Restoring the American Dream

by Peter Mathews, Professor of Political Science, Cypress College

In the present “recovery” of the last three years, the top 1% has captured 93% of the total growth in income, according to UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez. That left only 7% of the new income to be shared by the 99% of Americans. This was the result of tax cuts on the super rich, tax loopholes and subsidies for big corporations, such as big oil companies, and cuts in public education that would have created opportunity for working Middle Class Americans.

A recent study indicated that 47% of Americans were either struggling to make ends meet or living in poverty. Most of these are Americans who are the Working Poor. At the same time, the top 400 income earners in this nation each received an average of $214,000,000 last year. The average American’s individual income was $26,000 last year. Since the beginning of 2008, 4.6 million plus jobs were lost. All of this and more were the direct result of former President Bush’s and Congress’ wrong headed policies of eight years: “Trickle Down Economics” with huge tax cuts for the super rich; An unjustified, costly and debt generating war in Iraq; Unregulated, Free Trade (not Fair Trade), job exporting, trade deficit generating, anti-worker policies; Further deregulation of banks and finance, allowing Wall Street to go wild.

The best way out of this mess, and to restore the shattered American Dream, is to learn from the spirit and substance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. While faced with the worst economic Depression in history, FDR inspired us to believe that government should be made a positive instrument that helps provide full-fledged opportunity for all Americans to achieve the American Dream (at the very least, entry to the Middle Class).

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About Peter

Peter Mathews has spent 30 years as a College and University Professor educating people. Born into a family of educators, his father was a university professor and clinical psychologist, and his mother, a teacher. At an early age, Mathews learned the value of human dignity and to cherish education. This has molded his beliefs about the role of government in the world today. Peter Mathews is a professor of Political Science at Cypress College, has taught at California State University, Fullerton, and has served as a political analyst on KNBC-TV, CNN radio, KPFK radio, and as a commentator on KNX News Radio and other venues. Having lived, traveled, taught and conducted research in countries such as Britain, France, Denmark, Germany, Canada and elsewhere, Mathews has first-hand knowledge of public policy such as healthcare in these and other societies. As an educator, Peter has seen, first hand, the effects that a lack of funding has had on the education of our children. In many cities that do not have basic necessities such as updated textbooks, computers, adequate number of classrooms, credentialed teachers, and after school arts academic and sports programs. These are tools that will ensure that our children receive the high quality education they deserve. In 1993, Peter founded Rescue Education California to lower college tuitions, restore cut class sections, reduce K-12 class sizes, and rehire teachers and professors that were laid off. Since then, Mathews has authored two major education initiatives. Withe Californians for Smaller Class Sizes, Mathews co-wrote an Initiative Constitutional Amendment to reduce California K-12 class sizes and enhance the quality of education. Mathews and statewide supporters of Rescue Education California have lead several successful attempts to temporarily stabilize skyroketing tuition fees from 1993 to the present. Beginning in the Fall of 2011 Professor Peter Mathews and Medical Doctor Paul Garver became the official proponents of Prop 1522, the Tax Oil to Fund Education Initiative, co-written by Mathews, Garver, Frank Dawoodjee, Brett Covey, Dr. Rodger Scott, Steve Zeltzer and others. As lead proponent of the initiative, Professor Peter Mathews has traveled throughout the State of California, rallying swupport for Prop 1522 on radio, network television and in front of live audiences in the community and on campuses. Peter Mathews moved to Los Angeles County in 1979 and has been a resident and homeowner in Long Beach for 21 years, where he lives with his wife Toya Baker-Mathews and daughter Page.