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The Attack on America’s Middle Class, and the Plan to Fight Back
Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 9:00 AM CDT • General Session Hall A
Sen. Al Franken, Lee Saunders, Mary Bell, Mary Kay Henry, Joseph Hansen, Bob Kuttner, Ari Melber

We’re witnessing the fruition of a decades-long plan by conservatives to undercut the progressive movement by destroying its foundation: labor unions. After decades of successfully diminishing the power of private sector unions, the right wing is now coming after public employee unions. From Wisconsin to Ohio, Republicans are taking aim at public sector unions as a means to their political ends. As they attempt to destroy the bedrock of progressive infrastructure, the middle class gets weakened and income disparity continues to grow. After years of playing defense, progressives are ready to take the fight to the other side. Americans of all walks are angry, loud and organized to retain collective bargaining as the bedrock of the middle class and to expand the power of working people. Why are public sector workers bearing the brunt of this attack, and what is next? What will become of the middle class if we are not able to repel conservatives bent on destroying labor unions? How can we continue to fight for workers even as more states try to strip away our right to collectively bargain? And how can progressive activists stand up for and with the middle class against corporations who are attempting to buy our government? Speakers: Sen. Al Franken, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, UFCW President Joseph Hansen and economist Bob Kuttner. Moderated by Ari Melber of The Nation.

7:43 AM PT (Laura Clawson): I kept trying to provide some pieces of Sen. Al Franken's speech, which argued that progressives need to make the case that, far from being conservative, the Republican agenda would bring truly radical change to our society. But it called for more than quick sound-bite transcriptions, so we'll see if the full text is available at some point.

Originally posted to Netroots Nation Live on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 06:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  hopefully someone will diary this! (6+ / 0-)

      With his polling at 29%, Scott sends email to supporters with template for letter praising him...

      June 17, 2011
      Scott launches newspaper writing campaign for himself

      Gov. Rick Scott, the rare statewide politician who doesn't read Florida news, is asking supporters to send a letter to their local newspaper editor praising his work as governor. The letter, of course, would be printed in a paper's editorial section.
      Scott has yet to sit for an interview with any editorial board in the state.

      GOP = Goodluck Old People

      by MartyM on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:28:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pino, GreenSooner

    plan to fight back is to elect "more and better" Democrats.

    /snark for those who haven't had their coffee yet.

    Even the right wing guy on Washington Journal said it this morning: our system is corrupt. It's nothing but legalized bribery.

    •  What we have today is what you get... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...when you spend a decade with "electing more and better Democrats" as your strategy for change.

      How's that workin' out?

      •  Why don't you just go away... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...if you have nothing productive to say?

        This sort of cynical "nothing we do will accomplish anything" crap is helpfully only to the right wing, since it is the right that benefits when progressives (and the population at large) are demoralized.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:37:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hostile, aren't you? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I said what we've been doing hasn't worked.

          How you get "nothing we do will accomplish anything" from that I can't guess, though your commitment to not considering other courses of action in the face of disastrous results is impressive in its own way.

          In fact, nothing demoralizes progressives like objective failure.

          In the face of that objective failure, my response is to try something different.  And I don't have any set answer to what that something different should be (though I do have some ideas). My preference would be to have a serious conversation about what else to try, followed by action to put those ideas in play.

          And we needn't agree on a single course of action.  Working simultaneously on many parallel tracks, all heading to the same goal is a great idea. Let a hundred flowers bloom!

          But a dogmatic insistence that we keep doing what we've been doing in the past?  Or the insistence that anyone who evaluates the results of those efforts needs to STFU?

          That's the ultimate in cynicism. And I want no part of that attitude.

      •  Slow but Sure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's working as expected. Corrupt corporate controlled representatives are being replaced, with more progressive candidates.
        This is no B$ right easy fix lie, this is real politics, real work and a real community effort to rebuild the political landscape.
        It took decades for corrupt corporations to take over the primaries and fill them full of lying, deceitful, disingenuous, pseudo religious, con artists only interested in lining their own pockets. It will take years to kick them out one by one, each and every rotten to the core one of them.
        Open progressive politics and a shared effort across the internet is defining the new peoples political expression and it is working, and working really well at a to be expected pace.
        No silly overnight fix but a real 'progressive' effort.

        •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

          Become part of the solution, but always understand that real change takes time, lots of it.

          An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere - Mark Twain.

          by AreDeutz on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 09:18:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here's where I disagree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          It's working as expected. Corrupt corporate controlled representatives are being replaced, with more progressive candidates.

          I simply think that's factually inaccurate.

          Democrats were and are less bad than Republicans. So things things get bad less quickly under Democrats than under Republicans.

          But is the Senate Democratic Caucus (or the House Democratic Caucus) better today than it was in 1993 or in 2001?  I'm not convinced it is.

          I think Congresspeople--including Democrats in Congress--are even more under the sway of monied interests than they've been in the past.

          I agree that it will take time to solve our political problems. There are no quick fix solutions.

          But we need to be able to distinguish between slow progress and treading water in the middle of a flood.

          •  here's a quick fix. Political campaign funding. (0+ / 0-)

            Use public funds to give every single person who runs for office a set amount of money--and that's it.  No funds from any other source.  Otherwise, they're all bought and paid for.

            "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - Ronald Reagan - 1980

            by livjack on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:56:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's what conservatives want us to believe... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There's nothing that they'd like more than to see progressives and grass roots people abandon the political process by convincing us that the system is corrupt and we can't make a difference.

      At that point, only those with money will be left to run things, and they'll have won.

      The fact that we've not managed to achieve our entire agenda in just four years (going back to when the Dems took control of the House and Senate) doesn't make the plan to elect "more and better" Democrats a failure.  We have made progress, albeit not as much or as fast as most of us had hoped for.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:40:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Jed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, historys mysteries

    Great coverage again this morning. The Feature box even updated for Saturday!! :)

    Bummer though. I have to do some stuff and then leave 'til about 1:30 mtn time.

    I noticed at nn dot org it said the videos will be archived, so those of us who miss them can catch them later.

    Another good one is going to be today at 3PM CDT

    Stream here

    The State of Daily Kos in the DK4 Era

    Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 3:00 PM CDT • L100 AB

    (2PM Mtn, 4PM ET)

    Markos Moulitsas, Victoria Campbell, Claude Hayward, Elaine Lindelef, Will Rockafellow

    Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas, with the help of key staff, will present a report on the transition of Daily Kos to its new DK4 platform and share the results of that transition.

    America is so not like her hype.

    by OLinda on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:02:27 AM PDT

  •  PATCO (4+ / 0-)

    Letting Reagan destroy the air controllers was the first mistake--not calling general strikes by municipal unions is the last one.  This is our line in the sand--get a coalition of municipal workers and social security recipients to disrupt everything.  Just playing politics puts us in their court--their citizens united court--their supreme court.  Either use your muscles now, or the atrophy is permanent.

    This is done in Europe--with the additional help of college students.  The right wing is traitorous, it denies obvious facts to make short term profit.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:06:25 AM PDT

    •  The (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      first mistake was electing a CIA head to the vice-presidency.

      Reagan was the good hair front piece.

    •  Good analysis (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melvynny, rlharry, Siri, barkingcat, Limelite

      The Reich wing has the $$ and the pols, we have the people. The people though are easily manipulated and divided and that's what they're doing. Its hard to convince a private non-union worker making min. wage with no benes to march to protect the nice salary , health benefits and pension of a cop, firemen, teacher etc.  

      "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

      by Blutodog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:17:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   We don't even know who to fight (5+ / 0-)

        this "Reich wing" stuff completely misses the point, IMO.  The enemy is as much President "I'll Stand With Unions" Obama and the Democratic party as it is Republican and Corporate America.

        Freezing the pay of federal workers is an attack on the middle class.  Extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is an attack on the middle class.  Promoting union-busting charter schools is an attack on the middle class.  Promoting deficit cutting measures over stimulus in a time of economic uncertainty is an attack on the idle class.

        We will never win this war until we recognize that the enemy is both within and outside of our movement.  Failing to turn our anger against Obama and Democrats ho are aided and abetting the larger enemy of money, power, and Corporatist rule is misguided and dangerous.

        •  partially correct (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Limelite, pino

          You're gonna get HRed for this--unjustly.  Dkos is also part of the problem--you don't blindly support a party while doing election coverage--you don't back shitty Dems--as was done in NC --even though 5 Dems overrode the Perdue veto.

          This site allows people to vent their anger--better it be vented in the streets--better this site coordinate when, and where, to hit the streets.  America--the land of the free and the brave--is quickly becoming the land of the rich and the corporation.  Quickly becoming the land of poverty for the majority.  Quickly becoming the land of infant mortality.

          Obama has not helped--but, in his defense, his base has not pushed Dems further left.  As a minority person, Obama tried to ruffle as few feathers as possible--he needed a point man--and a fair press.   He needed his supporters to be in the streets--as the right wing nuts supplied for their "cause."

          We're all guilty--Obama isn't Christ--and we weren't apostles. Now I too will get a troll rating.  Didn't want you to be sitting in the corner alone.

          Apres Bush, le deluge.

          by melvynny on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:20:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I largely agree with your comments (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            except for the comment about Obama's base.  I don't know about you, but I was "in the streets" on HCR along with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of other progressives around the country.  I stood there with 200 pro-Public Option supporters in my small, right wing town while the Tea Party mobilized 300+ some of whom were literally armed.

            We were collectively thrown under the bus by Obama on HCR from the get go. His refusal to fight was evident at the start when he referred to Grassley as his good friend immediately after Grassley jumped on the death panel bus.  Obama should have called him a liar, pure and simple.  He should have drawn a line in the sand and beat back the bullshit the right has thrown at him, but instead he chose to live in his little post-partisan fantasy world while the rest of us got our asses kicked.

            It is a leader's responsibility to marshal his base and rally the masses.  For God's sake, GWB did it and he was a blundering idiot.  The problem isn't "turnout" nor Obama's base.  The problem is that Obama has utterly failed to lead.

            The bulk of Americans are less left or right, conservative or liberal and instead searching for a leader willing to stand up and fight for them. Sadly, that leader is not President Obama.

            In my opinion, Obama has now lost a large party of his base.  I attended a confirmation ceremony at synagogue in  a nearby town last night.  I know no one but the confirmation and her family.  At the reception afterward, I mingled with the 100+ guests in attendance and the topic invariably turned to politics with virtually everyone repeating the same refrain.  "I campaigned vigorously in '08 for Obama, I'll vote for him in '12, but I'm not lifting a finger in support this time around".  And they were quite clear that this sentiment had nothing to do with Israel or the Middle East, it had everything to do with Obama's selling out his base.

            I've heard the same from countless progressives and Dems on the campus of a local private college.  Obama's base, his strongest supporters and most ardent campaigners in '08 feel utterly betrayed.

            Should Obama lose in '12, it will not be because of the right wing monsters, nor the MSM, nor anything to do with his base.  It will be because of his lack of fight and leadership.

        •  We are in a class war (0+ / 0-)

          and I hope Senator Franken acknowledges this.  It's not the middle class alone that is losing, it's 98% of us.  

          But since his capitulation on the Obama tax cut extension, I doubt if he sees it that way.  I wouldn't know for sure, because I asked to be taken off his email list.  

          Brokn finger. Harder to pick ,\my nose. Typing is about the same.

          by Nada Lemming on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:34:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  British union leader stands firm (0+ / 0-)
  •  The intro asks: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Siri, TexasTom

    "Why are public sector workers bearing the brunt of this attack, and what is next?"

    Well, because the public sector is the only one left with decent benefits and pay.

    IMO, the progressives need to convince the rest of the workers [people who work for a paycheck], that unionization is crucial.  Sure, support the public workers, but we really need to be casting a much wider net.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:16:58 AM PDT

    •  The (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, Siri

      workers just voted down unionizing Target on Long Island NY. And the vote wasn't even close, 137-85.

      •  oy. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:30:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, what (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Siri, Nada Lemming

        a bunch of idiots.  They were getting all of 8 cent raises.

        Geez, in the '70s when I worked at a restaurant at minimum wage, they gave us 10 and 20 cent raises.

        I suppose it's somewhat of a victory that a group is even considering unionizing and managed to bring the matter to a vote.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:49:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Because That's Where the Unions Are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      The War on the Middle Class is a perception of one phase of the real war, which is the War on the New Deal.   Republicans and their corporate allies want to totally dismantle all the liberal politico-social change from that time.

      The era before Roosevelt was an era of thuggery against unions, the absence of workers' rights, no SS, no medical coverage for the aged, no minimum wage, no regulation of trade, finance, and business (to speak of), and no civil rights guarantees of equality.

      The Republicans wish to return this country to that just plain "no" era -- backed and funded by corporatist culture which will be the sole beneficiaries.  The goal here is to return to the "good old days" when the country's unofficial motto was, "What's good for General Motors is good for America."

      The only change will be that the motto will be slightly altered to "What's good for investment banks is good for America."

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:35:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "investment bankers" (0+ / 0-)

        don't even care what happens to their employer.

        Remember Lehman Brothers and Bear, Stearns?

        I believe if it hadn't been for Uncle Sam, all the investment banks that existed in Reagan's era would have been history.

  •  Franken can do (0+ / 0-)

    better than this.  Whoever wrote this for him didn't take into account that he is speaking to an intelligent audience that deserves better than this tired offering.

  •  Great talk by Bob Kuttner!! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people. Noam Chomsky

    by willkath on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:51:07 AM PDT

  •  Can't we all just golf together? (0+ / 0-)

    That's all the fucking media is talking about this morning--the big golf match! What a load of crap. I wish Obama had told Boner he couldn't golf with the union-busting governor of Ohio. But really, everything's fine with our 700 overseas military bases and gutted middle class!

    •  If you want to be the story... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming a bigger story.

      I'm listening to these two folks from Wisconsin talk about the way in which they've used social media and I keep thinking: as impressive as Wisconsin has been, we should be looking at Tunis and Cairo, not Madison.

      Otherwise, when "we" win it's 2009; when "we" lose it's 2011.

      Now 2009 is marginally better than 2011, but it ain't enough to stop climate change or prevent the collapse of the middle class.

  •  The "Change to Win" video that was recently shown (0+ / 0-)

    was great.

    Is that online anywhere?

    I'd love to share it - simple, straight-forward and succinct. If it hasn't gone viral already (I could've missed it), then it needs to...that was ~GREAT~!

  •  sidebar: credit default swaps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming, SingleVoter

    Mark C. Brickell is an influential leader in the derivatives industry.

    He worked at JP Morgan Securities for nearly 25 years, and was present when credit default swaps were first conceived at a bankers' retreat in Florida in 1994.

    As the chief lobbyist for the derivatives industry, in 1994 Brickell led an effort to defeat legislation proposed by Congressman Jim Leach (R-IA) that would have regulated the OTC derivatives industry. Leach proposed the legislation after his staff produced a 900-page study on the market. Other members of the House of Representatives, including Henry B. Gonzalez and Edward Markey (D-MA), supported regulation of the derivatives industry.
    In his book Infectious Greed, author Frank Partnoy, who was interviewed by "60 Minutes" in October 2008, recounts the battle over the 1994 legislation, which Brickell and the derivatives industry won.
    In 2003, President Bush nominated Mark Brickell to become the chief regulator at OHFEO (over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) when Armando Falcon resigned after releasing his prescient 2003 study on systemic GSE risk.

    Newsweek, "The Monster That Ate Wall Street: How 'credit default swaps'—an insurance against bad loans—turned from a smart bet into a killer."

    JPMorgan was the first bank to make a big bet on credit default swaps. It built up a "swaps" desk in the mid-'90s and hired young math and science grads from schools like MIT and Cambridge to create a market for the complex instruments.
    They're called "Off-Site Weekends"—rituals of the high-finance world in which teams of bankers gather someplace sunny to blow off steam and celebrate their successes as Masters of the Universe. Think yacht parties, bikini models, $1,000 bottles of Cristal. One 1994 trip by a group of JPMorgan bankers to the tony Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida has become the stuff of Wall Street legend—though not for the raucous partying (although there was plenty of that, too).
    Holed up for most of the weekend in a conference room at the pink, Spanish-style resort, the JPMorgan bankers were trying to get their heads around a question as old as banking itself: how do you mitigate your risk when you loan money to someone? By the mid-'90s, JPMorgan's books were loaded with tens of billions of dollars in loans to corporations and foreign governments, and by federal law it had to keep huge amounts of capital in reserve in case any of them went bad. But what if JPMorgan could create a device that would protect it if those loans defaulted, and free up that capital?

    What the bankers hit on was a sort of insurance policy: a third party would assume the risk of the debt going sour, and in exchange would receive regular payments from the bank, similar to insurance premiums. JPMorgan would then get to remove the risk from its books and free up the reserves. The scheme was called a "credit default swap," and it was a twist on something bankers had been doing for a while to hedge against fluctuations in interest rates and commodity prices.

    163 days since the Republicans took the majority of House of Representatives and still no jobs bill. Instead they put forth a budget that ends Medicare, making seniors pay more for less, and gave Big Oil tax subsidies. ~ Rep. Nancy Pelosi

    by anyname on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:04:54 AM PDT

  •  Jerry Brown has always been, to put it kindly... (0+ / 0-)

    ...a little "beyond left and right."

    Although his political style has always been post-New Left, his policies of hardly been consistently progressive.

    He supported Prop 13 in the 1970s.

    It says more about his party than his values that he was the candidate of the democratic wing of the Democratic Party in 1992.

    There's nothing necessarily particularly progressive about moonbeams.

  •  People {should} matter more than Profits (0+ / 0-)

    This is what Worker Dignity looks like ... from the woman who forged FDR's New Deal
    by jamess -- Jun 17, 2011

    1935 Social Security Act Announced by FDR

    Got Time?
    Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

    by jamess on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:10:20 AM PDT

  •  attack ... fight (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know, folks. Is this the right metaphor to use here?

    I personally have heard so much war metaphor in politics that frankly, I tend to tune it out regardless of its source or content.

    I tend to think of what's going on as more as extortion or bunco. “Our plans to protect the middle class from right-wing swindles” or something along those lines would be at least as compelling and more accurate, I think.


  •  Where ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    is this generation's Wellstone?

    WHO speak for Workers, in the age of Corporations First?

    Got Time?
    Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

    by jamess on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:13:28 AM PDT

    •  It ain't (0+ / 0-)

      anyone in office now.  

      Thanks for the video.  I'm weeping a bit about what we actually lost in that plane crash.  

      I have a picture in my office of my wife and sone hanging on Paul like he was a long lost uncle.  And he loved that.  

      I now know who I'm writing in for president.  It won't be 'none of above'.  

      Brokn finger. Harder to pick ,\my nose. Typing is about the same.

      by Nada Lemming on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:47:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Newton Leroy Gingrich: Republicans’ Brilliant (0+ / 0-)

    ... Brainiac is a Bust!

    Maybe we shouldn’t be lending any credence to Newt Gingrich’s presidential “campaign,” such that it is, but who in the right-wing carousal should we regard as more serious?  It’s hard to know which Republican buffoon has entitled himself or herself to more pedantic disrepute from one day to the next, and until the whole field of presidential…


    Waging a "War on Ignorance" ...

    by heycoachb on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:22:52 AM PDT

  •  Democrats are helping Republicans do this! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    I am angry as all hell.  Why is Sweeney, the head of the Democratic Party in NJ legislature, helping Christie to gut collective bargaining!

    Yes, it's time for people to fight back but don't count on the Democratic Party to help you.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:22:59 AM PDT

  •  no fight w/out an organized challenge to RW radio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    as long as the left has NO organized response to the right's most effective weapon, the difference maker the last 20 years, the reason for the monumental hypocrisies highlighted by wiener most recently, it's going to be same old shit.

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:29:36 AM PDT

  •  where's labor's response to limbaugh and sons, who (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    have been the most effective weapon against unions the las t 20 years?

    the biggest stations in every state, while they are endorsed by our largest universities through sports broadcasting, blast anti union , anti teacher and public ed, and anti public workers all day (leeches, scum, bottom feeders, lazy, thieves)  and NO ONE GETS IN THEIR FACE.

    there is NO organized response from the left to the most effective reality altering propaganda tool the country has ever seen.

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:34:49 AM PDT

  •  Unions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    Unionize every area of the economy. It is the only way to win. If we had general strikes, European-syle, they would listen. Progressive entrepeneurs should support this, or there won't be any but very few Americans that can afford to buy products or services. Right now, the poor can't pay the absurd cost of television programming. The corporations are strangling the goose that laid the golden egg, by paying workers(service, manufacturing, health care) less than their value, just to increase profits short-term. Without a market, what happens?

  •  What is bad is the belief (0+ / 0-)

    that the middle class is the one who should take the beating when making economic and legal adjustments.

    We need to get better value for our trillions.

    You shouldn't pay as much per person if 20% more pill poppers are on Medicare Part D. By that time, about 50% more people around the world will have American level incomes. Cut the American per person prices/payouts by 30%, for a 10% net savings.

    Don't pay a hospital the same per patient rate if 20% more Medicare patients are there. Cut the rates by 15% in gradual and modest steps of 1% a year because capital costs should have been fixed by 2011.

    Even if life expectancy rises, that doesn't mean each person is going to get that much more care.

    I may get cancer at 93 instead of 85 because of a less toxic environment made possible by government regulation.

    I will merely get cut, zapped, and chemotherapy eight years later in life.

    There might be eight more years to earn a return on Medicare tax money. If a normal return on money is 5%, the  compounded return is over 40%. That 40%+ would easily pay for 20% more Medicare recipients.

    If I was to live to 140, that would mean 5% returns compounded for 50 more years. If people lived to 140, it might be possible to cut Medicare taxes in half.

  •  394 viewers (0+ / 0-)

    I shudder to imagine the "Middle Class" viewership numbers of the Kardashian's latest exploits.

    Or for that matter - CNN's.

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 12:31:38 PM PDT

  •  What is the "middle class" actually? (0+ / 0-)

    If ya do a Google Search or a Bing'll get just a bunch of links about what exactly the "middle class" is.

    I've seen it being people above those that pay no income taxes (the 47% that don't) and I've seen a myriad lists of income levels and I've seen it being totally gone (from one site that is pretty much liberal/progressive...gotta love 'em).

    I think the "middle class" label is pretty nebulous, to be honest.  Kinda depends on what you WANT it to mean..for most folks.

    To me?  It means not anyone below the poverty level and not anyone that realizes a net income...note: NET...of over $250,000.  I say that because I realize far more than $250.000 in actual gross revenue in household, but after taxes and so forth, I don't have ANY WHERE NEAR that.

    I consider myself in the middle class.  And, yes, I realize there aren't many of us left...I may not be in that in the upcoming years...but, sure hope I maintain it.

    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 12:43:34 PM PDT

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