Top Leaderboard, Site wide
October 31, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!


The Missing Women of Afghanistan






Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

Starving Wisconsin’s Unions

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Feb 22, 2011

By Eugene Robinson

Let’s be clear: The high-stakes standoff in Wisconsin has nothing to do with balancing the state’s budget.

It is about money, though—but only in the sense that money translates into political power. At this point, it’s clear for all to see that Gov. Scott Walker’s true aim is to bust the public employee unions, thus permanently reshaping the political landscape in the Republican Party’s favor.

Democratic state senators who fled the state to forestall Walker’s coup have no choice but to remain on the lam. Protesters who support union rights have no choice but to keep their vigil at the Capitol in Madison. This is a big deal.

At issue is the attempt by Walker and the Republican majority in the Legislature to strip public workers of their rights to collective bargaining. Under the legislation—which fugitive Democrats have managed to stymie by denying the state Senate a quorum—public employee unions would have no ability to bargain over benefits and pensions. The unions would be able to bargain over salaries but could not secure raises greater than the increase in the cost of living.

Walker is right about one thing: When it comes to pensions and benefits, public workers in Wisconsin have a sweet deal. Most of them put less than 1 percent of their pay into their pensions; Walker’s bill would require contributions of at least 5.8 percent. And most pay only about 6 percent of the cost of their health insurance premiums, a figure that Walker wants to raise to at least 12.6 percent.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
It’s easy to see why the average private-sector worker in Wisconsin—probably paying upward of 25 percent toward health insurance costs and struggling to tuck away something, anything, for retirement—might agree with Walker.

It should be noted, however, that those generous deals were not ordained by divine providence. They were negotiated, which means that state and local officials agreed to the contract provisions now deemed so excessive. It has long been common for unions to accept better health and pension benefits in lieu of higher salaries—in effect, taking the money later rather than sooner. Now that these IOUs are coming due, Wisconsin wants to renege.

I thought Republicans were supposed to believe that a contract is a contract, sacred and inviolate. Guess not.

But never mind all that. The reality is that workers in many industries are having to choose between give-backs and massive layoffs. Public employees should not be uniquely sheltered from the ill winds buffeting the U.S. economy.

The Wisconsin unions have recognized this fact. Union leaders have announced that they are prepared to accept Walker’s proposal on health and pension contributions. In other words, money is no longer an issue.

Walker won, right? He got what he wanted, didn’t he?

Actually, no. Bringing health and pension benefits in line with reality was never the point.

Walker and the Republicans are insisting on the provisions in the bill that would deny collective bargaining rights to public workers. The GOP’s focus is not on the practical impact of this measure—the unions have acquiesced to Walker’s financial terms—but on the political impact.

Unions have been a reliable source of political support for the Democratic Party, including campaign contributions. Over the past few decades, union membership has declined sharply; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers who belong to a union declined from 20.1 percent of the work force in 1983 to just 11.9 percent in 2010.

In the private sector, just 6.9 percent of workers belong to a union. But among public sector workers, 36.2 percent are union members—and if you look only at state and local government workers, 42.3 percent are unionized. So if Republicans wanted to weaken the Democratic Party by destroying its most important source of big-money support, they would try to crush public sector unions at the state and local level.

That’s what the Wisconsin fight is really about. That’s why Walker won’t settle for budget-balancing concessions. He wants to eliminate the greatest benefit that unions can give their members—collective bargaining—and also, by the way, make it much harder to collect union dues. He wants to starve the unions to death.

This is pure, unadulterated union-busting—not with goons and brickbats, but with the stroke of a scheming governor’s pen.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, February 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

It should be clear, the right to work states like Texas, I believe do not allow collective bargaining, hence the demeaning concept of right to work. (by the way, a name which does not mean what it sounds like it means). Texas has a huge deficit, who or what do they blame it on in Texas?

Labor history has been a very hard road for labor, a fight every inch of the way, only to be chipped away as we see happening now in Wisconsin, by the same people who would love to see the USA just like China, where Unions do not exist, nor does human rights.

I do not know the facts of China and their labor rights, but I would suspect, labor rights are substandard in China compared to USA Labor standards? Meaning no Unions? The argument may be, if the Unions did not exist in the USA some industrys would return?  This of course does not address service work and government employees.

So the attack on Wisconsin is just one more bogus attack when reality should be questioning the bale outs, the war and the money going to corporate interests in tax breaks. Yeah! blame the working people, makes more sense and so much easier.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Correction:

The correct percentage of union contribution to campaign spending is, based on evidence at hand,7%. Just less than 50% of that 7% comes from Government Employee’s Unions.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

By Go Right Young Man, February 22 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

“According to the Federal Election Commission 17 of the top 20 lobbying firms in Washington give almost entirely to the democratic party’s political machine.  12 of those lobbying firms represent labor unions.”


opensecrets.org
Center for Responsible Politics

Lobbying
Top Spenders


Lobbying Client   Total
US Chamber of Commerce
$132,067,500
PG&E Corp
$45,460,000
General Electric
$39,290,000
FedEx Corp
$25,582,074
American Medical Assn
$22,555,000
AARP
$22,050,000
Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America
$21,740,000
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
$21,007,141
ConocoPhillips
$19,626,382
American Hospital Assn
$19,438,358
Boeing Co
$17,896,000
National Cable & Telecommunications Assn
$17,710,000
National Assn of Realtors
$17,560,000
Verizon Communications
$16,750,000
Northrop Grumman
$15,740,000
AT&T Inc
$15,395,078
United Technologies
$14,530,000
National Assn of Broadcasters
$13,710,000
Pfizer Inc
$13,330,000
Southern Co
$13,220,000
Lobbying Client   Total
US Chamber of Commerce
$132,067,500
PG&E Corp
$45,460,000
General Electric
$39,290,000
FedEx Corp
$25,582,074
American Medical Assn
$22,555,000
AARP
$22,050,000
Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America
$21,740,000
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
$21,007,141
ConocoPhillips
$19,626,382
American Hospital Assn
$19,438,358
Boeing Co
$17,896,000
National Cable & Telecommunications Assn
$17,710,000
National Assn of Realtors
$17,560,000
Verizon Communications
$16,750,000
Northrop Grumman
$15,740,000
AT&T Inc
$15,395,078
United Technologies
$14,530,000
National Assn of Broadcasters
$13,710,000
Pfizer Inc
$13,330,000
Southern Co
$13,220,000

I think GRYMie meant the top 20 Political Action Committees, (over the last 20 years.) The question now becomes how many PACs are there, and who do they contribute to. Also, the results of the Citizens United case must be factored in.

The highest figure I can find regarding total union political spending during the mid-terms is 600 million.

From USA Today


Total campaign spending may hit $4 billion

“Total spending — by candidates, political parties and special interests — has topped $3.2 billion and is likely to hit $4 billion when reports detailing last-minute donations and spending are tallied, according to a study released Wednesday by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. That would obliterate the record $2.85 billion spent in 2006, the last midterm elections.”

Union spending equals 1.5% of total spending?

By Go Right Young Man, February 24 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

“’It Is Not Because We care About Children. It Is Not Because We Have A Great Vision Of A Great Public School System For Every Child. NEA And It’s Affiliates Are Effective Advocates Because We Have POWER! We Have Power Because 3.2 Million Teachers Pay Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Us In Union Dues.’ - National Education Assoc. spokesman Bob Chenin, July 2009.”

Again, GRYMie is distorting statements coming from the Left.

It’s not because GRYMie cares about children, it’s not because he has A Great Vision Of A Great Public School System For Every Child, that makes him a hack distorter, and an obfuscator, that’s just GRYMie, doing his thing.

According to the best sources there are 14.7 million union members in the US and about 155 million total people in the workforce, not including children, retired, and unemployed.  Its been reported that 12.3 % of wage and salary workers are Union members.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Prisonersdilema

Much to GRYMies disappointment, you are not a spokesman for the Democratic Party, and more rational Democrats in general, but “I feel your pain.”

———————————————————-


Now, where we? Oh yeah, discussing Republican union busting in Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

You have judged yourself rightly….for once..

you ignore the evidence of your own eyes because your mind is betwitched by lies, and right wing delusion..

This country is collapsing, and those that have done it, only ofer more of the same, more prevarication, more disembling, more greed…

You ignore the suffering all around you because your mind would rather focus on abstractions, than face the grim reality of your belief system, which is anti American…

that is what being schizoid is all about..

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, - “Your slavish devotion to right wing double talk and prevarication only means you cannot think rationally.”

-

That is some fascinating Bull-Crap.  Fascinating that you have been unable to disprove a single fact in my comments and, in it’s stead, elected to attack me personally. That all-too-common, and highly emotional, tactic will never change minds.  It serves only to make you appear to believe that your own argument rests on shaky, unsupported, grounds. Or, in other words; even you believe yourself to be full of, well, Bull-Crap.

Wealthiest Americans Support Democrats
Apr 1, 2008 ... John Kerry and the democrats enjoy lavish donations from the majority of America’s wealthiest individuals, according to observers..

RealClearPolitics - Wealthy Dems Stand by Obama
Aug 10, 2010 ... But polls have continuously shown that Democrats have far more reason to ... That wealthiest bloc represented the largest marginal shift in ...

Top 10 Richest US Lawmakers Mostly Dems
Sep 20, 2010 ... Richest, Congress, Democrats, Republicans, Kerry Of the wealthiest 50 in Congress, 27 are Democrats and 23 are Republicans. ...

-

‘That’s Assault!’: Union Protester Whacks Young FreedomWorks Activist

On Wednesday, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) took their labor union protests to the Washington, D.C. offices of FreedomWorks, a conservative activist organizations.

One of the young conservatives at the scene was Tabitha Hale, a tea party activist, blogger and FreedomWorks employee.

As Hale filmed a heated debate between one of her colleagues and a CWA union organizer, the man violently smacked Hale and her camera away:

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 24, 2011 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

defending the destroyers of this country GRYM makes you anti American. Your slavish
devotion to right wing double talk and prevarication only means you cannot think
rationally.

The right wing blood stained Rethuglican economic policy of theft has destroyed this
country, to feed the greed of murdering fascists.  The republican party is a criminal
racket built on lies deceptions and outright theft. That the people have been betrayed by
the sociopathic greed is self evident to anyone who is not schizoid.

The people need to, first of all nationalize the banks starting with Goldman sacks.

Then breakup the corporations through renewed anti trust legislation.  If this doesn’t
happen then this country will collapse, and no amount of money will protect the
Rethuglican criminally insane from payback.

We need Nuremberg trials for the wealthy in this country, with a sharpened guillotine
waiting for the outcomes.

Report this
RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, February 24, 2011 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

At least the BS about balancing the budget has lost credibility finally being exposed for what it is ... an all out war on the working class.
The Right’s uncompromising pitbull win-at-all-costs mindset (for the want of a better word) is the issue. Dems have rolled over for decades - now thankfully they’re resisting - some by running away and some by striking. They need to stay the course and not compromise for once. This is an assault on democratic freedoms everywhere in the nation which Wisconsonites made possible by electing a Repug into office - but then the wimpy Dems are no real alternative.

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 24, 2011 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, - “Anyone who has made that much money must have broken a law somewhere, jail them until we identify which ones, then take it all.”

-

Nothing you have written here is self-evident. 

Life is not a fictional movie wherein the bad men, the Oprah Billionaires, gained their wealth by evil means as a result of birth, privilege based on the exploitation of others, bias against someone who doesn’t look like them, random chance, accident, illegality, or immorality.  Reality is much less sexy.  Most success is due to harder work, careful planning, more education and training, a willingness to take risks, deferred gratification and wiser personal decisions.

As far as I can tell the majority of those on your list, not unlike Oprah, gained their wealth by the latter.  Not the former.

In other words; your notion of making success illegal is, well, quite frightening.

-

It is, I agree, about power and money.  It’s a myth, however, to believe only republicans have it.

“It Is Not Because We care About Children. It Is Not Because We Have A Great Vision Of A Great Public School System For Every Child. NEA And It’s Affiliates Are Effective Advocates Because We Have POWER! We Have Power Because 3.2 Million Teachers Pay Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Us In Union Dues.” - National Education Assoc. spokesman Bob Chenin, July 2009.

-

Wealth is bipartisan. 

Wealthiest Americans Support Democrats
Apr 1, 2008 ... John Kerry and the democrats enjoy lavish donations from the majority of America’s wealthiest individuals, according to observers..

RealClearPolitics - Wealthy Dems Stand by Obama
Aug 10, 2010 ... But polls have continuously shown that Democrats have far more reason to ... That wealthiest bloc represented the largest marginal shift in ...

Top 10 Richest US Lawmakers Mostly Dems
Sep 20, 2010 ... Richest, Congress, Democrats, Republicans, Kerry Of the wealthiest 50 in Congress, 27 are Democrats and 23 are Republicans. ...

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 24, 2011 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

GRMie should know that demonstrators in the Middle East have been “getting bloody” for several weeks now.

The Left has to be very careful with what they say, because the Right will distort what the Left says at every opportunity. “Getting bloody” is definitely not the same thing as blood letting. Demonstrators usually “get bloody” by being on the wrong end of a night stick, or from some other act of violence perpetrated by the “Blue meanies.” The Republican Deputy Attorney General of Indiana tweeted that he wants police in Wisconsin to use “live ammunition’ to deal with demonstrators in Wisconsin.

Capuano said:

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going,” “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”

Capuano’s brief apology:

“I strongly believe in standing up for worker rights and my passion for preserving those rights may have gotten the best of me yesterday in an unscripted speech.”  “I wish I had used different language to express my passion and I regret my choice of words.”

Rush Limbaugh:

“Democrats talking about busting heads, breaking heads, getting a little bloody in the street.  People from the same party as the president.  So the unions pay the bills, they provide the votes for the Democrats.  Are public sector unions demanding Democrats go to the mattresses on collective bargaining or is this story about Massachusetts putting bloody ideas in their heads?  Is this a call for all-out war, or has that already been decided?  My gosh! A Democrat urging unions “to get a little bloody when necessary.”  It seems like we’ve got Democrats talking about busting heads, breaking heads, getting a little bloody in the street.  People from the same party as the president.  So the unions pay the bills, they provide the votes for the Democrats.  Are public sector unions demanding Democrats go to the mattresses on collective bargaining or is this story about Massachusetts putting bloody ideas in their heads?  Is this a call for all-out war, or has that already been decided?  My gosh! A Democrat urging unions “to get a little bloody when necessary.”

Poor GRYMie, he’s just a poor little ditto head sycophant.

Report this

By ardee, February 24, 2011 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, February 24 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

What’s GRYMie up to?

You mean it isn’t obvious? His usual style, distortion and outright lies, shameless proselytizing for the bullshite one finds only on the far right wing of America.

If he uses “hillbilly heroin” his Limbaugh impersonation would be complete.

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 24, 2011 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

None of the people on your list made the top 50. I would prefer Gates, the Koch
Brothers, Buffet, Bloomberg, Mars, Walden..etc. Anyone who has made that much
money must have broken a law somewhere, jail them until we identify which ones, then
take it all.

What they have done to the people of this country is criminal.

It’s all self evident, they have wrecked this country, twisted the laws to get off. If they
hadn’t done it they would be in jail right now.

Report this
MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, February 24 at 1:31 am,

Here is that famous conversation:

Transcript of Gov. Walker in Prank Call: ‘This is Our Moment’
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/02/23-2

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

Another white racist taunting people by conjuring up images of violence. 

Damned Tea Party!

-

Democrat urges unions to ‘get a little bloody when necessary’
By Michael O’Brien - 02/23/11 07:57 AM ET

Sometimes it’s necessary to get out on the streets and “get a little bloody,” a Massachusetts Democrat said Tuesday in reference to labor battles in Wisconsin.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) fired up a group of union members in Boston with a speech urging them to work down in the trenches to fend off limits to workers’ rights like those proposed in Wisconsin.

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going,” Capuano said, according to the Statehouse News. “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”

-On Wednesday afternoon, Capuano issued a brief apology.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

What’s GRYMie up to?

Is he trying to say John Kerry, Herb Kohl, and John (Jay) Rockefeller are responsible for Republican union busting in Wisconsin?

Is he trying to keep us well informed by citing accusations from Koch Bros. funded organizations?

Incidentally, if you don’t know by now, Walker was caught with his pants down by a clever David Koch impersonator, who recorded a telephone conversation with Walker exposing his true motives, and planned skullduggery. It’s available on Huffington Post.

Report this
MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

GRYM named only Democratic wealthy:  Oprah, Steve Jobs, George
Soros, Bill Cosby, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, the entire Kennedy
family, John Kerry and Jay Rockefeller.

Why name only the wealthy that help the Left’s American Common Populace try to regain equilibrium?—I do admit that some of them definitely did not help when they could have stopped the
corruption of our government, because they are a part of the DLC,
PPI, 3rd Way New Class of Conservative/Moderates on the Left,
like John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller. 


On the other hand why did you not name any autocratic,
authoritarian, conservatives, how about Rupert Murdoch, David
Koch, Charles Koch, T. Boone Pickens, George H. W. Bush, Donald
Trump, Ted Turner, Jerry Yang, Tim Blixseth, Michael Bloomberg,
Warren Buffet, Monty Burns, David Filo and Henry Kravis? All of
these knew what was going on too, took advantage, and want to
continue taking advantage—Or do you think only the democratic
liberal leaning wealthy that try to help the Left are the problem?
And if so, why?

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, - “The wealthy should have their property confiscated… Then they should be thrown into jail in Guantanamo, without due process….”

-

I, for one, certainly can appreciate your honesty.  Your frightening attitude, along with a lack of understanding of the “wealthy”, is all-too-common on this Web space.

On the other hand; perhaps arresting Oprah, Steve Jobs, George Soros, Bill Cosby, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, the entire Kennedy family, John Kerry and Jay Rockefeller would make your point well.

-

Whom do the democratic party serve?

House Dems now represent richest regions - USATODAY.com
Oct 13, 2009 ... A USA TODAY analysis of new Census data found that Democrats represent a far different constituency today than they did in the past.

A review of IRS data found that Democrats control the majority of the country’s wealthiest congressional jurisdictions, and that more than half of the most affluent households are located in the 18 states where Democrats control both Senate seats.

According to the Internal Revenue Service the top three wealthiest senators are Democrats: John Kerry of Massachusetts, with a net worth of at least $164 million; Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, with a net worth of at least $111 million, and John “Jay” Rockefeller of West Virginia, with an estimated net worth of at least $82 million.

-

Friday, September 3, 2010
Surprised? Richest Legislators, Mostly Democrats, Got Richer

The rest of the country is still struggling with high unemployment amid a sluggish-at-best economic recovery—but the wealthiest members of Congress are in high cotton. Indeed, the top 50 wealthiest lawmakers saw their combined net worths increase last year, according to the Hill’s annual analysis of financial disclosure documents.

Combined, the 50 lawmakers were worth $1.4 billion in 2009—an $85.1 million increase over their 2008 total—the Hill reports. The members’ total combined assets depreciated by nearly $36 million last year—but Congress’ well-to-do set also reduced their debts by a combined $120 million.

Google News

Wealthy Democrats don’t pay their Fair Share of Tax
Last post: Dec 13, 2005
But wealthy Democrats who say that( like Senators Kerry and Kennedy) use other loopholes to avoid that as well. ...

Wealthiest Americans Support Democrats
Apr 1, 2008 ... John Kerry and the democrats enjoy lavish donations from the majority of America’s wealthiest individuals, according to observers..

RealClearPolitics - Wealthy Dems Stand by Obama
Aug 10, 2010 ... But polls have continuously shown that Democrats have far more reason to ... That wealthiest bloc represented the largest marginal shift in ...

Top 10 Richest US Lawmakers Mostly Dems
Sep 20, 2010 ... Richest, Congress, Democrats, Republicans, Kerry Of the wealthiest 50 in Congress, 27 are Democrats and 23 are Republicans. ...

FORGET ARRESTS.  TAKE THEM ALL OUT BACK AND SHOOT EM!  THE FILTHY RICH BASTARDS!

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

This has gone way beyond the issue of collective bargaining mow, it’s about the survival
of freedom in this country. This is about destroying the economic survival of working
people in this country, and it’s a vicious play for power by the right.

No one can say what FDR would do now that’s a hypothetical, a red herring, to deflect
from the fact, that greed in the form of blood stained Rethuglicans are destroying this
country.

It’s not enough that they own 99% of the wealth, they want the other 1%, and their
working on it.

They are the best friend Al Caeda ever had, weakening this country economically to the
point where it’s people are destitute and struggling for survival.  Governor Walker is a
traitor, and should be arrested by military police, for treason.

The wealthy should have their property confiscated to pay off the national debt which
their greed created. Then they should be thrown into jail in Guantanamo, without due
process, based on the laws they passed, that betrayed the constitution.

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

An excerpt for Paul Krugman’s Editorial

‘Wisconsin Power Play’
Published: February 20, 2011

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal
than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists and union operatives; they can finance think tanks (Health Care for America Now, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Center for a New American Security) that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel hundreds of Millions in cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the George Soros did in the case of President Obama).

Report this
MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

It is time for a NEW political party legislated equal in every way
with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, so that the
70% Majority Common Population will have equal representation.

Conservatives/Moderates of the NEW CLASS have taken over the
Democratic Party to become a Corporate 2nd ruling class over the 70% Majority Common Population and are 20% of the population,
while the top 10% the Corporate Moneyed Elite Capitalists Ruling
Class are represented by the Republican Party, which has left the
70% Majority Common Population without representation in the
making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the
Congresses of the United States. 

Currently the 70% Majority Common Population are only allowed
to vote for a representative picked by the Corporate Middle Class
or the Corporate Aristocratic Elite Capitalist Class and neither
party represents the 70% Majority Common Population, as all are
declared separate individuals and go without representation in
law and order in the United States.  The representatives who try
to represent the Common Populace get black balled and aren’t
even allowed to speak to the Common Populace.

It is time to demand a NEW political party legislated equal in every
way with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, so that
the 70% Majority Common Population will have equal
representation and unions will have support in the Congresses of
the United States.

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Collective bargaining with public service -for-profit unions- is about the very corruption, power and money most on this Web space complain about daily.  Only not when that corruption, power and money serves the “correct” purpose. - So much for taking a principled stand against sweetheart deals, influence peddling and wide-spread corruption.

The Labor-Politician negotiation can’t be anything but corrupt when unions can put Hundreds of Millions of Dollars into campaign spending. Victor Gotbaum, a leader in the New York City chapter of AFSCME, summed up the problem decades ago when he boasted, “We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss.”

This is why FDR believed that “the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” and why even George Meany, the first head of the AFL-CIO, held that it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

The glories of freedom and choice: 

Public service employees; democrat, libertarian, moderate, independent and republicans alike have no choice.  In order to simply be employed by the government one MUST give money to the wealthy democrat political machine.  Democrats love and applaud that forcible control over others.  It is, by and large, the source of their power.

On the other hand, in the private sector, 7 out of 10 laborers vote against left-leaning unions in their own work place.  That is freedom of choice.

Report this

By Paco, February 23, 2011 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The economic problems of Wisconsin, other states and the nation as a whole have little if anything to do with any sweet deals given to public or private sector workers, whether unionized or not. 

The problems stem from the sweet deals given to corporations and sometimes to wealthy contributors.  If these individuals were made to pay even half of their fair share of taxes these problems would magically go away.

If you don’t believe it, then maybe you will at least believe it is worth a try.  What we’ve been doing since the Reagan revolution clearly has not been working.  And what I suggest is only to try again something that worked well when Roosevelt tried it.  Maybe it would work again.

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 23, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

Thanks MarthaA, andI ITW. 

Krugman gets it right again. 

Where has Rethuglican economic policy taken this country, real wages have fallen for
the last 30 years.  There was the savings and loan scandal and now the stock market
crash of 2008 .

The Rethuglicqns have looted this country down to the bone, and now they want to grind
the bones of this country into bread, for them. They aren’t content to make the land of
the free home of the brave, into a country of serfs and slaves, they want to be crowned
royalty above the law, with their wealth and ownership guaranteed by law for
generations.

They are on an equal footing with Al Caeda. Both of them represent a dire threat to this
country as a free nation of free men and women, and should be recognizes as this
countries mortal enemies. They both represent an evil threat to the world, a calamity for
all mankind.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, February 23, 2011 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Since the dawn of democracy and participatory government, the rich, the powerful, and those that desire power have sought to undermine it so that THEY could sit at the top of the pyramid, get the best food, clothing, and the most attractive women, even if it meant people starved and suffered.  From the first Egyptian Pharoahs and khans to Mubarak and today’s Republicans (and their loyal trolls here at TD), they have used any and every means to drive fear of into the hearts of common people: Fear of themselves actually ruling themselves.
In Wisconsin today we see yet again a phony attempt to scare the people that the “evil” unions are bankrupting them, when, in fact, they have agreed to the FINANCIAL limits needed, but that’s not enough. No, they are supposed to emasculate themselves, and the people they serve.

But it’s amazing to see that this last unjust, unfair and phony attack on unions has raised the people to realize that their elected Republican leaders seek to impoverish and enslave them so a few can get richer and more powerful.

Is it any wonder the Gov. of Wisconsin is heavily backed by the Koch Bros, the worst anti-American fascists loose.

Report this

By Brian Shifrin, February 23, 2011 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It can’t be about balancing the budget because that is a such a simple, truthful and powerful argument that it can’t be refuted.

Report this
MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 23, 2011 at 1:59 am Link to this comment

An excerpt for Paul Krugman’s Editorial

‘Wisconsin Power Play’
Published: February 20, 2011

“Why bust the unions? As I said, it has nothing to do with helping
Wisconsin deal with its current fiscal crisis. Nor is it likely to help
the state’s budget prospects even in the long run: contrary to
what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin
and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector
workers with comparable qualifications, so there’s not much room
for further pay squeezes.

So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power.

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our
political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal
than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can
finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues;
they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the
Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we’re a
one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of
an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act
as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are
among the most important of these institutions.

You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that
their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re
among the few influential players in our political system
representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more
oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it
has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-
sector unions.

And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-
sector unions, too.

There’s a bitter irony here. The fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, as in other
states, was largely caused by the increasing power of America’s
oligarchy. After all, it was superwealthy players, not the general
public, who pushed for financial deregulation and thereby set the
stage for the economic crisis of 2008-9, a crisis whose aftermath is
the main reason for the current budget crunch. And now the
political right is trying to exploit that very crisis, using it to remove
one of the few remaining checks on oligarchic influence.

So will the attack on unions succeed? I don’t know. But anyone
who cares about retaining government of the people by the
people should hope that it doesn’t.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/opinion/21krugman.html

Report this

By Morpheus, February 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

Let’s really be clear. We’ve gotten ourself in this mess because we’ve been asleep, selfish and complacent. And all the shouting, pouting and tantrums won’t change our new and unpleasant reality.

“WAKE UP PEOPLE!”  -  JOIN THE REVOLUTION
Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )
We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

Report this

By rob, February 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

felicity where do you think the money comes from to pay for public secter unions ? if u dont know let me fill u in the private sector. public unions are wrong and cost the average workings stiff. they are a net negative economically if the aveage person pays 3-4 thousand a yr in taxes and less into state how many private workers does it take to pay for 1 teacher in wisconsin? it to many

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

There is no better way to piss of Rethuglicans than to mention the word union.

Rethuglicans and conservatives hate unions. They also hate the minimum wage, and
right to work laws. Republicans also hate consumer laws, and consumer protections
from banks.

Since the decline of unions, largely do to the lying thriving, stealing blood stained
conservatives, the American economy has gone into the toilet. Not exactly what has
been promised by the Rethuglicans. As long as they remain in charge, the economy will
decline.

Deregulation and privatization are Rethuglican code words for cashing in at the public
expense. Lying cheating and stealing and saying they did it for your own good, that’s
how all perps behave.

They irrational economic plan of governor Walker, including selling off Wisconsin power
plants to the Koch brothers, is just one more example of how Rethuglicans are the
enemies of this country and all it’s people.

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Felicity…

Your name means truth, but you are far from it——like most of the posters on this issue you are clueless.  Wisconsin is a state shunned by industry because of high taxation and they’re not the only state.  The public service unions are for the most part responsible for this debacle——their greed and self-serving philosophy has left the state bankrupt.  Yes, Governor Walker did lower corporate taxes in order to attract industry, but that lower taxation in no way matches the money extorted by the public unions——and that’s the truth!

Report this

By felicity, February 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

How odd that it hasn’t occurred to private sector
workers in Wisconsin that if they unionized their work
places they might also enjoy the economic advantages of
Wisconsin’s public sector workers. They shouldn’t be
fighting them, they should be emulating them.

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Unions in general and public employee unions in particular have become a detrimental force to be reckoned with.  There was a time when unions were needed to thwart the excesses of big business against labor, but they have grown too big for their britches.  As unions grew their influence upon politics also grew where today we have a vicious cycle.  Union money elects politicians who then provide legislation friendly to the unions who then get more money to provide to the politicians and so on and so on….  You might say that big business also has plenty of money, but not as many votes!  The public employee unions have forced contracts with excessive benefits on towns and cities that are paid for through tax dollars and it has reached a critical level.  Governor Walker is just trying to put a finger in the money dike.  Public employee unions and especially the various teacher unions are notorious for greed using the kids as a shield.  No one can deny the money that one can make, but one can expect additional productivity from additional pay and teachers union are good at one thing——adamantly refusing to perform anything that would increase their productivity.

Report this

By samosamo, February 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

****************


Euphemism of ‘balancing the budget’ is actually conformity of
‘disaster capitalism’. Same meaning for Orwell’s doublespeak.
And it is absolutely no wonder at that because these devious tea
partiers are in the ‘fast track to becoming an elite’ game by
positioning themselves to rob the Wisconsin taxpayer’s money
on the state level of ‘government’. It is what tea partiers wanted
from the beginning. Their real goal is to BENEFIT personally,
financially and politically at the expense of others and ‘changing
government’ they don’t like is the ruse.

With a functioning government on any level, LOBBYING would be
the crime that it is, influence peddling and bribery. It makes a
criminal out of the one paying the bribe AND the one taking the
bribe, be it elected, appointed or just plain government
employee. But because the REPUBLICAN & DEMOCRATS use
LOBBYING as a nice clean word and law enforcement and the
justice system turns the proverbial blind eye, then the corruption
runs rampant. Little, less or nothing for the citizens.

Report this

By TDoff, February 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Should the unionists be thankful that Governor Walker has up-to-now rebuffed the urgings of his GOP and Tea Party leaders to disperse the demonstrators using Wisconsin National Guard helicopters and attack aircraft to ‘Mow ‘em down in the streets’?

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 22, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Big B,

I’ll accept the statistics of the Federal Election Commission over the Daily Kos and/or Rachel Maddow.  Of course you are free to disagree.

Report this
adc14's avatar

By adc14, February 22, 2011 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

When a Democratic Congress and President did their best to kneecap labor, it’s no wonder the Republicans feel so emboldened. They’re counting on a lack of support from the President—and so far they’ve been right. In fact, our Dem senators, with the exception of Sherrod Brown, have been strangely silent. Both parties don’t give a rat’s ass about labor.

Report this

By AnnaCatherine, February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with the author. It’s not altogeter about money. If they lose their right to collective bargaining, what’s the point of union membership. Walker is making union dues seem like a rip-off. No so. Money talks, and not just for poiliticians. What Walkeer wants is a work force over which he has complete control. We can’t allow that of happen. About those “Ill winds”. The only people still unscathed by the current economic conditions are the politicians. What about some paycuts and contributions to benefits. A little belt tightening.

Report this

By atron67, February 22, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Considering Wisconsin Had a budget surplus before walker became governor (2 months ago) and now has a 3 billion dollar deficit due to tax cuts which only benefit massive corporations, why should the public sector workers accept pay cuts?

The middle class is being attacked to fund corporate tax breaks…

Report this

By Big B, February 22, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Prez Barry and the idiots at the DNC fail to realize that this new corporate push to eliminate the power base of unions could serve to not only kneecap the DNC, but prove to be Barry’s Waterloo. If the pragmatic Barry fails to see the importance of making a stand here and now behind the forces for the middle and wanna be middle class, he will become the beggar to his own demise. The DNC fails to realize that their power base, organized labor and the boots on the ground organizational skills they bring to the table are what keeps the DNC viable here in the corporate run 21st century. Losing in Wisconsin would be like losing Stalingrad or Midway. It will just be a matter of places and dates after that, and the war, essentially, will be lost.

GRYM, thanks again for your faulty “opinions”. I never have to change over to Fox News anymore. To get todays neo-con talking points I needd only wait for your comments.

Lobbying is as old as our republic. But in the last 40 years it has morphed into all it could have in a nation that believes the political system is capitalism, not democracy (democracy and capitalism are mutually exclusive. Democracy can beget capitalism. Capitalism however, cannot beget democracy) Yes there are many lobbying groups, but there are few that accomplice anything if not piggybacking from one of the huge and infinitly funded super lobbies. A lobby possesses only the power and influence of it’s money and the political connections that money brings. There are indeed many lobbying groups, but there are only a few Chambers Of Commerce.

(BTW, in the 2010 election cycle, unions spent approx 235 million dollars to support and endorse candidates friendly to their cause. The money spent by corporate lobbys alone, that was able to be found, was over 800 million dollars!)

Report this

By jah627, February 22, 2011 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What do the Koch brothers respect? Money. So the next
time you’re in the supermarke­t, try NOT buying their
products. Here’s some easy ones to avoid: Charmin,
Bounty, Sparkle, Dixie, Quilted Northern, AngelSoft,
MardiGras, Vanity Fair (napkins and cups, not the
magazine). Or anything else made by Georgia Pacific.

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, February 22, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Mr. Robinson correctly points out that For-Profit labor unions give hundreds of millions of dollars almost entirely to his beloved democratic party, however, he goes on to write that the issue of power and money is not about the “special interest” relationship between labor unions and the democratic party.

According to the Federal Election Commission 17 of the top 20 lobbying firms in Washington give almost entirely to the democratic party’s political machine.  12 of those lobbying firms represent labor unions.

What’s interesting about all this?  Liberal politicians, commentators, labor unions, and even TruthDig regulars constantly rail against the evils of the “powerful lobby” in Washington.  Suddenly it’s awful that a republican governor would attempt to break a corrupt system that favors democrats.

-

As an aside:  I have written here numerous times that lobbying in Washington is misunderstood by most people.  I argued that lobbying firms, contrary to popular dogma, represent the elderly, the nation’s farmers, teachers, school bus manufacturers and fisherman.  I was labeled a bad person for writing such foolish “Lies”. wink

Report this

By ardee, February 22, 2011 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Some rather pertinent points in this article, especially the ones about the unions negotiating in past contract talks for benefits in lieu of wage increases, a point lost in translation I fear. That the real point is the attempt to cost unions their right to bargain thus emasculating them and actually attempting to end union protections entirely.

This fight to end workers protections has been long in the making, and, despite Robinson’s attempts to shove it all on the GOP I think that Democrats must share the blame, if only because their resistance up to now has been tepid to say the least.

I do applaud the actions of the Democratic legislators in Wisconsin and hope that such backbone travels the length of the party and winds up in Obama’s spine…he desperately needs to take a stand on some damn thing!

Report this
kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, February 22, 2011 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Here is a link to the interesting point of view on Wisconsin from my earlier comment. 

It is from Kos not CommonDreams.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/21/947947/-The-Koch-Brothers-End-Game-in-Wisconsin

Report this
kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, February 22, 2011 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

I read an interesting take on Wisconsin in CommonDreams.  The blogger makes the point that Walker is a Koch puppet, and that this union event is rigged.

The reason the blogger believes this is because buried in the budget is a clause about power plants being able to be operated free of regulation and taxes.  The Koch’s own the power plants.

If the Governor finally says, ‘OK, I’ll let collective bargaining stay, but you have to pass the rest of the budget without edit, then the Koch’s win by bait and switch.

Interesting.

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook