. And pretty soon it wonít stop with just your raise. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will start making your pay go down.
13. I wish I could tell you that this was just a worst-case scenario, that this was only something that might, maybe happen, but that wouldnít be true. Without health care reform, this is what will happen. We know this because this is what is happening now. It has been happening for the past 10 years. In 2008, employers spent on average 25 percent more per employee than they did in 2001, but wages on average did not increase during those years. The price of milk went up. The price of gas went up. But wages did not. All of the money that would have gone to higher wages went to pay the higher and higher and higher cost of health insurance. And unless Congress passes health care reform, that will not change.
Well, it will change in the sense that it will keep getting worse, but it wonít get better. Unless the problem gets fixed, the problem wonít be fixed. Thatís kind of what ďproblemĒ and ďfixedĒ mean.
14. Sadly for any chance you have of ever seeing a raise again, it looks like Congress may not pass health care reform. It looks like they wonít do that because theyíre scared of angry voters who are demanding that they oppose health care reform, angry voters who demand that Congress not do anything that would keep the cost of health insurance from going up and up and up. Angry voters like you.
15. Do you see the point here? You are angrily, loudly demanding that Congress make sure that you never, ever get another pay raise as long as you live. Because of you and because of your angry demands, you and your family and your kids are going to have to get by with less this year than last year. And next year youíre going to have to get by with even less. And if you keep angrily demanding that no one must ever fix this problem, then youíre going to have to figure out how to get by on less and less every year for the rest of your life.
16. So please, for your own sake, for your familyís sake and the sake of your children, stop. Stop demanding that problems not get fixed. Stop demanding that you keep getting screwed. Stay angry ó you should be angry ó but start directing that anger toward the system thatís screwing you over and taking money out of your pocket. Start directing that anger toward fixing problems instead of toward making sure they never get fixed. Instead of demanding that Congress oppose health care reform so that you never, ever, get another pay raise, start demanding that they pass health care reform, as soon as possible. Because until they do, youíre just going to keep on getting screwed.
And itís going to be that much worse knowing that you brought this on yourself ó that you demanded it.
Thanks for your time.