America has always meant freedom and opportunity for anyone willing to seek, to strive, and to work for a dream.
But today America is hurting. Never has there been a more alarming gap between rich and poor. Never has our economy been so out of balance. Never have regular Americans had felt so unsure that we can keep what we’ve earned instead of always running to stay in the same place. Today, everything we cherish is under fire: Our communities. Our freedoms. Our neighborhood schools. Our kids’ college education. Our chance to make a better life for our children. Our right to good homes and good jobs and decent healthcare and wages that can sustain a family. Our hope of a dignified old age free from poverty. And our voice in our government and at the ballot box.
American families are being squeezed mercilessly—while American democracy is being hijacked by a handful of wealthy CEOs and politicians who have rigged the rules in their favor. America should work for “we the people"—not just the rich and well-connected. We need a better balance between the right to profit and the rights of the working people who produce those profits.
The gap between the super-rich and everyone else has widened in the last 35 years. Today the top 1 percent takes in almost 20 percent of the country’s total income, while owning 35 percent of America’s wealth. This gap is due in large part to one glaring factor: The link between productivity and wages is broken. Through about the late 1970s, workers’ productivity and wages rose together.
Our democracy aspires to function on the idea that every American has an equal voice in our laws, our policies and our government. But unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. A handful of super-wealthy individuals, corporations, and special interest groups have been trying to usurp the power of the people. They do this by contributing millions to political campaigns in order to push their own legislative agenda at every level, from our town halls to our state legislatures to Capitol Hill.