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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

GOP Should Just Go Ahead and Change Name to Koch Party

"In Wisconsin, union leaders agreed to concessions requested by Mr. Walker: to pay nearly 6 percent of their wages for pension costs, up from nearly zero, and double payments for health insurance. At that point, most governors would declare victory and move on. Instead, Mr. Walker has rejected union concessions and won’t even negotiate. His true priority is stripping workers of collective-bargaining rights and reducing their unions to a shell. The unions would no longer be able to raise money to oppose him, as they did in last year’s election, easing the way for future Republicans as well."

The Wisconsin governor is dutifully following the Koch GOP playbook: kill unions because members and supporters tend to vote Democratic and, as everyone knows, elected GOP politicians will dutifully do the bidding of wealthy capitalists faster and with greater zeal than the Dems.

It's politics. It really isn't about balancing budgets. That's just a convenient excuse to lie some more but, once again, the math doesn't lie and the unions have already agreed to the $300million in concessions on a $3600million dollar budget shortfall. That's 8.3%, and the union has agreed to it so what's the problem?

Wisconsin, and more broadly labor unions everywhere, are targeted elements of a bigger and broader GOP strategy to.......wait for it.........control more of your lives from corporate boardrooms instead of state capitols. The beauty of the plan is that Charles and David Koch never have to appear in public, never have to defend their policies against their opponents in pre-election debates, and never have to run and win elections. They and their allies in conservative media like Limbaugh and Murdoch have gotten very good at spending relatively small amounts of their fortune to whip into a frenzy people who don't or won't bother with facts.

It's just too bad that there are as many Americans as there are who have bought into and now desperately cling to the biggest lie of all: that they are part of the Koch/GOP grand plan for greater American wealth and prosperity. They're not, except as chattel.

Anyone outside the richest 2% who still believes the lies of the GOP is just carrying their water like a dutiful servant is expected to do. They've been duped into the complete masquerade and utter sham that Republicans are fiscal conservatives interested in doing anything at all to improve the condition of average Americans.

Here are more inconvenient numbers from Gallup.

It's really only a slim majority of Republicans, 54%, who even agree with the idea of taking away collective bargaining rights of state union workers. It should be noted that two-thirds of Independents oppose it, as do two-thirds of all adults nationwide. The key word there is 'adults.' People with the maturity, wisdom, and experience to know right from wrong and to discern fact from fiction.

Put simply, if you agree with breaking state unions you are in the minority. There's a reason for that. Opposing workers is not just bad for them, it's bad for America and the economy. We have no economy without a thriving middle class, and state workers - teachers, firefighters, law enforcement, and even the dreaded "bureaucrats" - are part of that middle class.

You can be mad at me for continuing to say these things, and you can dig your heals in deeper because you hate me for rubbing your noses in the reality of where your party is on issues like this. It won't change the facts: the GOP is pro-business and anti-worker. Always has been.

While I've never been a member of a union and probably never will be, I don't see how America rises to such economic prosperity and prominence post-WWII without unions. I'm proud of the fact that my father provided a middle class life to us in part because he was a union worker. I wonder how many reading this are willing to say the same?

What about all that nostalgia for the post-WWII years to which conservatives always seem to want to "take our country back?"

I seriously doubt that my father and all the other hard-working men and women in the 40s, 50s, and 60s would have been able to own a home and raise kids in a working class (and barely middle class) neighborhood had he had to endure the indignities and oppression that his father, a coal miner at the beginning of the 20th century and at the start of the labor movement, endured. Given the generosity and benevolence of late 19th and early 20th century capitalist, I'm completely comfortable saying that the answer would be no. This country rose to economic prosperity as much on the backs of labor as it did on the business acumen of entrepreneurs and capitalists. It's symbiotic. One cannot exist and thrive without the other.

All the trickling down in the world - then and now - doesn't turn the GOP into a party that even remotely approaches being pro-middle class. Tax cuts for the wealthy are not stimulative. That was proven yet again in 2001, 2003, and 2010. Deregulation only opens up more opportunities for corporations and a select few to rig the system so they prosper with all the rewards and none of the risk. We - the middle class - are left with the economic, environmental, and social bills while the Kochs, Murdochs, Limbaughs, and Becks laugh their way to their overseas bank accounts.

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