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Beyond Wisconsin

by Peter Molenaar

March 13, 2011…

There were pleasant greetings between the handful of neighborhood folk who attended the most recent rally in Hudson. David Bicking was there. His handmade sign read: “Labor Creates All Wealth”. In jest, I pondered out loud, “Oh, I thought ownership of the means of production created wealth.” And then, yet another great semi-truck roared beneath our occupied overpass. Honk. Honk. Honnkkk…

Are public workers being unjustly scape-goated?

Well, for starters, millions of good paying American jobs have been shipped overseas. And then came huge tax breaks for super-wealthy people in a time of war. To which we must add some wildly irresponsible Wall Street speculations and sub-prime mortgage schemes which culminated in a $700 billion bailout. You be the judge.

My own handmade sign read simply: “Tax the rich”. Some long ago training as a draftsman found a nice expression. Requests for photo poses were many. Smile.

In today’s world, just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined—more loot than the combined assets of 155 million people. Or, to slice it in a different way, 20% of America owns 85% of the country’s wealth. Clearly, public workers are in the category of “the people”—the 80% which owns a mere 15% . Therefore, the attacks against these workers are an absolute disgrace.

Note: Wisconsin teachers average about $46,000 a year—top hedge fun managers “earn” $48,000 per hour.

March 12, 2011…

With more than 100,000 protesting in Madison, others were privileged to attend a forum at walker Community Church. At this event, hosted by state Sen. Linda Berglin and Reps. Jeff Hayden and Karen Clark, I managed to register an observation regarding our governor’s proposed new 4th income tax bracket.

As the good governor would have it, starting at the level $85,000 income per year for a single filer, the rate of taxation would be bumped up to 10.95% of total income [10.95%?!]. Yes, this is some odd math calculated merely to address the deficit. How then do we establish a healthy reserve fund? How then do we commence with necessary construction without floating more bonds? For that matter, how then do we expand programs which serve people and protect nature?

In fact, the governor’s formula obscures an important truth. How might he explain that three tax brackets should cover the lower end with only one bracket to embrace an income spread presumably in the $Millions? The Democrats gathered at Walker Church seemed willing to commit some creative thinking to this subject.

Hint: at designated high levels of income, any income above said levels (but not the total) should be taxed a significantly higher rate.

Meanwhile…

Talk of a “general strike” in Wisconsin has receded in favor of the call to recall offensive politicians. This movement is well under way–the revolution must wait.

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