State workers fight back in Wisconsin. Attack on the American worker

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>>> to the show. i am cenk uyger. we’ve got demonstrations and protesters and they’re rocking another capital in the world today. this time it’s right here in america, in madison, wisconsin. protesters flooded the capital building in madison today protesting the republican governor scott wapner’s efforts for a bill to stop collective bargaining rights for the works. — workers. even democratic state senators joined the protests. all 14 of them physically left the state, which meant there weren’t enough lawmakers capital to hold the planned vote on the controversial bill. that’s a unique way of fighting it. now let me explain what they’re fighting about. governor walker says there will be after $3 billion deficit. his solution is to cut state workers’ benefits by $300 million. pause and do the math there. that doesn’t add up there. that doesn’t get you there. not even close. it requires most public workers to pay off of their pension costs and 12% of their health care premiums which is twice what they pay now. and it eliminating union collective bargaining rights on everything except salaries. but get this — even then, salary negotiations are limited by the consumer price index, which is just inflation. so in other words, it’s just pegged to inflation so they don’t have that right either. so some state workers are exempt in the bill. this is the interesting part. police, firefighters and state troopers. now, i wonder why that happened? are you sitting? it turns out the major public safety unions in wisconsin just happen to support governor walker and his election campaign last year. what a coincidence. they get off and everybody gets punished. important spending cuts happen to fall just squarely on their shoulder. the governor isn’t stripping them of their rights. he’s threatening them. first he threatened layoffs saying they’re much better off doing what we’re proposing in this budget repair bill than looking at 5500 layoffs of state workers and anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 layoffs in local government. that’s a clear threat. you better play ball or else i’m going to fire you. walker also threatened to bring in the national guard to deal with the protesters, which i think is outrageous. some of the members of the guard don’t want to be used against the unions because first, it’s an abuse of the national guard and second, because some of them are in the union. what are they going to do? intimidate themselves? so now on the national level, republicans are closing ranks behind walker, which is, of course, what they always do. here’s what paul ryan of wisconsin had to say about the protests.

>> it’s like cairo has moved to madison these days.

>> all right, so would that make governor walker the equivalent of hosni mubarak? wait to paint your own guy as a dictator, genius. and that’s supposed to be the really smart republican. governor walker insisted his plan was the only way to deal with the budget short fall. but you only have to go one state over to show that’s not true. last week, he ruled out his own proposal, a plan that does what almost every other elected official is too afraid to do — raise taxes on the rich. by the way, that’s what got him elected. he inherited a deficit that will be $6.2 billion over the next two years. his proposal fixes almost half that short fall by raising taxes a few percent on the top 5% of taxpayers. now, let’s compare the situation in wisconsin to that in minnesota because i think it’s really instructive. wisconsin’s governor want fos slash workers rights and bin fits with gets him $300 million. minnesota’s governor wants to tax 3 mrs. on the ri% on the rich, which gets him almost $3 billion. so a small tax increase for the rich gets you 10 times better results. you tell me, which one of those options makes more sense? i know what this guy is going to think. that’s msnbc’s ed shultz, he’s host of “the ed show.” live from madison, wisconsin. tell us what the protests have been about today.

>> it’s good to be with you tonight. you know, the emotion here is now in day number seven and it doesn’t seem to be waning whatsoever. today we had some real legislative action take place. the democrats, since they’re not getting much support at all from the national democrats are showing progressives in this country how to stand up to corporate power and how to stand up to the top 2%. every democrat walk ed out of the senate today so a vote could not have been taken. 14 of those senators have now crossed the state line into illinois, and for the lack of a better term, cenk, they are on the lam. the governor of wisconsin has sent the state patrol out to round up these democrats, because they have an obligation to come in and vote. but 14 of them have crossed the line into illinois. and so this is all a crap shoot at this point. but the bottom line here is that the democrats here in wisconsin are going everything they possibly can to avert this bill and support the people who have been out here in the thousands to stop this proposal from going through. it is amazing. 30,000 people yesterday, more than 30,000 people today. more events are going to unfold tonight. this is ground zero for working people in america. the attack on wage earners, the attack on unions from the big money people in this country is all starting right here. and as karl rove said last night on fox, this is all about the money. they’re trying to do the union busting. they’re trying to take people out of unions, take away the collective bh iive bargaining here so they can be less effective in an election cycle. you get a sense in madison this really is a fight for democracy and this is a stand that has to be made by the working folk in america. you can see our broadcast platform here is being surrounded. i can only imagine what it’s going to be like tonight at 10:00 eastern time, 9:00 central when we do ‘the ed show” here. and these democrats are standing strong against this governor who wants to do radical, sweeping changes to the working folk of this state.

>> don’t lie to many e. i noe you gave those 14 democrats asylum. where are you keeping them?

>> well, we are going to talk to one of them tonight out of state. they are at an undisclosed clo case. — location. we do know they’re in illinois. and there are a couple of them willing to talk to us tonight. so this is the story. how long will this story last and will they actually get a vote here in wisconsin? and keep in mind, this is nothing but a blueprint for republicans to go to ohio and do the same thing. to go down to florida under governor scott and do the same thing there. this is an attack on labor. the 2012 campaign is well under way. what these people in wisconsin want, what i gather on the ground is they want president barack obama to step out unequivocally and be behind labor. this is going to be an absolute legislative fight to the finish. they want to hear from the democrats. they want to hear from harry reid, they want to hear from dick durbin and chuck schumer. where’s the democratic leadership when it comes to standing with the wage earners in the country?

>> i sense you’re thinking of the national democrats and perhaps the president aren’t doing enough here to support those workers is that what you’re saying?

>> i’m saying the hour glass has been turned on the workers in this state. the people who went door to dpoor and did the social network, the people who helped barack obama win this state by double-digit margins are now at his doorstep asking him to step up for the workers here in wisconsin. where are the democrats? we are seeing leadership from the wisconsin democrats. they won’t give the republicans the vote. they walked out today. they’re going to fight for these workers and that’s really what it’s all about here in wisconsin.

>> one last thing for you, ed. paul ryan compared those protests to cairo, which i guess he thought was insulting somehow. what do ewe make of that comment?

>> well, the big narrative by the tox broadcasters and the big narrative by the republicans is that they want to have create this atmosphere that all of these people out here are nothing but a bunch of psychos. that all these people really aren’t american, questioning their patriotism, questioning their love for country. nothing but a bunch of union slacks that want to do nothing but rob the treasury. that’s how they’re being portrayed. and for paul ryan to go on national television and make that comment in comparison between cairo and madison is an insult to these people and is an insult to democracy in this country.

>> and if walker is in the role of mubarak, it’s not very flattering to them. i know some of the protesters are calling him hosni walker. i’m for democracy in cairo, i’m for democracy in madison, wisconsin. thank you so much for joining us tonight on our program. really appreciate it, ed.

>> thank you, cenk. good to be with you.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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