12 March 2011

Avarice Runs Rampant

This month's Mother Jones features an article called Plutocracy Now about the rise to power of the wealthy corporations and bankers over the last 40 years.  According to the article, the top .01% earn on average over $27 million per year;  the top 1% earn $1 million per year, the top 10% earn over $150,000 per year; and the other 90% of the population earn a little more than $31,000 per year.

Here in Wisconsin, our current governor and republican majority run legislature, believe that everyone must make sacrifices when the economy is struggling.  But to they fail to reflect this belief in policy.  All of the legislation passed during the special session has targeted tax breaks for businesses while also eliminating workers rights and increasing the tax burden of the bottom 90%.

Recent legislation introduced by the ostensibly female-hating Leah Vukmir, SB23, would nullify the Milwaukee Paid Sick Days Ordinance.  It would take away the right for any employee to call in sick and get paid.  The MMAC was boisterously opposed to such an idea.. They claimed that businesses would not want to stay in Milwaukee if there was such an ordinance.  Ms. Vukmir has shown her true allegiance by bringing this bill before the senate.  She should just be honest and say it - 'I prefer to represent the business community because that's where the money is.'

This shouldn't surprise anybody.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle are swayed by money (cf. John Bartels study: www.princeton.edu/~bartels/electoralbehavior.pdf) 

But this new mentality, as seen in the Tea Party and neo-conservative movement, fueled by hatred for the liberals, has spawned a whole new level of attacks that greatly widen the gap between the upper class and lower class.

This is a result of rampant avarice plain and simple.  Greed results in destruction.  Rome grew too greedy, England overstretched, the Mongols, the Nazis, and on and on.  Have the neo-cons finally passed the breaking point?  I hope the answer is, indubitably.   

I'll let my brother have the last word:  "We'll see how this shakes out, but the abolition of consumer laws, the dismantling of "truth in insurance" laws, the complete protection for producers of defective and dangerous products, the ability to sell state owned utilities to anyone the Governor chooses, the revocation of collective bargaining rights, the policy of locking everyone in prison for even non-violent crimes, the unwillingness to even consider a compromise on these issues, the passing of laws simply for political payback, the use of state power to enrich cronies, and the complete failure to make any attempt to stop the ever increasing gap between rich and poor are scary."

I agree.  Wisconsin could be in trouble but we should all be pushing for this to succeed.  Precedence tells us it won't.  Prior to the rise of the unions, society was controlled by big business.  The working class and poor received very little aid or assistance.  Then came FDR and the great workers president Hubert Humphrey.  And the rise of union power.  

On Wisconsin.

Over and out.   

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