We have all heard about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to deny public employees the basic rights that all Americans enjoy. The governor was successful but only because he violated the state’s open meeting law. The governor will be hearing more about that from the Dane County district attorney who is investigating the case. Well played, Governor Walker. [See 10 things you didn't know about Scott Walker.]
A Gallup Poll released a couple of weeks ago indicates that Americans believe by a 2-to-1 majority that public employees should have the right to belong to unions. But that hasn’t stopped Governor Walker or his counterpart in Ohio, John Kasich, from stripping teachers, nurses in public hospitals and grade school janitors of the basic rights that all Americans enjoy. [See photos of the Wisconsin protests.]
And then there’s the new GOP governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder. The governor and the GOP majority in the legislature passed a law to cut six weeks of jobless benefits for the unemployed. Michigan of course has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. These GOP efforts are part of an all out Republican assault on the economic safety net. While the governors try to eliminate unemployment insurance, the GOP house majority is going after Medicare and Social Security. [Read the U.S. News debate: Should public sector workers have collective bargaining rights?]
The prize however goes to Gov. Paul LePage of Maine who ordered his labor department director to remove a mural that depicts hard working Mainers like potato farmers, ship builders and lobster fishermen. My suggestion for Governor LePage is that he should replace the pictures of the hard working women and men of Maine with portraits of his campaign contributors. [See the best cities to find a job.]
The Republican attack on working families is just a naked political power play. The Republicans complain about the pension and healthcare benefits that employees of financially hard pressed states receive. But crying poverty doesn’t stop the GOP governors from giving big tax breaks to the billionaires and bankers who bankrolled their big budget campaigns.
Republican governors plead poverty but reward the rich. This is proof of the old saying that the golden rule is that he or she with the gold makes the rules.