Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's The Economy, Stupid

Dean Baker lays to rest any last gasp that might be heard from the Walker "we have no money" crowd; whom are using a budgetary "crisis" pretext in a desperate and cruel attempt to crush unionization and collective bargaining rights of workers.

"States always face financial stress in economic downturns." Remember, people, we're in a downturn. It's called that because (economic) indicators have declined. We're out of work because of Wall Street. Because we're working less, we're buying less. When we buy less, businesses sell less. They, therefore, need less workers. The economy slows. This is when government steps in to fund state and local functions, to invest in infrastructure and other public works, and to inject money into the economy for innovation and research. More people start getting back to work. They start spending. The economy picks up. Businesses start hiring.

Too bad Scott Walker has refused/returned over $1 billion in possible investment (rail, high-speed internet, wind turbines) in Wisconsin during his short time in office!

To pretend we don't know why things are tough right now, or to fantasize it's the fault of unions, is cognitive dissonance of the highest proportion. Wall Street gambled with our retirement accounts, our pensions, our mortgages, and our bond ratings. And we lost. Sorry, but I don't want to put my faith - and money - back into the Wall Street casino. Investing in each other, as we did to get out of the Great Depression, is a much better option.

Unionization has been a proud tradition of Wisconsin for over a century. Yet, the budget/collective-bargaining "story" appears to be: Unions are a budgetary firecracker. Wisconsin passed one of the first collective bargaining laws in 1959. And now, 52 years later, that firecracker has exploded.

I'm curious how other state budgets - between then and now - were passed with those damn unions and their collective bargaining?!

"The number of jobs now stands at 7.7 million below its pre-recession levels." The is the second worst economic crisis - cause again by greedy speculation - in the history of our country. Does any one think this (and maybe not unions) may have something to do with the recession we're in? You know, the slow economy, and thus, lower revenues?

"The economy is operating at more than 6.4 percentage points below it potential level of output. If Wisconsin's state economy was 6.4% larger, and its revenues increased accordingly, it would have more than $4 billion in additional revenues in its coffers over the next two years...This increase would easily covered the projected deficit. This is even before we add in the savings from lower payouts for unemployment insurance and other benefits that would follow from a return to a normal level of unemployment."

There has been, "A falloff of more than $1.2 trillion in spending from the private sector." And, this wasn't because they didn't have the money. They've just been hoarding the cash.

It is cruel disrespect when one of the institutions - unions - that lifted America from the Great Depression and helped create our middle class is now being wrongfully blamed as the cause of the current crisis.

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