Your Grandchild’s Income

Right now, the GOP is hard at work making life harder and less pleasant for your grandchildren. Maybe you should do something about that.

We’re all familiar with the union-busting bill foisted by Republicans on the people of Wisconsin using the budget smoke screen. There are a number of similar bills pending in other states. Republicans are also debating how to include anti-union clauses in various federal bills. This is all in addition to inaccurate and misleading smear campaigns directed by a number of shell organizations representing the wealthy and Republicans.

The contrast between Walmart and Costco is instructive in a discussion of unions. Costco has allowed unions. Walmart has fought against worker organization tooth and nail. Costco’s boss earns about $350,000; Walmart’s $35-million, a hundred times more.

Walmart has a long history of abuse of its workers. There have been many lawsuits, for wages, sex discrimination, unpaid overtime, and more. Attempts to unionize have been met with force, and workers who make the attempt have been summarily fired. Management treats employees as adversaries, enemies in their midst, and has cheated them whenever it could.

Costco is known for treating their employees right, with decent pay and bennies. The boss’s pay says a lot. This is not to say that Costco is faultless. Costco has faced lawsuits too, just not as many, and not as maddening. They do not treat their employees as enemies to be intimidated and subdued.

Republicans use the pay of public employees to bolster their point that unions are evil. They claim that these employees earn more than workers in private industry, and therefore they should not have the right to bargain. It’s not so, and it does not follow that the right to negotiate should be denied. When workers of equal classification and experience are compared, public employees earn about the same or a little less. Losing the right to union representation inevitably results in lower wages and poorer working conditions because without it management can simply do whatever pleases them. And they will.

The present economic mess was not brought down on us by people working at their wage jobs. It was brought down on us by people with far more money than anyone needs, and the Republican politicians beholden to them, who labor under the illusion that the great wealth of the top one percent of us somehow supports the general wellbeing of the country. It does not.

The economic health of the country rises and falls with the fortunes of working families. That is so because tax revenue comes from working families, not the very wealthy, and certainly not the giant corporations that do everything possible to avoid paying their taxes. Ironically, when the workers are affluent, the rich are also better off. Money does not trickle down; it percolates up. We are in great difficulty right now, not from the inflated wages that union workers supposedly earn, but from the high rate of unemployment caused by very wealthy bankers and the low taxes paid by the rich and corporations.

Tax revenue, and the fate of the country, can only be negatively affected by limiting or disallowing the workers of the country to bargain fairly. And this precious right to organize and be represented, the only defense against those with all the power and money, is under assault everywhere by the party of the rich.

If we want to protect the future for our grandchildren, now is the time to let our government representatives know we must preserve our right to represent ourselves against the interests of the very wealthy who would control our lives.

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