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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Republicans Can’t Win Without Solving Their ‘Secular Problem’

Bill Scher

Bill Scher Online Editor, Campaign for America's Future

Last week I wrote that the GOP is on track to lose the Latino vote yet again. On the day Republicans face up to this problem, they at least know what they have to do: suck it up on immigration reform.

But Republicans have a bigger demographic challenge looming over them, one of which they are less cognizant, of which they will have harder time accepting, and of which the solutions are less obvious: the Republican “secular problem.”

In the Bush Era, pundits were fond of lording over Democrats that they suffered from a “God problem.” But ever since Democrats won the 2006 midterms, I have been writing that the opposite was true.

The 2006 exit poll data showed that Democrats crushed Republican among voters who went to church “a few times a year” (60-38 percent) and “never” (67-30 percent), while the Republican margin among those who attended church “weekly” was slashed from 16 points in the previous midterm to seven.

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Inequality - "X" Marks the Spot - Dig here

Stan Sorscher

Stan Sorscher Labor Representative, Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace

In 2002, I heard an economist characterizing this figure as containing a valuable economic insight. He wasn't sure what the insight was. I have my own answer.

Figure 1. Something happened in the mid-70's

The economist talked of the figure as a sort of treasure map, which would lead us to the insight. "X" marks the spot. Dig here.

This figure tells three stories. First, we see two distinct historic periods since World War II. In the first period, workers shared the gains from productivity. In the later period, a generation of workers gained little, even as productivity continued to rise.

The second message is the very abrupt transition from the post-war historic period to the current one. Something happened in the mid-70's to de-couple wages from productivity gains.

The third message is that workers' wages - accounting for inflation and all the lower prices from cheap imported goods - would be double what they are now, if workers still took their share of gains in productivity.

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Jeb Bush Quietly Suggests ‘Phasing Out’ Medicare

Tara Culp-Ressler

Tara Culp-Ressler Health Editor, Think Progress

Jeb Bush Quietly Suggests ‘Phasing Out’ Medicare

GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush suggested that the United States should figure out a way to “phase out” Medicare, the federal program that provides insurance to more than 50 million elderly and disabled people, at a political event on last week.

MSNBC reports that Bush was speaking at an event sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group backed by the billionaire Koch Brothers that has doggedly advocated against fully implementing the Affordable Care Act.

In his comments, Bush referenced Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) politically contentious plan to radically restructure the Medicare program — which independent analysts predicted would more than double health costs for the average 65-year-old — and criticized progressive lawmakers for failing to engage with Ryan’s proposals. Despite recent evidence that the program’s finances are secure, the former Florida governor suggested that Medicare isn’t solvent.

“I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something — because they’re not going to have anything,” Bush said.

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Be Brave; Stand for Union Rights

Be Brave; Stand for Union Rights

Union Matters

Protect Medicare as It Matures

Today, on the occasion of Medicare’s 50th anniversary, supporters of the venerated health plan will gather on Capitol Hill to lobby for its protection. 

It seems absurd that Medicare, which has helped millions of Americans and stands to help millions more, needs protection.

Yet, a half century after it was signed into law, Republicans in Congress continue to wage war on the social insurance program. 

Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made names for themselves attacking Medicare and other social programs, including Medicaid and Social Security. 

House Republicans used Ryan’s ideas in a proposed budget to try to privatize Medicare and repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Now, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is calling for an end to Medicare, saying that he wants to “phase-out this program, Medicare, for others and move to a new system…” 

Despite these attacks, the bottom line remains that older and disabled Americans need Medicare—and what is more, they’ve earned it.

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