Friday, February 25, 2011

At A Crossroads

Thank you to the Wisconsin 14. They've given us all one last chance at shared prosperity.

It's time to organize and (peacefully) protest.

This is our last chance to maintain/rebuild a middle class and to begin to take our government back from business interests.

Due to the Citizens United decision, elections are only going to become more a game of money and power (even more so than they are now) rather than policy and governance. The Koch brothers didn't open a new lobbying office in Madison because the like State Street brats.

Call your elected representatives. March at the Capitol.

If collective bargaining and unions are extinguished, a whole litany of workers' rights and social legislation will also fall. Employers are already decreasing their provision of health care to their workers. Pensions will no longer be offered. Employers will not contribute to 401Ks. They also will push even harder for Social Security privatization; thus putting retirement security into the volatile casino that is Wall Street. Minimum wage laws will be overturned. I wouldn't even put child labor laws off the table with these guys.

If you're a Wisconsinite (heck, even if you're not), go to Madison!

The United States is now the most unequal westernized country, according to the Gini index. Our productivity has grown. Our economy has grown. Yet, workers wages have stagnated. This isn't a problem of spending. It is a problem of revenues. Nowadays, too many of our government policies support corporate profits. We've allowed our government spending to be used for private gains, instead of supporting good jobs and maintaining our infrastructure.

As our country has, collectively, gotten richer, the gains have accumulated to the top 1% while workers' living standards have stagnated. (To add insult to injury, we've kept up with the Joneses by going into personal debt.)

The rich are taking all the gains, while at the same time they paying less in taxes. Our state coffers would be solvent, our infrastructure would be maintained, and the programs the least amongst us depend on would be fully funded, if the rich were paying their fair share.

As unions have been weakened, the living standard of all (except for those 1%) Americans workers has worsened. The decline of unionization is inversely related to our increase in inequality. As America's number one organization for workers, workers' rights, and progressive economic policy - unions - has receded, the rich have gotten richer, corporate taxes have decreased while corporate profits have boomed, and the gap between the Haves and the Have-Nots is the largest its been.

The idea that deregulation, tax cuts, and kissing the ass of big business - the Republican platform - is good for workers or has been good for the U.S., hasn't been supported by our history. Reality has ruled against the ideology of Republicans. But, for some odd reason, enough people still seem to believe their story, or are fooled by their tricks, and side against their own economic interests.

We need to save collective bargaining and unions, then we need to push for public financing of campaigns.

But, first things first, organize! Make those phone calls. Talk to your representatives. Call friends and family. Get out, speak up, and protect your rights. This is the battle that could define a generation...and save our country. If we fail, it's the end of the American dream. Say goodbye U.S., hello America Inc..

No comments: