Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Anti-Presidential: Money Grubbing, Community Disdaining Candidates

Anti-Presidential: Money Grubbing, Community Disdaining Candidates
Art on Flickr by DonkeyHotey

Donald Trump says exactly what the GOP believes. It’s a simple axiom: personal wealth accumulation is everything. Republican Party officials believe individuals like The Donald attain riches through their own guts, glory and gumption with not an iota of aid from community, country or, frankly, inherited wealth. 

It’s just that when The Donald expresses their credo, he ignores the shinola and emphasizes the crass. Instead of going with the slick 2012 GOP convention theme, “I built that,” to aggrandize individual capitalist conquest, The Donald slammed a group of his primary competitors for serving their nation instead of themselves.

What The Donald failed to acknowledge is that some of them, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, serve themselves through their so-called public service. This year, for example, Walker took a quarter billion dollars from Wisconsin higher education, gave it instead to a project by billionaire sports team owners to construct a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, and now one of those rich guys, Jon Hammes, co-chairs Walker’s national campaign fund raising.

It’s a brilliant scam. The Donald, master of bankruptcies with four under his belt, really should be impressed. Walker is forcing the great majority of Wisconsin workers to pay taxes, not for projects they prize like schools or highways, but instead to further enrich millionaires who, in turn, fill Walker’s campaign pockets!  

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Tobacco “Carve-Out” Dispute Tells Us What We Need To Know About TPP

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Administration officials are desperately trying to wrap-up Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in the next few days or so. If they can get it done right now, it enables a timeline for pushing it through Congress by the end of the year — before the public can rally opposition, and before the Presidential campaign season could bring heightened attention to the deal.

One key sticking point in the negotiations is a proposed “carve-out” to prevent tobacco companies from being able to sue governments and block anti-smoking regulations. The tobacco companies are trying to block this carve-out because it “sets a bad precedent” of allowing governments to protect their citizens.

This sounds astonishing, but it’s for real. Read on.

Corporate Courts Let Corporations Sue Governments And Block Laws And Regulations That Protect Citizens

“NAFTA-style” “trade” agreements contain Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and making regulations that might limit their expected profits. This includes environmental, health, consumer and other laws and regulations.

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How Goldman Sachs Profited from the Greek Debt Crisis

Robert Reich

Robert Reich Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley

How Goldman Sachs Profited from the Greek Debt Crisis

The Greek debt crisis offers another illustration of Wall Street’s powers of persuasion and predation, although the Street is missing from most accounts.

The crisis was exacerbated years ago by a deal with Goldman Sachs, engineered by Goldman’s current CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.

Blankfein and his Goldman team helped Greece hide the true extent of its debt, and in the process almost doubled it. And just as with the American subprime crisis, and the current plight of many American cities, Wall Street’s predatory lending played an important although little-recognized role.

In 2001, Greece was looking for ways to disguise its mounting financial troubles. The Maastricht Treaty required all eurozone member states to show improvement in their public finances, but Greece was heading in the wrong direction.

Then Goldman Sachs came to the rescue, arranging a secret loan of 2.8 billion euros for Greece, disguised as an off-the-books “cross-currency swap”—a complicated transaction in which Greece’s foreign-currency debt was converted into a domestic-currency obligation using a fictitious market exchange rate.

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Jeb! Bush Vows To Cripple Government

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Jeb! Bush Vows To Cripple Government

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush gave a speech last Monday at an event organized by a corporate lobbying group in which he vowed to cripple our government. So who gets to be in charge if he succeeds? Who decides how to allocate our country’s resources, determine and enforce our country’s economic policies, who pays to build roads and schools and our other public assets?

If you look at who organized the speech, you might find a clue about who Bush thinks should do these things.

Bush’s speech was at Florida State University, ostensibly on the subject of “government reform” and the cozy relationship between lobbyists and government officials. His solutions, however, included proposals to get the government out of the way of corporations by essentially crippling it if elected.

● Bush promised to cut the federal workforce by an additional 10 percent by replacing every three employees who leave with one hire. Currently the federal workforce is strapped and demoralized. Cut after cut has left people trying to do the job that several people had done before.
● He said he would stop giving raises to public employees, who he says are all “overpaid” – guaranteeing attrition. This would quickly cause those three employees to leave, to be replaced by only one, who then has to try to do the work of the three.

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Your Stereotype of Minimum Wage Workers Is Probably Dead Wrong

Your Stereotype of Minimum Wage Workers Is Probably Dead Wrong

Your Stereotype of Minimum Wage Workers Is Probably Dead Wrong

Posted by ATTN: on Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Dignity of Work Demands Decent Wages

The Dignity of Work Demands Decent Wages

Union Matters

Hey Ted, Americans Really Do Needs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last week marked the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by calling for its abolishment.

The CFPB, an independent government agency tasked with protecting consumers from predatory and unethical banking practices, was formed as a part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. Congress passed the law in an attempt to prevent big banks from again wrecking the economy with their reckless gambling and greed.

So what the presidential hopeful was really saying in calling for the dismantling of the CFPB was that big banks should go back to doing whatever they want and working people should simply fend for themselves.

Big banks and the Republicans they fund hate the CFPB because it exists to keep financial institutions from fleecing customers and padding their profits by taking careless risks.

They also hate it because it’s working.

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