Monday, January 6, 2014

Mega-rich take aim at the states for 2014

Not just Ohio...
Billionaire sociopaths like the Koch brothers are gearing up for another attack on the middle class this year through their allies in state legislatures. Right-to-work-for-less is on their agenda in at least three states -- Missouri, Oregon and Ohio -- along with a panoply of anti-worker initiatives in others.

The Kochs and their friends have bags of money, they are ruthless and they lie.

This is how well-funded they are: Last year alone they spent $400 million on politics, as much as the entire labor movement, reported the Washington Post today:
The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks its donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents. 
The filings show that the network of politically active nonprofit groups backed by the Kochs and fellow donors in the 2012 elections financially outpaced other independent groups on the right and, on its own, matched the long-established national coalition of labor unions that serves as one of the biggest sources of support for Democrats. 
The Post, as usual, makes the mistake of claiming the Kochs are against 'government overreach.' They aren't. They're quite happy with government overreach if they think it helps them.

Right-to-work-for-less laws  force unions to represent workers who refuse to pay the cost of that representation. If that isn't government overreach, we don't know what is.

Now that the new year is here, lawmakers are returning to state capitals and the Koch stooges among them are repeating the Kochs' lies. In Missouri, House Speaker Tim Jones repeated the tired old lie that right-to-work-for-less will make the state competitive with its neighbors. (Though you could argue that's true if  'competitive' means 'competitive in a race to the bottom.')

In Missouri, Ohio and Oregon, the Kochs' patsies want to put right-to-work-for-less on the ballot. They're up to no good in other states as well. In Florida, for example, the Sun-Sentinel is warning against their machinations:
2014 is a make-it-or-break-it year for the Kochs, JMI, FGA, ALEC and whatever new, cozy-sounding names and acronyms they concoct to hide the fact that they're out to take over the country. Somewhere, some Koch-financed group is plotting — and laughing at how easy it is to get most Americans to vote against their own self-interest. With tragic consequences, some people who've made a few bucks regurgitate the garbage of the mega-rich, fantasizing they are one of them and that they're accepted members of the club.
A terrific editorial in the Salem, Ore., Statesman-Journal, describes how the Kochs took aim at Oregon:
Our sense is that it is almost as if a big red X has been affixed to a map of our state by outside influences who have decided in secret that we are to be the next target in their misinformation campaign. Chief among the groups is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an unchecked conservative policy organization bent on convincing more states to enact right-to-work laws, using whatever-it-takes tactics. 
In the months to come, you should expect to hear bloated claims about the positive effects that right-to-work laws have had on state economies. The sad truth is that workers actually reap fewer gains when right-to-work laws are enacted and new businesses are lured to states. The big gains are raked in by the very corporations supporting the greedy goals that ALEC members pledge to support.
We couldn't agree more with their conclusion:
The misinformation campaign is coming, but it does not have to succeed. 
Right-to-work proponents are expecting you to roll over and play dumb. 
We suggest you sit up and become informed.
To sit up and become informed -- and to find out what you can do to help fight the battle over right-to-work-for-less -- check in with these Facebook pages: Oregon AFL-CIO,  We Are Ohio and Stop Right To Work (for less) in Missouri.