by Charlie Wishman
Well, after over 9 months of excruciating, grueling hard work, Governor Branstad finally gave us his very best ideas for health care reform in Iowa. Let’s see how he did, compared to the easy to understand and implement 100% federally paid for Medicaid Expansion.
Well, first off, this isn’t considered a so-called entitlement. In other words, just because you fit the guidelines for coverage, there is no guarantee someone would get in the program. With a Medicaid expansion, a person would. With this, if the Iowa General Assembly didn’t appropriate enough money for the program – too bad!
Also, a little gem in the bill also says that if you have employer-based coverage, and DHS deems it more cost effective (cheaper) to pay for that than this program, then I hope you like what you have because you’re staying on it. This plan only covers people up to 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, so odds are if you have employer based health care, it’s probably not so great. Even though this program may provide more benefits, they’ll just pay the premium for your lousy plan instead even though you’re eligible.
And guess what else? The entire program can be contracted out, rather than having our state employees administer the program.
But how does it work you ask? Well, it’s a tired old idea called “health savings accounts.” Basically you pay into a savings account, along with the state of Iowa. Then, you can use that money to go buy health care services at certain providers that have the Terry Branstad seal of approval, until it runs out. After all, the Governor doesn’t want people to use too much health care. And, if you’re a good little patient and do what he asks you to do, you can use any leftover money in your health savings account to pay for your share of the program next year. What a deal!
But what if you miss a payment? You’re out of the system – for a year.
Well, if the Federal Government was going to pay for 100% of Medicaid funding, how will the Governor pay for this you ask? Your county’s property tax money, of course. Oh, and $23 million in state funds too. Yes, you read that right, you’re paying for it twice. And, he really, really, hopes the Federal Government will think this is a good idea and kick in money too.
Needless to say, the Iowa Federation of Labor does not support this, and will let you know about opportunities to make your voice heard on this issue. In fact, take a minute right now to contact your legislators today to let them know this is unacceptable.
Iowa Federation of Labor, Secretary-Treasurer
[Note from BFIA: Click here to contact your state representatives]
Across-the-board budget cuts—called sequestration—went into effect March 1st when Congress failed to pass a budget. Called a “Poison Pill” at the time the Sequester Bill was passed last summer, it was designed by Congress to be so devastating, it would force Congress to negotiate a responsible budget.
However, that didn’t happen, and now we are starting the see the effects of sequestration cuts on our friends and neighbors. With a few exceptions for defense, food stamps and transportation, every federal agency will be forced to make severe cuts. Politico describes them this way,
“There would be a 9.4 percent cut to most defense programs — except those exempted in the sequestration law — and a 10 percent cut to a handful of other Pentagon accounts that are not subject to annual congressional appropriations. Medicare would get hit with a 2 percent cut, while domestic discretionary programs — such as scientific grants and Education Department programs — would be subject to 8.2 percent cuts. Most mandatory domestic programs — those that are funded based on eligibility — would be slashed by 7.6 percent.”
Despite voter opposition, congressional Republicans demand cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid benefits and tax breaks for Wall Street and the wealthiest 2%—and they keep manufacturing fiscal crises to gain “leverage” and get their way. Now they’re also threatening to shut down the government on March 27 and cause a government default after May 19.
Nationally, sequestration will cost more than 1 million jobs this year and many more jobs over the next decade. Totaling $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years will harm our battered economy even more.
The solution is to repeal sequestration—not replace it—so we can put these manufactured crises behind us and focus on the urgent problems of putting America back to work, raising wages and reducing economic inequality.
Congress created it and Congress can make it go away. The only way to put an end to these endless manufactured fiscal crises is to disarm the hostage takers, not give in to their ransom demands.
Call your members of Congress now at 888-659-9401!
Also ask your Congressperson to Protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare from Benefit Cuts. Republican leaders are using their “leverage” to demand benefit cuts, including Social Security COLA cuts; an increase in the Medicare eligibility age; higher Medicare premiums for beneficiaries with incomes as low as $47,000; higher out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare beneficiaries; and deep cuts to Medicaid that would shift costs to individuals and reduce access to care. They would rather cut these benefits than close the loophole that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies ($230 billion over 10 years), or close tax loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans.
Finally Congress needs to Close Loopholes for Wall Street and the Richest 2% of Americans. Republicans in Congress want to give more tax breaks to Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans, but instead we should close the lavish tax loopholes they already have. Start by closing the tax break for sending jobs overseas ($583 billion over 10 years); collecting a millionaire’s surtax ($453 billion); collecting a tiny tax on Wall Street speculation ($350 billion); closing the tax loophole for Wall Street hedge fund managers ($21 billion); and closing the tax loophole for Wall Street derivatives traders ($3 billion). Jobs Not Cuts. The most important economic challenge facing America is the jobs crisis, and the best way to stabilize the debt over the long term is to fix the economy first. Our top priorities must be creating jobs by investing in infrastructure and education, raising wages, reducing inequality and increasing economic security for working people.
AFL-CIO March 20th Events:
Quad City Federation of Labor
Forum on Cuts
Community Health Care, Rock Island, IL 2750 11th Street
Speakers include representatives from Alliance for Retired Americans, Humility of Mary Housing, and Arsenal Workers
South Central Iowa Federation of Labor
State Capitol Building
Hawkeye Labor Council
US District Court, 111 78th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA
Clinton Labor Congress
Clinton Schools Administration Building, 1401 12th Avenue North, Clinton, IA
Speakers include representatives from Iowa Workforce Development Board, Clinton School District, Clinton Housing Authority
Sometimes a Great Notion – Directed by Paul Newman. Filmed 1970. It was released to widespread dismissal in 1971, stars Paul Newman and Henry Fonda and Lee Remick.
In a supremely ironic film, those two great bastions of Hollywood liberalism – Paul Newman and Henry Fonda – star as father and son scabs. Their rugged individualism, community-destroying strike defiance and overall bravado are the Alpha of America.
Paul Newman’s handsome misogyny is as disarming as Henry Fonda’s loveable curmudgeon. They chop down centuries old forests, rise before the sun, drink beer, hunt, alternately fuck or ignore their beautiful servile wives. Henry and Hank Stamper – their characters in the film – live by their family creed, “never give a inch.”
The film is based on a story by Ken Kesey, of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest fame. I was written a year after Congress passed the Equal Pay Act mandating equal pay for women. It was filmed two years after the 1968 French General strike, a student-led protest against austerity measures that swelled into a strike of over 4 million workers, and the same year US Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, mandating safety regulations for workers.
The film doesn’t convey the depth of character to the union members or women in the film – covered in more depth in the original novel’s 650 pages. It is essentially a male-heirarchy tale, and the film remains faithful critic to their hierarchy. The Stamper clan cling to their molehill as vigilantly as they uproot its trees. Cynically – because that is the essence of Our Masculine Myth of American Exceptionalism – at the end of the film, our heroes Henry and Hank win. Deperately, glorifyingly. Their indomitable man-conquers-man, man-conquers-nature, man-conquers-society spirit lifts them, and we who sympathized with them, to a state of hollow despair. You are left to feel like the centuries-old forests torn apart by Henry, Hank, and even the workers when they are not on strike: ravaged. Because their ethos is pathological.
Kesey considered it his best novel, better than his notorious earlier work, One Flew Over the Cookoos nest. But the film and book remain little known to most Paul Newman, Henry Fonda or Cokoos nest fans.
It’s live streaming online on Netflix, possibly on hulu or other free sites.
On January 17th, 2013, Tavis Smiley moderated a panel of public intellectuals on the topic of poverty in America – a topic so rarely discussed, you’d think it was a peripheral issue rather than the root cause (and consequence) of so many other hazards. It isn’t taken seriously. Just another set of statistics contorted to fit one’s political agenda. However, at a moment when the country is considering further devastating cuts to health and human services, job training, food stamps and education, this conversation is one we must have more often and with a great deal of seriousness. Click here to watch it on C-SPAN
Human poverty does exist in the US - in spades. But unlike poverty of years past, poverty is now sublimated. Federal Food Stamp and free and reduced lunch programs shroud poverty from view. The poor stand next to you in the grocery line, and next to their classmates at the school lunch line. Because the cheapest food also happens to be the unhealthiest, malnourishment is more often draped in obesity rather than emaciation. The poor live off the beaten path and in neighborhoods we’re not supposed to go to ’cause they’re “bad.” There aren’t bread lines in the streets or folks in overcrowded welfare or unemployment offices – they are online, call-in only. The poor are rarely found lobbying at the Capitols, but they are plentiful in morgues and prisons and in the military.
As writer and artist John Berger noted, “The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied, but written off as trash.”
The day after Tavis Smiley hosted that panel discussion, President Obama was inaugurated on MLK Holiday and on MLKs Bible [see Cornel West’s take on this at minute 25-30 in the program]. Though he spoke about gay rights, about the rights of girls being allowed to succeed, and on the vital issue of UNIVERSAL SUFFERAGE, Obama failed to mention Organized Labor, which along with education and Social Security, is among the most successful anti-poverty programs in the U.S. Josh Eidelson discussed this in an article for Truthout.
Obama made a point about investing in schools in order to create good “workers,” but he failed to note that we then suppress their abilities to organize so they can, in turn, bargain dignified wages and benefits for their labors. As union membership rose from the 1950s through the 1970s and then declined from the 1970s to current day, the number of Americans living in poverty mimicked the rise and fall.
Then two days after Beyoncé lip-synced the National Anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in, and the sycophantic press got over their post-ball hangovers, the Big Story of the day was that union membership in the US had dropped to a 90+ year low. Many offered their reasons for why this is so, but few if any dug into the correlations between poverty and unionization, from the Industrial era until now.
The current legislative session in Iowa now must decide what to do with the billion dollar surplus earned from years of spending cuts to essential programs like court services, unemployment offices, jobs training programs and many others. Instead of using this opportunity to help Iowa’s poor (an all-time high number of Iowans currently receive food stamps), Governor Branstad has proposed sweeping commercial and industrial property tax reform. But the problem with his vision of reform is the poor do not own commercial and industrial property. There are no tax credits for living in a car, a shelter, a family or friend’s sofa, or in a pay-by-the-week motel.
The Iowa legislature should be recognized for its attempts last year to address poverty by passing legislation to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit which targets poor workers, and by supplementing Iowa food banks with $500,000 in state assistance. Unfortunately those attempts were in vain as Governor Branstad vetoed both (he actually vetoed EITC twice last year).
Partisans of all sides could possibly agree that it’s not that the poor shouldn’t “get” government subsidies/assistance; it’s that they shouldn’t “need” it. But the realities of our economic model that repress workers’ rights to organize result in enormous human need. But an economy is man-made. Policies are set forth through our public and private institutions where poor people are being told they have to work harder, and they are going to have to do with less.
The Iowa legislature’s number one priority in dealing with the budget surplus should be to address poverty and health and human services. Women and children make up the largest segment falling into poverty. One in four children under the age of five is food insecure. Poverty’s impact on children is immeasurable – how do you calculate immorality? Quantify psychological destruction? Measure the violence of broken families? You can only describe it, and in doing so your heart should break if indeed there is a soul still in you that hasn’t been erased by bean counting economic theories.
To find out more about Tavis Smiley’s poverty summit, go to Afuturewithoutpoverty.com or look up: #povertymustend on Twitter. At the website, you can sign a letter to the White House that demands the President give a major public policy address on eradication of poverty in America and convene a White House conference on the eradication of poverty.
On December 21st, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a wrongful termination case in which Ft. Dodge Dentist Dr. James Knight fired his assistant Melissa Nelson because his “irresistible attraction” to her threatened his own marriage.
The all-male Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the horny dentist.
Now I won’t offer any pretense in understanding the legalities in question, but even a layman (including men who like to get laid) would agree there’s something seriously troubling in the Court’s finding that a boss can fire an employee because he (or she) may not be able to repress his (or her) own sexual urges as related to that employee.
Mrs. Nelson sued under Iowa’s Civil Rights law for gender discrimination, not as a sexual harassment case even though at one point over the course of her employment Dr. Knight explained to her that she would know the scrubs she was wearing were too sexy if “she saw his pants bulging”.
What was the Taliban’s, I mean Court’s, legal basis for affirming Mrs. Nelson’s termination? That Dr. Knight did not illegally fire Mrs. Nelson for being a woman, precisely, but for being an irresistibly attractive woman (ugly ladies need not worry.)
To affirm his moral superiority over the happily married mother of two, Dr. Knight consulted with his mullah – er – I mean his minister for guidance. The two pious men concluded that the dental assistant who was twenty-one years younger than him was too sexy to handle a periodontal curette. So Dr. Knight prepared a written statement, and with another wizened-to-the-ways-of-women minister at his side as witness, read to Mrs. Nelson his reasons for firing her after ten years with his office. He gave her one month severance pay.
She is guilty for his feelings.
What is so agonizing about the Court’s affirmation is that Mrs. Nelson had done absolutely nothing to invite Dr. Knight’s obsession. She wore scrubs, same as the other girls. She regarded Dr. Knight as a father figure, not potential lover. In the court brief it is even acknowledged that Mrs. Nelson had not engaged in flirtatious behavior with Dr. Knight.
This decision may seem insignificant because, after all, women in the U.S. aren’t being gang raped and eviscerated like the 23 year old Delhi woman riding the bus home from her late night shift at a Canadian call center. But it is just as insidious. It shifts the agency. It is beyond reason that the all-male court’s decision shouldn’t be nullified based on U.S. Civil Rights case law and 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
At this point, Mrs. Nelson’s attorney has filed a motion for a rehearing given Iowa’s long history of protecting Civil Rights. I hope they do so with haste, for how is any worker now secure in his or her profession if at any time, his or her employer can claim “sexual tension” as a cause for termination? If simply being considered “sexy” – however one defines this subjective adjective – can be grounds for termination, the rules of causality are flipped upside down.
It’s not unlike the argument that women can prevent rape by not wearing certain things, going certain places, or acting certain ways. That line of thinking presumes that men are incapable of control, or that women are mere subjects of men’s desires, not independent actors of their own lives.
Despite advances made by women in the past century to gain legal rights, including the right to vote, divorce, own property, etc., women workers’ compensation shamefully lags behind that of their male counterparts. Women’s average wages remain only 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. Women also comprise the majority of extremely low wage professions, making up 2/3 of minimum wage earners. Despite a wage disparity which could urge some women to shrink back into their domestic roles and hope to at least marry successfully, women make up nearly half of the workforce. The one statistical arena where women workers now exceed men is their unemployment rate is 7.3% compared to 7.2% for men nationally.
Beyond the wage gap and the enormous burden this puts on families – more of which are being headed by single women – female workers in Iowa must now contend with a new stunningly sexist obstacle: being considered too attractive to work.
Book Review by Mike Matejka
Grand Prairie Union News, Bloomington, Illinois
Economics, the study of how we earn and spend our hard-earned pay, can be dry stuff, often lost in obscure charts and mathematical models. So it is refreshing when an economist looks at more than numbers. In The Price of Inequality, How Today’s Divided Society Endangers our Future, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz examines our economy, with our growing separation between the 99 percent of us and the wealthy 1 percent, and lays out forcibly what is wrong with our system that proverbially leaves the rich getting richer and the poor poorer.
Stiglitz exposes what in our tax policy, banking system, trade treaties and government policy favors the wealthy, whether through tax loopholes or subsidies. To give just one example, which was included in the most recent fiscal cliff legislation, are lower capital gains tax rates for private equity firm managers, which Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was criticized for profiting from this past fall. Stiglitz would note a tax break like this favors speculation over economic investment.
What is most refreshing about this Nobel Prize winning economist’s treatise are some basic human insights. We all swim or sink together. So as we design our economy, is it based upon lowering workers’ wages, cutting support for the poor, the elderly or the sick? Or do we design an economic model that still allows the wealthy to get rich, but also lifts up the average person?
One cannot do justice to the economic data that is condensed and analyzed in The Price of Inequality. But if you want a very measured, thorough analysis of how our tax, corporate and governmental policies are impacting average families, this is the book to read. If the USA is going to have value to its people and the world, we have to reward hard work, support affordable education and allow creative opportunities. Stiglitz would argue that many of our policies go in the opposite direction. He notes labor unions as a necessary and vital counter-balance to rampant, self-serving corporate greed.
It is dense reading, but full of insight. An economically divided society is not the inevitable result of a capitalistic “invisible hand of the market.” Markets are shaped by human choices, whether made by politicians, voters, bankers, industrialists or speculators. Besides controlling markets and financial rules, the wealthy control much of our political dialogue through their campaign donations and media centralization. Our democracy means not only electing politicians, but also using our voting power and voices to insure an economic that is open to all.
The Price of Inequality is worth reading; rarely does one get so much data, delivered with thorough analysis and insight, in one volume. And rarely does one hear from an economist who realizes we are all economic contributors and deserve a fair shake in our system.
My Person of the Year
Contrary to TIME magazine’s choice for 2012 Person of the Year, President Obama (who at this moment is bargaining to water down benefits to social programs like Social Security and Medicare and others), MY Person of the Year is the Public Employee.MY Person of the Year is the Public Employee.
From Hurricane Sandy to Sandy Hooks Elementary School, America’s first responders, teachers, and other professionals who chose to serve the public are the most significant Person of 2012.
At Sandy Hooks, teachers, psychologists, and administrative staff were gunned down as they tried to stop a severely ill young man armed with a military-style weapon from slaughtering six and seven year old children.
Across the Eastern Coast, public servants left their own families to rescue other people’s families trapped by a most unusual winter storm/hurricane innocently named “Sandy.”
Probation officers encounter the most complicated work of serving a public aggravated by a vicious economic system and an anemic commonwealth to repair damaged humans and return them to some semblance of social order.
Public health workers inoculate the old and the young preventing deadly disease and influenza outbreaks. They could work for private hospitals and make double or triple their salaries, but instead serve the public good, not the private accumulation of wealth.
Even as I sit here today, state and municipal drivers are clearing highways of up to 12 inches of snow that hit in the Iowa Blizzard of December 2012.
Public workers clean and test our water to maintain its safety. They fix water main breaks so you have the luxury of flushing your toilet.
Public workers serve in our world-class state university systems, despite slashing budgets that have driven up tuition rates that has catapulted into enormous student debt.
Police officer and fire fighter lives are at risk as a part of their job description.
They are also increasingly dealing with larger and larger workloads as their budgets get slashed, and all this despite the fact that private sector wealth is at a level previously unknown in the world. How the Caesars, Khans, Borgias and Tudors would envy the Adelson, Koch and Wal-Mart fortunes.
They are not typically the heroes of Sandy Hook or Hurricane Sandy. And this article is not meant to glorify them for doing what they are paid to do. They are ordinary people who, despite their commitment to serve the public for the fair trade of middle class wages and dignified retirements, have become the most maligned workers of late.
This did not happen in a vacuum. It happened as a result of a coordinated movement of conservatives who have funded foundations like the Heritage Foundation, Cato, Media Research Institute, American Enterprise Institute, and Iowans for Tax Relief that churn out constant missives (you’ll see many of them fashioned into letters to the editor in your local paper) to convince the public that government should be in the business of paying poverty wage jobs for its workers. Or that government should pay a private entity to make profit as it pays poverty wages to the workers it subcontracts to serve the public.
This sensibility is not driven by some holy-holy, omniscient hand of the marketplace – like a Wizard of Capitalist Oz. It is the result of billionaire’s like Koch and Adelson and others funding right-wing think tanks and political action committees whose job it is, as Chomsky pointed out, to manufacture an ideology that serves their interests as if it were “conventional wisdom.”
So congratulations Public Workers. May the public you serve in 2013 unlearn the specious logic of wealth-serving research by right-wing think tanks.
It is also the day that union members and their community allies will be holding demonstrations and making calls to Congress to block cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid as part of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
The AFL-CIO has sponsored call-in efforts to Congress in the last few weeks, lobbying them on the issue. Monday is a National Day of Action that will target nation-wide calls to members of Congress as they wind down their lame duck session negotiations.
When Social Security was passed in the 1930s, half of American seniors lived in poverty. Research shows that even now, long after the end of the Great Depression and despite the advent of other anti-poverty programs like housing vouchers, food stamps and Medicare and Medicaid, if Social Security didn’t exist, half of seniors would again be thrust into poverty. It is unconscionable that anyone in Congress would consider making cuts to these programs when there are still unnecessary and enormous corporate subsidies to Big Oil, Coal, McDonalds, Walmart, John Deere and countless other head-over-heals profitable industries at every level of government.
But the conventional wisdom you hear repeated everywhere in our culture is that of a meritocracy: you work hard you prosper – you be lazy, you deserve no handouts. This simple-minded ethic is flat-out wrong on so many levels (we are constantly subsidizing profitable enterprises, and our nation’s largest demographic are the working poor), but it’s insulating on a deeper level. Taking care of our most vulnerable people – especially at the time when they are no longer in their role as “productive” workers in society – is what defines us as civilized and not barbaric.
So please join one of the actions taking place in Iowa on Monday.
And if you can’t be there in person, please call in, directions below.
1.Dial – in Toll Free: 888-659-9401
2.Listen to message instructions
3.Press 1 to be directed to Congressperson or 2 to be directed to Senator
4.Enter your Zip Code
5.You will be re-directed to their office
If you reach a real person, please share with them how you personally are affected by Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Be sure to give them your home address and urge them to preserve and protect these important programs.
Burlington: CONTACT: Midge Slater, 515-250-4873, firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMPAIGN AGAINST CUTS
WORKERS WILL THANK CONGRESSMEN LOEBSACK FOR HIS SUPPORT IN NOT MAKING CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, OR MEDICAID AND NO TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICHEST 2%. On Monday, December 10 Iowans will hold a Candlelight vigil and press conference at the Burlington Public Library, 210 Court Street, Burlington, IA. They will be releasing a report that shows the impact of these programs on Iowans and asking their Congress people protect programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
5:00: Candlelight vigil in front of the library
5:15: People move inside to Meeting Room B for press conference
Speakers: Midge Slater, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans/Ryan Drew, Treasurer, Des Moines, Henry County Labor Council/Jared Hershberger, Staff, Congressman Dave Loebsack
Where: Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Davenport office is located at 201 West 2nd Street.
For further information, please call 309-788-1303
Members from organized labor unions, Alliance for Retired Americans, Progressive Action for the Common Good, MoveOn, and numerous faith-based organizations in the Quad Cities will be rallying outside Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) office in Davenport, Iowa at 4:00pm to make clear the following: “NO to tax breaks for the Richest 2% and NO to cuts in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits.”
In one of the most prosperous countries in the world, everyone should be able to retire with health and dignity. Working families across the country have made it clear that we need to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits. Millions of working people, jobless people and retirees shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health care and retirement security so that the richest 2% can continue getting more tax breaks. It’s time for our elected leaders to focus on creating an economy that invests in jobs, healthcare and education for all.
DES MOINES: 300 East Locust, Des Moines: 4 PM to 5 PM
AMES: 1421 South Bell Avenue, Ames : 4 PM to 5 PM
CONTACT: Lance Coles, 515-669-8046. email@example.com (Des Moines Event)
Charlie Wishman, 515-262-9571, firstname.lastname@example.org (Ames Event )
WORKERS WILL GATHER OUTSIDE LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL OFFICES TO THANK CONGRESSMEN BOSWELL AND LOEBSACK FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE LATHAM TO MAKE NO CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, OR MEDICAID AND NO TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICHEST 2%.
On Monday, December 10 Iowans from around the state will gather in front of the Iowa offices of Congressmen Boswell and Latham, asking them to protect programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
These Iowans will also be asking these Congressmen to stop the tax breaks for the richest 2% as well.
In a post-election “lame-duck” session, Congress is taking on high-stakes decisions with major consequences for working people and the economy.
Polling after the election clearly supports that the majority of American is saying no to the tax cuts for the top 2% and no to cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “We want to thank Congressman Boswell for standing with working Iowans,” said Charlie Wishman, Secretary/Treasurer of the Iowa Federation of Labor. ” The voters made it clear they want the rich to pay more in taxes, without making cuts in programs like Social Security.”
“We will continue to demand that members of Congress and the President stand up for fairness and economic security and refuse to increase already raging inequality during the lame-duck session in Congress”
Given all the options for Absentee and Early Voting, there really is no reason for anyone not being able to vote this election cycle.
And given all the attacks the right-wingnuts have launched against workers, women, students, disabled children, people of color and the poor – including our rights to vote—there are many reasons for why you should vote sometime between September 27th and November 6th.
Among the main reasons that unite us all—except for the 1%— is the unfair tax system that places the burden of taxes on working people, the middle class and small businesses. Ever wonder how it is that Deere Corporation pays no state taxes, but actually gets a $12 million subsidy from the State of Iowa, while the rest of us pay anywhere from 4-12% of our income? Wonder how Branstad’s proposal to slash corporate property tax rates– like those for Deere Corporation—will help the average Iowan?
In fact, it would be the average Iowan who would have to fill the gap created by Branstad and House Republicans by having their taxes increased at the local level in order to maintain current standards for our schools and first responders like police and firefighters.
Like the old adage reminds us: if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.
Scott CountyAuditor’s office
600 W. 4th St., Davenport, Iowa
Monday—Fridays: 8am—4:30 pm
Questions: (563) 326-8631
Two Saturdays before election:
Oct 27 & Nov 3: 8am—5pm
Scott County Satellite Voting Sites:
October 22nd—November 3rd
Davenport Fairmount Library:
Davenport East Branch Library:
Baptist Missionary Church:
St. Ambrose Rogalski Center
Scott Community College
October 16th: 9AM—3PM
October 17th: 12PM—7PM
Maysville Fire Station:
LeClaire Fire Station:
Muscatine CountyAuditor’s office
414 E. Third Street, Suite 101
Two Saturdays before election:
Oct 27 & Nov 3: 8am—5pm
Satellite Voting Site
Muscatine Community College
Student Services Center
152 Colorado Street
October 17th and 18th
Louisa CountyAuditor’s office
117 South Main Street
Two Saturdays before election:
Oct 27 & Nov 3: 8am—5pm
Satellite Voting Site
NO SITES SET UP—Since no one petitioned, there are no early voting satellites set up in Louisa County. If you live in Louisa County, remember this in the next Election Cycle!
by Jerry Messer, President, Quad City Federation of Labor
Every election, you hear from folks that this is the most important election in history. And every election this is true because right-wing politicians like Governor Branstad keep giving us reasons to say so.
Make no mistake about the consequences of the November 6th Election. If we lose the Senate, Governor Branstad will immediately push through a bill that would destroy public sector unions in Iowa. Without the public sector the private sector unions will be isolated and become easier targets. But much more than worker’s rights are at stake in this election:
THE FOLLOWING POINTS CANNOT BE STATED STRONG ENOUGH:
- Children’s access to universal pre-school is threatened.
- Ensuring that all eligible Iowans have access to vote is under attack
- Adequate staffing and compensation for public safety workers is at risk
- Iowa’s crumbling infrastructure will be neglected
Workforce Development Offices will be watered down leaving Iowa’s unemployed with few resources to help them find work
These are not vain threats to get you to vote for our candidates. Governor Branstad and Republican Majority in the House already passed legislation that would harm working people in Iowa. Fortunately it was blocked in the Senate—which is why we must support our majority by winning on November 6th.
Your vote is your choice, but the Quad City Federation of Labor strongly recommends that you support our endorsed candidates.
We take our endorsement process very seriously. Every candidate we endorse fills out a candidate questionnaire that reveals the positions they would take on issues concerning working people.
Our endorsed candidates from President to Auditor have all pledged to support working Americans who make up the 99%, not the 1%. They will put the interests of children, the disabled and other vulnerable Iowans above that of rich bankers and corporations—which, regardless of what the Supreme Court has said—ARE NOT PEOPLE. Our candidates value hard work over elite power.
Please join us on Saturday, October 6, 2012, as we canvas Scott County union households to get out the vote for our endorsed candidates.
When: 10:30 meet
On doors 11 am – 2pm
Where: UFCW 431 Hall: 1401 W. 3rd Street, Davenport, Iowa
- Collect ABRs
- Make phone calls
- ID Voters
- Knock on Labor Households
- Help our endorsed candidates WIN!
“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” -Thomas Jefferson