Columnists seek to shape opinion in discussing school reform

Duane Campbell

Duane Campbell

The Paucity of Dan Walters’ Commentary on School Issues

The column by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee entitled “California’s School Wars Heat Up” in the print edition for Dec.20, and entitled  “Powerful Factions Go to War Over Direction of California Schools,” http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/20/6015661/dan-walters-powerful-factions.html  in the on line version  seriously and deliberatively misinforms.  Walters’s columns are reprinted in newspapers throughout the state.

He frames the conflict between the School Establishment ( school administrators, elected officials, teachers’ unions]  vs. the “School Reformers”.   These are indeed two of the powerful factions competing in the California State Capitol, but not at all the complete story.

To understand the distortion lets see who these “reformers “  see the Democracy and Education Institute  https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg

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EPI: Plutocratic attacks on wages, workers and unions all part of a concerted corporate effort

by  Meteor Blades

attribution: Economic Policy Institute

The 2010 congressional victory of the Republican right has mostly meant gridlock inD.C. But the tea-party wave that year also gave Republicans monopoly control in 11 states, and there’s been plenty of action in those, much of it directed at undermining workers’ rights and workers’ compensation, including their pensions. Nothing is more harmful to workers than when plutocrats and their legislative marionettes are feeling their oats and turning greed into law. As Gordon Lafer, an associate professor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center, puts it in the Economic Policy Institute’s new 75-page briefing paper—The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011-2012:

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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Our Trade Deficit with China

Photo courtesy bitzcelt

In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). America’s workers have felt the consequences ever since.

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute examines the primary result in the United States of China’s entry into the WTO, a massive increase in the trade deficit between the two countries, favoring China. The report’s author, Robert E. Scott, concludes that the trade deficit with China drives down wages and benefits in the United States and eliminates good jobs for U.S. workers.

Here are nine facts from the study you might not know about.

July 24 Day of Action: Raise the Minimum Wage Now!

Photo by Wisconsin Jobs Now/Flickr

The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since July 24, 2009, and tomorrow, in a national day of action in more than 30 cities across the country, a broad coalition of labor, faith, civil rights, community and policy activists will call on Congress to raise the minimum wage.

The centerpiece of the action is the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), to raise the wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation so it doesn’t lose its value over the years. The bill also boosts the minimum wage for tipped workers.

Click here to sign our petition asking Congress to raise the minimum wage

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Inequality is real, expensive, and it was created

Here’s is an attractive, short.animated video narrated by Robert Reich for the launch of the Economic Policy Institute’s exciting new interactive website on inequality in the United States. The text below  is from the video description on Youtube.

Inequality is real, it’s personal, it’s expensive and it was created. Today, 1% of Americans are taking home nearly 20% of the country’s total income and own nearly 35% of the country’s wealth. This didn’t happen by accident. As former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains, we allowed it to happen.

We can’t have a prosperous economy without a strong and prosperous middle class. Inequality can be fixed. So, let’s fix it.

inequality.is, a new interactive site from the Economic Policy Institute, explains the causes of and solutions to income inequality

Assault on labor in Michigan

RTW

By Duane Campbell

While labor won big in the 2012 elections, we did not win everywhere.  Labor did not win in Michigan.  Republican legislators in Michigan on Thursday passed so called Right-To-Work  legislation  for private sector work by six votes in the Senate and the House.  The governor has indicated he will sign the bill.  A following bill restricting public sector workers is following close behind in the lame duck session.

From: Kitchen table economics:  in  DSA’s Democratic Left.  Winter 2012.What is Right To Work?  What motivates and who funds  these state campaigns against organized labor?  Answer: In states that have adopted so called Right To Work, annual wages and benefits are about $1,500 lower than for comparable workers in non-RTW states—for both union and nonunion workers.  And the odds of getting health insurance or a pension through one’s job are also lower. (1)

Right to work (RTW)  is a misleading slogan.  It does not guarantee anyone a job, that is a right to work.   Rather, it makes it illegal for unions to require that each worker who benefits from a union contract pays his or her  fair share of the costs of administering that contract.

“Right to Work” is a propaganda title that unfortunately the corporate owned  has successfully branded and the media repeats day by day.  We should avoid repeating the phrase.  Instead we should call it what it is, an assault on unions. Continue reading

China’s Unfair Trade Puts U.S. Jobs at Risk

by Mike Hall, Jan 31, 2012. AFL-CIO

More than 1.6 million American jobs in the nation’s auto supply chain are at risk unless China’s illegal trade practices are curtailed, according to three new reports released today. In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard said:

China is cheating unmercifully in this sector and we are saying to China—and asking our government to stand up to China and say—“enough is enough.” It is time to enforce our trade policies.

Two reports from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and one from Stewart and Stewart, a law firm that has won cases challenging China’s unfair trade practices, detail China’s persistent and growing violations of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and outline plans by China’s government to use these same tactics to boost their auto parts exports even further. Continue reading

Trumka on Obama’s State of the Union

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tonight made clear that he hears the people who aren’t being heard by the 1 percent, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Obama’s speech showed he “listened to the single mom working two jobs to get by, to the out-of-work construction worker, to the retired factory worker, to the student serving coffee to help pay for college.”

By laying out a vision of an America that can create jobs and prosperity for all instead of wealth for the few, Trumka said the president “voiced the aspirations and concerns of those who are too often ignored.”

Obama also made clear that the era of the 1 percent getting rich by looting the economy, rather than creating jobs, is over.

“Now it’s time for Congress to stop standing in the way of rebuilding our country and act,”  Trumka said. Continue reading

The Jobs Crisis and a NEW New Deal for America


By Martin Bennett and Richard Walker

The nation is experiencing the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. Princeton economist and former vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, Alan Blinder, calls the current crisis a “national jobs emergency.”

The official unemployment rate in September was 9.1 percent – nearly twice the rate a decade ago – leaving 14 million people out of work. In California, the rate is much worse, 12.1 percent, with over two million workers out of luck.
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EPI president critical of proposed debt ceiling deal

by Lawrence Mishell

The Context

This proposed debt ceiling deal tentatively concludes a needlessly manufactured crisis and will do great harm to our nation. The debt we are undertaking now and scheduled to undertake over the next ten years is solely the product of past decisions (primarily unfunded wars, an unfunded prescription drug benefit and two rounds of tax cuts under President George W. Bush) and the recession-related revenue losses caused by the financial crisis generated by financial deregulation and weak oversight. We should end the need to legislatively raise the debt ceiling, since debt decisions are already made when budget bills are passed, and we should hold our elected officials accountable for the budget decisions they make. There is no economic necessity to undertake spending cuts or deficit reduction plans at this point in the economic recovery, when high unemployment is expected to persist for several more years. Jobs should be the priority and jobs are the path to get our nation’s fiscal situation to a responsible place. A long-term deficit reduction at this time should only be done if coupled with substantial deficit-related supports to the economy to rapidly lower unemployment this year and next.

Tax cuts enacted last December account for roughly $800 billion (one-third) of the increased borrowing authority needed to maintain obligations to citizens and creditors through 2012; a two-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts is now being fully financed with deep spending cuts.

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