Attack corporate welfare, not unions

Here in Oklahoma, home of Gov. Mary Fallin and Republican House and Senate majorities, the working stiff has been bullied enough by the rich and the chamber of commerce, and looted by corporate welfare in the name of “jobs” — mostly minimum wage, nonunion and no retirement or insurance-type jobs.

This must stop, and judging by the turnout at the Capitol recently, people are starting to wake up to this fact and demand their equality to the privileged.

The belt-tightening needs to start with the corporate welfare culture that people like Reese represent and trumpet. There are billions of dollars right here going to corporations that already made huge profits while state teachers, firefighters, police and others are supposed to dig deep and make up these obscene giveaways when the budget falls short.

Collective bargaining is not the problem. The state would have plenty of money for paying state workers — some of the worst-paid in the country — if it made corporations and the rich pay their fair share. With the chamber-dominated, Oklahoman-publicized and Chesapeake/ Devon-paid-for Legislature and governor, this is not going to happen.

The legislative power of the purse was not meant to bring a race to the bottom for wages. The Founding Fathers could not have imagined a corporate takeover of the government and bought-and-paidfor legislators who do not have the voters’ best interests in mind.

Unions are the only way a person can ask for, and expect, a living wage, meaning the basics: a home, a car, a couple of kids and the money for bills, insurance and, someday, a retirement. No corporation or Republican Legislature is going to happily give away a dime more to the working man that it has to. This is money that the titans of industry lard their pockets with, and so far, the corporate propagandists and mouthpieces like Reese have convinced Oklahomans that this somehow is in their best interests.

When your child’s classroom is overcrowded, if your kid has special needs or is disabled, when you have to wait 30 minutes for a cop or fire truck, then you will see the need for an expanded group of “state workers” and not begrudge them a living wage. Unions and collective bargaining are the only way this will happen, and people should turn out as they have in Wisconsin and Ohio, and demand unions, benefits and their rights.

Any lawmaker voting any other way needs to be rewarded with pink slips.

—Larry Stem
Oklahoma City

Larry Stem

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