Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bake sales v. billionaires

As is typical lately, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that news media -- including NPR -- don't say much about. The latest example is the protests in Wisconsin. We all hear about Gov. Walker insisting the state is broke and the only way to balance the books is on the backs of state workers and city. And the only way to accomplish that is to break the union. Other states are taking up the tactic. But there are details not getting a lot of airplay.

* The Wisconsin state budget is not close to a collapse. The part of the state gov't that tracks such things says the state would actually have a surplus.

* Much of that surplus (though not all) appears to be headed to corporate tax cuts.

* So where did the numbers claiming a deficit come from? Apparently from one of those corporations benefiting from the tax cuts. Compared to the budget problems in Michigan this amount is peanuts.

* Gov't workers are not overpaid in comparison to private sector workers.

* Corporate taxes have been dropping in comparison to individual taxes. Corporations are not paying for the government that benefits everyone.

* Corporations, especially the Koch brothers, financed Walkers campaign. Many corporations are very good at distraction messaging. Many also want the precedent of union busting.

I've written about the Koch brothers before. They're a nasty piece of work with no care for anything other than the size of the stash of dollars in their pockets, already in the billions. From a few other things going on in Wisconsin, it appears Walker is working for the Koch brothers, not for the citizens of Wisconsin. It is good to see citizens fighting back.

Rachel Maddow has a lengthy and enlightening discussion (14 minutes) of what is going on. The link also has an interview with one of the senators who fled the state. Who do unions support? Democrats. Well, except for police and firefighters. Strangely, their unions are exempt from the union busting bill. This is about the GOP eliminating the financing of their competition. Only union money comes anywhere close to matching what Rove can pull from corporations. Take away union money and what do Dems have? Bake sales. This affects both advertising and get-out-the-vote drives. The GOP is seizing the chance to put the Dems out of existence. Do it in Wisconsin and they can do it anywhere. Bake sales cannot compete with billionaires.

Yes, this is a gay issue. Most of the benefits, such as partner health care, gays enjoy were won through collective bargaining.

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