Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey gave a speech today in his state, citing his fellow Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin who are working very hard to fulfill the Tea Party “mandate” to cut the size of government and the deficit – by destroying unions and public service workers right to collective bargaining.
Gov. Christie: “In Wisconsin and Ohio, they have decided there can no longer be two classes of citizens: one that receives rich health and pension benefits, and all the rest who are left to pay for them.”
Let’s look at what is happening in Wisconsin that is causing the governor, Scott Walker to take such extreme actions. It is the deficit that everyone has been talking about, and states, like the federal government, are having problems managing and handling their debt. Gov. Walker talks about his states $137 million state deficit, but he won’t talk about the $117 million he gave to corporations and big business in tax breaks.
Now back to this “two classes of citizens” Gov. Christie was talking about. Yes, there are two classes of citizens in this country, at the very least. And they broadly can be defined as the ultra rich, and the working poor. The economic recession that has cost millions of people their jobs, working class families losing their homes, their retirement plans, their savings – these are the people that, although they had nothing to do with the economic collapse directly – are being hurt by it. The recession was caused by deregulation and catering to the whims of Wall Street and big bank executives who actually made money off the recession. There is a class of people in this country who thrive on greed, and won’t be sated until the government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has been privatized. And Republicans, with the help of spineless Democrats, are all too happy to help them.
But, Gov. Christie, the way to solve the class problem in America is not by taking away the rights of working class people to unionize and fight for fair pay and benefits – it is to stop battle axing taxes for the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations, it is to seek and stand up for regulations that help the American people and the environment, because obviously, profit-driven businesses aren’t going to take responsibility to do it themselves, no matter how much you think the market is going to regulate itself. The BP gulf oil spill last spring is a perfect example of how the market does NOT regulate itself. That is why we have a government – to protect the people from tyranny. Except now, the tyranny is not a foreign monarch – it is the bloated, war mongering, profit-crazed vampiric corporations that take tax payer money in subsidies (corporate welfare), outsource every job they possibly can, and lobby incessantly for lower taxes, more subsidies and less regulation. (Also on funding “grassroots” movements like the Tea Party).
The GOP and the Tea Party celebrated their taking of the House of Representatives in November as a populist mandate for change in our government – is this the change that the American people asked for? Republican politicians threatening to slash unemployment benefits, social security, medicare, education, the EPA, public broadcasting and Planned Parenthood while continuing to spend billions in Iraq (Mission Accomplished??), millions in handouts to corporations whose profits are already skyrocketing, and tax cuts to the richest 1%?
No it is not. But it is the change the CEO’s asked for, and they, unlike the government, are not elected and are not (supposed to be) working for the benefit of the American people.