LaFollette would be Proud
It is with great interest that I am following the struggle in Wisconsin. The Republican Governor, Scott Walker, has decided to break the Unions and deprive them of their rights to collective bagaining so he can solve the State's economic woes on the back of workers who have organized and won adequate wages and conditions of work over the years. It has turned into a great struggle reminiscent of the labour and feminist struggles against the corporations and robber barons.
This video should get your get your juices flowing. It certainly makes my heart pump harder. Don't you just love old labour and feminist songs.! We need to remember the strength and courage of women in the early struggles for unions. Sing on Woody Guthrie!
It seems progressives, in Wisconsin, at least, have mustered the courage to confront those who would take people's rights away. Perhaps, it will spread across America in the face of the laissez-faire true believers in trickle down economics and the amassing of wealth with the few. Their mantra to all economic concerns is "NO TAXES!" It seems they want a country that "others" should pay for. Two American wars have been fought on credit cards, which was insane from the beginning. If the country was at risk, special taxes should have been raised to defend it. Instead taxes have been lowered for the rich at all levels of government. The United States now has a massive national debt as well as many States and cities unable to meet their financial needs. Unbelieveably we still hear the call for cutting taxes to create jobs. This does not work. The rich just pocket their money. If government really wanted to stimulate the economy they should give everyone who makes less than $20,000 a year a grant of $10,000. They will spend it all at the retail level.
Our Conservative government in Canada which tries to emulate the conservatives in the US at every possible opportunity reduced the sales tax when they came to power, even though their was not great lobby for this.At the time, Canada had had a decade of deficit free government and even a program to gradually reducing the debt, thanks to a Liberal government. If this ideological tax reduction had not happened Canada might have come through the recession without creating the debt we now have accumulated under this government.
Those who oppose taxes at all cost claim to be conservatives. I will never understand why it is not still a conservative principle to "pay your way" in life and not to make other pay for you. You still hear conservatives grumbling about the poor who are getting social assistance without working for it ;and yet, they want, at the same time, to have a country for which they do not have to pay .They expect those on the lower social economic level to pay for it by cutting services that they need. As for liberals, they should willingly , through taxes, pay for programs and services of the government that are essential and important. Taxes pay the bills. We should not count on finding efficiencies in governement to balance the books. It goes without saying government should always be looking to operate efficiently after all they are spending our money and not their own.
"Taxes" is not a dirty word. It is what makes our government and country work for the benefit of all. I was always taught that paying taxes was a privilege we should be proud to fulfill for they pay for us to live in one of the best countries in the World (as a modest Canadian, I would not call Canada, "the best", but I do know by almost all measures it is better than the United States, which lays claim to being the best. This makes one smile at the blind audacity of their claim)
The other principle of taxation is "everyone should pay according to his means." The rich have an obligation to pay more because they have reaped the most benefits from the country and proportionately find it less of a hardship.
The United States, particularly Wisconsin has a proud progressive history, which many seem to have forgotten. One of the great Progressives was Robert M. LaFollette, Sr , from Wisconsin. He was a Republican when to be one was to be a progressive. LaFollette's spirit is alive in the streets of Madison. Americans seem to have forgotten this great tradition along with so much of it's socially progressive history. It is time to renew this tradition and resist all those who think that you can live on a credit card indefinitely or make others do without necessary government services so the very rich can get even richer. This road leads to a disaster, a country built on the backs of many for the benefit of a few. The current struggles in the Middle East are the end result. These countries are facing an economic struggle, a struggle for basic services and rights not a religious stuggle as some would have us believe. They are a warning to all governments.
Serve the People!