Fighting the 5 Fascisms...

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Fighting the 5 Fascisms...

Here's a great article... It's a sad story that real [successful]
actions are NOT taking place to solve our current 3E's dilemma...

Fighting the 5 Fascisms in Wisconsin and Ohio
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/21-8

The escalating confrontations in Wisconsin and Ohio are ultimately about preventing the United States from becoming a full-on fascist state. 

The stakes could not be higher---or more clear. 

As defined by its inventor, Benito Mussolini, fascism is "corporate control of the state." There are ways to beat around the Bush---Paul Krugman has recently written about "oligarchy"---but it's time to end all illusions and call what we now confront by its true name. 

The fights in Wisconsin, Ohio, and in numerous other states are about saving the last shreds of American democracy. They burn down to five basic realities:... [read more]

 

Looking forward to your comments...

-Bob O

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Bob, With the Wisconsin

Bob,

With the Wisconsin thread so active and contentious in Current Events, was it really necessary to start another thread on this topic here?

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Fear feeds the beast...

I have a gut feeling you are about to witness  a nice debate if this thread takes off.

I agree with most of the arguments in the article, and was not surprised at all by the debate ensuing at the bottom of the article. This idea of the manufactured false dichotomy that we find ourselves living in is sadly going to define the human species.

Anything that puts power into fewer hands enrages me. Allowing corporations to be treated like legal "persons" disgusts me. We as a people have strayed so far from our founding ideals it's disheartening.

I am beginning to tire of the right/left, free-market/socialism, GOP/DEM ...etc. debate. The idea of management and corporations vs. organized labor is just a continuation of the false choice we have as citizens. Whatever comes of the situation in Madison I feel the larger message is going to be missed. Which is, Are we as a people going to collectively recognize that growth is dead?

Growth is dead. Cutting taxes to stimulate economic growth is ridiculous if the premise "Growth is dead" is true. Then again individually fighting for a chunk of the ever shrinking pie is just as ridiculous. We need to recognize the the 3 E's can only be tackled collectively. Institutions in the traditional sense are doomed to fail us. Establishment is called establishment because it is an established institution. I would argue that every establishment is designed to protect it's existence as an unchanged institution. Conservatism just intensifies this concept. Conserving institutions that  operate on the dead premise of infinite growth just exasperate our current situation.

How does that rant relate to Madison you may ask? Every argument the Governor is making is based on the idea that we can fix our broken economy with traditional establishment. His establishment of choice is corporatism. Bring the jobs back. If you are even slightly aware of the true reason for the economic downturn, then you should be aware that this is not a viable solution. The USA is going to hold onto it's established lifestyle to the end. The only way to "get the jobs back" is to be willing to work for wages comparable to the global average. I personally am not going to work for $2 a day to have a job making Nike's. I would assume most people who are reading this wouldn't either.

Now I'm not arguing that the unions and organized labor are going to fix the situation either. They protect jobs, not create them. However, surrendering more rights is never the answer.Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. (Benjamin Franklin)Surrendering the right of citizens to collectively bargain with their employer only benefits large corporations. Taking more money out of the Public workers pockets is understandable in the current economic climate, but taking away the right to bargain...well I think Ben Frank says it better then I ever could.

To sum up, Cutting taxes to stimulate growth, while cutting expenditures at the expense of labor, is crippling to the efforts of trying to solve the 3 E's. Growth is dead remember, jobs aren't coming back in the traditional manufacturing sense, and the very people that we need to collaborate with are the working class, not the corporate establishments. We need individuals to become aware of the Crash Course and the 3 E's, not Corporate Frankenstein "persons".

I'm done. Flame on.

 

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3E's and growth
Rihter wrote:

To sum up, Cutting taxes to stimulate growth, while cutting expenditures at the expense of labor, is crippling to the efforts of trying to solve the 3 E's. Growth is dead remember, jobs aren't coming back in the traditional manufacturing sense, and the very people that we need to collaborate with are the working class, not the corporate establishments. We need individuals to become aware of the Crash Course and the 3 E's, not Corporate Frankenstein "persons".

Associating the 3E’s with the political principle of the growth imperative is a very astute suggestion.

Much of the explanation for corrective action in both left and right camps revolves around creating jobs, and creating growth. It has in effect become a contest as to who has the most “pro-jobs” and “pro-growth” agenda, with the loser roundly criticized.

If growth were removed form the spectrum of viable solutions, how would this affect the political commentary?

For starters, a very big component of the conservative platform is based on reduced taxation on businesses and high net worth individuals, under the premise that such favoritism is beneficial for – growth. So it would seem that if growth were off the table, than this strategy would not make much sense. In fact, the entire concept of wealth distribution becomes very different if we can no longer rely on constant and ubiquitous growth.

Central to this from a pragmatic standpoint is the concept of effective demand  and the closely associated topic of wealth inequality. There is a school of thought that says that we have essentially exhausted the effective demand of the middle class, and there is neither the discretionary income nor the personal credit to sustain the growth model that our system is predicated upon.

Where is the money going to come from to fuel any expansionary growth in our consumerist economy? The majority of our economy is now just that, consumerism, with essential commodities playing a much smaller and less significant role in the total GDP. Go to any shopping center or strip mall and ask how many of these shops/stores provide goods or services that are essential. Not many, the vast majority are focused on discretionary goods. When essential commodities are examined, we see aggregation and centralization in the form of big box stores like Wal Mart and Home Depot, entities well on their way to becoming monopoly (and mosopony) players.

The massive wealth inequalities and mal distributed income profiles are so complete that the middle class has been decimated with respect to purchasing power, and will be unable to fulfill the growth requirement to sustain the consumerist bias of our economy.

We have forgotten the lessons of history, and in fact, seek to not only reinterpret, but to rewrite history to bend lessons of the past into ideologies of the present. Of first principle in the political economy is the concept of persistent tension between the working class and the corporation. This tension is baked in, and cannot be ignored, at all times one seeks to prevail over the other. When labor is weak, the corporations are strong, and vise versa. There are negatives to either side dominating, what we are now seeing is an unreasonable and unhealthy bias towards corporatism, which will (and already is) cannibalizing the middle class to the extent that insufficient income exists to support the consumption model.

It is in the best interests of our society to preserve a healthy tension between labor and capital, with neither side gaining an advantage over the other. It is not socially acceptable to have a dominant political party (such as in Wisconsin) undertake draconian steps to bust unions under the mantle of cost reduction, while at the same time making tax cuts to corporations and high net worth individuals invoking false and obsolete (in the context of growth) trickle down economic theories.

If growth is gone, we have to fundamentally change the game, it now becomes distribution of what is already in the system, as opposed to blithely assuming that the system can always introduce new capital. That is pretty profound, changing the dialogue to reflect a reality where there is no more, and not just using the refrain of “we’re broke-sorry about the cuts”. Under the zero growth construct of the 3 E’s, part two of “we’re broke and we’ve got to cut” is the social recognition that there isn’t any more coming and we have to make a government work on what is already in the system, and we have to pay for it with what is already in the system.

Naturally, there are a lot of people who do not want to hear this, because as long of the mantra of infinite growth is alive, there is always someone else to pay for it, and the game can continue to be who can best use political influence and lobbyists to bias away their share of the payment. Once payment in full becomes self evident, the next step down is for the wealthy, corporations and influence peddlers to deny that services are actually needed, the so called austerity initiatives. Once these elites are faced with paying their proportional share of the bill, the game changes to deconstruct the mechanisms of societal management and to pursue additional centralization in the form of capital markets and monopoly commodity providers- precisely what we see now.

So the issue in Wisconsin is much, much bigger than just  balancing the budget, it is the first volley in a series of battles that will continue across the US until we either become a fascist state, or there is a revolt led by labor and the dispossessed. The neo-liberals are well funded and well prepared for this, and a disinterested observer would have to place the advantage squarely in their favor to prevail. (Note the ever present Koch brothers were the largest contributors to the Wisconsin governors’ campaign).

These guys know the growth days are all over, they are mobilizing for the end game well ahead of the masses. The only ones fighting, the only ones who have ever fought, are the collective bargaining units. And I say pass out the pitchforks and torches.

 

 

 

 

 

dshields's picture
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The government, at its

The government, at its various levels, should not be allowed to forcible extract money from the people through taxation (and confiscation of your property if you do not pay - or jail time) and then have the people's tax money given to a political party for organizing and pursuing an specific agenda which is at odds with the majority of the people the money was taken from.  It is immoral and it should be illegal.

 

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Not sure I understand what

Not sure I understand what you mean by this comment, can you expand on what you mean and how this works exactly?

dshields's picture
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government unions funding one political party
darbikrash wrote:

Not sure I understand what you mean by this comment, can you expand on what you mean and how this works exactly?

Sure - no problem -

In a previous post on the wisconson thread I discussed that unions in the government should be illegal.  I want to expand on this some more.

Government unions were established to move tax payer dollars into union dues and thus into the coffers of various politicians.  Government unions were not established to stop little kids from being forced to work in unsafe conditions in coal mines or garment producing sweat shops. 

It is an established fact in previous elections that government unions gave many many millions of dollars of tax payer monies to one political party and its chosen candidates.  This money was forcibly extracted from the tax payers by taxing authorities.  Then the unions extract the dues from their members and forward some of this money to one political party.  This is broken - tax payer money is not supposed to be forcibly extracted from the people by a government and given to one political party.  This is clearly improper.

There are now more government workers in unions than private workers: 7.6 million to 7.1 million.  Unlike in the private sector where excessive union demands result in companies and/or industries being forced into bankruptcy due to non-unionized competition, government unions can keep making demands without a real risk of putting local, state, or federal governments out of business because governments have a taxation power to force citizens to cover the cost of union demands - and that is exactly what has been happening for many years.  This was actually working until America started into a prolonged period of reduction of standard of living.

Government unions are a relatively new phenomenon, and were created not because they served a legitimate economic or social purpose, but out of political considerations. This began in the 1950s when New York Mayor Robert Wagner issued an executive order unionizing city employees to create a new constituency for his re-election.  Traditionally, union organizers opposed government unions because they were concerned that their industrial union workers would be forced to pay higher taxes if civil servants were able to artificially force an increase in their compensation.  These days there are more union workers in the public sector than in the private sector so this is no longer a constraint.  One political party has become dependent on the dues and manpower of government unions for their political organizing.  A vicious cycle has developed in which taxpayer dollars flow in ever larger amounts to salaries, wages, and benefits of government workers who are then required to send a portion to the union which is funneled back into political organizing in exchange for more unsustainable increases in spending.

All of this has to stop.  It is immoral and it should be illegal.  It is also causing governments at various levels to lose control over their costs and thus their financial stability.  And, it is just flat out wrong.  A political party should not be funded by the government forcibly extracting very large sums money from the people.

Some people on this wite will claim that Heritage is biased toward what used to be called "normal" and maybe from their point of view they might just be right.  However, numbers are numbers, and as an engineer I believe in numbers...

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/01/Majority-of-Union-Membe...

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Lecture/The-New-New-Left-The-Politics-o...

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in writing, framing is everything
dshields wrote:

...the unions extract the dues from their members and forward some of this money to one political party.  This is broken - tax payer money is not supposed to be forcibly extracted from the people by a government and given to one political party.  This is clearly improper.

There are now more government workers in unions than private workers: 7.6 million to 7.1 million.

Could it be that other political parties have no history of caring for government workers?  Maybe they are what's broken!

With so many industries and jobs relocated to other countries or eliminated over the past 30 years or so, it's no wonder that the jobs that cannot be off-shored are now the larger number.  We're watching a last stand.

Re growth is dead, if only that could get into all the frames of public discussion!

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I completely agree there are

I completely agree there are HUGE problems -

1) unbelievable debt at all levels - we are stupid and we will pay the price for our stupidity

2) wealth distribution is broken - the rich are getting fantastically rich and the rest of us are getting poor (there are a bunch of reasons for this)

3) the banks are eating us alive

4) taxes are way too high and the distribution of those that pay taxes is messed up - everyone should have at least a little skin in the game

5) the welfare state has created an enormous class of dependency - this is the rot from within

6) we are running out of cheap energy - this is extremely serious

7) the recession is going to continue as it is actually a permanent reduction in the standard of living

8) commodities prices are surging (this is real trouble)

9) the federal reserve is flooding the world with dollars (going to be a bad end from that)

10) government unions are using our forcibly extracted tax dollars to fund one political party...

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darbikrash
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Wisconsin
dshields wrote:

All of this has to stop.  It is immoral and it should be illegal.  It is also causing governments at various levels to lose control over their costs and thus their financial stability.  And, it is just flat out wrong.  A political party should not be funded by the government forcibly extracting very large sums money from the people.

Thanks for your well thought out post. I did read the other post, and am still not quite sure how it all ties together specifically around the statements:

dshields wrote:

It is an established fact in previous elections that government unions gave many many millions of dollars of tax payer monies to one political party and its chosen candidates.  This money was forcibly extracted from the tax payers by taxing authorities.  Then the unions extract the dues from their members and forward some of this money to one political party.  This is broken - tax payer money is not supposed to be forcibly extracted from the people by a government and given to one political party.  This is clearly improper.

I am going to limit my comments to the Wisconsin situation. I understand that the average salary compensation of the union workers that are affected by the governors’ proposed legislation is less than the equivalent private sector position if like education is considered. So as I understand it they are actually paid less, on average then the private sector counterparts. Not sure if this holds when pension benefits and healthcare contributions are considered but for salary it is my understanding that they are paid less.

None of this really explains the commentary about illegal, immoral, etc, and on this point I guess I am confused. Anyone who works for someone else should have the right to organize freely, and to negotiate as they see fit, whether as an individual or as part of a collective barging group, irrespective of who pays the salaries. I think this is a basic freedom issue, and not to be critical, but I really cannot see a convincing case for self righteousness just because the taxpayers are paying salaries. Good people cost money. I live an hour or so from the Mexican border, their public servants are paid peanuts and let me tell you, you get what you pay for.  Much of the corruption and associated problems stem from public officials that are not paid enough to support their families, and are offered a simple choice by the criminals- silver or lead. It’s an easy call.

I think what you are referring to is the mandatory union dues that are extracted from all public servants, even if they refuse to join the union. I’m not sure how much these dues are, but I don’t think it is very much and that is a matter between the union and its constituents. I am of the understanding that if you encounter some type of union grievance, even if you have opted out of the union you are still represented. I also understand any collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the union apply to you whether you choose to be an offical union member or not. I believe this is what you are referring to when you make the statements regarding legality and morality of unions, and I believe you are basing this on the frame of reference of the taxpayers paying the salaries. I believe the Wisconsin governor is attacking this specific area, because he knows that it will in effect bust the union.

I don’t necessarily agree with this forced collection of dues, but I can understand how the unions would immediately be dead on arrival if dues were optional.  It is like car insurance, no one thinks they ever need it until they need it, and then it’s too late.  This is a consistent theme (mandatory compliance) and underlies one of the (many) differences between conservatives and liberals, it recurs in healthcare, and in many contemporary issues.

All of this would be much easier to reconcile if it were not presented on the heels of a big tax cut for certain groups.  If you connect the dots, it does indeed seem that people are masquerading under forced budget cuts, while cutting out the legs from under people who do not make the grade as the privileged class.

All are entitled to their own views of course, but my view runs contrary to the current fashion. I think you take a hard, objective look at what government is needed to run a state, city or country, and staff it accordingly, and pay the people who staff it fairly and competitively. Then you  create the revenue stream to maintain it, in good times and in bad. That is the way I run my business, and that seems to work pretty well. These decisions are not made lightly by people that do not “know the business” but are made by experienced people that know what things cost and know the consequences if you underestimate what is necessary to run an organization correctly.  In business, one of the hallmarks of inexperience is someone who chronically underestimates how much something is going to cost, how long it is going to take, and to what degree of complexity is involved. These people are dangerous, and always, always, end up costing more in the long run than someone who understands the true cost of doing things right, however unpopular the number is.

I don’t know if any of these comments apply to Wisconsin or not, there may be a ton of waste there for all I know, but the metric of lower salaries than private sector, coupled with the non fiscal action to take away collective bargaining rights has the distinct smell of something rotten. Torches and pitchforks for me.

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wisconsin
darbikrash wrote:

All are entitled to their own views of course, but my view runs contrary to the current fashion. I think you take a hard, objective look at what government is needed to run a state, city or country, and staff it accordingly, and pay the people who staff it fairly and competitively. Then you  create the revenue stream to maintain it, in good times and in bad. That is the way I run my business, and that seems to work pretty well. These decisions are not made lightly by people that do not “know the business” but are made by experienced people that know what things cost and know the consequences if you underestimate what is necessary to run an organization correctly.  In business, one of the hallmarks of inexperience is someone who chronically underestimates how much something is going to cost, how long it is going to take, and to what degree of complexity is involved. These people are dangerous, and always, always, end up costing more in the long run than someone who understands the true cost of doing things right, however unpopular the number is.

I run my own business, as well. I would like to hear how you, as a private business owner,  "create" a revenue stream in bad times. I simply don't have the power to force people to use my services and compensate me. The government does.

There is no P&L in government as there is no production. There is merely confiscation of the production of others to be used as these "experienced" people see fit. When a private business makes a catastrophic decision, it ceases to exist. When a government institution makes a catastrophic decision, it simply confiscates more production.

I really don't see any similarites between the two.

If you want organized labor in private industry, I support you. If there is a problem related to union demands, it will generally be self-correcting...eventually. If you want organized labor for government employees, give me my torch and pitchfork.

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darbikrash, The problem is

darbikrash,

The problem is not the manditory union dues.  Well actually that may be A problem but is not THE problem.  That is just not what causes some of us to be uncomfortable with public sector unions.  I really can't tell if you don't understand the issue or if you are just playing with us. 

The problem is THE STATE HAS A NECESSARY MONOPOLY ON COERCIVE FORCE that can be used to extract money from the taxpayer to pay for union largesse.  If GM workers want to organize a union and that union gets such a good deal for their members that the company makes no profit or worse still goes bankrupt, the union members are out a job (at least that was the case before we ended up in bailout world).  That gives the union an incentive not to kill its golden goose.  Government has no such constraint with profit and loss because it can always FORCE others to pay more for its services.

If taxation were optional or we had competing government services, I would have no problem with public sector unions.  Conversely if a private company has a sanctioned monopoly, I would be against it being able to unionize. The problem is not the union, it is who pays and what are the incentives.

You seem to have no problem grasping that corporations have this great incentive to externalize their costs and I thought you were very outspoken in this regard.  I find it strange that you are blind to a similar problem when the situation is reversed as it is with public sector unions.

I really don't think this is very hard to understand.

NOTE: Mark beat me to an excellent reply.

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markm and goes211 are more

markm and goes211 are more eloquent and precise than I am.

It does so appear that government based unions are actually in a different position than private sector unions.  And, a very good point was made that government sector unions exist within a monopoly and private sector unions do not.  For the few that may, the prohibition should also apply as private sector monopolies can only exist with government monopoly support.  If Americans are to be subjected to "market forces" then those who choose to serve us should also be subjected to those same forces - equality - an American fundamental.

We should be focused on equal opportunity and not equal outcome.

 

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Observation

Once again a debate of right and left.

There has been mention of union funding "one political party", there was mention of the Koch brothers, there is the idea Government employees produce nothing, the idea taxpayers are extorted to support union workers....and I tried to preempt the conversation with a growth is dead rant lol.

I'm not going to trade talking points blow for blow, as I've read and heard the theme of all these arguments time and time again. Instead I want to offer an exercise in "outside the box" thinking.

How does the death of growth effect the core argument of the use of tax dollars? I would argue using any fund to continuously pave roads, we can't afford to sustain long term, is wasteful. Tax dollars and their allocation needs to be redefined without the definition being determined by the traditional right/left established paradigms.

Do Unions or Corporations have a place in a world without growth? Back to the OP's 5 Fascism theme for the thread. I know what the definition of government by corporatism is (fascism), but how does organized labor fit into that puzzle. If growth is dead, corporations end up being nothing more than Frankenstein lords in a feudalistic regime. Do unions protect against that in a post-growth world?

Define the role of a public worker in a post-growth era. What industries serviced by the public sector will still exist? Will they be critical to the social fabric? Or will they be antiquated artifacts of an obsolete era of growth?

I know the big gov., small gov. argument back and forth. If you take the traditional "taxes hurt growth"...no "lack of regulation hurts growth" conversation, how does it hold up in a post-growth world? If growth is intrinsically dead, than taxes and regulations won't stimulate it <shrug> just sayin'...

Now these are just surface arguments, but I wanted to stick to them for sake of the thread. If you really want to dive into the exercise you need to ask even deeper, core questions. What role does currency play post growth? Banks? Brokerage firms? Brokers, Salesman, distribution, ....the rabbit hole gets deep quick!

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Good point about growth. 

Good point about growth.  It will be difficult if not impossible to grow given the current situation with commodity inflation, energy and unemployment.  Clearly, this is not the time to raise taxes and extract even more capital from the private sector and individuals.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870329320457610576013177303...

 

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The argument will never

The argument will never progress as some operate under the assumption that no government is needed, and any taxation is unacceptable. This is the subtext to many of these posts, and in light of this bias, there is just no arguing.

The next level up in “enlightenment” is an argument that proffers some unrealistic minimum level of government based on flawed assumptions that free market economics will not only make up the difference, but in fact operate more efficiently. Again, if this is the basis for the belief system, then you have to stop the discussion, as no argument that recognizes a realistic sized government for a given population size and societal complexity will be allowed to stand. Hyperbole, conjecture, and wishful thinking will beat a dismal and painful reality every time in the publics’ eye- particularly in a budget crisis.

I am not suggesting that the government of Wisconsin is right sized. I am not really sure what right sized means or how to determine it. It is fair to say that given the economic factors, all government must shrink. There is however a larger point here, and the point is the question as to what is the critical mass of government, how big must it be, and what services are essential and what are not. I am perfectly willing (and fully support) downsizing government just as any business must, but there is another agenda that is being brought forward and merged with the budgetary crisis. And this merged agenda is particularly dangerous and seeks to undermine yet more of our rights with frothy rhetoric and misguided commentary. It is this type of dialogue that got us the Patriot Act, and by the same people.

Businesses must adjust to no growth environments just as governments must. A business adapts to economic conditions by reducing costs, making layoffs and developing new products and services to entice new customers, among other strategies. What’s missing from this discussion is the concept of critical mass, growth or not, below a certain level the business ceases to exist. You have to staff (at a minimum ) to this level and develop a revenue stream to support this minimum critical mass- or perish. And you need to staff it with well paid and qualified people, growth or no growth.

A similar circumstance exists for this metaphor in government. Yes, in no or low growth conditions the government must downsize. To a lesser extent, the salary thresholds may be adjusted, subject to the same competitive forces as the private sector. But again, here we confront the issue of critical mass, below a certain staffing and service level, you no longer have functioning government. And this threshold must be funded, and it is funded by taxation, whether or not there is economic growth. Here then the point of view enters that taxation of any kind is theft, and no government is needed or wanted. While this might be fine with the Libertarian crowd, it is not fine with most of us, as reasonable and experienced people understand the complexities of managing a modern society and understand the reckless nature of promoting a view of widespread anarchy under cover of a budget crisis, especially, and here it comes, especially as TAX CUTS are given to a class of privilege at the same time as services and salaries are being reduced to the less fortunate.

In a reduced revenue environment, government is confronted with the concept of critical mass. At that critical mass, someone has to pay for it. If the middle class aren’t earning any money, they aren’t paying any taxes. So who does this leave holding the bag? The poor? No. It falls to the elites, businesses, and high net worth individuals that hold sway over the political process, and they are going to create a campaign of misinformation, legislation,  and obfuscation to deflect the very expensive tab from landing on their laps by promoting  austerity and blaming unions and everyone else.

We’ve seen the bankers pass their losses through to us, and now we will see elites and corporate America do the same thing.

Sorry, not signing up for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Listen to Rihter
Rihter wrote:

I want to offer an exercise in "outside the box" thinking.

How does the death of growth effect the core argument of the use of tax dollars? I would argue using any fund to continuously pave roads, we can't afford to sustain long term, is wasteful. Tax dollars and their allocation needs to be redefined without the definition being determined by the traditional right/left established paradigms. <snip>

Now these are just surface arguments, but I wanted to stick to them for sake of the thread. If you really want to dive into the exercise you need to ask even deeper, core questions. What role does currency play post growth? Banks? Brokerage firms? Brokers, Salesman, distribution, ....the rabbit hole gets deep quick!

Listen up folks!  Rihter is right on.  Rearranging deck chairs is a poor use of resources as the ship takes on water.

Travlin 

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I'm not for or against...
darbikrash -
Don't misunderstand me please. I'm not a free market guy or a socialist guy. I think they are both ridiculous notions. That argument has played out over the last 150+ years and is failing miserably on both ends.
No tax cut, fiscal policy, monetary control, stimulus package, trade organization, organized labor, corporation, or any other established entity is going to change culture as drastically as we need to over the coming decade.
It's a waste of energy debating if Keynes, Friedman, or Marx had the right notion. None of the Economic "THEORIES" are going to solve the scientific "LAWs" of Energy or Environment. That principle is what I thought was behind the whole reason for this site, and Mr. Martenson's involvement with The Post-Carbon Institute.
We face a cultural problem as Americans, Westerners, or whatever you want to call us. If you ask (or state) the common citizen, "Do you think the economy can grow forever?" I would suggest most would answer something along the lines of,"Doesn't it have too?" or "Of course it will, it always has."
Carefully and deliberately, or swift and painfully, we are going to transition to a post-carbon society. Debating cutting taxes and reigning in out of control unions collective bargaining rights vs. raise taxes on the rich and big business and build the middle class is growing old to me. I recognize the significance and ramifications of the debate in the near term, but know that only the policy that comes out of the debate is of any true concern. Neither argument is a solution to the 3 E's long term.
Concerning Madison, WI and the protests. I tend to lean with real people vs. corporate interests. The all inclusive "taxpayer" doesn't play with me either. We're all taxpayers. Once again taxes, low or high, are going to solve core problems. It's what we do with that tax money while it's still holds any value that is going to determine the future. IMHO
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jturbo68
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Unions vs Govt
MarkM wrote:

If you want organized labor in private industry, I support you. If there is a problem related to union demands, it will generally be self-correcting...eventually. If you want organized labor for government employees, give me my torch and pitchfork.

 

Struck me that the eventual correction of union problems in the Union vs Managment will also happen similarly  for public sector unions vs government  as well.  Governments that give away too much are subject to collapse, just like a corporation... eventually.  It may only be apparent in hindsight that too much was given and too much was wasted.  We have and still do assume that the future will be much larger, thus we can spend more and pay back more.  Sure, the govt can and will try and tax more, or take away workers rights, and it probably will  come down to crowds of people with pitchforks. But there will be people with pitchforks on both sides.

Without a Societal Belief in the unstustianability of infinite growth, we miss the bigger picture about why so many things are turning out the way that they are.

 

 

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Doug
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public union mischaracterization
dshields wrote:

The government, at its various levels, should not be allowed to forcible extract money from the people through taxation (and confiscation of your property if you do not pay - or jail time) and then have the people's tax money given to a political party for organizing and pursuing an specific agenda which is at odds with the majority of the people the money was taken from.  It is immoral and it should be illegal.

If I missed someone responding to this point, I apologize.  I don't have time to read all the posts.  My response is to the notion that you have repeatedly pounded, that taxpayer money is being funneled to unions.  The only rationale I can imagine to support this notion is that a gov't employee is paid from taxes, and therefore his/her union dues, paid from his/her salary, is the same as the gov't funneling money to the unions.  By that rationale any gov't employee who spends money on anything is actually the gov't funneling money to whatever enterprise the employee is buying from.  That, of course, is preposterous.

I am a Federal employee and union member.  I pay all my union dues from my salary.  Gov't doesn't contribute.  And, my membership is voluntary.  I belong because I appreciate the work the union does to protect my pay, benefits, workplace conditions and relations with management.  IOW, the same reasons that private sector employees join unions.  I don't find it particularly distasteful that public employee unions contribute disproportionally to one party, as private sector unions disproportionally contribute to the same party.  This tells me that those who are paid by others to do a job have one, and really only one, institution protecting them from employer depradations, the labor movement.  I would suggest that, unless you're an apologist for the corporatocracy, you should be very thankful for the labor movement.  Read some labor history including The Jungle and about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.  Without a labor movement there would be nothing protecting us from those kinds of abuse.

In fact, there is a very strong argument that the American middle class that created the greatest industrial and economic power ever created owes its existence to the labor movement.  It is not a coincidence that the growth of the middle class after WWII mirrors the rise of the labor movement, and our subsequent decline since 1980 mirrors the ongoing demolition of the labor movement, both private and public.

Doug

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Poet
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"The People's Tax Money", "Immoral", "Illegal"?
dshields wrote:

The government, at its various levels, should not be allowed to forcible extract money from the people through taxation (and confiscation of your property if you do not pay - or jail time) and then have the people's tax money given to a political party for organizing and pursuing an specific agenda which is at odds with the majority of the people the money was taken from.  It is immoral and it should be illegal.

Just as private sector unions have learned - sometimes the hard way - so also public sector unions are now learning that there is a limit to what they can get from a government even if that government has the ability to coercively tax the citizenry.

In economic hard times, government can impose furlough days, layoffs, reduced hours, and reduced benefits, and taxpayers and legislators can reject tax increases - we have seen this happen in all 50 states. Many unions have not had a pay raise, others have taken pay cuts, etc. So to say that unions can strangle government isn't necessarily true as we have now seen. They have an interest in the continuing health of the state and its ability to pay them, too. More importantly, as middle class Americans, public sector union employees also feel the brunt of taxation.

(Aside: As for state lawmakers (both Republican and Democrat) choosing not to fund pension obligations but continuing to defer to future lawmakers (as has been done in Virginia, Maryland, even in NJ under Gov. Christie) in a gigantic snowball, well that's an entire different story and a huge time bomb that will blow up. But likely there would have been no time bomb if legislators actually balanced their budgets every year and paid all obligations at the time they are incurred. But we know what politicians are like: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.")

I'm sorry, but think you don't have a case about the "immoral and illegal" part where union members pay their dues towards an agenda that promotes their union's purposes. The dues come out of their salaries - but they could use their salaries to buy beer and lap dances, too. Once it becomes earned income, it is no longer "the people's tax money" just as your employer giving you pay doesn't obligate you to spend your pay as he wishes.

(Aside: Union dues are considered unreimbursed job expenses: like if a private restaurant required uniforms that a private non-union employee has to purchased with their own money in order to work there. But they're only deductible if a worker happens to itemize rather than take the standard deduction AND only for the portion of dues that are greater than 2% of adjusted gross income. For many union members, especially those who don't have a mortgage or are almost done paying off their homes, they won't be deducting the union dues expense. The bottom line is, the IRS considers union dues to be paid out of one's income, not by the employer (whether public or private) - even if the employer does the automatic withholding. Therefore, union members do pay taxes on the income they earn - even the part of their income that is spent on paying union dues. thus blowing away the idea that it's "the people's taxes" that pay those dues - unless one were to still try to argue that a union member's union dues aren't paid out of his earned income.)

Would love to read a rebuttal from you.

Poet

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xraymike79
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Corporatocracy?
Poet wrote:
dshields wrote:

The government, at its various levels, should not be allowed to forcible extract money from the people through taxation (and confiscation of your property if you do not pay - or jail time) and then have the people's tax money given to a political party for organizing and pursuing an specific agenda which is at odds with the majority of the people the money was taken from.  It is immoral and it should be illegal.

...

 

I'm sorry, but think you don't have a case about the "immoral and illegal" part where union members pay their dues towards an agenda that promotes their union's purposes. The dues come out of their salaries - but they could use their salaries to buy beer and lap dances, too. Once it becomes earned income, it is no longer "the people's tax money" just as your employer giving you pay doesn't obligate you to spend your pay as he wishes.

...

Poet

 

     Your explanation makes much more sense fom the conversations I have had with friends who hold government jobs. I didn't get the whole "union dues going to support sympathetic political groups" argument.

What dshields describes sounds like our entire political process, bought and paid for by corporations to serve the corporations.

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Cancelled high speed rail
Rihter wrote:

It's what we do with that tax money while it's still holds any value that is going to determine the future. IMHO

Along those lines I was surprised to read the following:

Quote:

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker first gained national headlines for joining Ohio’s Kasich in a future-losing decision to cancel an $800 million investment — fully paid for the by the federal government — in high-speed rail.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/22/gop-governors-misplaced-priorities/

It's almost as if these individuals were fully aware of where the country is going and instead of attempting to mitigate the effects by investing in a possible future mode of transportation decided to make the situation as bad as possible for the majority. Naw, that credits them with too much insight and smells too much of CT for this site.

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I agree

I think Gov. Walker is way out there in his thought process. The double speak,indirectness, and flat out denial of facts or opposition opinion is a huge problem for our collective future.

He reminds me of characterization of an intelligent Sarah Palin. In that he regurgitates talking points endlessly to promote Rove's playbook for the Neo-Cons.

I don't mind a good debate, but the new format is to jam brainwashing slogans down our throats to promote either parties agenda. There is absolutely no focus on our real problems, so there is no way to promote real solutions. It truly is a sad state of affairs.

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Rather than putting words

Steve W,

Rather than putting words about his cancelling the high-speed rail into Governor Walker's mouth, here is an actual letter he wrote while campaigning. Remember, he won. Enough people agreed with his logic to vote him into office. Especially interesting to me is his mention of the maintenence costs of such a system, which had not occurred to me but should have as I was intimately involved in maintaining the NYC subway system. Remember, growth is dead. Where would Wisconsin get their 80% share of the cost to maintain the new system?

Also, as a former member of construction management teams, I can attest that cost overruns on new construction are the norm nowadays: to get a contract builders have to bid low and make their profits on "change orders" that increase costs. Walker was correct to be concerned about them.

Here is that letter:

Dear President Obama:

Last month, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray La Hood was in Wisconsin to release $46.7 million of the $810 million in federal stimulus money designated for a train line between Milwaukee and Madison. Releasing these federal funds now is both premature and irresponsible. Public support for the Madison-Milwaukee train has fallen to just 41% as weary taxpayers watch our roads and bridges crumble without sufficient funds to repair them.

Still, Secretary La Hood declared that: "High-speed rail is coming to Wisconsin," and "there's no stopping it."

I am drawing a line in the sand Mr. President: No matter how much money you and Governor Doyle try to spend before the end of the year, I will put a stop to this boondoggle the day I take office.

It's outrageous for Secretary La Hood to suggest that your administration can force Wisconsin to continue building a train it doesn't want and cannot afford. Almost as outrageous as the fact that the decision to saddle Wisconsin taxpayers with untold millions in operating and maintenance costs, forever, was never debated or voted on by the Wisconsin legislature. If it had been, this letter would not be necessary.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, my opponent in the race to replace Governor Doyle, has made the Milwaukee to Madison train the centerpiece of his economic development plan for Wisconsin. The Mayor tells us that spending $810 million on high-speed rail will create thousands of new Wisconsin jobs, but according to the federal government's own estimate, the total number of permanent jobs created will be 55. That's $14.5 million per job, not including any hidden costs!

As for hidden costs, no one in your administration, nor Governor Doyle or Mayor Barrett can provide an accurate estimate of what it will cost to operate and maintain the new rail line. Rail projects in numerous other areas have seen original cost estimates skyrocket once construction begins.

 In addition, study after study shows that rail passenger fares are likely to cover only 20% of the operating costs. That leaves hardworking Wisconsin families to pick up the other 80% through higher taxes and fees.

 It's reckless of Governor Doyle and Mayor Barrett to commit to spending $810 million of our money on a boondoggle train when we can't even afford to fix our roads and bridges. Our state is facing a $2.5 billion hole in next year's budget and a list a mile long of transportation needs. If your administration is truly interested in helping Wisconsin build the transportation infrastructure it needs and desires, you should allow us to use this money for roads and bridges instead.

 Governor Doyle and Secretary La Hood say we can't stop the train. I say, just watch us.

 Sincerely,

 

 Scott Walker

 Milwaukee County Executive

 Republican Candidate for Governor

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xraymike79
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Unfettered Capitalism
Rihter wrote:

I think Gov. Walker is way out there in his thought process. The double speak,indirectness, and flat out denial of facts or opposition opinion is a huge problem for our collective future.

He reminds me of characterization of an intelligent Sarah Palin. In that he regurgitates talking points endlessly to promote Rove's playbook for the Neo-Cons.

I don't mind a good debate, but the new format is to jam brainwashing slogans down our throats to promote either parties agenda. There is absolutely no focus on our real problems, so there is no way to promote real solutions. It truly is a sad state of affairs.

True. I'm convinced though after further reading and observing behavior that the problem is the system itself - Unfettered Capitalism. This no-holds-barred capitalism we have seeks ever-expanding profits at the expense of all else including the freedom of individual citizens because it naturally looks to tear down all restrictions to growth, including laws and regulations. Oligopolies and fascist states are the end result. Free and fair markets cannot exist without proper, uncorrupted regulatory frameworks.

A Free Market Is Not Possible Without Strong Laws Against Fraud ...

 

 We have essentially become what Gonzalo Lira has called a fascist police-state:

...

A police-state uses the law as a mechanism to control any challenges to its power by the citizenry, rather than as a mechanism to insure a civil society among the individuals. The state decides the laws, is the sole arbiter of the law, and can selectively (and capriciously) decide to enforce the law to the benefit or detriment of one individual or group or another [i.e to the benefit of the banking cartel and other oligopic industries].

In a police-state, the citizens are “free” only so long as their actions remain within the confines of the law as dictated by the state. If the individual’s claims of rights or freedoms conflict with the state, or if the individual acts in ways deemed detrimental to the state, then the state will repress the citizenry, by force if necessary. (And in the end, it’s always necessary.)

What’s key to the definition of a police-state is the lack of redress: If there is no justice system which can compel the state to cede to the citizenry, then there is a police-state. If there exists a pro forma justice system, but which in practice is unavailable to the ordinary citizen because of systemic obstacles (for instance, cost or bureaucratic hindrance), or which against all logic or reason consistently finds in favor of the state—even in the most egregious and obviously contradictory cases—then that pro forma judiciary system is nothing but a sham: A tool of the state’s repression against its citizens. Consider the Soviet court system the classic example.

A police-state is not necessarily a dictatorship. On the contrary, it can even take the form of a representative democracy. A police-state is not defined by its leadership structure, but rather, by its self-protection against the individual.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/06/gonzalo-lira-is-the-u-s-a-fascist-police-state.html

 

The best safeguard against fascism is to establish social justice to the maximum possible extent. - Arnold J. Toynbee

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trains vs. automobiles
safewrite wrote:

Steve W,

Rather than putting words about his cancelling the high-speed rail into Governor Walker's mouth, here is an actual letter he wrote while campaigning. Remember, he won. Enough people agreed with his logic to vote him into office. Especially interesting to me is his mention of the maintenence costs of such a system, which had not occurred to me but should have as I was intimately involved in maintaining the NYC subway system. Remember, growth is dead. Where would Wisconsin get their 80% share of the cost to maintain the new system?

Also, as a former member of construction management teams, I can attest that cost overruns on new construction are the norm nowadays: to get a contract builders have to bid low and make their profits on "change orders" that increase costs. Walker was correct to be concerned about them.

Here is that letter:

Dear President Obama:

Last month, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray La Hood was in Wisconsin to release $46.7 million of the $810 million in federal stimulus money designated for a train line between Milwaukee and Madison. Releasing these federal funds now is both premature and irresponsible. Public support for the Madison-Milwaukee train has fallen to just 41% as weary taxpayers watch our roads and bridges crumble without sufficient funds to repair them.

Still, Secretary La Hood declared that: "High-speed rail is coming to Wisconsin," and "there's no stopping it."

I am drawing a line in the sand Mr. President: No matter how much money you and Governor Doyle try to spend before the end of the year, I will put a stop to this boondoggle the day I take office.

It's outrageous for Secretary La Hood to suggest that your administration can force Wisconsin to continue building a train it doesn't want and cannot afford. Almost as outrageous as the fact that the decision to saddle Wisconsin taxpayers with untold millions in operating and maintenance costs, forever, was never debated or voted on by the Wisconsin legislature. If it had been, this letter would not be necessary.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, my opponent in the race to replace Governor Doyle, has made the Milwaukee to Madison train the centerpiece of his economic development plan for Wisconsin. The Mayor tells us that spending $810 million on high-speed rail will create thousands of new Wisconsin jobs, but according to the federal government's own estimate, the total number of permanent jobs created will be 55. That's $14.5 million per job, not including any hidden costs!

As for hidden costs, no one in your administration, nor Governor Doyle or Mayor Barrett can provide an accurate estimate of what it will cost to operate and maintain the new rail line. Rail projects in numerous other areas have seen original cost estimates skyrocket once construction begins.

 In addition, study after study shows that rail passenger fares are likely to cover only 20% of the operating costs. That leaves hardworking Wisconsin families to pick up the other 80% through higher taxes and fees.

 It's reckless of Governor Doyle and Mayor Barrett to commit to spending $810 million of our money on a boondoggle train when we can't even afford to fix our roads and bridges. Our state is facing a $2.5 billion hole in next year's budget and a list a mile long of transportation needs. If your administration is truly interested in helping Wisconsin build the transportation infrastructure it needs and desires, you should allow us to use this money for roads and bridges instead.

 Governor Doyle and Secretary La Hood say we can't stop the train. I say, just watch us.

 Sincerely,

 

 Scott Walker

 Milwaukee County Executive

 Republican Candidate for Governor

I think a major point is being missed.  Are we going to try to prepare for a future with less oil and less money, or are we going to go on in a BAU manner?  Many years ago when I was in college, I took a bunch of urban studies courses, one of which dealt with our transportation systems.  I don't remember the exact numbers, but a break down of the expenses to each of us for supporting the automobile as our primary means of transportation were astronomical.  I mean truly breath taking.  It is probably our greatest expense by far.  I don't imagine the proportion of our incomes it takes to support that system has gone down any since then.

The fact then, as now, is that a clean efficient mass transit system is far less expensive than the automobile system, particularly in urban areas and major transportation corridors.  In my opinion, Gov. Walker's priorities are locked into the automobile age that will soon be passing.  On this site the fact that we didn't do anything 30 years ago to move to renewable energy systems is frequently lamented.  We had the warning signs then, but energy was cheap and Americans wasteful.  Thus, we missed a golden opportunity.

I truly believe we must start now to build a system of transportation that is efficient and clean.  High speed rail is the best system I know of to achieve that goal.  If that means taking money from road maintenance and building, then so be it.  My guess is that Gov. Walker would have jumped all over an offer of $810M to maintain roads or build new ones.

Although I have driven the road from Madison to Milwaukee, it was many years ago and today I don't have a clear idea how heavily traveled that road is.  There is a threshhold beyond which automobile travel makes more sense than a train.  I don't know whether the one recommended by the USDOT is over that threshhold or not.  But, to discard the idea out of hand without doing an analysis is foolhardy.  If we are going to rebuild our infrastructure systems to meet a future with less oil and less money, we have to be thinking more clearly about our options.

Doug

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xraymike79
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Doug,      The bottom

Doug,

     The bottom line is that Capitalism is inherently unsustainable due to its requirement for growth. It's not fiat money as CM states, but the system of Capitalism itself. For a detailed explanation and solution: Report: Beyond Growth, or Beyond Capitalism?

Also, alternative energies will never support BAU. See Richard Heinberg or Gail Tverberg or George Mobus. 

Also DMX posted this last year:

You're making the classic error of mistaking "technology" with "energy and resources availability"

Yes the energy of the universe is abundant, but........  as I have quoted on this blog many times, a Spanish engineer friend of mine whose job it is to design build and install renewable energy systems in Spain, arguably the world capital of this stuff, has calculated that to merely generate 20% of the global electricity within ten years using wind alone would require:

ALL the world's concrete
DOUBLE the current steel production
THIRTY times the current fiberglass production
HALF the copper currently produced and 
HALF the coal.... (not to mention a substantial amount of oil to produce/transport all of the above)

Now Pedro has all the data at his fingertips to work out this stuff (he presented this at an ASPO conference in Madrid a couple of years ago BTW) and I have absolutely no reason to doubt his figures....

Pedro Prieto Pérez - Can Wind and Solar Close the Gap?

80% of our energy now is from fossil fuels; GDP, standard of living, and energy consumption are tightly correlated. Energy consumption, like financial assets, is distributed very unequally around the globe – 20% of the population consumes 80% of world energy. This is one of the motivators for massive human migration across borders. “If you see George Bush embracing a 3rd-world leader and promising 1st-world benefits for trade with the U.S., don’t believe him” – it’s not possible, nor sustainable.

Spain gets 10% of its electrical power from wind, and there’s potential for much more (as well as hydro). Obstacles take the form of supply not being near big-city consumers, so substantial grid upgrades are needed. Since wind is intermittent, the system also needs rapid-dispatchable backup power behind the wind farms. SCALE is the big issue however; to offset anticipated rates of oil / gas decline will take massive renewable-energy programs, having huge requirements for concrete, steel, other basic materials as well as up-front energy investments that will take a long time to pay back.

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darbikrash
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Posts: 573
Not so surprising when we
safewrite wrote:

Rather than putting words about his cancelling the high-speed rail into Governor Walker's mouth, here is an actual letter he wrote while campaigning. Remember, he won. Enough people agreed with his logic to vote him into office. Especially interesting to me is his mention of the maintenence costs of such a system, which had not occurred to me but should have as I was intimately involved in maintaining the NYC subway system. Remember, growth is dead. Where would Wisconsin get their 80% share of the cost to maintain the new system?

Not so surprising when we see who funded Walkers' campaign and subsequent election…our good friends (and dyed in the wool oil men) the Koch brothers.

I’m afraid Walkers' virtuous letter refusing the high speed rail money has ulterior motives. God bless him for looking after his constituents though, a true patriot.

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Funded by the Koch Bros.

 

— By Andy Kroll

| Fri Feb. 18, 2011 9:12 AM PST

Protesters surrounded Wisconsin's capitol building in Madison this week to register their opposition to GOP Gov. Scott Walker's plans to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees. Flickr/BlueRobot

[UPDATE: Since I reported on Koch Industries PAC's donations to Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, the New York Times and Washington Post both published their own stories the Kochs' involvement. Both are worth reading.]

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, whose bill to kill collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions has caused an uproar among state employees, might not be where he is today without the Koch brothers. Charles and David Koch are conservative titans of industry who have infamously used their vast wealth to undermine President Obama and fight legislation they detest, such as the cap-and-trade climate bill, the health care reform act, and the economic stimulus package. For years, the billionaires have made extensive political donations to Republican candidates across the country and have provided millions of dollars to astroturf right-wing organizations. Koch Industries' political action committee has doled out more than $2.6 million to candidates. And one prominent beneficiary of the Koch brothers' largess is Scott Walker.

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin. The Koch's PAC also helped Walker via a familiar and much-used politicial maneuver designed to allow donors to skirt campaign finance limits. The PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker ended up beating Barrett by 5 points. The Koch money, no doubt, helped greatly.

The Kochs also assisted Walker's current GOP allies in the fight against the public-sector unions. Last year, Republicans took control of the both houses of the Wisconsin state legislature, which has made Walker's assault on these unions possible. And according to data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the Koch Industries PAC spent $6,500 in support of 16 Wisconsin Republican state legislative candidates, who each won his or her election.

Walker's plan to eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees is right out of the Koch brothers' playbook. Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited (PDF) Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado; Mix said in a recent interview that he supports Governor Walker's collective-bargaining bill. In Wisconsin, this conservative, anti-union view is being placed into action by lawmakers in sync with the deep-pocketed donors who helped them obtain power. (Walker also opposes the state's Clean Energy Job Act, which would compel the state to increase its use of alternative energy.) At this moment—even with the Wisconsin uprising unresolved—the Koch brothers' investment in Walker appears to be paying off.

 

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xraymike79
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DK,      For those who

DK,

     For those who like videos:

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Doug
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Posts: 3125
Mike

I recently read the Smith report and found it compelling, probably because it supports understandings I have that go back to the 70's.  I don't know if that means my thinking is hopelessly dated or that the world is finally catching up with me. Wink Whatever, I'd like to see a significant rebuttal to the report.  That said, I agree that alternative energies will not support BAU.  To me that's a given. 

I'm getting really tired of the same old arguments that showcase stereotypes of capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.  I want to see tptb present plans to actually move forward on preparing our infrastructures for a future with less oil and money without adding to debt and with minimal use of fossil fuels.  The use of fossil fuels for such purposes is, imho, the highest and best use for those sources of energy.

I am not optimistic.

Doug

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