The left press and blogosphere have been ranting about the crazy, evil, greedy and/or stupid Republicans and mostly overlooking the fact that Democratic lawmakers, too, have launched a scorched earth policy against children, teachers, unions, and working people in general.
|Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons|
Consider these examples reported today on the WSWS:
The Democrat-controlled Colorado senate, by a 30-5 margin, approved budget cuts of $250 million from K-12 education, which will result in massive teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and a shortened school year. The budget also guts higher education and Medicaid, while canceling a $3 million nutrition program for poor children. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper initially called for $375 million in cuts to K-12 education, but agreed to reduced education cuts in exchange for bigger tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Keep in mind, Colorado’s six billionaires with a combined wealth of $20.3 billion, more than 20 times Colorado’s entire $988 million deficit, have no need for a tax break.
Washington State, with a Democrat governor and Democrat-controlled senate and house, approved a budget that slashes $2 billion from public education, cuts pay for state workers and teachers by 3%, and strips funding from “underperforming” schools. Their budget saves an additional $1.2 billion by refusing to fund a voter-approved program to increase teacher pay and decrease class sizes. Washington is also planning to cut $530 million from higher education, which would cause tuition to increase by 16% at universities and 12% at community colleges. The budget also imposes furloughs and cuts funding for Medicaid. Washington’s six billionaires have a combined net worth of nearly $100 billion, which is 25 times the state’s budget deficit.
Or consider these examples:
California has a Democrat governor and Democrat-controlled state house and senate. Yet they are proposing to close their $25 billion budget gap by slashing $1.4 billion from higher education and $4 billion from k-12 education, according to the CTA. Additionally, Reuters and CNN report that the proposed budget would cut wages by 10% for many unionized state employees, while slashing Medi-Cal by $1.7 billion, Welfare-to-Work by $1.5 billion, and $705 million from the agency serving people with developmental disabilities. Yet, if just the richest 19 residents paid 10% more in taxes, the state’s $25 billion deficit would be completely erased. California has 80 billionaires, or 20% of Forbes’ richest Americans.
In New York, Democratic Governor Cuomo has proposed a budget plan calling for nearly 9,800 layoffs. The plan also calls for massive cuts to K-12 education (7.3%) and health care, in addition to 10% cuts to colleges and universities, reported NBC news. Additionally, CNN said that state agencies will have their budgets slashed by 20%. New York City, alone, has 58 billionaires who, together have so much wealth they could erase the State’s budget deficit without even noticing a change in their bank accounts.
In Maryland, Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley, who ran a pro-education and pro-labor campaign, and the Democrat-controlled state legislature, are now considering cuts to education and the state work force, according to the Baltimore Sun. Under the plan, current employees would have to increase their pension contributions by 25%, (7% of their pay), or they could opt to continue contributing about 5.6% of their pay, but would risk decreased benefits. WaPo reports that new employees would have no choice and their early retirement age would be raised from 55 to 60. Daily Censored says that $94 million will be cut from k-12 education, with $15 of it coming entirely from Baltimore City Schools.
Connecticut’s Democratic Governor, Dan Malloy, has pitted unions against the cities, basing his budget almost entirely on union concessions worth $1 billion over the next two years, according to CBS news. If the unions refuse to accept the cuts, he has threatened to slash state funding for cities. Hearst Connecticut Newspapers says that the losses to cities could be as much as $67 million for Bridgeport, $10.4 million from Danbury, $4.9 million Stamford, $1.8 million from Greenwich, and $5 million from Norwalk.