Recent news from Wisconsin and Ohio show a growing willingness of people to draw together to speak out against what they perceive as injustice and a denial of democracy. The issues are somewhat misrepresented in the larger media siding with the New Republican Governor’s wanting to take away the rights of public employee union members to use collective bargaining. It is alleged that this action is necessary to balance their budget.
This move by state Republicans in Wisconsin and Ohio calls into question the validity of unions. Unions over the last century have performed a necessary function of advocating for workers rights including their right to share in the prosperity created by their labor. Since Ronald Reagan we have seen a decline in union membership in the private sector and now it seems there is an outright attack on public employee unions.
Regardless of how you might feel about the issue or the actions of the Governor, the legislature, or public employees you have to take note of how this issue signals the fact that our system of governance appears to be breaking down. I believe we have seen our electoral process taken over by powerful moneyed interests that give us policy makers who represent the narrow interests of those who paid for the election.
This is in part due to the changes resulting from the Supreme Court ‘Citizen’s United” decision to allow Corporations to enter into funding of campaigns at all levels. It also has to do to with what has been happening to our democracy over the last 30 years. Policy makers for whatever reason have gradually created a country where those with the most money can influence government to protect their interests. Jacob S. Hacker in his recent book Winner Take All Politics does a good job explaining how this came about. I highly recommend it.
It is my contention that not only is this ethically wrong but economically it is a very bad plan for government as I believe it will further weaken our economy and destabilize our society. For this reason I intend to continue my blog to address this issue and make the case for the notion so well expressed by former Senator Wellstone that, “We all do better when all do better.”
It is true, I believe in economics and in our community life together and we are a better society we keep this notion in mind.