More about the Republican/corporate/wealthy assault on the American middle class. This is serious, and Wisconsin is just an early skirmish. An America without a thriving middle class is in serious trouble. There are demonstrations all over the country on Saturday--make it to one if you can.
Robert Reich says: "The truth is that while the proximate cause of America's economic plunge was Wall Street's excesses leading up to the crash of 2008, its underlying cause - and the reason the economy continues to be lousy for most Americans - is so much income and wealth have been going to the very top that the vast majority no longer has the purchasing power to lift the economy out of its doldrums. American's aren't buying cars (they bought 17 million new cars in 2005, just 12 million last year). They're not buying homes (7.5 million in 2005, 4.6 million last year). They're not going to the malls (high-end retailers are booming but Wal-Mart's sales are down)."
Paul Krugman says: "What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be 'considered to be in the public interest.'"
Michael Tomasky says: "At the state level, most notably in Wisconsin but in other states too, conservative governors are using the financial crisis – created by Wall Street bankers and the deregulation-mad politicians who serve them – to give the bankers even more power, in effect, by trying to crush the strongest countervailing force against them in our political system – unions."
Edited on Feb. 26 to add two more pieces:
Keith Olbermann (right, that one), says: "The generic concept of 'The Union' might be big and on the big scale it might over-reach and when you look at it only in the largest context it might sometimes be as irresponsible as some of the smaller of the big corporations, when you look at what it really is – the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the individually powerless $18,568 teacher’s aide in Fond du Lac or the $23,559 traffic warden in Milwaukee or the $48,152 cop in Appleton, or the $22,233 radio sportscaster in New York in 1980 – 'The Union' is the only protection you have when the drunken boss comes in to fire you because he doesn’t like you, or because he got elected on a promise to his puppet-masters that he’d fire you and everybody else like you so as to soften this country up to pit the urban middle class against the rural middle class so nobody’s paying attention as the corporations reduce everybody they can to subsistence levels while they take the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the mere thousands of bucks stolen from the fired or the de-unionized or the retirement-delayed, and turn them into more millions to stuff into their own pockets."
And in a piece Keith links to, Marty Kaplan says: "The monsters aren't Wisconsin's public employees whose right to collective bargaining has helped their families lead middle-class lives, and who have repeatedly declared their willingness to return to the table and negotiate a shared sacrifice. The monsters are on Wall Street, where state pension funds were sunk into toxic sub-prime mortgage-backed securities. The monsters are on K Street, where lobbyists are fighting financial industry oversight. The monsters are the politicians who are using Wisconsin's deficit as a pretext to demonize public employees and bust their unions."