by Bill Gibbons
PACE Representative, Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)
Most of us have been around long enough to look back at how our country progressed and the working
class and middle class dream was achieved - most of it through the strength of unions and the collective bargaining process. Remember when one income based on a good job would support the entire family? Remember when health insurance and pensions where being established and improved through negotiations?
Remember when Social Security was looked upon as a great social program to be protected and Medicare was established? Remember when we talked about reducing the work week and a livable wage? If we didn’t have Medicare today, do you think we could get it passed in congress?
What is happening to the American dream? Well, if we pay attention, we can see it being attacked and torn apart by the conservative, right-wing, tea party movement, bank rolled by special interests and corporate money funded through various organizations with friendly patriotic sounding names.
Think about it. The attempts to privatize and eliminate Medicare. The same people don’t believe in Social Security and would like to eliminate workers’ rights and destroy unions and eliminate regulations that protect the general good.
These attacks on workers and the middle class have been going on for years. The difference now is that it has become so obvious. Private sector workers have been fighting to protect their standard of living for the last 30 years. Now, the public sector workers; police, firefighters, teachers and others areunder attack.
It’s a race to the bottom under the premise of budget shortfalls, protecting jobs, etc. while the entries such as the investment banks and misdeeds of Wall Street, that cause the recent economic problems, are unaffected and actually benefiting.