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March 6, 2011 @ 12:21 pm by Jacqui Lewis

Have you been paying attention to the Wisconsin and Ohio conversations on collective bargaining? No matter where you are on the subject, check out this really smart research, Why Wisconsin is Ground Zero For Democracy in America (PDF), from Dean Hubbard and Rober Toussaint. They are on the ground, not on the tube, and I think what they say is important.

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Comments

Who'd have thought that communism is alive and well, right here in the U.S. Here is a perfect example of liberals taking the meaning of a word (democracy), and twisting it to mean something entirely the opposite. The actions of the democrats, and the unions can hardly be described as democratic. They have entirely abandoned the democratic process. Thank God that Governor Walker has the strength, courage, and cool-headed perseverance to stand up to the hooligans, and fight for the rights and interests of the people. By all means, get informed, get involved.

Donald Green on March 10, 2011

Are corporations democratic? These are the folks who want to take away our collective bargaining rights. Even if you aren't a union member, your employer will give you better treatment to keep you from joining one. Because of waning union membership, this is no longer true. Layoffs and outsourcing of jobs to third world countries where labor is cheap are commonplace. This is where we are headed without collective bargaining rights. Unions are the people who brought us the weekend and the 40-hour work-week. How many people really want to give those up (if they still have them)? It used to be "If you don't come in Sunday, don't come in Monday!"f Governor Walker is a traitor to the democratic process. His actions are supporting the elite. Those who don't learn from the mistakes of American Labor History are doomed to relive them. Do we want to live in the world depicted by Charles Dickens? Upton Sinclair? Do we want the working conditions that caused the fatalities of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire? Are workers' rights such as these "communist," and are we going back to the days of McCarthyism? Think!

Elizabeth B. Morse on March 11, 2011

Here's a useful link to a chart that shows how decades of cutting taxes for a small number of wealthy individuals and corporations has at least something to do with states now struggling to meet the expense of services to the vulnerable and public employees--teachers, firefighters, police, as well as clerks, home aides and janitors-- on hand to provide necessary services. http://s1007.photobucket.com/albums/af197/Foxfoot_photos/class%20warfare/?action=view&current=tlG0Y.jpg In Wisconsin as in Washington DC is the story of questionable tax cuts for the richest at the expense of services to the poorest. Extending Bush's tax cut last year cost the country $42 billion dollars. What has happened to our conscience?

Erica on March 13, 2011

First, Ms. Morse, your condemnation of "corporations" is telling, nevertheless, corporations have nothing to do with the issue in Wisconsin. The issue in Wisconsin is about public sector unions. Since you mentioned it though, in the private sector, workers are free to organize, and collectively bargain. Unions, and management are adversarial parties that negotiate to find mutually beneficial terms that satisfy each others needs. When it comes to public sector unions, who are the adversaries of the unions? Politicians? Bureaucrats? In reality, of course they are negotiating in their own interests (re-election, expanding government, padding their own pockets), not in the interest of the people. Public sector unions should not be allowed. Unions are waning, only in the private sector, because they are no longer necessary, and they are not competitive. If there were an advantage to being in unions, workers would join them. Since the times of Dickens, Sinclair, and the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, and in no small part thanks to unions, we have such governmental agencies as the Department of Labor, OSHA, the ESC, etc. that regulate work conditions, rendering unions obsolete. The only haven for unions today is the public sector, because there are no market forces keeping them honest. There is no competition. Shorter work weeks were evolving long before unions. Innovative business leaders were utilizing technological advancement to improve productivity, thereby reducing working hours. In addition, businesses, having to compete for available labor, are pressured to increase pay, offer better benefits, and better working conditions, in order to attract, and keep better workers. Governor Walker is a hero. He exercised the authority of his office, by the laws of his state in support of the people. The public sector unions do not represent the people, by any means. They represent themselves. The State Senators, who abandoned the democratic process, are the real traitors. Are worker's rights "such as these" communist? I'll concede. They're socialist; however, there is a fine line separating the two. It was the imagery of the fist in the shape of the State of Wisconsin, that reminded me of the Bolshevik revolution. The communists in our government today are a different breed from the hundreds, if not thousands, that were infiltrating our government from the 1930's through the 1950's. Today, they are just ideologically communists (socialists if you prefer). There's no law against that. McCarthy's communists actually reported to Moscow, and were on the Soviet payroll. Personality, and personal issues aside, it turns out that McCarthy was right. Looking back, under the light of the Venona transcripts, and the archives of the former Soviet Union, which only became available in the 80's and 90's, it appears that it was McCarthy who was the victim of character assasination. Nothing in history comes close to free market capitalism when it comes to lifting people, and entire societies, out of poverty. Nothing. Brush up on your history.

Donald Green on March 15, 2011

Erica, thank you for the link. Unfortunately, the implications are completely wrong. Tax revenue, and tax rates are not the same thing. The Bush tax cuts actually generated increased tax revenue, and to top it off, the increased tax revenue came from "the rich!" Let me explain. Under our present, impossibly complex tax code, the federal government taxes income, not wealth. Wealthy people have the means to manipulate their income far more than the working class, and the poor, and they respond in clever ways to changes in the tax code that enables them to avoid taxes. That is why tax revenues historically drop when tax rates on the rich are increased. When tax rates are reduced, they engage in more financial activity that generates increased tax revenue. Under our present system, wealthy people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Ross Perot, don't pay taxes. Is that fair? I don't think so; however, the solution isn't to raise taxes. There are alternative tax proposals which would simplify the tax code enormously, and I think accomplish the desired goal of taxing the rich. One of them has been before Congress since 2005, but, it has not had enough support from either the Democrats or Republicans. It is called the Fair Tax. If you get a chance, please look into it. Also, don't fall for statistics about the gap between the rich and poor. An increasing gap between the rich and poor is actually a positive economic indicator. It means there are greater and greater opportunities out there. Another misunderstanding about the percentiles that people fall into, is that it is not static. For example, the majority of the people that are in the bottom 5 percent, won't be there in five years. They will have moved up the economic ladder, and be replaced by young people entering the job market, immigrants, retirees, etc. Just as true is that the majority of the people in the top five percent weren't there five years ago, and won't be there in five years themselves. The percentile groupings are in constant flux.

Donald Green on March 15, 2011

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Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.

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