The Buck Starts Here

The curse of brain dead Republicans is not limited to Washington, DC. It turns out that GOP leaders in state capitols have also been unable to digest the results of November’s elections.

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Voters made it clear that they prefer the Democrats plans to grow the economy from the middle class out. They prefer both job and wage growth

It is an economic fact that the labor movement created the American middle class.

Long before the labor movement made real strides — giving us a roughly 9 to 5 schedule and weekends, which seems to be a very popular phenomenon — there was real violence between the job creators, as Willard Mitt Romney liked to call them, and the workers.

There was massive income disparity and no pesky safety net for Americans. To use the language Republicans prefer of takers and makers, the job creators were the makers and the takers. They hired the people who made things and took all the profits for themselves.

The labor movement allowed workers to bargain collectively and give leverage to workers as a group. That collective strength empowered workers and allowed them to obtain a fair wage, reasonable work hours, safer work conditions, pensions and a host of other benefits that reduced wage disparity in this country and helped to create a large middle class in this country.

Today we see the opposite happening. Wage and wealth disparity is growing. The middle class is shrinking before our eyes. The Republican Party, bought and paid for by the wealthiest Americans, is throwing gas on that fire both through the tax code and through labor law.

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There may be no better modern American case study of this phenomenon than Walmart. The Walton family that owns the company holds as much personal wealth as the bottom 50 percent of Americans. They have made their fortunes on the backs of cheap labor. They have a fierce union busting practice and are known to lock employees in stores, not pay them for some of the hours that they work and face a massive lawsuit about their practice of paying women less than men.

Many of Walmart’s fulltime employees rely on public assistance to get by because they are working and poor. They are part of the “taker class” or the 47 percent that Republicans deride and belittle.

Following the 2010 elections, Republicans, especially in Ohio and Wisconsin, went after labor. In 2012, Mitt Romney never stood a chance in those states.

Yesterday the Michigan legislature met in lame duck session and jammed through a “right to work” bill that likely will not pass when new legislators are sworn in at the beginning of next year. As President Obama accurately put it recently, this is merely a bill to give workers the right to work for less money.

The GOP’s brain dead approach to the economy will not change. Republicans will find it harder and harder to compete with Democrats not just because of demographic changes like the growth of the Hispanic vote. They will find it harder and harder to compete because they have no clue how the economy works.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.

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