Robert Reich, in his HuffPost article of March 2nd, eloquently and passionately wrote about the irrelevant Democrats in Washington not fighting for the middle class. His post “How Democrats Can Become Relevant Again (And Rescue The Nation While They’re At It)” hit the mark repeatedly. Democrats have failed to show spine ever since the new, weeping sheriff took over in the House, exemplified by their failed request for 4 weeks more of government funding so they could continue to work on the budget before a possible shut down; the Republicans said “2 weeks,” and the Dems caved, further tarnishing the Democratic brand in the process.
Reich presented a compelling roadmap for what needs to be done to get our fiscal house in order, by overhauling our tax codes so that we are asking the richest at the top to pay their fair share and stopping the inequity of shifting higher taxes to a middle class that is already rapidly disappearing. He also suggested we bring back the estate tax and tax all income. The statistics Reich offered showing the widening chasm between the “haves” and “have nots” are sobering. The states are reeling with their budget shortfalls, slashing services and putting public service jobs on the chopping block. When will Republicans understand that an attack on organized labor is an attack on all workers? Maybe when Scott Walker is looking for employment in 4 years, if not sooner.
MONEY has always been the most corrupting influence in our politics, a fact that is now on full display in Republican-controlled state houses across the midwest that are voting against public employees’ right to collectively bargaining. Destroying unions is their mission. The war on middle class workers, and unions in particular, has seen no strong response from our President since he’s been in office. His silence is only enabling the Republicans and hastening the demise of our way of life. Yet, as a candidate, Obama said, and I paraphrase, he would put on some comfortable shoes and walk with them on the picket line. Perhaps the unions should send him coupons for some Thom McAns.
Where is our President’s voice now, when he is needed more than ever? Last Wednesday the Senate in Ohio passed a bill 18-17 that would curtail collective bargaining rights of its state union workers. The bill will now head to the GOP controlled Assembly where it will pass. For 30 years, all across our country, workers have been pummeled with flat and declining wages, while the cost of living continues to rise; and that includes all workers, and not just union members. Our standard of living continues to decline. Union membership today is at a mere 7% from a high of 35% following our nation’s expansion following the Second World War. All boats were indeed lifted at the same time, as workers and corporations flourished, grew and prospered together. America – the land of opportunity.
Now, with our economy still in the tank, the first line of attack from Conservatives is directed at wage earners on the state and corporate level. The perpetrators of our national economic mess now have the states cutting back on public services so millionaires can continue to flourish and make more money. Under-taxation is crippling our states. Reich got it exactly right – the influence of money in our politics must be removed. A priority must be challenging the Citizens United decision and removing special interest money from our politics, which is in large part how Wisconsin wound up with Koch brothers lapdog Scott Walker in the first place.
But there is hope, and perhaps we are learning a valuable lesson from Tunisia, Libya, Baharain and Iran, as well as Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and New Jersey.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com