Squeezing the Poor and Middle Class

There’s a hill I drive up on my way home. Frequently, wheel covers — what used to be called  hubcaps — can be picked up in the vicinity because of all the asphalt patches on top of  asphalt patches put there through the years to plug potholes that jar and shake vehicles using the busy county road.

The road has not been properly resurfaced in years.  It’s been worth it, though, to hear  our Knox County mayor say: “We didn’t raise taxes this year.”

There are a host of  programs and social activities once considered important that are no longer funded, but all  things are now secondary to the Republicans squeezing of the poor and middle class, who have little influence with politicians.

One day there won’t be anything left to cut or any more county property left to sell, but this year, once again, “We did not raise taxes.”

On the same subject, nearly 20 people are dead at last count in South Carolina and a good deal of the state is under water because of failed dams.

Republicans are in charge there, too, and in 2013 only $260,000  was spent on dam inspections, the same amount as in 2010, with the state already listed as 45th in the amount of money spent on upkeep and inspections. Next door, North Carolina spent $2,000,000 — nearly 10 times as much — despite a Republican controlled legislature.

Interestingly, dams and levees in North Carolina seem to have stood up well to the Atlantic Ocean and the last storm.

Who wants to  bet that S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and the Republican controlled legislature were able to say this year, “We did not raise taxes.”

Our own Republican Governor, Bill Haslam — backed by a Republican controlled legislature — says he hasn’t decided on privatizing hundreds of state jobs, but he’s now paying three private consultants $612,000 annually to help him do what he says he hasn’t decided to do yet.

If privatization occurs, state employees — because the governor is so concerned about them — will likely be offered their same jobs at  lower wages, without state  insurance benefits.

That’s how it works. It will allow the politicians to funnel money into the pockets of wealthy colleagues  — cronyism raw and done without shame — and the governor will  able to say, “We didn’t raise taxes this year.”

Let’s face it — the governor won’t have to face the employees he throws to the wolves at the country club where wealthy colleagues will be toasting his business sense — just as he doesn’t have to face the thousands of Tennessee’s poorest without proper healthcare while funds to pay for that insurance are unclaimed in order to keep from making President Obama look good.

And when all is said and done,  the money still won’t trickle down.