We are still in what many call the Great Recession. Banks are still scared to lend money, companies are afraid to hire new workers as many of them are still in the process of cutting their labor. The states are cutting their budgets and are taking aim at federal employees and workers who most likely live paycheck to paycheck.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has created a campaign focused on balancing the budget
by eliminating many of the workers’ collective bargaining rights, now leaving them to only discuss their wages. After the workers of Wisconsin agreed to take cuts in their wages, pension and pay for more of their health care out-of-pocket, the governor and local corporations decided to lock workers out of further labor discussions. Because of the publicity Walker got, other governors are looking to follow suit. The question still remains if this will help or hurt the GOP politically come 2012.
These may be fair things to ask of our fire-fighters, policemen, teachers and other workers but why lock them out of the capitol over issues that deal with their livelihoods? Why not even give workers the right to collectively bargain for their conditions in their work place (especially those who risk their lives for us everyday and those who deal with the bad ass kids that some parents just want out of their face and in someone else’s hands)?
Just because people have the right to collectively bargain does not entail that they will take full advantage of it, but it remains as a safety-net in cases of company abuse and intentional neglect. Are there unions that take advantage of their rights, ask for too much and hurt company’s bottom lines thus hurting employment? Of course. But that shouldn’t mean we have to disband them all-together. Under that logic, companies should be run by the American worker because of the ethical abuses and cheating that go on in multinational corporation settings. The problem is greed, no matter which side it comes from.
Pension and health care cuts are arguable issues if we want to change the culture of the workforce for the next generations and work towards fiscal spending in the years to come, but to take away from what the last generation has paid into after being promised their benefits is low. Very reminiscent of “40 acres and a mule.”
Sure, in a time when we are suffering at all budgetary levels, cuts need to be made, but the handling of these cuts are suspicious to say the least. These people are adults, they should be treated as such.
All of these issues are a part of American politics. And politics comprises negotiation. Both sides will have to give up things that they expected, but this economy seems very lopsided to me, especially when our issue is Washington spending and not just the kind that goes on at home; I mean the near $4 trillion we are spending on these limitless wars.
Taxes are at a 60-year low (revenue-makers), the average worker is making less today than twenty years ago, Congress won’t budge to increase the debt ceiling and income inequality in this country is on par with countries Egypt and Cameroon. One-thousand teachers have been laid-off in the city of Chicago alone and more cuts to the nation’s teacher are sure to follow. Oil prices are a dollar and change higher than this time last year.
We have entered a time where we must live within our means. It’s difficult to see this turning out positively in the short-term in a culture that is defined by consumption and materialism. My generation was always told about how great the country of America is (which it still is), but you don’t become great just by saying so. We have to work at it because losing our freedoms can always be just a day away. My generation was the last generation who grew up under the old logic of Americanism. Now it’s time to teach our kids about the new American way however tough that may/will be.
To tell us to live within our means is to take away something that makes us American. We really have little choice now. But for the government to tell us to live within our means when they have a perpetual spending problem is the biggest slap in the face.