Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Taking From Us and Giving To The Rich

Over the past two-and-a-half weeks, the following joke has been making the rounds. Here it is taken from a site called "sexgenderbody," one of the 7,381,234 places it has recently appeared:

A CEO, a Tea Party member and a union member are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies. The CEO reaches over , takes 11 cookies, looks at the Tea Partier, and says, “Look out for that guy, he wants a piece of your cookie."

For Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-Koch Brothers), however, that's just the way the cookie crumbles or perhaps the way the Founding Fathers intended it. In an opinion piece that stained the pages of The Washington Post, the Governor remarked

My brother is a banquet manager and occasional bartender at a hotel. He pays nearly $800 a month for his family’s health insurance and can put away only a little bit toward his 401(k). He would love the plan I’m offering to public employees.

It would never occur to Walker- or perhaps he'd not like to remind you- that perhaps his brother the banquet manager and occasional bartender should get a defined benefits pension plan or maybe the option to enjoy a health plan offered as a public option. No, for Walker it's a matter of pitting some middle class workers against middle class workers. What matters for the governor and his followers is not what one earns in salary or benefits but what one gets compared to other workers.

Walker is not alone in his contempt for workers. Karoli on Crooks and Liars reports a recent conversation about Wisconsin on GOP TV with pundit Kirsten Powers and Jay Townsend, the Republican defeated by Senator Chuck Schumer last November. The latter commented

I take away this. Number one, elections have consequences. Number two, unions will never have any trouble renting a riot, and number three, when you gore that pig and wound it, it can make a lot of noise, and that's the message I would take out of this.

But look, the bottom line here is employees in Wisconsin still have the right to collectively bargain. It doesn't take away their right to belong to a union. That's what's been lost in all this propaganda.

Pigs! Pigs, I tell you! They're all pigs! If the bottom 90% of the income scale gained only 36.3% of the nation's income growth from 1979 to 2007 and they are pigs, what would that make the top 1%, which captured 38.7% of income growth during the same period (chart from Ezra Klein, from Economic Policy Institute based on CBO data)?

It's critical to divert the gaze of Walker's undeserving public employees and Townsend's "pigs" from the top 1%. As usual, Rush Limbaugh well encapsulated the Repub war on the middle class when on February 10 he looked down his nose and sneered

You cannot have, as your standard operating procedure, the notion that you are going to transfer from earners to non-earners or from producers to non-producers and create wealth.

On his "new rules" segment (video, below, from Crooks and Liars) on Real Time, Bill Maher slammed ABC's Undercover Boss for peddling the idea that if only the wealthy boss spent a little time with his underlings, he (she) would understand. Except

Say 100 Americans get together and order a 100 slice pizza. The pizza arrives and the first guy takes 80 slices. And if someone suggests, why don't you just take 79 slices, that's socialism! I know, I know. I know, I know, it's just a TV show. But it does reinforce the stupid idea people have that rich people would love us and share with us if only they got to walk a mile in our cheap plastic shoes.

But they're the reason the shoe factory moved to China. We have this fantasy that our interests and the interests of the super rich are the same. Like somehow the rich will eventually get so full that they'll explode. And the candy will rain down on the rest of us.

The "producers" are a lot less like Limbaugh's fantasy than Maher's reality, in which "America's rich aren't giving you money; they're taking your money." And that's just the way the new wave of GOP governors- Scott Walker, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Rick Snyder, and others- like it.

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