I recently sent out a statement in solidarity with the workers who are standing firm against their respective states wanting to make the workers pay more for their benefits and retirement—Wisconsin is hoping to make state workers take what amounts to an 18% cut in pay by raising their contributions for these safety nets. Wisconsin is also trying to severely limit collective bargaining for state workers, which, of course would further undermine labor.
With the cost of EVERYTHING rising because the cost of the US’s “reserve currency,” gasoline, is rising, asking the working class to sacrifice any more is unconscionable, especially when it is not the fault of the workers that capitalism is in such a state of crisis right now. Where does the Robber Class always go to preserve its status quo? That’s right, right after the resources of the Robbed Class.
Last year on this date, the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.70, and today it’s $3.29! With the volatility of oil prices resting on increasing political turmoil in the countries that produce (or give unfettered access to canals and pipelines) the most oil, one would have to wonder who really is behind the chaos in these countries?
Today, with the average price per gallon of heating oil rising to 3.62 (up .72 cents per gallon from last year), the Obama administration is cutting back on and heating oil subsidies for the most vulnerable of our population after he just signed a two-year extension of tax cuts for the rich! Extending the Bush era tax cuts for the rich added almost 900 billion dollars to the deficit and to partially offset that wealthy-fare, he is slashing social programs for the poor.
The defense industry received another swelling of its coffers by the Pentagon (the cash machine for the profiteers) being allotted a record-shattering 550 billion dollars plus some 160 billion dollars for the OCO (Overseas Contingency Operation). That brings the Pentagon’s base budget (doesn’t include black-ops , the nuclear program , or foreign military aid ). All this from a “peace” president who campaigned on a platform unequivocally stating (with his fingers crossed behind his back), that, as president, he would include the cost of the wars in with the regular budgets and not ask for supplemental funding as his predecessor had done on numerous occasions.
I got a text from my sister in Southern California tonight and it said: “Wow, Ed Schultz (centrist radio talk show host and host of The Ed Schultz Show) is really bashing Obama for this thing in Wisconsin right now.” First of all, I don’t watch MSNBC, because once one starts cashing ones pay checks from the war machine, it changes a person. No matter how good he/she was before, the Imperial Puppet Show must go on!
Secondly, my reply to her was: “It’s about time, too bad few people have been disillusioned by Obama’s violent foreign policy!” Indeed, I have been watching the left-wing coverage of the stand in Wisconsin, and elsewhere (which I wholeheartedly support), and I have yet to see one sign that says something like: “End the Wars, End our Economic Woes.” Just because I haven’t seen a sign like that doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there, but there couldn’t be that many.
Madison is a town I have been to several times and I enjoy its radicalism and easy-going rhythms. I know it’s also a town steeped in antiwar radicalism, yet I wonder when was the last time that Madison got tens of thousands of people out for an antiwar rally—and when was the last time thousands of Wisconsinites occupied its state building and demanded that the Wisconsin National Guard (and millions of dollars) be brought back from the disastrous war of terror? I am not picking on the dear people of Wisconsin—I AM PICKING ON ALL OF US!
Last March, I called for the same kind of action on the National Mall—camp out and refuse to leave until Obama set a date for complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq—we didn’t even get tens of dozens of people to come out to Camp Out Now, and it’s not really possible to make a stand with about 20 people. Tens of thousands of committed people would have made a difference, twos of tens could not.
MoveOn.org, the amazing anti-Bush and anti-Republican online activist organization that has met few Democratic War Mongers that it didn’t love, is calling for rallies at all 50 state capitol buildings on February 25th—what a bunch of astounding hypocrites that organization has turned out to be—the only reason that MoveOn.org is getting behind the working people is because they know, that like the war in Iraq when Bush was president, this is an issue that can highlight the failures of the Republican Party while conveniently ignoring the fact that, besides take the money of organized labor, the Democrats have done very little in recent memory to elevate the economic and social conditions of the working class in this country. The failure of the economy to work for the working class is systemic–it is not a partisan issue. It’s a class issue—and while Obama gives lip service in support of the cause wherever there is a Republican governor, he’s sending the children of our working class (military recruitment has been Obama’s only successful jobs’ program) to kill the children of the disadvantaged in foreign lands.
It’s the war economy, duh. It’s been widely reported that it costs one million dollars a year to keep one troop deployed in Afghanistan—with about 100, 000 troops currently there, if that immoral misadventure ended tomorrow, that would be a 100 BILLION dollar savings just on troop upkeep!
Wisconsin is facing a 137 million dollar budget deficit—that’s 137 troops. If Obama brought home 137 troops and gave the savings to Wisconsin, that problem would be solved!
Indiana is facing a one billion dollar shortfall for 2012-2014 (they have two year budgetary cycles), and that would mean that 1000 more troops home would solve Indiana’s budgetary crisis.
My own dear state, California, is facing a WHOPPING 26 billion—because we’re a whopping state—Obama, bring home 2600 more troops and fork over the savings to us.
As a matter of fact without listing each state individually, 44 states plus the District of Columbia are in financial crises right now with a projected cumulative short fall of 125 BILLION dollars. Bringing every troop home from Afghanistan, and the remaining troops from Iraq would save 160 billion plus, because the troops are coming home, cancel that 36 billion dollar contract Boeing just received to build 179 tankers for the War Machine. Take the savings and reinvest that money back into the states and a real jobs’ program that isn’t chaired by the King of Outsourcing (Jeff Immelt), and we down here in our stratosphere would be sitting rather prettily.
Our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and friends would be home from the killing deserts and there would be decent paying jobs for them when they returned.
Don’t expect MoveOn.org to connect the dots of war spending with these budget emergencies—a look at the front page of its website mentions nada about wars, except to slam Rummy’s new book, but he’s just a Republican, anyway.