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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Private and public sector workers fight over table scraps

When people complain about the unsustainablity of big government it makes me cringe and shake my head in disbelief. I think to myself, how can people be that gullible. Here in Florida, a pro business state with a low tax base and no income tax, we currently miss out on billions of dollars because we give certain industries and individuals’ tax breaks. We don’t have to fix the problems on the back of government workers, which include, prison guards, the police, firemen and teachers all we have to do is demand those people that do business in Florida pay their fair share. These big businesses with their powerful lobbyists, bought politicians and talking heads have convinced enough of you that they should get a free ride and that it is your neighbors the teacher, the police officer and the government worker that hasn’t had a raise in five years who is the problem.

When the tea party and teachers argue over wages and benefits, over pensions and collective bargaining, all they are doing is fighting over table scraps, while Governor Scott and his ilk travel the state in private planes sipping Champaign and eating caviar.

The economic downturn was the best thing that could have happened for big business. Not only were many bailed out but it created a climate where they could scare people into believing those that would stand in their way, take their money to pay for services such as education and protection, or prevent them from making even bigger profits were the problem. Even Fox news admits it. They talk about businesses making record profits and having huge cash reserves. Sadly they do this while taking every pot shot they can at the public sector worker and unions. Oil barons and fat cats, speculators and high priced lawyers aren’t the bad guys any more. Now they have been replaced by teachers and rank and file union members. We used to shake our fists at the super rich but now we shake our fists at our neighbors.

The same average Joe and Judy who railed against the bailout are now saying the solution to the problems should come on the backs of our neighbors. Friends, the solution should not be, it sucks for me let me vote for people and support policies that make it suck for everybody (except a privileged few). The solution should be to hold those responsible, responsible and make that top 5-10% of society pay their fair share. Ladies and gentlemen the average person is not too big to fail, the powers-that-be who have bought your votes through fear mongering will let both you and me do so and then buy our houses cheap and sell them at a profit.

You may have been convinced the super rich shouldn’t lose their hard earned money. Well friends you have been conned. The reason they have that “hard earned money” is because they have convinced you that their job is worth so much more than yours. The thing is an executive making a million dollars is not going to suddenly quit because the government takes half to work at a book store and if they did there would be dozens ready to take the job. In the fifties and early sixties we had tax rates for the top wage earners that were way over fifty percent and you know what, there were still super rich people then too and it’s ironic that spin doctors will point to those times as idealistic, when a son and daughter could expect to do a little better than their parents, well friends and neighbors the highest tax percentage is now just a little above mine and kids for the first time are expected to do worse.

Then take for example our governor. What did Rick Scott do to earn his 300 million dollar pay out other than run his company in such a fashion that they had to pay a 1.7 billion dollar fine? That’s two billion dollars that could have gone to doctor’s fees, pay employees more and heaven forbid lower the costs of medical care. Two billion dollars that could have helped average families, many pay check to pay check but instead those on the far right the tea party are okay with all that wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few. Is an executive at a health care agency, a glorified middle man worth more than a teacher who educates our youth or are they worth more than firemen, the police or soldiers who put their lives on the line. Well our system says yes because we have allowed ourselves to be convinced it’s so. Well friends we have the power to say enough is enough. We have the power to say wealth is better when more people have it.

What’s better for society; one person making a million dollars and twenty five making forty thousand, or one guy making a hundred thousand and twenty five making seventy-six thousand?. If that one guy doesn’t want to do it anymore, he thinks he is underpaid I think I could find twenty-five applicants who would jump at the chance to have his position. Friends are you on the side of the one or on the side of the many? Are you for a democratic society that works to benefit everybody or an oligarchy that seeks to benefit just a few? I don’t want socialism, I want fairness.

Fox news, the republican legislature and Rick Scott have tried to scare you that jobs will move elsewhere. Well friends where are they going to go. What they haven’t told you is companies need people to buy their goods and use their services and they need markets for this to happen in. What markets are they going to go to that aren’t experiencing the same problems we are? Do you really believe that Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville will suddenly dry up? But say some companies did move the effects would be diminished and they would be replaced because business like nature, abhors a vacuum. Other companies and individuals will see the need and fill their shoes; we would just have to hope these new businesses would be satisfied with just making big profits instead of obscene profits. Besides don’t we want businesses that are pro society, not pro swimming pool, yacht and big bank accounts for their CEOs anyways?

Scott then says business won’t come to Florida if we don’t make it business friendly, well friends if they aren’t coming now with all the pro business aspects Florida already has, what makes you think they are going to come when we gut the education system, severely reduce government services, close our parks and destroy our environment. How about as an alternative let’s make Florida the education state, the park state, and the environment state. Let’s do that instead of having Florida be the state where a few get rich and the rest muddle through and the state that doesn’t really care about its children. Are their changes we can make, sure? Are there things we could be doing differently and better, my answer is yes but let’s make Florida a state we can be proud of and ensure that it is a state that we want to live in.

They rich are the ones that create jobs their spin doctors shout. Well friends if they are the ones who create jobs then they are doing a pretty poor job at it. We are getting a pretty poor return on our investment. I am not saying government should be the main creator of jobs but we shouldn’t just dismiss its role and say the people that work there should take it on the chin for the rest of us.

Though Friends on the right I completely agree with you taxes are way too high. The thing is they are way too high for me and you while for others they are way too low. Imagine if you had more money, maybe you or you and your friends could start the business or come up with the next great idea. Right now so many of us are just getting by exhausted from the day, worn out deciding if we get new tires or fix a tooth, scared that we or a family member will get sick and that we won’t be able to do anything. Better benefits, greater pay and a secured retirement will do much more for the state than additional tax breaks to the top few.

Furthermore it’s not true that a third of the nation does not pay taxes either. Buy gas? You pay a tax. Buy clothes? You pay a tax. Scrape and save and buy an appliance you pay taxes and you pay the exact same amount whether you make seventeen thousand, thirty-five thousand or a million dollars. And let me say it hurts those on the far end of the spectrum a lot more than those at the top. Think about a speeding ticket, its 129 dollars whether they pull you over in a rusted out clunker or if they pull you over in a Porsche, one driver doesn’t even notice it while the other eats nothing but ramen noodles for a month. That is the real tax structure in America.

I am not against the wealthy. I wouldn’t mind being rich or barring that not live in fear of an emergency. I am against those that see society as an object with which they can express their wills upon. I am against closing schools and giving children sub standard educations. I am against polluting our rivers and closing our parks. I am against the elderly, and the disabled being neglected for the benefit of a small minority and I am against the menial existence of the many for the extravagant existence of the few.

If we bring our tax structure in line and then still need cuts, I imagine your public servants, your teachers and your prison guards would all step up. After all they beleive in serving the public or they wouldn't be doing those jobs. On their backs however is not where we should start.

I am reminded of the Dukes brothers from Trading Places. Mortimer old chap, I can have workers battle workers over table scraps, while increasing our profits at the same time; except there would be no bet because they have already been doing it for years. Think about that the next time you shrug your shoulders or even smile at the prospect of a neighbor losing their benefits or their pension because times have been tough for you, or think, sure, we can get by with cutting education a little bit more.


  1. i disagree with you wholeheartedly, the middle class is suffering from the greed of the public sector. the public sectors pay scales are rising while the private sectors are falling and the companies we work for are awash with regulation and potential cost from these burdensome regulations. "we" are revolting at the polls and we will not quit.

  2. You have shown me the error of the ways, I didn't realize how rich I had gotten as a teacher. Friend if there are bad regulations lets get rid of them but you should know the vast majority of public sector workers aren't getting rich on your back. Republicans have controled Florida for over a decade now and how has that worked out? You have ben convinced their is a problem while your CEO counts his money.

    I also think you are about to see another revolt a workers revolt.