Op Ed News: The Republican Hate Narrative Against Public Employees and Unions

February 20, 2011- Let's face it: Rich Republicans hate government workers. Actually, they hate all union workers too. For example, let's take a close look at the state of Wisconsin, where multi-millionaire Governor Scott Walker is attempting to end collective bargaining while increasing the cost of state employees' health care and pensions plans to the tune of $137 million. Why? In part the answer is to pay for the $140 million tax break he gave last month to the largest corporations, including that anti-union stalwart, Wal-Mart. But it is also fueled by his hatred of public employees and unions. And he is not alone. Scott's move to crush the unions and further demonize state workers is, of course, also heartily endorsed by fellow multi-millionaire Speaker of the House John Boehner, who released a statement commending Walker for "daring to speak the truth about the dire fiscal challenges Americans face at all levels of government."

The truth? Really? The only truth Boehner recognizes is how many Benjamins it takes to buy his well-tanned rich man's complicity in the largest budget scam ever perpetrated against the American worker.

Cutting spending on all federal programs that promote the public good while cutting federal and state jobs during the Great Recession will do nothing more than put a small dent in the deficit while significantly deepening the divide between the have's and have nots. It will also make our neighborhoods less secure and our schools less capable, as well as rob all of us who give a damn about a quality of life and the chance at an even playing field of our due.

These two notions-public access and a level playing field-are central to the American Dream. Both enabled by free access to good schools, public parks, and libraries, as well as to real news and information that is now pretty much limited to what we get from NPR and PBS. And need I mention that for many working people, the power of unions and the tools of collective bargaining are all that we have to leverage against the rich and oppressive.

Why must these programs be cut? Because millionaires don't tax other millionaires. And, according to an investigative report in Mother Jones and verified by Forbes , billionaires pay them to make sure it stays that way. In Wisconsin's case, those billionaires are the Koch Brothers.

I guess it is my bad to express any surprise. After all, Boehner is a guy who claims to be proud of his working class roots but shows no empathy for the unemployed, including his own brother. The Koch Brothers fund the Tea Party-whose working class members ought to now realize how cynically they are being used-in order to disrupt and dismantle government.


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