fresh voices from the front lines of change







See if this sounds familiar. Get elected by promising jobs. But once in office push through tax cuts for the wealthy and their corporate masks, and cut jobs. Then use the resulting budget deficits and jobs crisis to whip up pubic panic. Finally, use that panic to push through “solutions” that have little to do with jobs or budgets and everything to do with consolidating wealth and power. How often to you see that formula played out?

Promise Jobs

In 2010, Republicans around the country were elected after running hundreds of millions of dollars in ads (paid for largely by billionaires and big corporations) promising jobs (and promising to protect entitlements.) They promised this because poll after poll after poll shows that the public wants the government to focus on jobs and protect the things government does for We, the People.

But Once IN Office

But now in office they are cutting jobs, gutting the things government does for We, the People and saying “So Be It” when confronted on the gap between campaign promises and action in office. They said what they needed to say to get power, and they are using that power to consolidate power, gut government and pass ever more money and power to the top.

Wisconsin Laying Off

Wisconsin is showing us how it works. In Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pushed through $117 million in business tax cuts. Then he pushed through a law requiring a two-thirds majority to raise taxes, removing that as a way to fix the resulting deficits. And finally, the run for the goalposts: get rid of unions, gut government, destroy public schools, and push through the rest of the corporate-right agenda.

The Governor is killing jobs and public schools, laying off thousands of teachers and state workers and dramatically cutting the school budget. The unions have conceded to every wage and pension cut, but this is not remotely what the Governor wants. It is not about budgets, budgets are the mask. He wants the unions and public schools destroyed, and the price of defiance is thousands and thousands of jobs.

Not About Budget Or Jobs

LA Times, Limiting unions just part of Wisconsin governor’s agenda,

“What you’ve got is a governor who’s come in with a great appetite for achieving his ends,” said Norman J. Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “This is far more about power than it is about money.”

… he also signed a law protecting businesses from liability in lawsuits. The only business group he battled with was the Democratic-leaning green energy industry, when he proposed increasing regulations on the placement of wind farms.

Other States And Nationally

This isn’t just happening in Wisconsin, it is part of an orchestrated campaign in several states as well as at the federal level to panic voters about budget shortfalls with the goal of implementing corporate/conservative “solutions.” This week in the story For right, Wisconsin battle was years in making, Politico examined how the billionaire Koch brothers and others have waged a campaign to convince voters that public employees, their pensions and their unions are responsible for state budget deficit, leading up to efforts like the ones in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and other states to get rid of public employee unions. From the Politico story,

The conservative assault on public sector unions that seemed to explode out of nowhere in Wisconsin and spread across the Midwest was in fact months – if not years – in the making, the result of methodical polling, lobbying, messaging, grassroots organizing and policy crafting by a coterie of well-funded conservative groups.

The corporate/billionaire PR machine may have whipped up media stories about pensions, but the public isn’t buying it.

Poll After Poll

Poll after poll after poll show the public wants the government to focus on jobs, not on cuts. It is very, very clear. And economist after economist agrees. And then even more polls and more economists.

NBC/WSJ poll: 37% want job creation, 22% want cuts. But among those “they are adamantly opposed to cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and K-12 education.”

Most popular deficit solution? “…placing a surtax on federal income taxes for those who make more than $1 million per year (81 percent said that was acceptable).”

NYTimes/CBS Poll: “Those surveyed said they opposed, 56 percent to 37 percent, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits.”

Most popular deficit solution? “Asked how they would choose to reduce their state’s deficits, those polled preferred tax increases over benefit cuts for state workers by nearly two to one.”

Trumka On Worker Rights And Pensions

Here is AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka talking about Wisconsin and public employees:

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Teacher Pay vs Wall Street Pay

Please watch this Daily Show segment on teacher pay vs Wall Street pay:

March 10 Summit on Jobs and America’s Future

On March 10, 2011, the Summit on Jobs and America’s Future will bring together leaders and activists who understand that America faces a jobs crisis – and who are committed to building a political movement for sustainable economic growth, dynamic job creation, and a revival of the American economy.

Free. $15 with lunch. Register here.

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