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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Real News Covers Student Ethnic Studies Protest at TUSD Board Meeting


More at The Real News

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tyranny Trumps Democracy: Michigan Governor Seizes Unilateral Control of Selected Towns & School Districts, Appoints Corporate Style Emergency Managers

 Overseer  Brags About "Sheer Scope of his Unilateral Authority"

Insurers Getting Rich By Not Paying for Care

by Wendell Potter
Center for Media and Democracy
April 25, 2011 - 10:18am

If I had stayed in the insurance industry, my net worth would have spiked between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Thursday last week -- and I wouldn't even have had to show up for work.

I'm betting that just about every executive of a for-profit health insurance company, whose total compensation ultimately depends on the value of their stock options, woke up on Good Friday considerably wealthier than they were 24 hours earlier. Why? Because of the spectacular profits that one of those companies reported Thursday morning.

Among those suddenly wealthier executives, by the way, are the corporate medical directors who decide whether or not patients will get coverage for treatments their doctors believe might save their lives.

UnitedHealth Group, the biggest health insurer in terms of revenue and market value, earned so much more during the first three months of this year than Wall Street expected that investors rushed to buy shares of every one of the seven health insurers that comprise the managed care sector. In my view, it would be more accurate to call it the managed care cartel.

UnitedHealth is always the first of the big seven to announce earnings every quarter, so investors consider it a bellwether. If UnitedHealth exceeds Wall Street's expectations, as it has been doing consistently, investors assume that the other six will do likewise. Sure enough, all seven -- Aetna, CIGNA, Coventry, Health Net, Humana, UnitedHealth and WellPoint -- saw their stock prices close Thursday afternoon at or near 52-week highs.

UnitedHealth's shares shot up more than 8 percent during the day. Increases of that magnitude are so rare that I could almost hear the champagne corks popping in the Minnetonka, Minnesota office of UnitedHealth's CEO, Stephen J. Hemsley.

Wall Street analysts had worried that health insurers would have such a hard time complying with the provisions of the year-old health care reform law that their profit margins would decline. Those concerns were put to rest when UnitedHealth reported that its operating margins were "stable" at 8.7 percent in the quarter. The company's stellar performance should also put to rest -- forever -- the myth that "ObamaCare" is "bleeding insurers dry," as industry apologist Sally Pipes contended in a Feb. 24 commentary in Forbes.

Noting that UnitedHealth's 13 percent increase in profits prompted the company to raise its full-year earnings forecast, the Minneapolis Star Tribune opined, "Life under new health care reform laws may not be so rough after all."

Indeed. Consider these numbers: UnitedHealth's profit during the first three months of this year increased to $1.35 billion from $1.19 billion a year ago. When you do the math to determine the company's earnings per share, the result is nothing short of jaw-dropping. On that basis, UnitedHealth's profit jumped from $1.03 to $1.22 per share. Wall Street analysts had been expecting the company to earn just 89 cents a share. When you beat Wall Street's expectations by 33 cents a share, you have accomplished something that most CEOs can only dream about. 
Continue reading here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Massachusetts Dems Pass Bill to 'Eliminate Collective Bargaining as We Know It'

By Mike Elk, a third-generation union organizer and labor journalist based in Washington, D.C.
April 28th, 2011 6:24 AM 

Last night, the Massachusetts House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill (111-42) to strip public-sector workers of their ability to bargain collectively for healthcare. The rhetoric surrounding the bill, proposed by Democratic State House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, is in many ways similar to what Wisconsinites recently heard as Gov. Walker pushed his infamous unionbusting bill.

But how could a state in which Democrats control both the State House and the Governor’s mansion be pushing a bill that attacks workers’ rights to collectively bargain?

The State of Massachusetts currently faces a budget deficit of $1.9 billion. House Democrats say that by limiting the collective bargaining rights of public employees over healthcare they can save the state $100 million a year. Democrats in Massachusetts, much like Democrats in New York, have focused on cutting basic government services and workers’ wages instead of raising taxes on the richest. Thus, House Speaker DeLeo proposed the plan that would limit the rights of employees to collective bargain over healthcare. And many Democrats, who have been supported by labor unions in the state, passed it.

“We are going to fight this thing to the bitter end,’’ Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, told the Boston Globe last night.  “Massachusetts is not the place that takes collective bargaining away from public employees.’’

Continue reading here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Connect the Dots: "Civics and Policy Basics for the Busy Majority"

Connect the Dots  

Budgets and Deficits and Debt, Oh My!

Click here for slides, and to print booklet
Andrea Witte's new website urges you to


"Share these presentations (or even just a single slide) with your friends, family members and co-workers. Let’s keep asking for more dots and keep connecting the dots to good policies so we can get our country back on track. And let’s ensure our democracy lives up to our children’s expectations."

Congressional People's Caucus 'People's Budget' Earns High Marks For Fiscal Responsibility

 Congressional Progressive Caucus

The CPC proposal:

• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021
• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
• Protects the social safety net
• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

What the proposal accomplishes:
• Primary budget balance by 2014.
• Budget surplus by 2021.
• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from
a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.
• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.
• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.

Support for the People's Budget
Paul Krugman

“genuinely courageous”

“achieves this without dismantling the legacy of the New Deal”

Dean Baker"
if you want a serious effort to balance the budget, here it is."

Jeffrey Sachs

“A bolt of hope…humane, responsible, and most of all sensible”

The Economist


“Mr Ryan's plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus's plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by cutting defence spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people.”

The New Republic

“In passing, Miller also draws attention something that's gotten far too little attention in this debate. The most fiscally responsible plan seems to be neither the Republicans' nor the president's. It's the Congressional Progressive Caucus plan…”

The Washington Post

"It’s much more courageous to propose taxes on the rich and powerful than spending cuts on the poor and disabled."

Rachel Maddow

“Balances the budget 20 years earlier than Paul Ryan even tries to”

The Guardian

“the most fiscally responsible in town… would balance the books by 2021“

The Nation

"the strongest rebuke...to the unconscionable 'Ryan Budget' for FY 2012."

Center for American Progress

"once again put[s] requiring more sacrifice from the luckiest among us back on the table"

Economic Policy Institute

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ryan's Medicare Plan Would Be a Windfall for Insurance Companies

By Wendell Potter

Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare would accelerate a trend started several years ago by corporate CEOs and their political allies to shift ever-increasing amounts of risk from Big Business and the government to workers and retirees.

If enacted, the Ryan plan would represent a windfall of unprecedented proportions for insurance corporations and other businesses.

For millions of average Americans, many of whom already are finding it impossible to save for retirement, it would represent financial calamity. The nation's middle class would pay dearly for Ryan's proposed shredding of the social safety net that Medicare currently provides.

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, wants to dismantle the Medicare program and replace it with a system of vouchers. Starting in 2022, the government would give the average 65-year-old Medicare beneficiary $8,000 a year to buy coverage from a private insurer. That's the amount health care analysts estimate will be what the Medicare program will spend on every 65-year-old in 2022 if the government doesn't turn it over to private insurance companies.

While that might sound fair on the surface, it would actually be a very bad deal for people who turn 65 that year, compared to those who turn 65 in 2021. That's because commercial insurance plans are much more expensive, and operate far less efficiently, than the current Medicare program.

The amount of money commercial plans actually spend to pay medical claims has been declining rapidly over the past several years while the amount they spend on administrative activities such as marketing and underwriting -- and to pay executives and reward shareholders -- has been increasing. That's why Congress included a provision in last year's health care reform law to require insurance firms to spend no more than 20 percent of their policyholders' premiums on overhead. By contrast, the current Medicare program spends just 3 percent of its budget on administration.

Continue reading here.

For 20 years, Wendell Potter worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.

Wendell Potter is the Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin.  Read his blog 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Real News: Draconian Michigan Bill Promoted by Major Corporations

American Legislative Exchange Council organizes national campaign to pass "model" legislation in states     

Watch Video:

More at The Real News

My Medicare Deficit Solution

By James Kwak
Baseline Scenario

David Brooks, perhaps realizing that it was a bad idea to swallow a politician’s PR bullet points whole, is now backpedaling. The Ryan Plan, which he originally hailed as “the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes,” now has the principal virtue of existing: “Because he had the courage to take the initiative, Paul Ryan’s budget plan will be the starting point for future discussions.”

As I’ve discussed before, the Ryan Plan is just one bad idea dressed up with the false precision of lots of numbers: changing Medicare from a health insurance program to a cash redistribution program that gives up on managing health care costs. Here’s the key chart from the CBO repor

Here’s how to read that chart. In 2030, under current law, a 65-year-old Medicare beneficiary’s health care will cost $60. (Obviously, this is using an index, not real dollars.) Medicare will pay $35 and the beneficiary will pay $25 in Part B premiums and cost sharing. Under the CBO’s more likely “alternative fiscal scenario,” her health care will cost $71, of which Medicare will pay $41. Under the Ryan plan, the same health care purchased in the private market will cost $100; “Medicare” will give her a $32 voucher, and she’ll pay the last $68 on her own.

The bottom line is that the Ryan Plan increases beneficiary costs more than it reduces government costs. In a weird sense, it’s a bizarrely pro-government plan: it helps the government’s bottom line at the expense of ordinary people.

So what should we do? Most importantly, we have to recognize that there are two separate problems, and they are not equal. The primary problem is health care inflation. The secondary problem is the long-term Medicare deficit. That’s a secondary problem because it’s largely a result of the primary problem. 

Continue reading here.

And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon

By Johann Hari
Posted Monday, Nov. 2, 2009, at 7:01 AM ET  

The perverse allure of a damaged woman.

Ayn Rand is one of America's great mysteries. She was an amphetamine-addicted author of sub-Dan Brown potboilers, who in her spare time wrote lavish torrents of praise for serial killers and the Bernie Madoff-style embezzlers of her day. She opposed democracy on the grounds that "the masses"—her readers—were "lice" and "parasites" who scarcely deserved to live. Yet she remains one of the most popular writers in the United States, still selling 800,000 books a year from beyond the grave. She regularly tops any list of books that Americans say have most influenced them. Since the great crash of 2008, her writing has had another Benzedrine rush, as Rush Limbaugh hails her as a prophetess. With her assertions that government is "evil" and selfishness is "the only virtue," she is the patron saint of the tea-partiers and the death panel doomsters. So how did this little Russian bomb of pure immorality in a black wig become an American icon?

Two new biographies of Rand—Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns and Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller—try to puzzle out this question, showing how her arguments found an echo in the darkest corners of American political life.* But the books work best, for me, on a level I didn't expect. They are thrilling psychological portraits of a horribly damaged woman who deserves the one thing she spent her life raging against: compassion.

Continue reading here.

For an edgier take on Ayn Rand and her admiration for a serial killer click here.

VIDEO: The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand

By Jeff Sprouss
April 18, 2011

 A film adaptation of the 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, opened this past Friday. The release of the film has coincided with a resurgence of popularity for Rand on the American Right. The trailer for Atlas Shrugged had its world premier at this year’s CPAC conference, the Tea Party group FreedomWorks has rolled out a massive campaign to promote the film, and the story’s opening line — “Who is John Galt?” — has appeared on numerous signs at Tea Party rallies.

At the same time, some of the right’s leading political and media lights have heaped praise upon Rand. The author of the Republicans’ new budget plan to gut Medicare and Medicaid, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), has said Rand is the reason he entered politics, and requires his staff to read her work. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have both declared themselves devotees of her writing. Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has his law clerks watch the film adaptation of Rand’s book The Fountainhead. She’s also received accolades from right-wing pundits Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, John Stossel, and Andrew Napolitano

During her lifetime, Rand advocated “the virtue of selfishness,” declared altruism to be “evil,” opposed Medicare and all forms of government support for the middle-class and the poor, and condemned Christianity for advocating love and compassion for the less fortunate:

Continue reading here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Democracy Now Interview with author of 'Treasure Islands' Says Tax Havens Tied to Wall Street Power

 April 15 2011
Democracy Now

Democracy Now features an eyepopping interview with British journalist Nicholas Shaxson, author of a new book Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens.  who exposes how corporations and the wealthy avoid taxes and governmental regulations by sending money to offshore banks and tax havens. Shaxon says that there is anywhere from $10 to $20 trillion sitting offshore. He says it is "bigger and badder" than we ever imagined.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Democracy Now: Rep. Grijalva Unveils Progressive Caucus' "People's Budget" That Puts "Realistic Alternative" On the Table

Democracy Now April 14, 2011

TAX DAY 2011: Where Do Your Tax Dollars Go?

Click On Picture to Enlarge
Check out the National Priorities Project

Thom Hartmann: Secrets the Rich Don't Want You to Know

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NPR: Planned Parenthood: A Thorn In Abortion Foes' Sides

A lot of people were surprised when House Republicans' desire to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood very nearly caused the shutdown of the federal government last week.

But those who have watched the abortion debate over a long period of time were not surprised.

Despite the successes members of the anti-abortion movement have had over the years in restricting the procedure, "Planned Parenthood remains the thorn in their side," says Deana Rohlinger, associate professor of sociology at Florida State University.

Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest single provider of abortions, yet it gets millions of dollars in federal funding with which to provide other services. Efforts to change that have been unsuccessful not only with this last go-round, but also stretching back nearly three decades.

That makes abortion opponents see red.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Conservative Info Wars Training Seminars

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

By Chris Hedges
Posted on Apr 10, 2011

A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.

Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.

Continue reading here.

War on the Weak

By Jonathan Chait, Editor of the New Republic
April 10, 2011

26Dems Editorial Note: This author traces the philosophical origins of the Tea Party that sprang from the cult of Ayn Rand, whose thinking turned Marxism upside down through advocacy for rewarding  wealthy  producers and punishing "parasite" workers.   This stark philosophy demands that the weak suffer, a concept that would upend American society, and abandon the role of government in preserving equality of opportunity and supplying necessities for survival of "the least of these." Rep. Paul Ryan is devoted to replacing American democracy with Ayn Randism. Read this important article that explains the frightening reality behind the uncompromising GOP budget demands that put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block this week.

How the GOP came to view the poor as parasites—and the rich as our rightful rulers.
Last week the Republican Party sounded two distinct voices. First we heard the angry demands of the Tea Party, speaking through its hardline conservative allies in the House, pushing the government to the brink of a shutdown. But then emerged the soothing tones of Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, who fashions himself the intellectual leader of the party, unveiling a budget manifesto he calls the “Path to Prosperity.”

Ryan portrays his goals in reassuringly pecuniary terms—he’s just the friendly neighborhood accountant here to help balance your checkbook. “I have a knack for numbers,” he chirps. ABC News compared him to a character in Dave, the corny 1993 movie about an average Joe who mistakenly assumes the presidency and calls in his CPA buddy—that would be Ryan—to scour the federal budget and bring it into balance. If he has any flaw, he just cares too much about rescuing the country from debt, gosh darn it! 

Continue reading here.

Are We a Society?

By Gary Hart, Scholar in Residence at the University of Colorado
Huffington Post
April 4, 2011
When asked about the impact of her draconian policies on British society, then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is reported to have said, "There is no such thing as society."

The current U.S. budget confrontation raises the same issue: Is there such a thing as an American society? The Oxford dictionary defines society as: "the sum of human conditions and activity regarded as a whole functioning interdependently" and as "the customs and organization of an ordered community."

The current confrontation between parties and ideologies is over the role of government. But even more deeply it is a foundational disagreement over whether we are a society, a community, or whether we are a collection of individuals inhabiting the same geographical space.

If we are all "in this together," then we share more than just an interest in collective security. And if we have collective interests, the instrument by which we pursue and promote those interests is the national government, not Wall Street or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As we learned in 1929 and 2008, markets can fail, usually through greed and lack of regulation. Although a rising tide lifts all boats, a falling tide lowers all boats, except for the gilded yachts.

The Goldwater-Reagan-Gingrich-Tea Party revolutions all called into question whether we are a society and therefore whether we act through our national government to pursue our common interests. Though virtually all mature democracies have basically resolved this question decades ago, the people of the United States seem unable to do so. Many Americans continue to believe we can have the public services a very large majority wants without paying very much for them. Thus the "waste, fraud, and abuse" of the Reagan years. Or a recurring vocal minority continues to argue that we should do away with those services altogether and devil-take-the-hindmost.

Continue reading here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Religious Right's Anti-Union Crusade

By Josh Harkinson
Mother Jones
Mon Apr. 4, 2011 3:17 AM PDT

Wisconsin's ongoing labor battle has officially become a holy war. The Family Research Council, the evangelical advocacy organization founded by James Dobson, has been dipping into its war chest to defend Republican Governor Scott Walker's efforts to curtail collective bargaining for public-sector unions. FRC president Tony Perkins interviewed backers of Walker's anti-union bill on his weekly radio program and has tweeted his support for the bill, directly linking social conservatism with an anti-union, pro-business agenda: "Pro-family voters should celebrate WI victory b/c public & private sector union bosses have marched lock-step w/liberal social agenda."

Continue reading here

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ryan’s Plan Neither Serious nor Courageous; Assumes 2.8% Unemployment Over Next Decade

By Joe Conason
Posted on Apr 8, 2011

What the meteoric career of Paul Ryan demonstrates is how easily impressed we are whenever a politician purports to restore solvency by punishing the poor and the elderly (while coddling the rich). The Wisconsin Republican congressman’s fiscal plan has won rave reviews from both the usual right-wing suspects and some self-styled centrists, who have praised him and his proposals as “serious,” “courageous” and even “uplifting.”

By now, however, those who have actually examined the Ryan plan with care and competence know that those acclamations are highly exaggerated, which is probably a far too polite description. 

Continue reading here. 

CBO: Seniors Would Pay Much More For Medicare Under Ryan Plan

By Julie Appleby, Mary Agnes Carey and Laurie McGinley
KHN Staff Writers
Kaiser Health News
APR 05, 2011

Seniors and the disabled would pay sharply more for their Medicare coverage under a new plan by House Republicans aimed at curbing the nation’s growing deficit, a Congressional Budget Office analysis shows.

For example, by 2030, under the plan, typical 65 year olds would be required to pay 68 percent of the total cost of their coverage, which includes premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs, according to CBO.  That compares with the 25 percent they would pay under current law, CBO said.

The GOP budget proposal also would raise the eligibility age for the politically popular program – and repeal big chunks of the health care overhaul law approved by Congress last year.And here is the rest of it.

Continue reading here

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Democracy Now: Joseph Stiglitz Addresses Class Divide "Of the 1%, by the 1% and For the 1%"

Democracy Now
April 7, 2011

Click here

This week Republicans unveiled a budget proposal for 2012 that cuts more than $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade. The plan calls for sweeping changes to Medicaid and Medicare, while reducing the top corporate and individual tax rates to 25 percent. We speak to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who addresses the growing class divide taking place in the United States and inequality in a new Vanity Fair article titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%." Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and author of numerous books, most recently Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy.

"It’s not just that the people at the top are getting richer," Stiglitz says. "Actually, they’re gaining, and everybody else is decreasing... And right now, we are worse than old Europe."

Pay Much Attention to the Insurers Behind Paul Ryan's Curtain

By Wendell Potter, Former insurance company executive; author
Huffington Post
April 7, 2011

Democrats who think Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues have foolishly wrapped their arms around the third rail of American politics by proposing to hand the Medicare program to private insurers will themselves look foolish if they take for granted that the public will always be on their side.

Rep. Ryan's budget proposal would radically reshape both the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It would turn Medicaid into a block grant, which would give states more discretion over benefits and eligibility. And it would radically redesign Medicare, changing it from what is essentially a government-run, single-payer health plan to one in which people would choose coverage from competing private insurance firms, many of them for-profit.

Click here
Poll numbers would seem to give the Democrats the edge in what will undoubtedly be a ferocious debate over the coming months and during the 2012 campaigns. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted February 27-28 showed that 76 percent of Americans considered cuts to Medicare unacceptable. The public is almost as resistant to cutting Medicaid, at least for now: 67 percent of Americans said they found cutting that program unacceptable as well.

According to a story in Politico this week, Democrats "with close ties to the White House" think Ryan has handed them a gift that will keep on giving. They believe the Ryan blueprint will enable them to portray Republicans as both irresponsible and heartless, hellbent on unraveling the social safety net that has protected millions of Americans for decades. That message will be the centerpiece of the Democrats' advertising and fundraising efforts, unnamed party strategists told Politico.

Perhaps. But know this: Ryan et al would never propose such a fundamental reshaping of those programs unless they were confident that corporate America stands ready to help them sell their ideas to the public. Like big business CEOs, Congressional Republicans wouldn't think of rolling out Ryan's budget plan without a carefully crafted political and communications strategy and the assurance that adequate funding would be available to carry it out.

Follow Wendell Potter on Twitter

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sharp Drop in American Enthusiasm for Free Market, Poll Shows

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by World Public Opinion.org
American public support for the free market economy has dropped sharply in the past year, and is now lower than in China, according to a GlobeScan poll released today.

The findings, drawn from 12,884 interviews across 25 countries, show that there has been a sharp fall in the number of Americans who think that the free market economy is the best economic system for the future.

When GlobeScan began tracking views in 2002, four in five Americans (80%) saw the free market as the best economic system for the future--the highest level of support among tracking countries. Support started to fall away in the following years and recovered slightly after the financial crisis in 2007/8, but has plummeted since 2009, falling 15 points in a year so that fewer than three in five (59%) now see free market capitalism as the best system for the future. 

Continue reading here.

Thom Hartmann: Must see! The TRUE story of the Tea Party

Submitted by Thom Hartmann A... on 1. April 2011 - 6:48

Monday, April 4, 2011

Renewables Are More Than Ready

By Karl Grossman  
April 4, 2011

  "Wind and solar are great but strictly supplemental," declared Al Velshi on CNN on Sunday, March 27 in a report on the nuclear power disaster in Japan.

  "You're wrong," environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a guest, shot back.

Indeed, Velshi was wrong--as have so many in media been -in declaring that the choice in energy in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan is between nuclear on one side and coal, oil and gas on the other.

In fact, there's no need for nuclear power because there are safe, clean, renewable energy technologies, not coal, oil and gas, here to substitute for nuclear power.

Scientific American, a most conservative scientific publication, in a cover story on October 26, 2009--unveiled its "A Plan for a Sustainable Future" It declared in its "Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables" that, "wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels."

            The British magazine, New Scientist, in a special October 11-17, 2009 issue on safe, clean, renewable energy technologies--titled "Our Brighter Future"--presented a United Nations report declaring that "renewable energy that can already be harnessed economically would supply the world's electricity needs"

            From solar to wind (now the fastest-growing and cheapest new energy technology) to wave-power to tidal-power to bio-fuels to small hydropower to co-generation (combining the generation of heat and electricity) and on and on, a renewable energy windfall is at hand.

Continue reading here.

60 Minutes: The Next Housing Shock

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Wave of Wackiness Sweeps America

By Don Monkerud
Consortium News
April 1, 2011

Consortium News Editor’s Note: The Tea Party’s electoral earthquake last November has set off a tsunami of political wackiness that is crashing across the United States, with Republican officeholders racing to stay ahead of the surge, as Don Monkerud notes in this guest essay:

Guns in churches, schools and bars. Immigrants expelled to solve financial problems. Morality praised as the key national issue.

American politics are getting more bizarre and in some cases, border on the nutty. Current politics include Republican legislatures in Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Minnesota fighting for their "rights" to reject energy efficiency light bulbs, while South Carolina will manufacture their own state's rights incandescent bulbs.

Alaska wants to eliminate federal protection of salmon, polar bears, seals and wolves in favor of "state sovereignty." Dozens of states pledge to roll back "Obamacare," and protect their citizens' right to high-priced monopoly healthcare.

A GOP legislator in New Hampshire recommends sending the disabled and homeless to Siberia where it's cheaper to live. 

Continue reading here.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

All of humanity could shift to solar, wind energy in less than 25 years, policy study group claims

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, March 31st, 2011 -- 10:37 am

Humankind has the technology, resources and capabilities to adapt to and help avert serious climate change and the crunch of a dwindling energy economy, if only the political will can be mustered -- and it's not just idealistic progressives who are saying so anymore.

In a recent report, the British non-profit Institute for Policy Research & Development (IPRD) claimed that, with targeted investments by world governments, solar power could become humanity's main source of portable energy in 25 years or less.

The catch: "Spending priorities" must change -- something that seems remarkably difficult even in the U.S., ostensibly one of the world's most advanced democracies.

Starting with the assumption that hydrocarbon energy markets are dying and renewable energy tech is the inevitable future, the group calculated how much electricity humans consume today and how much growing populations are projected to consume by 2030.

What they found is that in 19 years from now, humanity will be consuming 724 exajoules (EJ) of energy annually. Today, that figure is about 39 percent less.

Figuring in the efficiency of today's solar and wind power tech, they were able to model what it would take to rapidly replace the current petroleum power infrastructure with renewables.And here is the rest of it.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Former Intel CEO blasts education in Arizona

By Ginger Rough and Betty Beard -
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 30, 2011 12:00 AM

Gov. Jan Brewer and the state's top lawmakers got a reality check Tuesday from former Intel Chief Executive and Board Chairman Craig Barrett, who told them Arizona's education system is hindering economic-development efforts.

Read more here
Barrett's remarks come as Brewer and the Legislature are working to hammer out a state budget.

Education is a major sticking point in the discussions; Brewer is proposing a $170 million cut to universities and a reduction of $72 million in K-12.

The Senate has passed a budget with deeper cuts - $235 million to universities and $242 million to K-12. The House has yet to begin its deliberations.

"Quality education is extremely important to a place like Intel," Barrett said. "(The) education cutbacks don't bode well for that."

Barrett, who said he was not speaking for the company, made his remarks at a board meeting of the newly created Arizona Commerce Authority, the quasi-public agency that replaced the state's Department of Commerce.

Barrett said if Intel were starting anew, Arizona likely wouldn't be in the running for its business.

"I hate to say it, but I think Arizona would not be in the top 10 locales to make that investment," he said.

He added that the company might not even select the U.S. because of non-competitive immigration and tax policies. Intel has invested at least $14 billion in new Arizona plants over the past decade and plans to spend another $5 billion on a fabrication plant in Chandler.

Continue reading here.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2011/03/30/20110330arizona-education-intel-ceo.html#ixzz1I7PFAgVS

Brewer says nothing would cause her to back off her plans to cut university funding or pare community colleges by half. See East Valley Tribune article    Former Intel CEO: Quality of Arizona education too poor to attract new businesson Brewer's reaction to Barrett.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Koch Money Tied to Michigan Think Tank, "Financial Martial Law", Right-Wing Billionaire Attack on Unions

By Andy Kroll
Behind Michigan's "Financial Martial Law": Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires
Mother Jones
Wed Mar. 23, 2011 12:01 AM PDT

The think tank that inspired Gov. Rick Snyder's controversial bill is bankrolled by some of the same donors that funded Wisconsin's attack on unions.

Last week, Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a fiercely contested bill giving unelected "emergency financial managers" unprecedented power to shred union contracts, privatize city services, and consolidate or dissolve local governments, all in the name of saving struggling cities and school districts. Dubbed "financial martial law" by one approving state GOP lawmaker and "disaster capitalism" by critics, Snyder and his bill have become a target for Wisconsin-like protests. Several thousand demonstrators marched on the Michigan Capitol in the days before Snyder signed the bill. But gone unmentioned is a little-known Michigan think tank that for years has been pushing for the most controversial provisions in Snyder's bill—and that's bankrolled by some of the same right-wing millionaires and billionaires that backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his anti-union legislation.

Since 2005, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has urged reforms to Michigan law giving more power and protection to emergency financial managers, state-appointed officials who parachute into ailing cities or school districts and employ drastic measures to fix budgets on the brink of collapse. In January, the free-market-loving center published four recommendations, including granting emergency managers the power to override elected officials (such as a mayor or school board member) and toss out union contracts. All four ended up in Snyder's legislation.

"The Mackinac Center has been tied at the hip with the Republican Party establishment for years," says Doug Pratt, public affairs director at the Michigan Education Association. "It goes to their funding sources; it goes to their ideology."

Mackinac is part of a network of state-based groups associated with the Heritage Foundation, the influential right-wing think tank in Washington. Its past and present board members include Robert Teeter, a GOP strategist and '92 campaign manager for George H.W. Bush; Margaret Rieker, a former vice chairwoman of the Republican National Committee; and Joseph Lehman, a former vice president at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington.

The Mackinac Center does not disclose its donors.
But a review of tax records shows that the group's funders include the charitable foundations of the nation's largest corporations and a host of wealthy conservative and libertarian benefactors. Between 2002 and 2009, the Mackinac Center's donors included the Charles G. Koch Foundation ($69,151), founded by the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, who, with his brother, David, is a major backer of conservative causes; the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation ($80,000), the charity tied to the son of the co-founder of Amway, the multibillion-dollar direct marketing company; the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, established by the parents of Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who serves as the foundation's vice president ($195,000); and the Walton Family Foundation ($100,000), established by Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and his wife, Helen.

Continue reading here.

Wall Street Analyst: "New Civil War erupts, led by super rich, GOP"

March 22, 2011, 6:55 a.m. EDT
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) —

Commentary: ‘Shock Doctrine,’ Reaganomics trigger explosive class war
Yes, “there’s class warfare, all right,” warns Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Yes, the rich are making war against us. And yes, they are winning. Why? Because so many are fighting this new American Civil War between the rich and the rest.

Not just the 16 new GOP governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and across America fighting for new powers. Others include: Chamber of Commerce billionaires, Koch brothers, Forbes 400, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform — which now has 97% of House Republicans and 85% of the GOP Senators signed on his “no new taxes” pledge — the Tea Party and Reaganomics ideologues.

Wake up America. You are under attack. Stop kidding yourself.
We are at war. In fact, we have been fighting this Civil War for a generation, since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1981. Recently Buffett renewed the battle cry: The “rich class” is winning this war. Except most Americans still don’t realize they’re losing, don’t see the prize at stake.

All this was predicted back in September 2008 by Naomi Klein, author of “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” Yes, we were warned that the GOP’s Reaganomics ideology would stage a rapid comeback … warned before the market collapsed … before Wall Street was virtually bankrupt. … before Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson conned Congress into $787 billion in bailouts … warned before Obama’s 2008 election.

Continue reading here.

Koch "Tea Party" Oligarchy: "An Unholy Alliance Between Business and State" That Was Built On Russia's Oligarch Model

Monday, March 14, 2011

Michigan Set To Enact Sweeping 'Financial Martial Law' Bill

By Jason Linkins
Huffington Post
First Posted: 03/14/11 05:49 PM Updated: 03/14/11 05:49 PM

As readers know, I was favorably inclined toward the overall positive tenor of the successful gubernatorial campaign run by Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) and his subsequent efforts to move past partisan political rivalries. I'd hoped that it portended some coming creative thinking and innovation in the realm of state management.

As it turns out, I was terrifically wrong, and Snyder's just lost me completely with his apparent desire to enact a law that would impose "financial martial law" upon struggling communities in the form of "financial managers" that would have the power to abrogate contracts at will and supersede the democratic process. There's been a lot of recent media attention focused on a similar disregard for the public will in Wisconsin, but what's happening in Michigan really makes Scott Walker look like an amateur.
Continue reading here.

Eight Civics Lessons from Governor Walker

By Diane Ravitch, Historian, NYU Professor
Huffington Post
March 14, 2011

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has taught the nation some very important civics lessons. The price is high, but we should pay careful attention to what he teaches by example.

The first lesson:
Citizens should not be hoodwinked by rhetoric.
Governor Walker said that the state was broke. He said that public sector workers had to make larger contributions to the cost of their pensions and health care, even as he handed out generous corporate tax breaks for the same amount. Doing a reverse Robin Hood, he took from the middle class to enrich the powerful. The unions promptly agreed to pay what the governor proposed, effectively cutting their compensation, but the governor would not take yes for an answer. He insisted on breaking the unions, even though no financial issues were involved.

Lesson two: It is really important to vote. Only 51.7% of eligible voters in Wisconsin cast a ballot last November, and they ended up with a governor and a legislature who are wreaking havoc on state government and decimating vital public services.

Continue reading here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

NCLB: Howard Dean Predicted in 2003 that 100% of Schools Would Fail by 2013

26Dems Editorial Comment:  Howard Dean was right.  We are almost there. It's 2011 and already the Secretary of Education has announced that 82% of the nation's public schools are failing.  Diane Ravitch a former Bush administration Dept. of Education official who spoke recently in Tucson has recognized the flaws in No Child Left Behind and has written a highly recommended book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Ravitch warns that the curriculum is being gutted as teachers have become technicians teaching to the test. No humanities, social studies, music, art or physical education. NCLB has been divisive. Harsh measures aimed at arresting school failure has led to panic among administrators as schools compete for standing.   Now parents and politicians seeking an easy fix find it easy to blame the teachers. Firing all the teachers in a city's public schools won't fix what's wrong and lead to better public school performance. Corporations see easy profit in the privatization of public schools.  Here is one retired teacher's journal from Democratic Underground looks back to Howard Dean's prescient warning back in 2003 was right on target. NCLB legislation has transformed our public schools into a politically divisive battleground with our children and grandchildren as pawns.

Click here for NPR Review
Arne having to change tune since NCLB is causing 82% of schools to fail....
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Democratic Underground
Fri Mar 11th 2011, 12:39 AM

Instead of causing them to be successful, as the students meet a testing goal, the next year they raise the goal. The parents are not clued in that the standards are being raised, so they blame the schools and the teachers, especially the teachers.

I remember in 2003 when Howard Dean made an offhand comment after a rally, and remembered I was even questioning the accuracy of the statement myself until I thought it out. While the Bush administration was claiming it was a way for the schools to succeed, Dean said the opposite.

2003 Howard Dean on NCLB... "every school in America by 2013 will be a failing school."

"The president's ultimate goal," said former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), one of the Democrats who now harshly attacks NCLB, "is to make the public schools so awful, and starve them of money, just as he's starving all the other social programs, so that people give up on the public schools."

He also said:
Dean criticized President Bush, saying his administration will lower the standards for good schools in New Hampshire, making them more like poorly performing schools in Texas. The Bush administration believes ''the way to help New Hampshire is to make it more like Texas,'' Dean told supporters in Manchester, adding that ''every school in America by 2013 will be a failing school.''
"Every group, including special education kids, has to be at 100 percent to pass the tests,'' Dean said. ''No school system in America can do that. That ensures that every school will be a failing school."
Continue reading here

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Outrage in Wisconsin: Thousands Flood Capitol After GOP Strips Public Workers of Bargaining Rights in Surprise Senate Vote

Naomi Klein on Anti-Union Bills and Shock Doctrine American-Style: "This is a Frontal Assault on Democracy, a Corporate Coup D’Etat"

Bradblog Green News Special Report: US Chamber's Disinformation War

March 10, 2011
With Brad Friedman and Desi Doyen

IN TODAY'S SPECIAL RADIO REPORT: (Rebroadcast from 2/15/11) All-out Info War: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest & most powerful corporate lobbying firm, caught plotting a $12 million disinformation campaign against progressive U.S. organizations, journalists and citizens, including yours truly...

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.
'Green News Report' w/ Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen
March 10, 2011

Click to listen (or download)
More info on today's report here...

MSNBC: Wisconsin Vote A National GOP Political Strategy to Defund Unions, Goad Dems into Overreacting

WI Senate GOP Leader Admits On-Air That His Goal Is To Defund Labor Unions, Hurt Obama’s Reelection Chances

By Lee Fang
Mar. 9, 2011

A prank call from a man purporting to be petrochemical billionaire David Koch to Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) a few weeks ago revealed that Walker had crafted his “budget repair” bill in a bid to crush the labor unions. The revelation was at odds with the GOP’s public argument, that removing collective bargaining rights has something to do with the state’s budget deficit.

In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly moments ago, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), one of Walker’s closest allies in the legislature, confirmed the true political motive of Walker’s anti-union push. Fitzgerald explained that “this battle” is about eliminating unions so that “the money is not there” for the labor movement. Specifically, he said that the destruction of unions will make it “much more difficult” for President Obama to win reelection in Wisconsin:

FITZGERALD: Well if they flip the state senate, which is obviously their goal with eight recalls going on right now, they can take control of the labor unions. If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.

Watch it: 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rachel Maddow talks to Naomi Klein About Disaster Capitalism and Michigan Republican Guv's Plan to Wrest Power from Cities and Towns on "Emergency Pretext"

Waxman: 'All That Seems To Matter Is What Koch Industries Think'-- Expresses Dismay at High Level of Outright Science Denial Aimed at Protecting Polluter's Interests

By Brad Johnson
Mar. 7, 2011

Speaking at the Center for American Progress Action Fund today, House energy committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-CA) railed against the toxic influence of Koch Industries on efforts to fight global warming. Waxman, who fought polluters to pass the Clean Air Act of 1990, is dismayed by the level of outright science denial among the Republican Party today, exemplified by their votes to slash and burn environmental protection, and the Upton-Inhofe bill to reverse the scientific finding that carbon pollution threatens public health:
It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries thinks.

Watch a compilation of Waxman’s remarks:

“The new Republican majority has a lot of leeway to rewrite laws,” Waxman also said, “but they don’t have the ability to rewrite the laws of nature.”

Watch Waxman in action as Chair of the Energy Committee in 2008: EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson May 20 2008 dodges Chairman Waxman's questions, threatens to kick Darrell Issa out of the hearing room when he tries to get Johnson to answer a simple question, did he meet with the President (Bush) on specific regulatory rules before the committee.  This behavior demonstrates the power of the oil lobbyists to influence climate regulation.

These Arizona members of Congress have eagerly hopped on the climate science denier bandwagon.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ-02): I have yet to see clear and convincing evidence that it exists beyond historical fluctuations. [source]

Rep.-elect Ben Quayle (R-AZ-03): Our planet has warmed and cooled since the beginning of time. [source]

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ-06): Told townhall participants that he was a skeptic on manmade global warming. [source]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): There are dramatic environmental changes happening in the arctic region – whether one believes they are man-made or natural. [source]

Monday, March 7, 2011

Labor's Last Stand

By Jane McAlevey
February 16, 2011   |    This article appeared in the March 7-14, 2011 edition of The Nation.

Emboldened by November’s election results, corporations and their right-wing allies have launched what they hope will be their final offensive against America’s unions. Their immediate target is government workers’ unions. While New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie has gained national fame by beating up on public school teachers, the threat to unionized workers is playing out in all fifty states, to the drumbeat in the media about states going broke because of government workers’ wages, pensions and benefits. By late January, with the swearing-in ceremonies complete in the twenty-one states where Republicans have a “trifecta,” controlling the governor’s office and both statehouses, hundreds of bills had been introduced seeking to hem in unions if not ban them altogether. On February 11, Wisconsin’s new Republican Governor Scott Walker made what amounts to a declaration of all-out war on public sector workers in his historically progressive state, moving to deprive them of the very right to bargain collectively on matters essential to their economic security.

Walker’s gambit has rightly elicited outrage, but considering the breadth of the attack unions are facing nationally, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Right-to-work legislation has been filed in twelve states; this is in addition to the twenty-two that already have such laws on the books. In technical terms, this legislation makes it illegal for employers to condition employment on union membership or the equivalent dues payments even when a majority of workers vote to form a union; practically speaking, it makes building and maintaining a strong union very difficult, which in turn makes it harder to organize new workplaces because there are few positive examples of unions to point to. In Virginia, the corporations and right-wing ideologues decided that the existing right-to-work law wasn’t sufficient, and introduced a measure to embed the right-to-work provisions in the state Constitution. Three more states—Montana, Ohio and Wisconsin—are expected to have bills introduced converting their legal status to right-to-work.

Continue reading here.

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The Real News: The Military-Industrial Complex from Eisenhower to Obama

More at The Real News

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How Koch Front Groups Influence Laws

How Koch Front Groups Influence Laws

By Dave Johnson
Campaign For America's Future
March 2, 2011 - 10:15pm ET
 Tuesday the House of Representatives voted to continue tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies. Every Republican voted to support the tax breaks and subsidies.

Thursday House Republicans are expected to introduce legislation to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the CO2 put into the air by burning oil and coal.
Why does the oil industry have so much influence over our government?

Think Progress examines the influence just one oil company has over our government in a series:

REPORT: How Koch Industries Makes Billions By Demanding Bailouts And Taxpayer Subsidies (Part 1)
REPORT: How Koch Industries Makes Billions Corrupting Government And Polluting For Free (Part 2)

From the report series, Part 1:

As ThinkProgress has carefully documented over the last three years, Koch groups have spent tens of millions to influence government policy — from financing the Tea Parties, to funding junk academic studies, to undisclosed attack ads against Democrats, to groups promoting climate change denial, to a large network of state-based and national think tanks.
 [. . .] Koch funds both socially conservative groups and socially liberal groups. However, Koch’s financing of front groups and political organizations all have one thing in common: every single Koch group attacks workers’ rights, promotes deregulation, and argues for radical supply side economics. Not only do the Koch’s front groups pad Koch Industries’ bottom line, they supply the Koch brother’s talking points.

From the series Part 2:

Koch Industries has cornered the market in monetizing some of the most dirty industrial businesses. Koch imports oil from the Middle East, refines high-carbon Canadian crude, maintains coal-burning plants, owns one of the largest oil pipeline networks in America, runs environmentally hazardous lumber mills, produces toxic chemicals, and manufacturers fertilizer. The University of Masschusetts Amherst has scored Koch as among the top ten worst air polluters for its carcinogenic chemicals.

Much of the entire Koch political machine is geared towards ensuring that Koch Industries never has to compensate the people and ecosystems damaged by Koch Industries pollution. Koch front groups — from Tea Party groups to think tanks — have diligently promoted Koch Industries’ bottom line by denying global warming, fighting regulations on Koch’s cancer-causing chemicals, and snuffing out investigations into Koch’s environmental crimes:

The report shows how a series of Koch-funded organizations -- some even tax-deductible supposed "charities" -- are presented to the public as "independent" and are used in a campaign to persuade the public that climate change is a "hoax" or that different ways that Koch Industries pollutes are actually not harmful and should not be regulated.

Continue reading here.

And here is the rest of it.

Michael Moore Tells Madison Crowd: 'America is not Broke'

Monday, February 28, 2011

Leaving Children Behind

New York Times
February 27, 2011

Will 2011 be the year of fiscal austerity? At the federal level, it’s still not clear: Republicans are demanding draconian spending cuts, but we don’t yet know how far they’re willing to go in a showdown with President Obama. At the state and local level, however, there’s no doubt about it: big spending cuts are coming.

And who will bear the brunt of these cuts? America’s children.

Now, politicians — and especially, in my experience, conservative politicians — always claim to be deeply concerned about the nation’s children. Back during the 2000 campaign, then-candidate George W. Bush, touting the “Texas miracle” of dramatically lower dropout rates, declared that he wanted to be the “education president.” Today, advocates of big spending cuts often claim that their greatest concern is the burden of debt our children will face.

In practice, however, when advocates of lower spending get a chance to put their ideas into practice, the burden always seems to fall disproportionately on those very children they claim to hold so dear.

Continue reading here.

Maddow Show: Republicans Openly Push Higher Unemployment, Lower Wages, Slowdown in Economic Growth,

The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions

By Rick Ungar
Feb. 25, 2011

Pulitzer Prize winning tax reporter, David Cay Johnston, has written a brilliant piece for tax.com exposing the truth about who really pays for the pension and benefits for public employees in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans. Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, creates the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not. Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

Via tax.com

How can this be possible?

Simple. The pension plan is the direct result of deferred compensation- money that employees would have been paid as cash salary but choose, instead, to have placed in the state operated pension fund where the money can be professionally invested (at a lower cost of management) for the future.

Continue reading here.