WASHINGTON -- Reflecting on the growing divide between Wall Street and Main Street, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) on Wednesday offered a powerful critique on the state of the economy in an open committee hearing.
"The class warfare is over -- we lost," Kucinich said before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "I want to make that announcement today. Working people lost. The middle class lost."
The harrowing comments from Kucinich, who is Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, come amidst a national unemployment rate of 10 percent, one year and several months after the economic collapse of 2008 has marred the livelihoods of many.
"Don't tell me about class warfare," he continued. "Come to my neighborhoods in Cleveland. I will show you class warfare. I’ll show you hollowed out areas. I’ll show you businesses that went down because they don’t have access to capital. And on Wall Street it is fat city. Don’t tell me about class warfare."
Kucinich, a former presidential candidate who is viewed across the nation as a progressive champion on many issues, said that despite the recent uptick in economic figures, many regular Americans continue to struggle.
"All across this country people are starved for capital," Kucinich said. "Small businesses are failing, you have shopping centers that are becoming vacant because people can’t afford the rents anymore because the people who own the malls the developers are getting cash calls and credit is tightening."
"The separation between the finance economy and the real economy is real. This is not some fake idea. You can’t call that class warfare. That’s a fact."
Kucinich, who voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (also known as the Wall Street bailout), lamented it as a catalyzing force for the rising inequality of income in the United States.
"The wealth of this nation is being accelerated upward," Kucinich said. "That’s one of the problems that I had with the bailout."
"You could say that it helped stabilize the American economy, but what I see is the separation between the real economy and Wall Street. Wall Street is stabilizing, markets are a lot better, banks are doing well -- they parked their money at the Fed for a while so they could get higher interest rates."