Winds of political change are sweeping across America. High stakes games of political “chicken” are unfolding.
“The Great Recession and its aftermath are entering a new phase in the United States, which could bring even more severe assaults on the living standards and basic rights of ordinary people than we have experienced thus far. This is because a wide swath of the country’s policy- and opinion-making elite have singled out public sector workers—including schoolteachers, healthcare workers, police officers and firefighters—as well as their unions and even their pensions as deadweight burdens sapping the economy’s vitality.”
The article points out that the recession was caused by Wall Street hyper-speculation, not the pay scales of elementary school teachers or public hospital nurses.
“Nonetheless, a rising chorus of commentators charge that public sector workers are overpaid relative to employees in comparable positions in the private sector. The fact that this claim is demonstrably false appears not to matter. Instead, the attacks are escalating.”
What has happened to the art of political compromise? Why do so many politicians point fingers of blame instead of engaging in dialogue dedicated to seeking solutions? Wouldn’t that be the fair and responsible thing to do for all constituents? Who’s interests are some elected politicians really representing? What do you think?
Wisconsin has become a battleground for collective bargaining rights this month. Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial proposal to trim benefits and curtail collective-bargaining rights for many of the state’s unionized workers has sparked massive protests and counter-protests.
Walker says Wisconsin’s budget deficit is the reason behind his move to do away with collective bargaining for state workers.
Ezra Klein asks why Gov. Walker called a special session of the Wisconsin legislature and signed two business tax breaks and a conservative health-care policy experiment that lowers overall tax revenues an estimated $120 million over the next two fiscal years.
Walker’s new legislation was not offset which means it turns a projected budget surplus into a deficit. Brian Beutler writes, “public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda.”
In Washington,The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure early Saturday that lops $61 billion from President Barack Obama’s proposed budget.
The move was vehemently opposed by Senate Democrats and Mr. Obama. According to House Appropriations Committee records, it would be the biggest one-shot cut in discretionary spending in history.
Senate Democrats proposed cutting $41 billion from the 2011 budget. Using this same math, the House Republicans’ bill would cut spending by $100 billion for the 2011 fiscal year. Both sides are about $60 billion apart.
Defense spending continues to have a major impact on the federal budget. After only modest increases in the late 1990s, spending on national defense, according to the White House budget released last week, more than doubled from fiscal year 2001 to 2009 — with the nation fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and is expected to reach $768 billion this year. In fiscal 2001, there was a $143 billion surplus; this fiscal year, a deficit of $1.6 trillion is projected
At the moment, our federal government is funded through a stopgap spending measure that expires on March 4. If the government does shutdown, it could delay Social Security payments, tax refunds and veterans payments.