Conservatives carp about Americans who “depend on the government.” What they don’t say is that most of these people are working. Between an unlivable minimum wage and jobs that offer less than 40 hours, they qualify for government programs to support with food, housing, and medical care. They aren’t living lives of luxury.
Who really benefits from this system? Large corporations and the investor class who rely on working people to underwrite the subhuman salaries they pay. Laura Clawson of Daily Kos explains how raising the minimum wage would help workers while lowering the deficit. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker says, says we shouldn’t talk about the minimum wage because it’s not a real issue. Is the family where both parents work two jobs just to get by a real issue?
Democrats are far from perfect, but they’re the best bet working people and the middle class have in this new age of Robber Barons and the slaves they have representing them in federal, state, and local government. There is nothing conservative about rigging the system to make the wealthiest even richer. We need a wealth tax.
Writing in Huffington Post, Robert Reich explores the power billionaires like the Koch brothers and the Ricketts family, former owners of TD Ameritrade, current owners of a team I root for, the Chicago Cubs. Reich lays out the different ways these super rich families have used their wealth to influence politics. While Reich cites a Democratic billionaire and middle-of-the-road Michael Bloomberg as non-Republican super PAC bosses, most of the action is conservative. And it is anti-worker.
Rather than look at this as a conservative/liberal issue, it would be better to think about the growing influence of neoliberal ideology, which unites people like Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his former boss, Republican candidate for Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner. Neoliberals believe that the public sector is always superior to the private. They also hate unions the way Joe McCarthy hated communists. These groups control the money, which means they control the media, which – as McLuhan taught – is the “message.” Most Americans distrust unions because they have heard the same propaganda for over 30 years. It’s gotten so bad that 35% of Americans are against raising the minimum wage. I wonder what percent would agree with reversal of the 13th Amendment?
I often cite Daily Kos’ Laura Clawson when she is describing attacks on workers. Today the news is good. Pro-labor mayors were elected in New York and Boston. Voters in Cincinnati came out in favor of protecting the pensions of public sector workers. While this news may warm our hearts, we still have to remember that Governor Christie, a loud foe of unions, was re-elected by a landslide in New Jersey. The tide is still against labor and workers. The good news is that workers haven’t lost the will to fight. When they win, we all win (except for the Koch brothers and their fellow greedy billionaires).
Writing in Think Progress, Pat Garofalo reports that Wisconsin legislators are now trying to attack private sector unions in the name of “preventing layoffs.” The plan is called “work-sharing,” and it would allow companies with union workers to cut hours without consulting unions. The only way working people will be safe from such schemes is to vote for politicians who support labor rights; however, they are hard to find these days. It will be interesting to see how Governor Walker reacts if this measure is passed. Who frightens him more, the Koch Brothers or the voters?
All eyes on Wisconsin – again.