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Monday, February 14, 2011

The No Job Agenda

Union Workers Jobs, jobs, jobs. Republicans are all about jobs. Except they aren't. When it comes to things that will definitely create actual, real-world jobs -- i.e., infrastructure spending -- they're against it. But when it comes to pie-in-the-sky schemes that have never created jobs -- i.e., tax give-aways to the wealthy and corporations -- they're all for it. The reason is simple. The GOP is about jobs; not very good jobs, not very plentiful jobs, and jobs not to workers' advantage.

It's basically supply and demand. If unemployment is high, then this drives wages down. Since the Republican Party represents businesses, not workers, unemployment is good for their constituency. But you don't get elected by promising high unemployment and low wages, so you make up some crackpot economic theory that immediate employment by government -- even if that employment is in the private sector -- is bad, but potential and hypothetical jobs down the road are good. Then, with the help of a rightwing media noise machine and a mainstream media completely uninterested in facts, you convince everyone that supply and demand is bass-ackward -- that employers, not consumers, are the "job creators" and that everything you have must be sacrificed on their altar. And presto chango: you've just been talked into giving away a little of your Social Security, a little of your Medicaid, to give a big, juicy tax break to the rich. Because this is going to create jobs. Never mind that it never has in the past -- this time for sure. Kick that football again, Charlie Brown.

Needless to say, if you aren't wealthy and you're voting Republican, you're being played for a sucker. Need proof? Consider how the right feels about unionized labor. Unions keep the prevailing wage higher, because of their ability to negotiate a decent wage and benefits. Whether you belong to a union or not, you benefit from union activities. When they lobby for laws that help their members, all workers benefit. And when they negotiate a better deal than management would've liked, they drive wages up in their industry. If there is anything that's a bigger roadblock to the Republican cheap labor agenda than unions, it's low unemployment.

All of which goes a long way toward explaining this:

Talking Points Memo:

Wisconsin's new Republican governor has set a new benchmark in fraying state-union relations in the wake of massive GOP victories in the November elections.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Scott Walker proposed stripping nearly all government workers of their collective bargaining rights. And as a warning shot across the bow, he told Wisconsin reporters Friday that he's alerted the National Guard ahead of any unrest, or in the event that state services are interrupted. Under his plan, which he'll include in his forthcoming budget proposal, most state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn't rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index.

In other words, Walker wants to bust the union. And, if you don't like it, here's a National Guard baton.

John Nichols, The Capital Times:

The governor’s budget repair bill, which includes a plan to gut collective bargaining protections for state employees, does not seek to get the state's fiscal house in order.

Rather, it is seeks a political goal: destroying public employee unions, which demand fair treatment of workers and hold governors of both parties to account when they seek to undermine public services and public education.

At every level, Walker's proposal sows the seeds of political, social and economic instability.

"The governor wants to ram a change that Democrats and Republicans agree is radical through the Legislature as part of a budget repair bill -- with no serious hearings and little in the way of honest debate," Nichols goes on. "If he gets his way, the great mass of Wisconsinites will have no real say regarding the change."

And this isn't just something local to Wisconsin. Recently, the US Chamber of Commerce was caught in a scheme to undermine labor and those friendly to labor with a "surreptitious sabotage campaign." A scandal, by the way, that's getting no coverage in the corporate-owned press. If it's not on CNN, it never happened.

And that jobs agenda the Republicans claim to have; where is it? What will any of this do to create jobs? While complaining about unemployment, the GOP is working to cut government spending, which will result in job losses. After screaming, "Jobs, jobs, jobs!" for the better part of last year, you'd be hard pressed to find any effort by Republican leadership anywhere that will create jobs.

Because the fact is, they just aren't interested in that. It's contrary to their agenda.


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