Democrats Forgot the Working Class in Massachusetts!

by Jeff Crosby
Jeff Crosby is President of CWA-IUE Local 201 in Lynn, Massachusetts.  He is also President of the (Boston) North Shore Labor Council.  This article appeared first in the AFL-CIO Now blog, and is printed here by permission of the author.
Hey, Democrats, Remember Us?

“Jeff, you guys at the Union Hall aren’t listening to us! You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. We’re fighting the benefits tax, and now you’re telling us to vote for someone who will tax our benefits! The guys here are voting for Scotty Brown.”

That was just one of the calls and e-mails that I received during the week before the Senate vote in Massachusetts. An AFSCME delegate to our labor council calculated the impact of the Obama tax on union plans and e-mailed us all to “Vote Brown!”

For a year and a half, we campaigned against the tax on our health care benefits. We trudged through neighboring New Hampshire with fliers explaining that Sen. John McCain wanted to fund health care expansion by a benefits tax.

Conservative members of my local Executive Board were adamant in saying the outcome of our health care campaign would be a tax on working people to extend coverage to poor people. Recognizing a classic Republican “wedge issue,” we argued that those without insurance include our own children. We could win a plan to tax the wealthiest and cut into the blood money of the health care profiteers.

Ultimately, we were wrong.
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The Alternative to the GOP’s Faux Populism

by Leo Casey

The game plan of the Republican election campaign was laid out last week at their Minneapolis-St. Paul convention. It relies almost totally on what is now an old and tested Karl Rove/George W. Bush theme — a faux populism, directed against “cultural elites,” that ignores the economically powerful and the great concentrations of corporate wealth. At times, the result verges on self-parody: a parade of East Coast millionaire and billionaire speakers, from Giuliani of New York to Romney of Massachusetts,  railing against East Coast elites.

It would be a mistake, however, to underestimate the potential political appeal of this faux populism.

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We Pay Taxes, Most Corporations Don’t

by James Parks, Aug 12, 2008

Most corporations, including a large majority of foreign companies doing business in the United States, pay no income taxes, according to a report released today.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that two-thirds of both American and foreign companies doing business here end  up avoiding all income tax obligations to the federal government, despite corporate sales totaling $2.5 trillion.

According to the GAO, each year from 1998 to 2005, an average of 68 percent of the foreign companies operating in the United States paid zero federal income taxes. During the same period, 66 percent of U.S. domestic corporations paid no federal income taxes to the government. Continue reading

McCain attacks teachers’ unions

by Leo Casey

John McCain

In his speech last week to the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers, Barack Obama was clear and unequivocal in his opposition to using public money for vouchers for private schools. At that time, Obama made it clear that he supported public school choice — the ability of students and their families to chose which public school they would attend. In taking this stance, Obama reiterated what is a longstanding position of his — he had made the same point to the National Education Association convention earlier in July, and had explicitly disowned attempts by pro-voucher partisans to spin comments he made in a primary campaign interview into support for private school vouchers. Today, John McCain chose the occasion of a speech to the august civil rights organization, the NAACP, to take on Obama — and teacher unions — on this very point. Continue reading