We're at war. Wages are stagnant. Gasoline prices have doubled since 2001. Pensions are disappearing. Health coverage is slipping out of reach. Parts of New Orleans remain uninhabitable.
So congressional leaders decide to debate unpassable constitutional amendments barring flag-burning and same-sex marriage.
The minimum wage hasn't increased since 1997. Still at $5.15 an hour, it's hit its lowest value in 51 years. Full-time work at the minimum wage can't lift even a small family out of poverty.
So the leadership of the U.S. Senate refuses to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour and instead considers eliminating the 40-hour week, taking wage and hour protections from millions of workers and lowering pay for tipped workers.
And House leaders are blocking any minimum wage vote while taking up a tax break for people who have estates worth $5 million ($10 million for couples) and clearing the way for their ninth pay raise since the minimum wage was last raised.
Really, if you're not outraged by now, you are not paying attention.
The upcoming congressional elections are taking the masks off congressional leaders and revealing just how morally corrupt they really can be. Instead of spending their time passing legislation to get America back on the right track--creating good jobs and keeping them in this country, making health care affordable for all and protecting our pensions, for example--they're creating opportunities to win votes from the narrow slice of the public that makes up their extremist, far right-wing base.
Of course, they are led by a presidential administration that sees airlines and manufacturing companies dumping workers' pensions right and left.
And responds by trying to bar Department of Energy contractors from providing guaranteed pensions and solid health care coverage for employees.
What do these people have against America's working families?
The only positive thing I can say about the recent behavior of the administration and congressional leaders is this: It's giving reasonable people--people who care about this country and the working families that fuel it--one hell of a big incentive to vote in November.
Across the country, AFL-CIO unions, state federations, central labor councils and volunteers are gearing up for an all-out push to fill Congress with friends of working families. The current congressional leadership has disgraced itself. It's time for them to go.
Get your precinct-walking shoes and your phone-banking voice ready. For the sake of working families and the future of our country, turn your outrage into action. Volunteer now in the fight for good jobs, affordable health care, secure pensions, a minimum wage increase and other working family priorities. Help elect leaders who will put our country, our states and our communities back on the right track.
Union members: Talk to your union steward or call your central labor council today to volunteer for Labor 2006. If you don't have the benefit of a union on the job, contact Working America to volunteer.
Cross-posted from AFL-CIO Now: www.aflcio.org/blog.