How Outsourcing Harms the Middle Class

by Gregory N. Heires

racetobottomIn his best-selling book “Capital in the 21st Century,” French economist Thomas Piketty identifies privatization as one of the causes of global inequality.

Indeed, the sell-off of public assets in the former Soviet Bloc, Europe and Latin America has lined the pockets of the wealthy as the wages of workers have stagnated and dropped.

In the United States, privatization is also exacerbating the gap between the 1 percent and the rest of us. But privatization in the United States refers more to the contracting out of public services than to the sale of public assets.

A report by In the Public Interest released on June 3 takes a critical look at privatization in the United States. It describes how outsourcing by state and local governments is causing the erosion of the middle class. Continue reading

Corporate Fat Cats Become the Nation’s Richest “Government Employees” by Leaching Off Taxpayers

by Gregory N. Heires

overpadworkersBudget hawks squawk about bloated bureaucracies and excessively paid public employees to justify their calls for slashing government services.

In recent years, their drumbeat about government waste has contributed to a political climate that has allowed for layoffs of hundreds of thousands of public employees and the imposition of salary freezes and paltry pay raises, as well as reductions of pension, health-care and other benefits.

But public employees like sewage treatment workers, teachers and social workers are far from being fat cats. Arguably, the most compensated “government” employees are actually the corporate bosses and administrators who line their pockets with taxpayer dollars for shoddy contracted-out work.

Exposed: America’s Highest Paid Government Workers,” a report by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), shows how just six of those corporate chieftains have earned $100 million in recent years. But their track record for delivering services is often abysmal. Continue reading

Reign of Error: Diane Ravitch’s Important New Book on Eduction

by Deborah Meier

Dear readers,

reign of errorDefinitely go out and buy Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to Americas Public Schools by Diane Ravitch, which just been launched with proper publicity. She is a phenomenal woman—sending out a half-dozen e-mails a day, two books in the last decade, and traveling to speak throughout the USA. And…while she’s younger than me, she’s old enough to have rested on her laurels. Maybe it helps to change your mind, because my exhaustion comes (in part) from feeling it’s all been said before (including by me).

Reign of Error lays out step by step the relentless thirty year drive to either centralize the education of the young—on one hand—or divest it entirely into privatized hands on the other. Finally, the two sides have joined forces on a strategy that simultaneously does both. While this coalition has many old roots, in its current form it began with the fanfare around the publication of A Nation at Risk (1983). Ravitch was, at that time, a supporter of this bold statement that more or less accused America’s teachers and school boards of a plot to undermine American health and welfare of the international scene. We were, said the signers, at risk of becoming a second rate nation if we didn’t take this crisis seriously. I asked my colleague on the NBPTS, AFT leader Al Shanker, why he had signed on. He said it was a good strategy because only in a crisis is the nation willing to put the money into schooling needed to make it really first-rate. He said—as I recall (paraphrased), ‘It’s true our schools are not as bad as the report suggests, but we are entering a new period and they either have to change dramatically or what the report accuses them of will become true. We need a smarter citizenry.’ Continue reading

Privatize The Post Office? That What Pitney Bowes Is Paying Lawmakers To Push

By Bill Brickley

pitney-213x150Pitney Bowes seems  to be promoting a reckless and astoundingly flawed plan to privatize every part of the Postal Service except mail delivery.   This reckless plan was brought up years ago by the Libertarian Cato Institute but was quickly dismissed.  Yet the idea has been reintroduced recently. Why would this plan be suddenly creating interest in DC at this time?  It’s simple follow the money.

Under this plan, financed by Pitney Bowes, the entire Postal Service would become a series of private companies that would process and transport the mail to your US Postal Service Letter Carrier who would deliver it. The rational of this misguided plan is that they can eliminate hundreds of thousands of good union middle class jobs and replace them with low wage and benefit challenged employees . Then disguise it by still having your trusted Letter Carrier still bring it to your door.

Continue reading

5 Reasons I Don’t Support Privatization of Government Services

by Cory McCray

Everyone is yelling for an “efficient and effective government”. Many people, such as voters and elected officials equate “efficient and effective government”to cost cutting measures to save tax dollars. Ideas that are squandering are things such as privatizing the United States Postal Service, trash pickup, recreational programs, pothole repair, fire services, and etc. The real question is “What are the pros and cons of privatizing these services?” Well the ultimate pro can be that it may save tax dollars, but after explaining the cons I will let you decide your position.

Continue reading

Report Shows How to Protect Public in Privatization Schemes | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

Report Shows How to Protect Public in Privatization Schemes | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG.

For this week, in response to the State of the Union,  and the Republican message machine, we urge union supporters   to write letters, post responses, and talk to their neighbors about the need to create jobs to get out of this economic crisis.   Here is a sample message.

We need to build the promise of America. ( or of California, New York, Illinois, etc)

That promise is a good job for all,  the opportunity to have  a rewarding career, and the chance for a life that is more than simply the workplace.  The austerity paradigm underlying the tax and budget cut mania  does not promote good jobs, rewarding   careers.

You can post this on blogs, use it as a message in responses, respond to letters in the newspapers, etc.

Why so limited?  Because our goal for this week is to keep jobs on the agenda.  In this we are working alongside the AFL-CIO and others. Here is their work. Continue reading

Why is Mica leading a TSA secessionist movement?

Ron Moore

When a career politician displays passion on the House floor it is usually over a cultural or social touchstone issue like abortion or human rights. In other words, the human dynamic excites a fervor beyond the usual political shell game or horse race. So when such a politician speaks passionately for years that institutions under his control should refuse federal help it naturally leads to questions about motive.

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) is one such career politician.

Mica is the on again off again chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and whether he is in the minority or majority as will be the case in 2011 his message is clear: dump TSA. Why would a Congressman use taxpayer dollars to write one hundred airport directors across the country encouraging secession from federal homeland security protection?

Continue reading