Then, the day after Americans voted to reject Mitt Romney’s plan to reduce the deficit on the back of the middle class, Johnny and Mitch insisted that Congress must reduce the deficit on the back of the middle class.
Johnny and Mitch need to wake up to the new reality. Ding, dang dong. Republicans lost. They lost the Presidency. They lost seats in both the House and the Senate. The American people smacked Republicans down and trounced the GOP’s darling Tea Party. Losers don’t disrespect the victors. And, Johnny and Mitch, just FYI, losers don’t dictate the terms of armistice. The victor in the 2012 Presidential election ran on a pledge not to renew those expiring Bush tax cuts for the rich. American voters validated those terms.
President Obama and Mitt Romney reveled in their differences. The choice was clear for Americans. For his part, Romney dismissed 47 percent of Americans as lazy, irresponsible “takers” and promised to decrease taxes for the nation’s wealthiest by 20 percent beyond the Bush cuts.
President Obama, by contrast, promised he would let expire the Bush tax cuts for everyone earning more than $250,000 a year, which would include himself and Mitt Romney. As Republicans carped about the nation’s debt, Obama said it was time for those who had benefited most from America to fulfill their responsibilities to their country.
Not only did voters choose President Obama and his fiscal plan, but they also said in exit interviews that those Bush tax cuts for the rich have gotta go. Here’s what an infamous number – 47 percent – told the exit pollsters about the rich: Anyone earning more than a quarter million should pay more taxes. An additional 13 percent said everyone’s taxes should be raised.
Those results are consistent with the way Americans voted on local tax measures. They increased their own taxes repeatedly on Tuesday.
Residents of California and Arkansas, San Antonio and Austin voted to pay more in taxes for specific purposes such as education and infrastructure. In Oregon and Florida, voters rejected limits on and elimination of certain taxes.
The vast majority of Americans are willing to do their part to support their country. And they expect no special exemption from that responsibility for the nation’s richest. They sent that message Tuesday through their ballot choices.
EXPOSE THE KOCHS: The Koch brothers fund multiple think tanks and academic centers to promote their ideology and grow their profits, a Brave New Foundation investigation reveals. Let’s create an echo chamber of truth (more…)
It’s illegal in America now to buy or sell a human being, but a recorded telephone conversation between a Republican governor and a guy he thought was a billionaire benefactor shows that it’s still possible to own a politician.
Republicans like Walker, owned by billionaires like Koch, are fulfilling demands from corporate interests that government “free” enterprise by slashing corporate taxes and regulation. Over the past three years, America has suffered the consequences of a government under-funded after tax breaks to the rich and under-performing after years of lax regulation. The result: a growing federal deficit, the Wall Street collapse, the BP oil spill and the deaths of 29 Upper Big Branch miners. Still, Republicans want more government atrophy. That would leave only one restraint on corporate control of the economy, environment and government.
That one restraint is labor unions. A union is workers using their constitutionally-guaranteed freedom to assemble, the right to get together as a group, in this case a labor organization, to negotiate collectively with employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
Workers who gathered together in unions over two centuries in this country have succeeded in raising their wages, as well as the wages of non-union workers in competing industries. Union workers secured improved working conditions so fewer were killed on the job. And they achieved creation of the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which protects the safety of all workers. Over the decades, unions played a major role is obtaining legislation barring child labor, standardizing the 40-hour work week, and creating both Social Security and Medicare.
Similarly, studies show union successes enhance the lives of all workers in a state. In anti-union states, the average worker earns $5,333 less a year, the proportion of people without health insurance is 21 percent higher and the rate of workplace death is 51 percent higher. In addition, there’s evidence that union workers improve quality. Currently, after receiving an education from union teachers, Wisconsin youngsters collectively score second highest in the nation on the ACT/SAT college admission tests. By contrast, the five states barring teacher unions rank at the bottom of the pack: South Carolina dead last at 50th; North Carolina, second last at 49th; Georgia third from last at 47th; Texas fourth from last at 47th, and Virginia ever so slightly better at 44th.
Still, Wisconsin Gov. Walker wants to destroy his state’s teachers unions. Two studies determined that public workers, that is those employed by governments such as teachers, firefighters and police officers, earn less than their counterparts in the private sector when both benefits and education are factored into the calculation. It wasn’t union workers, in the public or the private sector, who caused states’ financial crises. That was gambling on Wall Street, which ravaged the economy. Still, Republican governors across the country are demanding that government workers pay.
The government workers in Wisconsin already agreed to accept Walker’s financial demands – that they pay more for their pensions and health care. This negates Walker’s contention that this dispute is about the budget. The governor is demanding more than those financial concessions. He wants the legislature to cripple the unions’ ability to bargain for improvements in the future. In his “budget repair bill,” he would strip government workers of their right to negotiate over working conditions and benefits. They’d be able to discuss wages but could never get an increase above inflation.
This is not about money. It’s about controlling America. Corporations have bought Republicans, who now chant the corporate mantra that government coddles its citizens with the likes of mine and food safety rules.
Corporations are accomplishing their goal of shriveling government to the point of ineffectiveness so “enterprise” is “free” to run rogue. Now with their purchased politicians, corporations are trying to do the same to unions – the only organization other than government that has traditionally effectively defended working Americans.
That’s exactly right. This is a contest between the excesses of “free” enterprise and the constitutionally-protected freedom of assembly. And getting “our freedoms back” means wresting them back from corporations.
Leo W. Gerard also is a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Committee and chairs the labor federation’s Public Policy Committee. President Barack Obama recently appointed him to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. He serves as co-chairman of the BlueGreen Alliance and on the boards of the Apollo Alliance, Campaign for America’s Future and the Economic Policy Institute. He is a member of the IMF and ICEM global labor federations and was instrumental in creating Workers Uniting, the first global union.
By Robert Reich
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley
The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.
By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans want Americans to believe that we can no longer afford to do what we need to do as a nation. They hope to deflect attention from the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.
Republicans would rather no one notice their campaign to shrink the pie even further with additional tax cuts for the rich – making the Bush tax cuts permanent, further reducing the estate tax, and allowing the wealthy to shift ever more of their income into capital gains taxed at 15 percent.
By Michael Winship
Former senior writer at Bill Moyers Journal on PBS
The Detroit Tigers are retiring the great baseball manager Sparky Anderson’s number 11 this season. “It’s a wonderful gesture,” Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg wrote. “I just wish Sparky could see it.”
Anderson won three World Series — one managing the Tigers, two with the Cincinnati Reds — and passed away this past November. Rosenberg said, “Retiring his number now is the baseball version of waiting until a relative dies to say thank you.”
That’s because it comes sixteen years after Anderson left the Tigers in a bitter feud with owner Mike Ilitch. Yet as Sparky once said, “I’ve got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There’s no future in it.”
I wish I could say the same, let bygones be bygones and the rest, but when it comes to two other baseball devotees, the Presidents Bush, it’s tough. Father and especially son left behind a heap of wreckage. (more…)
Three weeks ago, we
asked our members to nominate the worst corporate polluters of 2010. Our goal was to identify organizations that have hijacked our democracy, devastated our environment and denied the science of climate change — all while reaping massive profits. The response was overwhelming. In just a few days, more than 4,000 people submitted their nominations, many of which were passionate and articulate. The next week, we introduced the top four nominees: Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, BP and Massey Energy. A few days and 13,000 votes later we had our winner: Koch Industries.
Now, you may have heard a thing or two about Koch Industries. Their role in funding climate change deniers is well documented. What you may not realize is that Koch intentionally flies beneath the radar. David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is the biggest company you’ve never heard of. They’re able to remain unknown because they hide behind shadowy front groups like Americans for Prosperity. Co-founded by David Koch, Americans for Prosperity funds advertising and public events designed to mislead Americans about climate change and energy policy.
Koch Industries knows that if Americans realized that a massive oil pipeline and refinery company was behind harmless-sounding groups that work to mislead us about climate change, no one would listen to them. They want you to think that what is good for the oil industry is good for the American people, but you and I both know what they actually care about: their bottom line.
To spread the word about Koch Industries and its long history of working to deceive the American people about climate change, we’ve launched a new website: www.KochIndustriesFacts.com.
The site serves as a catalog of facts about Koch Industries and its owners, the brothers Charles and David Koch. What we’ve listed on the site is just the beginning. Click around for a bit, and if you see something that’s missing, make sure to let us know. I hope you’ll join us in highlighting Koch Industries’ worst transgressions by submitting a Koch fact of your own and passing the site along to a friend.
Portions of this website are paid for by the United Steelworkers Political Action Fund, with voluntary contributions from union members and their families, and is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
USW Political Action Fund - Five Gateway Center - Pittsburgh, PA 15222