Never Mind the Ceiling! Raise the Floor!

From the media coverage, you might think the financial crisis in the United States was a matter primarily concerning bankers. In fact, unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are on the rise, and localities around the country are reporting increased homelessness. The share of wealth held by the poorest 40% (or, for that matter, the poorest 90%) of Americans is shrinking rapidly.

Last month a man in North Carolina robbed a bank of $1 in order to obtain healthcare in prison. He had applied for help from the government without luck. Imagine how many people are just that desperate but haven't resorted to solutions that made the news. Here’s just one indicator: the suicide rate is also increasing.

Obsessing with the debt ceiling at a time like this is a lethal fraud. The United States and other countries have done okay in deeper debt before, and the debt ceiling has been raised without difficulty before. But taxing the rich (even just by refusing to extend the Bush-Obama tax cuts for the wealthy) and cutting military spending, both steps favored by strong majorities, would be leaps forward in paying off the debt.
The phony debt ceiling crisis is an excuse to cut human services. But there can be no excuse for cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. Those of us not in the Forbes 400 need a stronger civil society, not a weaker one. We need the floor raised, and our representatives keep staring at the ceiling.

Please send our message to your elected officials. You'll have the option to add your own story or the story of people you know. Have you seen any trouble more serious than having to sell your third yacht or pay taxes on your private jet? We're looking for the stories the corporate media miss. We might feature yours on the website.

Send our message to Congress and the President, and please feel free to edit the letter to add your own story.