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Paul Ryan declares war on the poor

When it comes to the Republican Party’s budget proposal that passed the U.S. House this week, I agree with those who find it strange that anyone sees the initiative as a serious attempt to “grow the economy,” as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) claims. I also agree that the now-standard barrage of reports that accompany such an initiative render most non-political junkies confused, bored or both.

However, all of that doesn’t mean the proposal Ryan spearheaded is unimportant, nor does it mean that there are no worthwhile analyses to explain that significance. On the contrary, the proposal is quite important because it endorses an economic war waged by the upper class against everyone else. Two simple studies make this war painfully obvious.

To properly contextualize those studies, first keep in mind three facts: 1) According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, “The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year” and control 40 percent of the nation’s total wealth 2) The bottom 80 percent of Americans own just 7 percent of the nation’s wealth and 3) Stiglitz notes that “while the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall.”

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