In Wisconsin and in two major cities in California, voters (made up mostly of working folks) chose to restrict the benefit packages and wage increases for public service AKA government employees. Some say that since most of the workers in these places, and throughout America, are employed by the private sector, the attitude became one of resentment. The private sector and non union (in most cases) workers were fed up of seeing their counterparts getting better benefit packages and wage increases. I call it Interclass warfare. Sad, isn’t it, when the less than 1% of our nation can create such divisions within the labor force. Yet, that was only part of the problem that this week’s voting revealed. In Wisconsin the voters chose to side with a governor who was open and honest about his goal to eliminate collective bargaining within the public service sector. What that means is to cut the legs off of the union movement… first with the government workers and then soon to be copied by the private sector companies.
Why is this all happening NOW? Well, the answer is so obvious, yet our mainstream media and even within our labor movement few if any will deal with it. Former president Eisenhower labeled it the Military Industrial Complex, and it has all but bankrupted our economy. Within 10 years our military spending has almost doubled! Last year we taxpayers were charged 56 cents of every dollar we sent to Uncle Sam for military spending. Never before in the history of our nation has it ever approached such an amount. We have over 800 permanent military bases in over 100 different countries. We illegally invaded and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, to the tune of over 100 billion tax dollars a year. It costs us 1.2 million dollars to keep one soldier in Afghanistan for a year. That would pay the salaries of 30 teachers, police officers or firemen at $40k a year each. Where is the outrage?
Historically, our Congress was able to send money to the states for their budgets and their cities’ budget problems. This was called the system of revenue sharing. The money was sent to the states in the form of block grants, meaning the money did not have to be paid back. Pretty good, right? Well, that all ended with our devotion to invading countries and occupying them. That all ended with the fear button being pushed down the throats of the public. Both the Republican and the Democratic parties have enabled the Pentagon and the Military Industrial Complex to get more and more of our hard earned tax dollars. Last year the military spending that we even know about was over $560 billion. That did not include what many site as the black budget, or money funneled into military programs which have no congressional oversight. It does not matter who occupies the White House, whether it be Reagan or Bush 1 and 2 or Clinton or Obama… they all dance to the piper. The Congress and the Presidency has for the most part been owned not only by Wall Street, but by this War Empire.
If only the hard working American labor force would take a moment to ponder. If the CEOs of our Fortune 100 companies are earning in excess of 400 times that of their lowest paid full time employee… shouldn’t we have a society whereupon ALL working stiffs have good benefit packages and wage increases? Let’s extend that conversation and say that shouldn’t ALL Americans have the same medical and dental coverage that those CEOS have? I could go on and on but let us leave it at that. If you work for a living ANYWHERE you should be allied with ALL your fellow working stiffs for fair wages and benefits. The bottom line is this: If we cut the military spending by 25% and sent the savings back to the states etc, there would be NO budget crisis in any state or city!!! Period!! Stop supporting political parties and candidates who oppose such an idea.
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He is a free lance columnist (found on the fine Dandelion Salad site), an environmental products sales rep and an activist. Since 2010, Philip is a spokesperson for the 25% Solution Movement to Save Our Cities by cutting military spending 25%. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Enemies of Economic Stimulus by Philip A. Farruggio (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Smedley, Ike and Me: Anyone Listening, America? by Philip A. Farruggio (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)