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The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class (From an Email)
IBEW | 2/21/11 | Robert Reich.(Fmr. Secretary of Labor)

Posted on 02/21/2011 12:24:33 PM PST by YankeeReb

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.

By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans want Americans to believe that we can no longer afford to do what we need to do as a nation. They hope to deflect attention from the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.

Republicans would rather no one notice their campaign to shrink the pie even further with additional tax cuts for the rich -- making the Bush tax cuts permanent, further reducing the estate tax, and allowing the wealthy to shift ever more of their income into capital gains taxed at 15 percent.

The strategy has three parts.

The Battle Over the Federal Budget

The first is being played out in the budget battle in Washington. As they raise the alarm over deficit spending and simultaneously squeeze popular middle-class programs, Republicans want the majority of the American public to view it all as a giant zero-sum game among average Americans that some will have to lose.

The president has already fallen into the trap by calling for budget cuts in programs the poor and working class depend on -- assistance with home heating, community services, college loans, and the like.

In the coming showdown over Medicare and Social Security, House budget chair Paul Ryan will push a voucher system for Medicare and a partly-privatized plan for Social Security -- both designed to attract younger middle-class voters.

The Assault on Public Employees

The second part of the Republican strategy is being played out on the state level where public employees are being blamed for state budget crises. Unions didn't cause these budget crises -- state revenues dropped because of the Great Recession -- but Republicans view them as opportunities to gut public employee unions, starting with teachers.

Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker and his GOP legislature are seeking to end almost all union rights for teachers. Ohio's Republican governor John Kasich is pushing a similar plan in Ohio through a Republican-dominated legislature. New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie is attempting the same, telling a conservative conference Wednesday, "I'm attacking the leadership of the union because they're greedy, and they're selfish and they're self-interested."

The demonizing of public employees is not only based on the lie that they've caused these budget crises, but it's also premised on a second lie: that public employees earn more than private-sector workers. They don't, when you take account of their education. In fact over the last fifteen years the pay of public-sector workers, including teachers, has dropped relative to private-sector employees with the same level of education -- even including health and retirement benefits. Moreover, most public employees don't have generous pensions. After a career with annual pay averaging less than $45,000, the typical newly-retired public employee receives a pension of $19,000 a year.

Bargaining rights for public employees haven't caused state deficits to explode. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights, such as Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, are running big deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many states that give employees bargaining rights -- Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana -- have small deficits of less than 10 percent.

Republicans would rather go after teachers and other public employees than have us look at the pay of Wall Street traders, private-equity managers, and heads of hedge funds -- many of whom wouldn't have their jobs today were it not for the giant taxpayer-supported bailout, and most of whose lending and investing practices were the proximate cause of the Great Depression to begin with.

Last year, America's top thirteen hedge-fund managers earned an average of $1 billion each. One of them took home $5 billion. Much of their income is taxed as capital gains -- at 15 percent -- due to a tax loophole that Republican members of Congress have steadfastly guarded.

If the earnings of those thirteen hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of 300,000 teachers. Who is more valuable to our society -- thirteen hedge-fund managers or 300,000 teachers? Let's make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One hedge fund manager or one teacher?

The Distortion of the Constitution

The third part of the Republican strategy is being played out in the Supreme Court. It has politicized the Court more than at any time in recent memory.

Last year a majority of the justices determined that corporations have a right under the First Amendment to provide unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission is among the most patently political and legally grotesque decisions of our highest court -- ranking right up there with Bush vs. Gore and Dred Scott.

Among those who voted in the affirmative were Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. Both have become active strategists in the Republican party.

A month ago, for example, Antonin Scalia met in a closed-door session with Michele Bachmann's Tea Party caucus -- something no justice concerned about maintaining the appearance of impartiality would ever have done.

Both Thomas and Scalia have participated in political retreats organized and hosted by multi-billionaire financier Charles Koch, a major contributor to the Tea Party and other conservative organizations, and a crusader for ending all limits on money in politics. (Not incidentally, Thomas's wife is the founder of Liberty Central, a Tea Party organization that has been receiving unlimited corporate contributions due to the Citizens United decision. On his obligatory financial disclosure filings, Thomas has repeatedly failed to list her sources of income over the last twenty years, nor even to include his own four-day retreats courtesy of Charles Koch.)

Some time this year or next, the Supreme Court will be asked to consider whether the nation's new health care law is constitutional. Watch your wallets.

The Strategy as a Whole

These three aspects of the Republican strategy -- a federal budget battle to shrink government, focused on programs the vast middle class depends on; state efforts to undermine public employees, whom the middle class depends on; and a Supreme Court dedicated to bending the Constitution to enlarge and entrench the political power of the wealthy -- fit perfectly together.

They pit average working Americans against one another, distract attention from the almost unprecedented concentration of wealth and power at the top, and conceal Republican plans to further enlarge and entrench that wealth and power.

What is the Democratic strategy to counter this and reclaim America for the rest of us?

Robert Reich.Fmr. Secretary of Labor; Professor at Berkeley; Author, Aftershock: 'The Next Economy and America's Future


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: organizing; union
FYI.

I'm not sure of the protocol for posting an email, so apologies in advance if I violated any rules. This was something sent by the IBEW to the membership.

This paragraph really killed me:

Republicans would rather go after teachers and other public employees than have us look at the pay of Wall Street traders, private-equity managers, and heads of hedge funds -- many of whom wouldn't have their jobs today were it not for the giant taxpayer-supported bailout, and most of whose lending and investing practices were the proximate cause of the Great Depression to begin with.

Now wasn't congress controlled by liberal democrats since 2006, and therefore any bailouts to Wall Street were voted in by the left. The lies contained here are too numerous to list, but it shows how the union leadership plays on the ignorance of much of the membership. I'm ashamed to be a member when I see crap like this.

1 posted on 02/21/2011 12:24:40 PM PST by YankeeReb
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To: YankeeReb
Hard to believe this troll was once labor secretary.

Its hard enough to believe that anyone would actually pay him to be an economics professor, since he appears unable to grasp simple accounting.

2 posted on 02/21/2011 12:28:23 PM PST by skeeter
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To: YankeeReb

To the Left, “the working/middle class” is compromised exclusively of union members and public employees. No one else.


3 posted on 02/21/2011 12:30:25 PM PST by Mr. Mojo
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To: YankeeReb

It is always amusing to hear Rat advocates of “identity politics” yap about pitting Americans against each other.


4 posted on 02/21/2011 12:30:25 PM PST by Interesting Times (WinterSoldier.com. SwiftVets.com. ToSetTheRecordStraight.com.)
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To: YankeeReb
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.

In other words the "looters" versus the "producers"... I think I've read this somewhere before?

5 posted on 02/21/2011 12:32:25 PM PST by Wyatt's Torch (I can explain it to you. I can't understand it for you.)
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To: YankeeReb

The Democrat Party is completely dependent on sustaining a set of massive lies that convince hard working middle class Americans that the Democrat Party is looking out for them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Democrat Party takes care of special interest groups: Blacks, Illegal immigrants, labor unions, and social misfits. They make criminal arrangements with big business and banks to favor them over their competitors in exchange for money and political support. Middle class America are the big losers in all of this and the people of Wisconsin are figuring this out. The Democrat Party is showing that they cannot tolerate the will of the people when that will stands up against their Communist goals.


6 posted on 02/21/2011 12:46:34 PM PST by centurion316
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To: YankeeReb
As a "big, bad anti-union person", there's one perspective that I wish actual private sector union employees would consider.

I wonder why union members continue to belong to and support their unions when the union Presidents and leadership are such a closed, set group, that takes control of a union and stays in power literally for decades.

If a union elected new leadership from amongst the rank and file say every 2 to 4 years, and a member could only be elected once, including not being able to hold any other elected office, it would seem like the union would stand at least a better chance of truly representing the members.

Why do members just go along with the "powers that be" ? Why don't they break away and form their own real union which had no alterior motive of political power ? Unions consistently point one employee at others - just like this email does - implying that the higher pay of "other" workers is unfair. Seems to me that people should easily understand that it is wise to be wary of someone who is always chiding them to covet what someone else has, to be jealous of it and suggesting they obtained it unfairly without referring to specific cases.

While I don't think unions work towards positive ends for their members or the rest of us, I certainly see how many corporations would pay employees 10 cents an hour if they thought they could, so I understand the forces that wind up causing employees to want to "band together" and stand up to the boss. In today's world, however, where it is much easier than 100 years ago to change jobs, and if necessary, residences or even careers, the smartest approach seems to be to keep changing until one is happy, rather than trying to wring a raise out of the clammy old hands of "Mr. Potter".
7 posted on 02/21/2011 12:49:00 PM PST by PieterCasparzen (Huguenot)
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To: YankeeReb
Thank you for sharing the IBEW information.

I think that unions in the USA find themselves at a critical point. First, with the exception of public employees, union membership is declining. Among skilled craftsmen(women) there is strong job demand and what unions can add to the benefits of those skilled professionals is becoming more marginal.

From my perspective, Unions seem to be able to “help” the most (or at least appear to) for workers with low skills, which is where a lot of union growth is occurring.

In my state, WA, teachers are in bed with the democratic party and unions (and trial lawyers) have been found guilty of getting a political consultant to set up illegal campaign contributions and help run political campaigns against some democratic incumbents who were not “liberal enough” for the union leadership. This level of shamelessness, especially in the teachers and service workers union has lead to some fall out within the democratic party in this state, especially with the Democratic Governor.

I see unions and some democratic politicians as having overplayed their hand and are now being seen by the general public as hurting the “common good.” In such a situation it is not surprising to try to convince people that there is a vast right wing republican conspiracy afoot to split the vast middle and working class. It is spin trying to salvage a failed effort in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Thanks for the post and keep the power flowing!

8 posted on 02/21/2011 12:49:19 PM PST by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!" www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223916/posts)
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To: skeeter

Not really. “Labor” Secretaries are generally likely to incline left and towards unions. That is why they want the post in first place...
Reich is simply an extreme example.


9 posted on 02/21/2011 12:53:34 PM PST by Little Ray (The Gods of the Copybook Heading, with terror and slaughter return!)
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To: YankeeReb
If the earnings of those thirteen hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of 300,000 teachers.

Hmmmmm.... how many of these folks donated to Dems ???

10 posted on 02/21/2011 12:54:33 PM PST by nascarnation
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To: YankeeReb

So basically the strategy is to point out reality while the dems continue to live in fantasy land..


11 posted on 02/21/2011 12:56:07 PM PST by grapeape (Blitzshield.com - making football safer)
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To: YankeeReb
Can't someone's aunt put a tea cozy on this little runt and shut him up?
12 posted on 02/21/2011 1:00:15 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: skeeter
He's a "professor" at Berzerkley. You don't have to know anything to be a professor there. You just have to be good at spewing leftwing drivel.
13 posted on 02/21/2011 1:04:13 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: YankeeReb

This is why the nation can not survive as it is. The Left and Right have fundamentally and irreconcilable views on life. Reich and Obama and Sunstein believe we are all Homer Simpsons, and only they can lead us to the Promised Land. And they will enslave us to do it.


14 posted on 02/21/2011 1:08:59 PM PST by Clock King (Ellisworth Toohey was right: My head's gonna explode.)
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To: hinckley buzzard

Cue Randy Newman . . .


15 posted on 02/21/2011 1:09:44 PM PST by TheLawyerFormerlyKnownAsAl
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To: Clock King

Robert Reich is Paul Krugman without the dapper looks and jovial personality.


16 posted on 02/21/2011 1:15:01 PM PST by EQAndyBuzz (The way to beat a terrorist is to terrorize him.)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

The shorter version. They both look like Sadrs.


17 posted on 02/21/2011 1:21:56 PM PST by Always Independent
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To: YankeeReb

This garbage was old when Clintoon was president and still is.

People like RR see the “pie” (economy) as something that is of a fixed size and everyone doesn’t get a fair share.

Democrats want to control the size of the pie and how much everyone gets.

Conservatives want to have a smaller government and a bigger share of a bigger pie for everyone that’s willing to work for it.


18 posted on 02/21/2011 1:36:35 PM PST by smokingfrog ( BORN free - taxed to DEATH (and beyond) ...)
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To: YankeeReb

Note how Democrats constantly refer to “Class.” The use of the term indicates that party’s current Marxist roots. Instead of thinking can we afford to continue to pay without harming all, they immediately turn to class war rhetoric.


19 posted on 02/21/2011 1:37:36 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: EQAndyBuzz; Always Independent
Robert Reich is Paul Krugman without the dapper looks and jovial personality.

Actually, Robert Reich is Paul Krugman's mini-me.

Regards,

TS

20 posted on 02/21/2011 1:41:19 PM PST by The Shrew (www.wintersoldier.com; www.tstrs.com; The Truth Shall Set You Free!)
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To: YankeeReb

“Republicans want Americans to believe that we can no longer afford to do what we need to do as a nation.”

Economics professor?


21 posted on 02/21/2011 1:45:18 PM PST by listenhillary (20 years in Reverend Wright's church is all I need to determine the "content of his character")
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To: YankeeReb
Imagine a herd of barking moonbats, and each are twice as radical as Herr Reich.

They are the calibre of the various secretaries, judges and czars employed by Hussein.

22 posted on 02/21/2011 2:32:30 PM PST by Jacquerie (The 112th Congress will be a proxy fight for the American soul.)
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To: PieterCasparzen
If a union elected new leadership from amongst the rank and file say every 2 to 4 years, and a member could only be elected once, including not being able to hold any other elected office, it would seem like the union would stand at least a better chance of truly representing the members.

You make some excellent points , and I can only speak for myself here and the way I understand the IBEW. The International officers are not elected by the rank and file membership, they are selected by the district heads. There is a push going on among some of the membership for one man one vote for the office of I.O. president.

In fairness, the private sector construction unions are not like the public sector unions. A lot of the membership don't even realize this. We have no guaranteed benefits and we only get paid when we work. You'd be surprised how many of the folks I work with believe that the government works the same way.

Anyway I guess I have a different perspective since I didn't come up through the union ranks but worked for many years in non-union shops. I only joined later, so the way I see it, any benefits we get are not a right but a privilege that can be taken away when business conditions change.

23 posted on 02/22/2011 11:56:08 AM PST by YankeeReb
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