THEY THINK IT IS FUNNY!!!
Remember, it isn't only Rawlings-Blake that is fleecing Baltimore, all of the Baltimore City Council led by Jack Young and Carl Stokes are on board with all these development policies......DON'T LISTEN TO THEIR PROTESTS......THEY ARE RIGHT ON BOARD WITH THIS!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
People do not understand the extent to which all business taxes have not only disappeared but have actually become profits rather than liability. Obama pushed the ending of depreciation on all business equipment and tax on capital building that brought hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue under the guise of job creation and we know the only job growth is overseas. These 'job creators' have nothing to do with the economy, it has everything to do with reshaping the entire government structure to that which promotes corporate wealth and prosperity .........forget the people's prosperity. WE HAVE WATCHED AS OBAMA AND THIRD WAY DEMOCRATS AT ALL LEVELS HAVE WORKED TO END ALL TAXES/COSTS ON WEALTH ALL WHILE ALLOWING OPEN DEFRAUDING OF GOVERNMENT COFFERS.
We are now back to the days before the Great Depression in wealth inequity and these policies you see below being shouted by Mayor Rawlings-Blake are happening across the country. PICKING UP THE TRASH IS A PUBLIC DUTY NOT NEEDING PEOPLE TO PAY. People are paying because there is no corporate revenue at all coming into the city coffers.
THIS IS THIRD WAY POLICY AND IT IS THE LEGACY FOR WHICH OBAMA IS WORKING---COMPLETE DISMANTLEMENT OF ALL PUBLIC STRUCTURES. DID YOU VOTE FOR OBAMA TO DO THIS? OF COURSE NOT.
O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake are simply a farm team to this mentality and it is why you see her proposing all of this policy and seemingly oblivious to media and public outrage over these policies.....she will be leaving. City Council President Jack Young and Finance Committee Chair Carl Stokes who see themselves in line have the same commitments to the 1%.
Chief Batts the new police chief brought in from California shout out that his police officers would rather have better wages then a pension as if it is an either or thing. That's not what I hear from the rank and file, that is what the people are being told will happen. Police and Fire do not pay for Social Security so they have no retirement at all if not for the pension so each time O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake come after their retirement they sink further into poverty as they retire. Third Way see no retirement for any workers.....they intend on having people work into their eighties if need be. PEOPLE DON'T LIKE HAVING ALL THAT TIME ON THEIR HANDS AFTER ALL.
THESE POLS AND THEIR APPOINTEES ARE PUBLIC SERVANTS. THEY DO NOT TELL US WHAT WE WILL HAVE, THEY DO WHAT WE TELL THEM.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!
Below you see this happening all across the country. It has nothing to do with deficits....it has to do with wealth transfer to the top.
Florida voters say no to more business tax breaks 7:02 AM, Nov 7, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida voters have rejected an additional tax break for businesses on their furniture, equipment and other tangible personal property.
The vote Tuesday on Amendment 10 was 45 percent in favor with most ballots counted. As with all amendments, it needed 60 percent approval.
The proposal would have doubled the current exemption on tangible personal property taxes from $25,000 to $50,000 and let cities and counties increase it even more.
Supporters said the amendment offered by the Republican-controlled Legislature would help stimulate Florida's economy. Lawmakers in the past two years also have cut corporate income taxes by increasing the exemption.
Opponents said the amendment would have forced local governments to further reduce public services or increase other taxes.
O'MALLEY AND THEN CITY COUNCIL MEMBER RAWLINGS-BLAKE DELIBERATELY DEFUNDED PENSIONS SO THEY COULD GIVE EVER MORE TAX BREAKS TO CORPORATIONS SO IT IS CLEAR THESE POLS NEVER INTENDED ON PAYING THESE PENSIONS. NOW, AS THESE SAME POLS WORK HARD IN LOADING UP BALTIMORE'S PUBLIC DEBT THESE PENSIONS WILL DISAPPEAR ALTOGETHER.
THINK PUBLIC PENSIONS NEED TO SHRINK? IT WAS THE PUBLIC SECTOR THAT BUILT THE MIDDLE-CLASS IN THE 1950s......YOU WILL NOT REBUILD THE MIDDLE-CLASS WITHOUT THEM!!!
Mayor calls for trash pickup fee, 10 percent cut in city workforce Rawlings-Blake wants longer work week for firefighters, city employees to contribute to pensions
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun 9:48 p.m. EST, February 11, 2013
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called Monday for "bold reforms" to fix a looming financial shortfall, including requiring more city workers to contribute to their retirement fund, charging residents for trash collection, asking firefighters to work longer hours and cutting the city workforce by 10 percent over time.
In return, she said, the city could use the savings to raise employee salaries and cut property taxes by 22 percent — 50 cents per $100 of assessed value — over the next decade.
Delivering her annual State of the City address, the mayor did not offer specifics of her proposals, but said she would introduce legislation in coming weeks and months.
"This plan doesn't solve all our problems," Rawlings-Blake said. "No realistic plan ever does. But it will show with greater confidence that Baltimore, more than any other city in America, is taking responsibility and getting its own house in order."
"We cannot build the foundation of a growing city on the mud of a fiscal swamp," she said.
The speech was generally well-received by members of the City Council and a conservative think tank — who described Rawlings-Blake as a mayor unafraid to make tough choices — but some proposals were met with skepticism.
Her call for austerity measures came after her administration released a consultant's report last week that said Baltimore is facing a structural deficit of nearly $750 million over the next 10 years. It pointed to municipal pension and health care costs as the two biggest drivers of the projected shortfall.
The mayor said she wants to require current city employees to contribute some of their salaries to their pensions, while moving to a 401(k)-style retirement plan for new civilian hires. She also proposed giving new employees hired in the Police and Fire departments a "hybrid" retirement system.
Additionally, the mayor said she wants firefighters to work longer than their "outdated" 42-hour week and said she hopes to shrink the size of city government, without "major layoffs," by at least 10 percent over eight years.
Michael B. Campbell, president of the Baltimore fire officers union, said administration officials outlined their plan for the department in a briefing last week. He said they want to cut the equivalent of 300 positions while imposing longer hours and worse retirement benefits.
While his members would earn more for a longer week, they would earn less per hour, he said. "That's a pay cut," he said. "They're going to have a tough time recruiting."
City Councilman William H. Cole IV said he believes the council will set an example on the issue of pension reform. On Monday, he introduced a resolution that called on the city to shift elected officials' retirement plans from traditional pensions to 401(k)-style plans.
"It's clear to me that we as elected officials have to lead the way," he said.
Rawlings-Blake also said she aims to reduce city health insurance costs and find ways to collect more money from tax-exempt nonprofits — two major areas in which she believes city finances could improve. She said she wants to renegotiate a "payment in lieu of taxes" agreement with nonprofits, which all together occupy $4 billion worth of tax-exempt property.
She called for an "immediate health coverage eligibility audit" to ensure that "all dependent health coverage is legitimate." And she said she planned to charge a "user fee" for trash, recycling and sanitation. The mayor said the fee would help lower property taxes for all Baltimore homeowners.
Even as council members questioned some of Rawlings-Blake's proposals, most said they were pleased to see the mayor tackling the tough issues. For instance, City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke took issue with some of the mayor's proposals, including shifting to a 401(k)-style retirement system and charging for trash collection. But she said she supports the effort to rein in long-term spending.
"I think she's a really good, young, forward-looking mayor," Clarke said. "She's doing the right thing. You can disagree on the details, but you have to congratulate the mayor on looking down the road and saying, from her own perspective, where we should be and how we should get there."
City Councilman James Kraft said he supported the move to charge a trash pickup fee as a way to get tax-exempt nonprofits to contribute to the city coffers.
"What's really important is that all of the folks that are exempt from property tax — it gets those people to begin to pay their fair share," Kraft said. "Right now you can't charge them the property tax, but you can charge them this sewer and user fee. ... There will be pushback, but if it's done right, it will give us a tool to cut the property taxes significantly."
But City Councilman Carl Stokes — who also called the speech "very good" — said it missed two key components in reforming city finances: more audits and fewer tax breaks for developers.
WE THANK AFSCME FOR FINALLY SAYING ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AS UNIONS MOVE AWAY FROM THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS AND LOOK TOWARDS RUNNING THEIR OWN CANDIDATES!!!!!!!
WE WANT TO SEE ALL UNIONS DOING THIS AND WE HOPE JUSTICE COMMUNITIES WILL SEE HOW YOUR INCUMBENT IS NOT WORKING IN YOUR INTEREST!!!
AFSCME President Slams Pat Quinn, Michael Nutter As 'Turncoats' Who Must 'Pay'
Posted: 02/11/2013 1:11 pm EST | Updated: 02/11/2013 3:37 pm EST
WASHINGTON -- One of the top labor leaders in the country ripped into two prominent Democratic lawmakers Monday morning, calling them "turncoats" and unfavorably comparing them to high-profile anti-union Republicans.
Speaking at the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees' Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., AFSCME President Lee Saunders devoted a large portion of his address to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, promising political retribution for the tough-on-labor policies both Democrats have imposed.
The remarks, delivered at a private gathering and sent over by a labor source, are below:
I am sick and tired of the fair-weather Democrats. They date us, take us to the prom, marry us, and then divorce us right after the honeymoon. I am sick and tired of the so-called friends who commend us when they’re running for election, but condemn us after they’ve won. I am sick and tired of the politicians who stand with us behind closed doors, but kick us to the curb in front of the cameras. I'm here to tell you that's bullshit and we’re not gonna take it anymore. Many of you know some of the people I’m talking about. Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia. Governor Pat Quinn in Illinois. We’ve come to expect union-busting, anti-worker tactics from ultra-conservatives like Scott Walker and John Kasich. But now, everybody’s on the bandwagon.
Look at Nutter. AFSCME members in Philadelphia haven’t had a contract in four years, and Sister Baylor knows it. What does the mayor do? He goes to the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court to get a legal decision that would let him shove his contract down our throats. He’s no different from Governor Snyder in Michigan, who went to his state’s Supreme Court to get legal cover for cutting school employees’ pay. Different political parties, same political games.
Look at Governor Quinn. He has waged a relentless war on state employees – slashing pensions, driving down incomes and wiping out jobs. Last year he took the unprecedented step of terminating our contract. He is the first and only Illinois governor, Republican or Democrat, to take such a blatantly aggressive action.
I have had enough of these turncoats, and it’s time to make them pay.
Hostilities between organized labor and some of the nation's most prominent, state-based Democrats are hardly a new phenomenon. Before Quinn and Nutter rankled AFSCME, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did the same with unions in his state.
But the swipes in Saunders' speech are notably sharp -- especially the ominous pledge to "make them pay" -- and they illustrate the extent to which these hostilities are no longer confined to closed-door budget fights. With states and cities feeling the pinch, lawmakers have been going after organized labor with greater frequency, altering pension plans to be less generous, changing retirement age laws, or, in several cases, targeting collective bargaining rights.
In Nutter's case, a battle over the mayor's push to impose contract terms on the city's largest union is being petitioned up to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Saunders' grievance against Quinn, meanwhile, is based on the governor's decision not to renew Illinois' contract with AFSCME this past November. Quinn had been pushing for a pay cut for state workers, as well as a wage freeze and a new policy that would have employees paying more for their own health insurance coverage.
Neither Quinn's nor Nutter's office immediately returned requests for comment.
UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. -- Brooke Anderson, Quinn's press secretary, referred The Huffington Post to an op-ed the governor wrote in late September, in which he framed his policies as necessary for restoring the state's fiscal footing and eliminating duplicitous or wasteful programs.
"Bellicose rhetoric is not going to address Illinois’ financial challenges," Anderson added in an emailed statement. "The governor respects the collective bargaining process and the right to organize. He’s been a lifelong ally of the labor community, leading the state’s largest capital construction program in history to put thousands of workers back on the job. He has long championed increasing the minimum wage and protecting workers’ rights.
"Governor Quinn inherited massive financial challenges from decades of mismanagement by previous governors and legislatures. He did not create these challenges, but he is committed to addressing them," the statement continued. "In these difficult economic times, trade unions have made concessions. Auto unions have made concessions. And the union of government employees will have to understand the importance of making concessions to acknowledge the fact that the current path of credit downgrades and debt is unsustainable."
Meanwhile, Nutter's press secretary Mark McDonald sent over the following email, pushing back on Saunders' attack and laying blame for the standoff in Philadelphia at the feet of the local union.
First, Mayor Nutter is a strong supporter of unions, their rights to bargain and engage in collective action. But at the same time, he also is mindful of the cost of government and has sought through efficiencies and new methods to bring high quality service to Philadelphians. The reality is that pensions and healthcare costs are consuming more and more city resources that would otherwise be spent on quality services or returned to the taxpayers’ pockets. [snip]
Mayor Nutter believes in collective bargaining. And that’s why he’s seeking an end to this impasse. In fact, it’s the Union that has refused to come to agreement. All they say is NO.
Indeed, the City has repeatedly offered enhancements to its contract proposal, adding a second year of pay raise and more health care funding and reducing the number of furlough days being sought from 30 to 15. And in the upcoming Five Year Plan, the City has no immediate plan to actually employ furloughs, which will only be used in the context of a real fiscal crisis.
Name calling and efforts to vilify elected officials point out the poverty of the Union’s bargaining position. They are happy to talk about more raises but they don’t want to help the City establish a more sustainable budget in the years to come. They prefer hobbling future administrations with only one tool to use in a recession – layoffs. Mayor Nutter says that furloughs save jobs in the long run.
DON'T ALLOW THESE POLS TO BULLY YOU OUT OF PENSIONS JUST AS THE VENTURE CAPITALISTS DID PRIVATE SECTOR PENSIONS.......THE PRIVATE SECTOR USED TO HAVE ALL OF THESE PENSION BENEFITS AND WAGES AND IT IS WHERE WE WANT TO RETURN.......THIS IS WHAT THE MIDDLE-CLASS LOOKS LIKE.
DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO COMPARE AND SAY PUBLIC MUST LOOK LIKE TODAY'S PRIVATE.......TELL THEM THAT TODAY'S PUBLIC IS WHAT PRIVATE NEEDS TO LOOK LIKE!!!!
Public vs. private pension study: the gap widens A new study done for a pension reform group says retirement benefits for California public employees are often two or three times greater than benefits in the private sector, where pensions and retiree health coverage are dwindling.
The study also found that contrary to the usual justification for higher public employee retirement benefits (lower pay on the job) average wages for comparable work are similar or slightly higher for public employees than in the private sector.
The value of retiree health coverage provided for public employees and their spouses and dependents, a benefit seldom found in the private sector, can exceed the total value of some private-sector retirement benefits.
Other things said to boost public pensions: generous pension formulas, early retirement at 50 and 55, annual pension inflation increases, and if a pension recipient dies continuing to pay a quarter of the pension to a survivor, with a $2,000 lump sum.
The study was done by Capitol Matrix Consulting (Mike Genest, Brad Williams and Jay Peters) for the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility (Marcia Fritz) under a $150,000 grant from an undisclosed out-of-state source.
As struggling state and local governments spend more of their deficit-ridden budgets on rising retirement costs, whether public pensions and retiree health coverage are too generous is part of the political debate.
Reform advocates and labor defenders can each find studies reflecting their views. In an appendix, the new study lists several studies showing that state and local government employees are overpaid, and several studies showing they are underpaid.
The foundation led by Fritz has proposed cost-cutting pension reform initiatives in the past, but was unable to get the funding needed to place them on the ballot. Fritz said she is now focusing on pension research and education.
A spin-off group with a different tax status, California Pension Reform (Dan Pellissier), is working on a pension reform initiative for the ballot next year. One plan being considered would switch new hires to a 401(k)-style individual investment plan.
What the new study adds to the pension debate remains to be seen. The study doesn’t deal with the main issue, rising government costs, or a conventional measurement of adequacy: How much of the job salary is being replaced by retirement income.
When Gov. Brown, for example, proposed a pension cut for new hires during his previous term in 1982, he argued that it was possible for a state worker to retire at age 62 with combined CalPERS and Social Security income exceeding pay on the job.
The goal of the new study is to compare retirement benefits received by state, local and federal government workers with the employees of large California companies and two reforms proposed by the foundation.
The methodology is a “present value” calculation of future benefits. It’s widely used in business and economics for comparisons. But for those unfamiliar with the technique, the process used to match the benefits may not be easily understood.
Here’s a key sentence from the study: “Results in this chapter show employer-provided retirement benefits in terms of their present (lump sum) value at termination of service, expressed in today’s dollars.”
The study said the method puts pensions, 401(k)-style plan balances, and retiree health benefits on to a “common basis,” while also capturing the value of pension inflation adjustments, survivor benefits and temporary supplements.
Different assumptions about the “time value of money” and other factors would produce different results, the study said, so the focus should be on the relative value of benefits under the different programs, rather than the dollar amounts.
On the other hand, the study has reader-friendly graphs for each of the scenarios used in the comparisons. A common theme is the short stack of benefits for the private sector, with the exception of short-term employees.
The study said one of the difficulties in making comparisons is that “pensions are disappearing from the private sector.”
About 87 percent of state and local government employees in the Pacific region have access to pensions, compared to 20 percent of private sector employees, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cited in the study.
Six large California-based companies were used for the private-sector comparison in the study. Only Chevron employees hired before 2008 continue to earn benefits under a traditional pension.
A “hybrid” plan combining a small pension with a tax-deferred 401(k) individual investment plan is offered Chevron employees hired after 2007, Safeway employees and Northrop Grumman employees hired before July 2008.
Only a 401(k) plan is offered to employees of Cisco, McKesson, Qualcomm and Northrop Grumman employees hired since June 2008. In the comparison with government plans, the study assumes the 401(k) plans earn 7.25 percent a year.
But as critics of 401(k) plans note, investment earnings are unpredictable, leaving the individual at risk if money falls short during retirement. A government pension is guaranteed income for life, leaving taxpayers with the risk if earnings fall short.
One of the comparisons in the study is with private-sector pensions in the 1990s, before the era of cuts and freezes. A federal survey then found that the average private pension replaced less than a third of the salary of a 30-year worker retiring at age 65.
The study said a similar state worker currently would receive “more than twice that level” under a California Public Employees Retirement System pension based on a common formula providing 2 percent of final pay for each year served at age 55.
Retiree health care is provided for roughly two-thirds of state and local government employees. The study said the state and UC offer retirees coverage similar to active workers through age 64, followed by supplements at age 65 and over.
About 22 percent of private-sector workers were offered early retirement health coverage in 2008, down from 31 percent in 1997, according to Employee Benefit Research Institute figures cited by the study.
The decline may have been encouraged by an accounting rule change in the early 1990s. The study said companies have to charge expected post-retirement health benefits against earnings and disclose liabilities.
The state has not set aside money to pay for retiree health care promised current workers, an unfunded liability estimated to be $60 billion over the next 30 years. The state payment for retiree health next fiscal year is expected to be more than $1.5 billion.
The new study said teachers in the California State Teachers Retirement System earn less generous benefits than other California public employees. They do not receive Social Security, and many do not receive retiree health coverage.
But the study failed to note that a quarter of the teacher pension contribution (2 percent of pay from the total contribution of 8 percent of pay) was diverted into a Defined Benefit Supplement for a decade ending in January.
The supplement earns what the CalSTRS investment portfolio earns, with a guaranteed minimum based on the 30-year Treasury bond. Teachers also can invest the 6.2 percent of pay that would have gone to Social Security in tax-deferred plans.
A report to the CalSTRS board in June 2009 found that a teacher at age 63 after 34.5 years of service could retire with 103 percent of final pay, if they have the pension, the supplement and have put $100 a month into a tax-deferred investment plan.
The board was told the pension of the typical CalSTRS retiree is about 62 percent of final pay.
Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at http://calpensions.com/ Posted 5 May 11
THIS IS WHAT THIRD WAY POLICY IS ALL ABOUT......GLOBAL EMPIRE BUILDING THAT CREATES A THIRD WORLD DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.
THAT IS TOWARDS WHERE THESE BALTIMORE POLICIES ARE MOVING AS WE LOSE MORE AND MORE OF WHAT IS PUBLIC WHILE MASSIVE CORPORATE FRAUD GOES WITHOUT JUSTICE.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
Ayn Rand: Queen of the Universe
Thursday, 07 February 2013 15:22 By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks, The Daily Take | Op-Ed
Thirty years after her death, Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness and billionaire empowerment rules the world. It’s a remarkable achievement for an ideology that was pushed to the fringes for most of her life, and ridiculed on national television in a notorious interview with Mike Wallace.
But, it’s happened. And today, the United States and other independent governments around the world are crumbling while Ayn Rand’s billionaires are taking over.
With each new so-called Free Trade agreement – especially the very secretive Trans Pacific Partnership, which has less to do with trade and more to do with a new law of global governance for transnational corporations – Ayn Rand’s reviled “state” (or what we would call our democracy, the United States of America) is losing its power to billionaires and transnational corporations.
Ayn Rand hated governments and democracy. She considered them systems of mob rule. She grew up in Russia, and as a child watched the Bolsheviks confiscate her father’s pharmacy during the Russian Revolution. Likely suffering from PTSD from that incident, Ayn Rand devoted her future writings to evil government, including the "evil" of its functions like taxation, regulation, and providing social services to the poor and sick.
She divided the world into makers and takers (or what she called “looters”).
On one side are the billionaires and the industrialists. People like Dagny Taggert, a railroad tycoon, and Hank Rearden, a steel magnate. Both were fictional characters in her book Atlas Shrugged, but both have real-world counterparts in the form of the Koch Brothers, the Waltons, and Sheldon Adelson. According to Rand, they are the “Atlases” holding up the world.
So, in Atlas Shrugged, when the billionaires, tired of paying taxes and complying with government regulation, go on strike, Ayn Rand writes that the American economy promptly collapsed.
On the other side are the “looters,” or everyone else who isn’t as rich or privileged, or who believed in a democratic government to provide basic services, empower labor unions, and regulate the economy. They are the leeches on society according to Rand (and according to Mitt Romney with his 47% comments). And, as she told Mike Wallace in in 1959, they do not even “deserve love.”
To our Founding Fathers, looking out for the general welfare of the population was an explicit role of the government, one of its most important and the reason this nation was created when we separated from Britian.
But to Ayn Rand, a government that taxed billionaires to help pay for healthcare and education for impoverished children was not just unwise economically, it was also immoral.
Nature abhors a vacuum – both in the wild and in politics. So, when people, organized in the form of a government, are removed from power, then money organized in the form of corporations and billionaires moves into the vacuum to take power – which is exactly what’s happening today, worldwide.
In the thirty years after her death, the United States crept closer and closer to Ayn Rand’s utopia. Reagan dramatically slashed taxes on the rich and went after labor unions. Clinton deregulated financial markets for the rich, ended welfare as we know it, and committed our nation to one globalist corporate free trade agreement after another.
And, under Bush and Obama, we’ve seen the rapid privatization of our commons, the further erosion of social safety nets, and more losses of national sovereignty with more so-called free trade agreements.
In Europe, we’re seeing sovereign governments neutered by Conservative technocrats. According to Ayn Rand, the rich can never be asked to sacrifice. So instead, it’s working people across the Eurozone who have to pay for the bad investments that the banksters made in the run-up to the global financial collapse.
As we saw in Greece in 2011 with the deposing of Prime Minister George Papandreou, and all across the state of Michigan over the last few years with financial managers laws, when democratic governments are unwilling to do the bidding of the rich, they're immediately replaced by corporate lackeys who will.
The Taggerts and the Reardens are holding the reins of government today.
Which explains why Corporate America paid an average tax rate of just 12% in 2011 – the lowest rate in 40 years. It explains why 400 billionaires in America now own more wealth than 150 million other Americans combined. And it explains why fewer impoverished Americans are getting less federal assistance than at any time in the last half-century.
Ayn Rand envisioned a world without governments – a world where the super-rich are free to do as they wish.
We tried that during the so-called Gilded Age of the late 19th Century – before Ayn Rand was alive. If she'd watched the ruthlessness of the Robber Barons like she did the Bolsheviks, she may have reached different conclusions.
She may have realized that American Presidents like Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower were right when they made sure that wealth was more evenly distributed and the Billionaire Class was held in check.
Or she may have come to understand that corporations and billionaires owe their wealth to the state and not the other way around. Without favorable patent and copyright laws, a court system, an educated workforce, and an infrastructure to move goods about the country, then no one would be able to get rich in America. We'd be like the Libertarian paradise of Somalia.
As Harry Moser, the founder of the Reshoring Initiative,argued in The Economist, “Corporations are not created by the shareholders or the management. Rather they are created by the state. They are granted important privileges by the state (limited liability, eternal life, etc). They are granted these privileges because the state expects them to do something beneficial for the society that makes the grant. They may well provide benefits to other societies, but their main purpose is to provide benefits to the societies (not to the shareholders, not to management, but to the societies) that create them.”
Sadly, this understanding of how democratic republics work - and why - has been lost this generation.
And Ayn Rand’s disciples are making sure the next generation never finds it again.
Idaho State Senator John Goedde, who chairs that state Senate’s Education Committee, introduced a bill this week that would require all students to read Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” before they can graduate. Goedde explained that the book made his son a Republican and that it “certainly gives one a sense of personal responsibility.”
Between stupidity like this, and the re-birth of Ayn Rand through corporate-funded think tanks and Hollywood movies, the Billionaire Class wants to make sure the next generation buys into a toxic ideology that’s quite literally destroying the world as we know it.
They don’t want the 21st Century to be “America’s Century.” They want it to be the “Billionaire’s Century.” And if they succeed, then the middle class in America - and through most of the developed world - will go extinct.