Lydia Howell: Madison is ground zero for resistance to the dismantling of workers’ rights and cutting anything in government budgets that serves human needs while corporate “persons” get subsidies and tax cuts and are in effect made exempt from law supposedly governing such offenses as pollution and worker safety.
Stanley Kutler: There is a kernel of truth in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s claim of a “budget shortfall” of $137 million. But Walker, a Republican, failed to tell the state that less than two weeks into his term as governor, he, with his swollen Republican majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature, pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. There is your crisis.
Joseph Palermo: With the aggressive onslaught aimed at public employees and their unions that Republican governors have unleashed in recent weeks, it’s long past time for politicians calling themselves “Democrats” to push aside the anti-labor elements inside their party and stand up for basic worker protections.
Robert Reich: The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.
Diane Lefer: A comment last week on an LA Times blog argued that “working in a restaurant is not supposed to provide a ‘living wage’. It’s a job that teenagers and students use to get started in life.” Not so according to ROC-LA co-coordinator Cathy Dang who reported that nationwide, people tend to stay in the industry for a lifetime.
Tracy Emblem: California taxpayers should carefully consider the cost-benefit analysis, because when we cut public funding for these institutions, we cut our state’s economic advantage and future prosperity.
Robert Reich: The requirement that everyone purchase health insurance, or pay a fine doesn’t appeal to many Americans. They don’t like the government telling them they have to buy something. But the healthcare system can’t work without this mandate. Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with preexisting conditions, or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases.
Randy Shaw: As most labor union leaders continue to publicly praise President Obama, it’s clear with each passing week that Obama feels he can actively court corporate America while taking labor support for granted.
Jasmyne Cannick: Rather than call Eagles owner Jeffrey Laurie, the President could have really made an impact by addressing employers throughout America on the importance of giving all ex-prisoners—regardless of their football playing ability—a second chance and freeing them from a life without the possibility of employment.
Robert Reich: The two American economies — the Big Money economy and the Average Working Family economy — will continue to diverge. Corporate profits will continue to rise, as will the stock market. But typical wages will go nowhere, joblessness will remain high, the ranks of the long-term unemployed will continue to rise, the housing recovery will remain stalled, and consumer confidence will sag.