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Jesse Jackson writes: "Madison, like Selma, is not a major city. It isn't Chicago or New York or Los Angeles. And it isn't Cairo. It is the epicenter of the battle for America's democracy, and it is as American as Lexington, Concord, Gettysburg, Montgomery and Selma."

Protestors shout outside the office of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 02/22/11. (photo: Darren Hauck/Reuters)
Protestors shout outside the office of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 02/22/11. (photo: Darren Hauck/Reuters)



Assault on Unions Is Attack on Civil Rights

By Jesse Jackson, Reader Supported News

23 February 11

RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor

t looks like "Cairo has moved to Madison," said conservative Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, as 50,000 citizens took over the state's Capitol building. He got the spirit right, but the location wrong. In Madison, folks wearing Packers jerseys stand together with folks wearing Bears colors. Madison is this generation's Selma, the epicenter for the modern battle for basic human rights.

In 1965, the drive for basic voting rights was stalled in the U.S. Senate. President Johnson pushed Martin Luther King to stop demonstrating. Instead, Dr. King went to Selma. Selma was not a big city, but it held a mirror to the nation. There, on Bloody Sunday, peaceful demonstrators were met with dogs, clubs and hoses, and touched the conscience of a nation. Two days later, Johnson, invoking the famous words, "We shall overcome," introduced the Voting Rights Act. Five months later it was signed into law.

Today, the assault on basic rights is accelerating. The economic collapse caused by the gambols of Wall Street destabilizes public budgets at every level, as tax receipts plummet and expenses caused by unemployment rise. Yet Wall Street gets bailed out, and working and poor people are squeezed to pay to clean up their mess.

In states across the country, conservatives have used this occasion to assail public workers and their unions. They demand not only rollback of pay and benefits, but push laws to cripple - if not ban - public employee unions, destroying the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a self-described "Tea Party governor," leads the most egregious of these efforts. Upon election, he signed into law millions in tax breaks for business. Then, pointing to the budget crisis, he demanded not only harsh concessions from public workers - dramatic hikes in what they pay for pensions and health care - but crippling limits on their right to negotiate, limits on any pay increases and an annual vote to see if the union survives. As if to flaunt his power grab, he exempted the unions - police and firefighters - that endorsed him in the election.

The right to organize, to bargain collectively and to strike are basic human rights enshrined in international law. To this day, the U.S. champions independent free trade unions across the world - even as Walker and his ilk seek to crush them at home. With the U.S. suffering more extreme inequality than Egypt, and the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United giving corporations and billionaires a free pass to distort our elections, unions are virtually the only counter that workers have. That's why the right has targeted unions; that is why every citizen has a stake in their survival.

In Wisconsin, the public employees accepted the harsh concessions demanded by the governor, but rejected the attack on their basic rights. Teachers, nurses and other public workers stood up. Democratic state legislators left the state, blocking the effort to ram the legislation through. Students, ministers and progressives rallied to their side. The demonstrations are now entering their second week. Across the country, just as in the civil rights movement, people of conscience are holding vigils and protests in support. This is a Martin Luther King moment.

The effort by the governor and his right-wing allies to divide private sector workers from public sector workers is an old trick. In the South, race was used to divide. The tricks perfected in the South - right-to-work laws, barriers to unions - are now coming north.

Madison, like Selma, is not a major city. It isn't Chicago or New York or Los Angeles. And it isn't Cairo. It is the epicenter of the battle for America's democracy, and it is as American as Lexington, Concord, Gettysburg, Montgomery and Selma.

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-70 # Glenn Edwards 2011-02-23 11:55
Hyperbole defined. Next we'll be hearing that governor Walker is really Hitler and entitlements and benefits in the public sector are birthrights.
 
 
+47 # Wynne Dimock 2011-02-23 13:10
Hey, we have the largest disparity between rich and poor of any industrialized country....and that says it all. No democracy can exist with this kind of power imbalance. .. and righties want even more. If you are so concerned about deficit issues, why is our obscene military budget the elephant in the living room that is never questioned. We have lost our moral compass as we demonize workers and continue our military empire overseas. Also. one of the definitions of FASCISM is a wedding between corporations and government....T HANK YOU, SUPREME COURT FASCISTS.
 
 
+11 # michaelluzzi@aol.com 2011-02-23 16:08
to wynne: short, to the point, and on the money. think IKE's farewell speech, and BEIG GENERAL SMEDLEY BUTLER'S "wAR IS A rACKET" MANIFESTO FROM THE 1930S!!
 
 
+16 # BradFromSalem 2011-02-23 13:35
Glenn,

STOP MAKING THINGS UP!

Show me one example where a person on the left has ever, EVER, made such statements. I don't want hearsay. I want a real quote.

You will not find it.

You guys (and gals) keep saying the left makes all these wild accusations. We don't and we won't.

STOP MAKING THINGS UP!
 
 
-10 # lnason@umassd.edu 2011-02-24 11:40
LiberalLibertarian:

If you watch the news coverage you will see printed posters of Walker cum Hitlerian mustache or Walker with gun crosshairs superimposed on his head.

The instances where leftists have accused conservatives of "fascism" or "dementia" or "authoritariani sm" or acts of violence are too numerous to cite.

This country has a long history of political hyperbole starting with our founding fathers and continuing nearly continuously to the present day. I personally find this sort of speech to be OK for both conservatives and progressives but if you wish to criticize the right for such language, you must also criticize the left lest you be charged with hypocrisy.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+24 # davidhp 2011-02-23 13:38
More like a Neo Fascist fulling Musolini's steps in fascist progression - outlaw and crush labor unions. Put the corporations in charge. Walker is bought and paid for by the Koch brothers as part of their campaign to make American Corporate Fascist state.
 
 
-8 # Doctoretty 2011-02-23 13:48
What nonsense!
 
 
+16 # jon 2011-02-23 19:29
Quoting Glenn Edwards:
Hyperbole defined. Next we'll be hearing that governor Walker is really Hitler and entitlements and benefits in the public sector are birthrights.


"One of the most elemental human rights [is] the right to belong to a free trade union." -Ronald Reagan

In suppressing trade unionism and collective bargaining, threatening to use the national guard to suppress the tens of thousands trade union protesters in Wisconsin, in sending out the state police to pursue Democrats who are standing up for Regan's words in defense of trade unionism and threatening to fire workers if the unions don't agree to give up collective bargaining - among other betrayals to Reagan's words - Walker is committing the No. 1 unforgivable Republican crime: He's defiling the legacy of Reagan.

In fact, in his 1982 statement, Reagan even discussed how the Solidarity Union sought God-given rights.

So, is Walker not only throwing mud at Reagan, but also defying God?
 
 
+14 # JazBing 2011-02-23 20:55
Oh Glenn - You must be a wise man, or someone who remembers their history - Actually, there are parallels between Hitler and Walker: The first group of people Hitler put in concentration camps were union workers. They were his first scapegoat. As the saying goes, don't ignore any politician who blames the citizenry for economic problems. The corporate-owned Tea Party officials answer to one group of people, and it's their corporate funders. As the saying goes, by the time they come for you, there will be no one left to save you. I sure won't be, that's for sure.
 
 
+12 # Hors-D-Whores 2011-02-24 03:10
Are entitlements for rich people okay with you? For instance, rich people's kids get to go to the Ivy League schools, not on merit but because of the money their families have or contributed. For example G W Bush. Jr. didn't have the IQ or the grades and was not even qualified to run a company successfully, and people like you made him president. Hopefully, you are very ashamed by now, but I doubt it.

The American dream was achieved by giving workers a decent salary and share in the growth and prosperity of the country and the Union were instrumental in achieving those results.

If I were rich, I would be ashamed of myself for not putting in a good share of dollars into the system so that the country I want to live in doesn't become another Mexico, where there is a miniscule middle class, and where the money is still mostly in the hands of the original families that were given land grants and became wealthy, and who remain to this day very condescending to their poor.

The entitlements and birthrights benefitters are not in the middle class or the poor.

Walker may not be a Hitler but he is also not as well educated or as smart as any of those teachers that are standing strong to retain some dignity. He is a purchased Governor of the Koch Bros and other corporatists though, and he needs to be recalled.
 
 
+10 # Progressive_Patriot 2011-02-24 04:00
Health is a birthright. (I didn't say health care or insurance.)

Food is a birthright. nobody can survive very long without it.

Water is a birthright. You'll die even sooner without water than you will without food.

Shelter is a birthright. Most places in this country it is very difficult to survive the cold months without shelter. And in some areas one won't survive very long in the heat without shelter.

Social contact is a birthright. It is proven that depriving humans contact with others drives them insane.

These are all things that corporate greed wants to deny to human beings who make less than a Million dollars a year.
 
 
+6 # kyzipster 2011-02-24 09:00
It's what used to be called the American Dream, one of the privileges of US citizenship. Hard work and responsible living paying off with a decent and dignified existence. Republicans can't even concede that affordable health care should be a right in this country, a fair percentage of income. Last November was not a green light to take us back to the 19th century, 2012 never looked better. Republicans know nothing but extremism and the voters who decide elections are solidly in the center.
 
 
+35 # DPM 2011-02-23 12:43
I stand by the demonstrators in Wisconsin and around the U.S., and thank them for standing up to the economic miscreants that seek to destroy our citizens individual rights and privileges. The misdeeds of those wielding power, in this country, are too numerous to mention, but I am tired of having to pay and pay for their "success" in raping the rest of us. They need to stand before those they have tried to destroy, stripped of their self-centered gifts of power. They need to answer to The People.
Let's start in Wisconsin and roll across the entire nation.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2011-02-23 13:19
http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/5061-audio-scott-walker-blathers-all-to-prank-david-koch
Walker and his pimp (fake Koch) talk - this is there agenda - great guerrilla move.
 
 
+24 # BradFromSalem 2011-02-23 13:40
With all the screaming I keep hearing about how our education system is failing, there is one story I hardly ever hear.

The states that have the strongest Union presence in their schools are the one that achieve the highest.

I think we should emulate success. Unless of course, your hatred of Unions is so deep that you would rather our children get a lesser education than have to actually negotiate with teachers. The choice is clear every time, and yet so many do not seem to care.
 
 
+2 # Robert Griffin 2011-02-23 19:59
Could you post sources for this? (I like it, but without reliable sources...)
 
 
+3 # JazBing 2011-02-23 21:22
Robert - I was just sent something through FB (from a reliable source, but can't remember who) regarding ACT scores. The states that have the five lowest scores are also ones where teachers do not have collective bargaining rights. I remember one of the states being South Carolina. Also, the disparity in scores was not tiny - some were in the 50 point range. You should be able to Google it if you don't hear back from the original post.
 
 
+3 # Mary MacKay 2011-02-23 22:19
SOURCE:
http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=EJ617440
 
 
+4 # Mary MacKay 2011-02-23 22:13
States w/ greater percentages of teachers in unions reported higher test performance | 95 references | Study by 3 Harvard professors, 2000.

http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=EJ617440
 
 
-4 # lnason@umassd.edu 2011-02-24 11:58
Mary MacKay:

I tried to look the reference up (since the claim is not compatible with the studies I've seen on the issue) but it was removed from the site. But I gather from hints that the study only considered public schools. If that is true, than you can arguable make that claim that regular unionized public schools do about as well as non-union charter schools. But you are looking at the bottom of the barrel to make this comparison. You also to need to look at the non-union private, parochial, and homeschool arrangements which all lead to much better educational outcomes.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+3 # Robert Griffin 2011-02-25 21:10
From http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/recordDetails.jsp?ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ617440&searchtype=keyword&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&_pageLabel=RecordDetails&accno=EJ617440&_nfls=false

"Comparison of standardized test scores and degree of teacher unionization in states found a statistically significant and positive relationship between the presence of teacher unions and stronger state performance on tests. Taking into account the percentage of students taking the tests, states with greater percentages of teachers in unions reported higher test performance. (Contains 95 references.) (SK)"
An old friend was extremely disappointed with the Catholic schools in Los Angeles when her children were being (un)educated (while I was attending public school in the same area).
I have been very satisfied with _my_ public school education (1960-1972), and did not find most of _my_ teachers to be 'bottom of the barrel'.
Be Well,
Bob Griffin
 
 
+5 # Progressive_Patriot 2011-02-24 04:18
When Eisenhower was elected, the tax rate on the highest income brackets was 91%. With that Progressive income tax, he was able to build the Interstate Highway System and other infrastructure, and elevate American public schools to the highest levels of achievement (and it wasn't because they were "privatized" and run by business people instead of educators). When Reagan entered office, the tax rate on those top brackets was 72%, still high enough to achieve a lot through government without running up huge national debts. Gerald Ford had already given corporations their first big tax cuts.

Since Reagan's first tax cuts for the rich (which he partially reversed the next year because, even with his failing mind, he realized that they were too deep) we started a downward slide, and it's been getting worse ever since.
 
 
-3 # lnason@umassd.edu 2011-02-24 11:46
LiberalLibertarian:

I believe that your claim that unionized public schools have the highest achievement levels, in inaccurate. From everything I have read, private schools and home schooling produce the highest achievement levels with parochial schools coming in next and with charter schools and unionized public schools coming in dead last in a virtual dead heat. Since private schools, home school parents, and parochial school teachers are not unionized, I think your claim is false.

Lee Nason
 
 
+3 # Robert Griffin 2011-02-25 21:16
As far as I can tell, parochial schools vary enormously.
Home Schooling is sufficienitly uneven that my brother, who had taken his children out of the public schools in a blue collar neighborhood in Hawaii, was tempted to return them to the schools on finding that the students in the local home schooling group _must_ learn Creationist biology. (He got his degree in Bio-chem).
Be Well,
Bob Griffin
 
 
+2 # Robert Griffin 2011-02-25 21:22
I believe the claim is that _unionized_ public schools have the highest achievements _among_ _public_ _schools_ in general. In other words, that subset of unionized public schools has higher achievement levels than non-unionized public schools.
Be Well,
Bob Griffin
 
 
0 # Ken Hall 2011-03-11 11:46
LN: Where have you been doing your research? Conservatives will say most anything to disparage political opponents and don't care if it is factual or not. You couldn't connect to the link above from Mary Kay and yet others did. Sometimes it takes a little perseverance to root out the facts, but they are there.
 
 
+20 # DaveM 2011-02-23 13:56
The right to assemble peaceably and to petition for redress of grievances is a basic Constitutional right. That includes those who wish to assemble under the banner of unions or to "petition" via the process of collective bargaining. In Wisconsin, those rights are threatened, and people are, thank heaven, responding with outrage.

It is good to see Americans standing up for principles when there is truly something on the line far more significant than joining a scheduled march featuring people dressed in Revolutionary War costume. A line is being drawn. Let us hope that the citizens of the United States have what it takes to say to our increasingly intrusive government: this much, and no more.
 
 
+1 # Gringaryan 2011-02-23 16:01
Dave, I am right with you up to the "intrusive government" part..
 
 
-5 # lnason@umassd.edu 2011-02-24 12:11
DaveM is correct that the right to form a union is constitutionall y guaranteed (as reasonably implied by the right of free association). There is no problem with unions in the private sector.

The difficulty arrives when unions form in the public sector. Because they have a "monopoly" (whether for garbage collection or teaching or roadwork) and because they can often "elect" their own bosses and labor agreement negotiators, there is a tendency for them to get more than they would if there were competition. Their monopoly position is strengthened in the public sector because
any worker unrest can disrupt the whole population (whether we are talking schooling the kids or removing the snow) so various government administrations simply give them what they ask for rather than face of the adverse social impacts that the unions could cause.

I'm not sure that I have a good answer to this dilemma but it is not constructive to claim that one side or the other is completely correct. This is one of the issues that we need adult conversation about if we are to achieve good public services at equitable costs.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+14 # Todd Williams 2011-02-23 14:09
No, not Hitler, but closer to Nathan Shefferman in the 1940's or maybe Jack Whitehead, "King of the Strikebreakers" in the early 1900's. Although Hitler did strike first against the labor unions in Germany, before the Jews. Walker is treading on thin ice here. He thinks his anti-union movement will spread across Americaa. Instead, his facistic moves may ignite a unprecedented pro-union movement. I say bring it on Walker and your ilk. Let's go to the mats right now and see who walks away. You've got the balls Walker?
 
 
+6 # jon 2011-02-23 19:31
Well said, Todd
 
 
-19 # John Mortl 2011-02-23 14:35
In the free market place private companies have to stay competitive or fall by the wayside and go out of business. Therefor one way or the other there is generally a check on labor costs so that they do not get too far out of line with the competition. Witness what happened to the US automobile companies. Because Governments have no competition there is no such check on Government employes. Because Politicians are only concerned with the next election they have avoided a confrontation with the unions and just kicked the can down the road. Now that we have reached the end of the road they are finally forced to reign in, what has become an over compensated bloated inefficient bureaucracy to keep the whole system from collapsing. Those beneficiaries of the irresponsible actions of self interested Politicians selfishly want to hang on to their unearned windfall and don't seem give a damn about the suffering tax payer many of them unemployed or woking in tougher jobs at much lower pay and no benefits. Unfortunately this "let them eat cake" attitude could turn Americans against the whole Union movement.
 
 
+10 # BradFromSalem 2011-02-23 15:35
So the teachers are over paid? Policeman and firemen are being paid more than the fat cats who got an unnecessary tax break? Nurses, who are on the front line of every medical situation possible should get treated like the contents of a used bed pan?

Your rant was based on phony logic and I think you know it! What about Sanitation workers; would you do their job?

The only end of the road is the end of people paying their fair share. We have an income problem, and I think you know it.

Unions have sat down (as they are trying to do in WI) to negotiate every time there is an issue that threatens their jobs. But you ignore that fact?

Bad management almost killed Detroit. Sorry, VERY BAD management almost destroyed Detroit. The workers didn't build outdated factories, overspend on developing cars nobody wanted or spent more time & $$ fighting CAFE requirements when they could have made a difference. And I still think you that.
 
 
+8 # Gringaryan 2011-02-23 16:04
for John Mortl.........T he "free market place" is not free and I for one don't accept your definition of fair competition either. In a free market place the banks should've been allowed to fail.. they were saved at the expense of the public and adding insult to injury.. they were saved with the money from the same public that is now getting a royal screwing.
 
 
+6 # soularddave 2011-02-23 18:35
Quoting John Mortl:
In the free market place private companies have to stay competitive or fall by the wayside and go out of business. Therefor one way or the other there is generally a check on labor costs so that they do not get too far out of line with the competition.


Notice in the article, it points out that "Upon election, he signed into law millions in tax breaks for business." Okay, it's like the unwise continuation of the Bush tax cuts. Give the revenue away and then complain 'cause there's no money?

That's simply irresponsible, and the Governor thinks he can get away with this? We're here to say NO! We get it, and aren't going to stand for it.

What is it that you don't understand? Government exists at the pleasure of the electorate - not the other way 'round. The public is NOT happy!
 
 
+1 # Samuel Freeman 2011-02-26 10:26
John, There is no such thing as a "free market" in a capitalist economic system. Capitalism is not about "free markets" or "competition", BUT it is about the ELIMINATION of genuinely free markets and competition. Look at what happened to Tucker's automobile after WWII, and who did him in GM, FORD, CHRYSLER. Even though he had a superior product--no, BECAUSE he had a superior product--he was driven out of business. Look at how John D. Rockafeller built the Standard Oil emipire. Have you forgotten ENRON, TYCO, Global Crossing? Even Adam Smith understood capitalism would become so driven by greed it would destroy itself. Read the Wealth of Nations.
 
 
+9 # Todd Williams 2011-02-23 16:37
Right on, and let's not forget who decimated the state retirement systems- the hedge fund managers, bankers and other fat cats who were selling packaged toxic assets like cotton candy at the circus. Now you want to balance the budgets on the backs of these same workers who got screwed by the upper class and then take away their collective bargaining rights to boot? So John and Glenn, you want class warfare in America? Are you dudes insane!
 
 
-4 # John Mortl 2011-02-23 17:34
I agree inpart about the bank bailout. Unfortunately hadn't they been bailed out the whole system would have collapsed into a world wide depression on the scale of 1929. The solution is to go back to the separation of regular banking from investment banking. Then break up the big banks so that a failure would not bring down the whole system. As far the so called hard working Government workers goes, I speak from experience. I started out as a non-union electrician. Then I joined the union and on the whole worked half as hard for a higher income. We still got laid off, unlike government electricians, when work was short. At the end of the budget year when a Government bureaucracy wanted to us up the budget money so that their allotment would not be reduced in the following year, they would call for outside Union Electricians to supplement their own. Because they wanted to use up their budget money, there was no pressure to produce so we in effect worked half as hard as usual the Government Electricians worked half as hard again. So don't tell me how hard Government bureaucrats work. While working in those buildings I also saw how hard the office workers worked at not working.
 
 
+4 # Gringaryan 2011-02-23 18:22
John, After 1929 there were regulations put in place to prevent the return of such a failure. Anyone wanting help in 2008 should've had to sign on to being re-regulated or not been bailed out... and should´ve been expected to be accountable financially instead of the free ride they got. As far as your personal experience as a government worker (not working to full capacity yourself and seeing others not working up to par). Your experience does not mean that unions or workers rights should suffer.. it basically means that the system you were personally working in had been corrupted. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
 
 
+3 # soularddave 2011-02-23 18:46
So are you complaining about lazy electricians, or bad management? There's a big difference! Was management a Union function, or a, err, MANAGEMENT function?

Who's being asked to sacrifice in Wisconsin? Management or the Unions?

Why not BUST MANAGEMENT instead??
 
 
0 # Robert Griffin 2011-02-25 21:24
My mother worked (hard) for the Veterans' Administration in the 1970s and 1980s, and there were both hard workers (too few) and slackers (too many). However my son, who worked for a retail store several years ago, faced the same issue.
 
 
+4 # don emilio 2011-02-23 18:07
It looks like a lot of Republicans are Koch heads, strung out on Davie and Chuckie's money. At the risk of redundancy, I'll reiterate once again what sensible, but unsensational, economists have been saying consistently. The funding crises of governments at every level is the consequence of cutting taxes on the obscenely rich.

If both federal and state income tax rates returned to those under Reagan (YES, Reagan, although under Ike would be fairer) there would be no problem. But the propaganda spewed unrelentingly by the Koch heads seems to have convinced the gullible that someone else, usually a poor working guy like themselves, is unfairly taking too much at their expense.

Thus do the Walkers, Kasiches, Daniels, plus the tea baggers in service to their own further impoverishment, practice the ancient art of divide and conquer. It's pretty clear that Davie, Chuckie and their coddled, spoiled, rich kid buddies really believe they are entitled to rule over the undeserving rabble. And they seem to be imposing that belief on a lot of the people whom they're hurting.
 
 
+4 # Windy126 2011-02-23 18:58
This fight directly affects all of us. The union employees live among us, they shop in the same stores. They pay taxes, and keep the money recycling in the community. Get rid of these workers and what is going to happen? Prices will rise to keep businesses in business, one by one they will close and the building will be empty and left to be taken for back taxes. No one will invest in an area like that.
Yes, the five states that do not have collective bargaining are the ones that have the lowest SAT/ACT scores. We are on our way to the bottom helped along by people who too centered to try to help anyone.
 
 
-7 # charsjcca 2011-02-23 20:49
What I think about what Jesse Jackson he can fund the state payroll. His statements never match up with the facts as I know them. Wisconsin citizens can, if they choose to do so, create legislation that says that each citizen has the right to work for the State of Wisconsin. So far, they have not done so. If the State of Wisconsin runs out of money those on the payroll will not be paid. They can keep showing up to work, but without funds they can not be paid. There is nothing in the Constitution, as far as I know, that says the State of Wisconsin must go to the market and borrow money to make payroll. They can but they are not compelled to do so.
 
 
+5 # jon 2011-02-23 21:13
say what?
 
 
-10 # John Mortl 2011-02-23 22:02
I am 76 years old. It is no skin off my nose if all the jobs go to china because i will be dead in a few years. What good will all this militant support for the non-productive sector do for anyone if the system collapses and or the jobs go elsewhere. Governments do not create wealth they just spend tax payers money and they are not very efficient in doing that either. This is the economic system you have and the only realistic option you have is to improve it and make it more efficient to be able to compete in the tough unforgiving world market. A small step would be to reign in the out of control inefficient public sector so that those who actually produce something have a more cost effective product to compete with. It does no good to whine on about fat cats. If you somehow manage to put to many restrictions on them they will just take their investment money elsewhere at a faster pace than they are now doing. If you took all the wealth that they have in the country and divided it up evenly it wouldn't amount to very much for each individual. If you took over the whole wealth producing sector who would have the skills to run it. The only option is to make the system more efficient and productive.
 
 
+3 # PGreen 2011-02-24 07:08
This "public is bad" refrain from the right reminds me of the sheep in Animal Farm: "Four legs bad, two legs better!" You are old enough, sir, as I am, to remember the fall of the Berlin wall. As Egypt is reminding (or showing) us, changes in regime can happen very quickly (though the real change may take longer). But this scarcely matters. Science warns us: if we continue on our present course, we will destroy the environment and the earth, leaving nothing at all to our grandchildren. The economics of inequality are ultimately harmful and unsustainable. If change in the opposite economic direction does not happen, the avoidance of violence on a massive scale, even global, will likely become more difficult. Ironically, it is the Wall Street neo-conservativ es who still believe-- and fear-- the Marxian prediction of a class war, when many on the left have seen the holes in his logic. There is a class war happening, but only one side is currently waging it-- the "fat cats" are consolidating power and the middle class is on the way out. It won't survive the status quo.
 
 
0 # jon 2011-02-24 21:05
John Mortl, you should hope that reincarnation is not a fact, because unless it is not, your apathy, and the concomitant law of cause and effect (known as Karma in most of the world), will not make your age any advantage.
 
 
+2 # john sullivan 2011-02-23 22:27
Thanks Amy,we need your leadership here and now, perhaps more than ever before. Power to the People.
 
 
+2 # Frank Bolton 2011-02-24 01:39
Let's remember that unions helped this country. They educated the trades people which assisted in building the manufacturing system we know today. Their work is not done yet, who else is better equiped to take steps to improve the existing system
 
 
-1 # Progressive_Patriot 2011-02-24 04:23
I also hear complaints that some schools don't have as much money as other schools.

The amount of money spent on schools does not necessarily mean the kids are smarter. I lived in a town in Connecticut years ago that spent less per student than any of the 24 school districts around them, but their students scored higher on the SATs than the other districts.
 
 
-3 # John Mortl 2011-02-25 10:27
Throughout History whenever the oppression of the population has reached unbearable levels and the fear of death is overridden by the misery level they overthrow the existing regime. For a period thereafter chaos and anarchy ensue until a new regime is established restoring law and order. In the interim there is much suffering and death experienced by everyone. I don,t think that America is anywhere near the misery level required for any leader or group, no matter how eloquent or charismatic, to rise the population from their relatively comfortable couch potato lifestyle. If the present financial situation and the decreasing productivity level is not rectified and the US descends to the level of an Egypt or the former Communist regimes in Europe, then after a lengthy period of suffering and deprivation they will be ready to follow a revolutionary leader. There was an erroneous connection made between Wall St. and the Neo-Cons. While there may be some Fat Cats on wall st. that support the Neo-Cons and their concerted effort supporting Israel at the expense of the USA , on the whole they are solely interested in making money and not in undermining American hegemony.
 
 
0 # curt drake 2011-03-22 13:56
one question why are they attacking just the teachers union and not the police are firemans union.its just like why do the indians still get welfare and food stamps whe the casinos are suppose tohelp there own people.can't wait for the poor people in this country start fighting the rich and put a stop to drug loards in us stop letting them kill are childern with drugs
 

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