If you're a fan of National Public Radio, you're familiar with "driveway moments." That's when there's something so good on the radio that you can't turn off your car – even if you've arrived at your destination.
But it turns out those moments aren't limited to NPR. I had one the other day while listening to Sonoma County's very own KRSH. Bill Bowker had singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves with him in the studio, and when he asked Cleaves to play something live, the singer dedicated a song to Detroit, Mich.
"Rust Belt Fields" stopped me in my tracks. I sat in the driveway mesmerized by this haunting lament of a middle class that is quickly disappearing in America:
This is my town out in the Rust Belt fields
We were banging out Buicks and Oldsmobiles
There was always a job and the money was there
Some say we got a little lazy
No one seemed to care
But they figured it out
Sent the elbow grease
Down to Mexico and off to the Chinese
And I learned a little something about how things are
No one remembers your name just for working hard
President Barack Obama this week offered to cut the corporate tax rate in America from 35 percent to 28 percent. This comes at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is solidly higher than 15,000.
It also comes at a time when unemployment remains stubbornly above 7.5 percent (compared to 4-5 percent six years ago) and Congress is poised to cut 5 million people from the food stamp program.
So how did House Speaker John Boehner respond to the president's proposal to cut the corporate tax rate? No dice, he said. Because the Obama Administration's plan would produce significant one-time revenues that would be used as an "investment in middle-class jobs," the president said.
Republicans oppose any new spending, jobs be damned. While Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, allowed that "everything should be negotiated," he added, "certainly I'm not in support of it."
So let the negotiating begin.
If it hasn't become clear to you already, it should be clear now: The Republican-controlled House is not interested in helping the American middle class. Besides the "no-new-revenue" objection to Obama's olive-branch offer on the corporate tax, Boehner's office also objected to the plan based on the perception that they were dissed by the White House because they weren't notified of the plan before it came out in the media.
Please read that sentence again just to make sure you understand the priorities in Washington, D.C.
Like the narrator in Cleaves's song, you might learn a little something about how things are.
<i>Chris Coursey's blog offers a community commentary and forum, from issues of the day to the ingredients of life in Sonoma County.</i>