THERE’S A campaign not so quietly growing in volume, with Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh the loudest, that has Republicans having a hissy fit over Obama’s proposed tax increases for the wealthiest. Rush is using the Santa Claus line, a take off on O’Reilly’s people want stuff belch, but both are focused on making people believe that entitlements are evil, with O’Reilly’s campaign stating falsely that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make this country “weak.” Juxtaposed against this is a union coalition ad campaign that defends the importance of safety net programs, while emphasizing that growth is the only answer, which begins with jobs, but also education.
The campaign against WalMart on Black Friday, which Joyce has been writing about, was the target Tuesday on Fox News Channel, as Stuart Varney did his best to make a striking worker representative in a phone interview feel guilty for standing up for better pay and benefits at the megastore.
Part of why the recent actions are so remarkable is that Wal-Mart is one of the most notoriously anti-union companies in the country. Based in right-to-work Arkansas, the retailer has maintained an almost entirely union-free workforce for most of its existence, even once resorting to shutting down a store in Quebec shortly after a successful union drive there. The company has never before dealt with coordinated labor protest on this scale. “In the past, Wal-Mart would fire people, would threaten people … and that would be enough to stop people in their tracks,” said Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, another organization backed by the UFCW which works closely with OUR Walmart. “The difference now is workers are using Wal-Mart’s own tactics to challenge the company and not backing down. Really, for the first time in Wal-Mart’s history, the tools that are used to keep people silent and under control are now being used against them. That’s significant.” – Wal-Mart: Always Low Wages
You’d think O’Reilly, Limbaugh and Varney would understand the moral importance of making sure your average American worker has a chance as the very definition of the American dream. Instead, their job is to protect the 1%, as the 99% get a smaller and smaller piece of the pie.
The unions haven’t showed much independence in recent years, but we all need them to if we’re going to stay away from the disastrous austerity path that is the exact opposite of what we need today. The ad above is one example of the campaign that targets Democratic senators on the developing fiscal scheme on the way to a grand bargain.
Bill O’Reilly has become so frustrated with Mitt Romney’s loss and the general disrespect the Fox News bloviator is receiving for his outlandish Election Night “people want stuff” analysis, that on Tuesday he targeted Senator Bernie Sanders, the biggest hero the working class has in the Senate.
Well, that is until Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren comes to town.
In the midst of this is President Obama, who is planning a nationwide tour to make the case for his fiscal scheme, which remains a threat to the working class, because of his 2011 offer to Speaker Boehner that served up Social Security, which is not part of our economic problem.
Make no mistake: The valiant budget negotiators at work in Congress and the White House are mapping out a plan for economic austerity under the guise of “getting our house in order.” This is despite blindingly obvious evidence that what’s needed in the U.S. today is the opposite – more stimulus to jump-start job creation, and more spending on infrastructure from roads and bridges to communications and electrical grids. Do you doubt that? Then look at the paragon of post-crash austerity: Europe. Harsh budget cuts in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy, along with austere fiscal regimes in France and Britain, have pushed the Eurozone back into recession. – Michael Hiltzik [LA Times]