The Republican assault on organized labor is all about wealth redistribution -- from the bottom to the top.
Labor's primary goal over time has been to make certain the producing classes enjoy a fair share of the wealth that they produce. The butcher, baker, farmer, construction or factory worker who puts their shoulder to the wheel every morning is the real wealth producer in our economy.
Whether you are a union member or not -- you have benefited from the labor movement.
If you enjoy an 8-hour day, a 40-hour week, workplace safety, or overtime pay -- thank organized labor.
If you think laws banning child labor are a good thing -- thank organized labor.
If you enjoy your weekend -- THANK ORGANIZED LABOR!!!
And, as the first Republican, Abraham Lincoln so eloquently put it:
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
Now, there's a Republican I could support!
Today's Republican party is only interested in driving down the wages of working people. From their attacks on collective bargaining rights, their support of so-called right-to-work laws, restrictive organizing laws and non-enforcement of existing laws, their intent is clear: To drive down the wages of working men and women and keep a larger share for themselves.
As union membership has declined, wealth has increasingly gone to the top, as this chart shows. There is a direct correlation between these two things. Any wonder why the Republican party and their corporate paymasters want to see unions put out of business?
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Organized Labor has been one of the cornerstones of the American middle class. In the 30-year post WW II boom period that economists now consider to be the American golden age, organized labor was at it's strongest. A large share of the wealth went to those workers who produced it. And when the economy is fed from the bottom up, good things happen!
Money percolates through our economy, creating jobs and demand for more.
Tax coffers are flush, schools are funded and infrastructure is built for future generations. We built schools, hospitals, water treatment plants and the Interstate Highway System. And, not coincidentally, the top marginal tax rate during this period was 90%!
When this boom economy hit a rough patch in the 1970's, in part due to the first oil embargo, the forces of darkness pounced. They unveiled a new economic theory, really the same old strategy with a clever new name: Supply Side Economics! This theory posits that if a large share of the wealth goes to the very top, i.e. the "job creators', that jobs and wealth will miraculously trickle down to the rest of us. And, they sold this snake oil with the help of a polished Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan. And many Americans, looking for a way to make sense of it all, bought it.
Well, 30 years later, how has it worked? We now have a 13 trillion dollar deficit in Washington, our states are broke and our schools are broke. Our cities are impoverished and most of our citizens are barely scraping by. Infrastructure? Forget it -- now we can barely afford to patch the potholes!
The economic meltdown we had in 2008 represents history's final judgment on "Supply Side' economics -- a complete and utter failure.
Yet, some of the language from this failed theory continues to infect our political discourse and economic thinking. When you hear term like "job creators', or notions that "tax cuts for the wealthy will stimulate the economy', you know you're listening to a politician that didn't get the memo in 2008.
When Gov. Snyder came into office, with the support of Rep. Pscholka, he promptly engineered a 1.8 billion dollar corporate tax cut, paid for on the backs of seniors, schools, students and working people. He did this in the mistaken notion that economic growth would magically trickle down as a consequence. They didn't get the memo.
We know what works, because we've seen it work. Strong unions create equitable income distribution, which creates demand, which creates more jobs. This is the story of the American middle class. We've seen it work, we know it works, and what we need now is a return to "Demand Side Economics.'
But first, we need to elect leaders who understand the problem. Al Pscholka doesn't
Help me on August 7th to take this message to Lansing.