Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Real Culture War

No doubt about it, there is indeed a culture war afoot in the U.S. While there are many differences among Americans on issues of personal morality, the war to which I refer is an economic war.

I am almost apoplectic about the current happenings in Wisconsin--the governor there has declared war on public employees, one of the largest group of employees working for middle class wages. He has decided that the state's budget deficit must be fixed by slashing benefits, specifically pensions, of state workers, including teachers.

Sadly, too many people are blinded to what I believe to be his true motive--breaking the unions. It is a simple equation--break the unions, take away collective bargaining rights, and thereby weaken the power of Democrats, because unions have traditionally supported Democrats.

This approach is rather like grabbing that goose that lays golden eggs and killing it. Why? Because, as Robert Reich has
persuasively argued, it is the middle class that drives the engine of our economy. He makes the point in his recent book Aftershock that without middle class buying power, our economy will continue to falter.

One of the arguments that Reich makes is that without middle class buying power, the other segments of our economic layers cannot make up for that loss. The desperately poor cannot buy goods to drive the economy, and the type of goods the rich buy will not: yachts, luxury goods, McMansions.

I am even more outraged when I learn that Wisconsin's governor received huge amounts of funding for his run for governor from two sources: Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers. The New York Times ran
a recent story on this funding. The Koch brothers are the primary funding source behind that so-called populist movement, the Tea Party.

Paul Krugman, in a
recent editorial, labels the Wisconsin governor's move for exactly what it is: a naked power grab.

I feel like yelling--PEOPLE, STOP SLEEP-WALKING. The super rich are funding movements to have the little guys vote to take power away from themselves.

One of my birthday gifts that I received is a book I have wanted for a while--What's the Matter with Kansas. I am looking forward to reading it. I want to try to figure out how we have been duped into voting against our own interests.

OK--enough ranting. I need to get back to building the barricades, and standing on the ramparts. Oh, say can you see. . .


Anvilcloud said...

Public servants are always convenient whipping boys/girls for the Neo-Cons -- and I emphasize Con. Joe Public usually buys into it hook, line and sinker.

Climenheise said...

The events in Wisconsin are the sort of thing that I was describing in my last blog. The basic Republican assumption in this case is that those who do not agree with the governor are simply the enemy; therefore one does not need to take their input seriously. Wisconsin's long-term chances of dealing with a serious deficit are limited if all do not work together to deal with it, and if either side uses the deficit as a tool to achieve other political ends.

Democrats have enough examples of times we have acted like this, but this time it's the Republicans turn (in my estimation). One can only hope that they overreached themselves, and that sanity will return to their process as well as to the country as a whole.