imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Myth of the Fiscal Crisis

by Richard Mellor Friday, May. 27, 2005 at 6:46 AM

The first step that must be taken if we are to reverse the cuts and prevent the destruction of the New Deal’s gains is to understand in our own minds that there is no fiscal crisis.

Richard Mellor

Retired Member

AFSCME Local 444, Oakland CA

“Last year, we stopped the bleeding. This year, we must begin to heal the patient.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

As working people we know what it means when employers and big business politicians start talking about healing patients. It means we have to make more concessions at work and suffer more cuts in public services as citizens. The May 25th rallies in Sacramento and Los Angeles against the Governor’s assault on public employee’s pensions, nurse to patient ratio’s and other attacks follows months of opposition led by the California Nurses Association, Teachers, and other public employee Unions.

As public sector workers resist the attacks on our pensions, our private sector comrades at United Airlines are being savaged by their employer. Over the past two years, United Airlines workers have given back billion in concessions and are facing further cuts including pensions. A judge recently allowed the company to shift its pension obligations to the U.S. taxpayer. The general trend in both the public and private sectors is to shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans and in order to accomplish this, the employers will attempt to weaken workers’ united opposition by creating a two-tier pension system.

Schwarzenegger has temporarily backed down due to pressure from CNA and public sector Unions, but this is a temporary lull.

“Pensions have become a competitive liability,” wrote the big business journal Business Week. The steel industry has already shifted .5 billion in pension obligations to the U.S. taxpayer and the Airline maneuver will add further strain to the overburdened Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC), the government agency that is the insurer of last resort. The public sector is feeling the “competitive” pressure as our private sector brothers and sisters have their benefits and pensions slashed. Between 1984 and 2004, company defined benefit pension plans declined by 75%. Alongside this is the Bush administration’s attack on social security; as with pensions, these secure state benefits are to be replaced by individual accounts dependent on market forces.

Public transit from Chicago to San Francisco is also on the chopping block after years of cutbacks due to what Democrats and Republicans call, “Fiscal Restraints”. In fact, politicians from both major parties do not disagree on the basics, that we have to cut back, they simply disagree on the details, how much and which section of the working class will suffer most. If public sector unions and community organizations apply the most pressure then the private sector will suffer most, if the youth are better organized, then the seniors will suffer most.

Both Parties Want Cuts

Prior to the California recall election that put Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Governor’s mansion, former Governor, Gray Davis had directed his agencies to recommend how he could cut 20% out of the billion in general government spending through “layoffs, outsourcing and other measures” (BW 10-27-03). His support for worker and immigrant issues fluctuated relative to his hold on the governor’s seat. Alberto Torrico, the Democratic Chairman of the California State Assembly Pension Committee doesn’t offer much hope. “I’m not against pension reform”, he tells Business Week, “But there are things that we can do to reduce costs, like cracking down on un-necessary disability payments.” Like all big business politicians and the employers’ they represent, Torrico looks to the worker as the culprit, the worker as the thief, the worker that rips of the pension system by making fraudulent claims. They look to workers and our communities for funds.

Mountains of Cash

The first step that must be taken if we are to reverse the cuts and prevent the destruction of the New Deal’s gains is to understand in our own minds that there is no fiscal crisis. The best sources for confirmation of this are the big business journals themselves. An editorial in the Financial Times pointed out recently, “USA Inc. is awash with cash”. Big business itself is concerned about the estimated trillion that individuals have stashed away in offshore accounts avoiding some 0bn in annual taxes. Profit margins are the best in 30 years and Business Week explains why, “Caterpillar Inc. has instituted a two-tier wage system that pays entry-level workers substantially less than in the past. Caterpillar can hire “supplemental” workers for as little as an hour. If those part-timers become full-time employees they earn an hour, vs. the for previous hires.” And the icing on the cake for profits: “The company also did away with pensions for new employees instead offering 401 K plans.” BW 5-23-05.

Mobilizing for What?

The mass rallies held in Sacramento and Los Angeles to protest Schwarzenegger’s attacks on pensions are a positive step. However, the top Union officials will be using these mobilizations to help their Democratic allies in to office. The Republicans, through Schwarzenegger, are trying to limit what the unions can spend on political campaigns, including donations to politicians (read: Democrats). As much as an attack on labor, this is a sharp attack on the Democrats too, since the labor movement is an important source of campaign funding for them and an even more important supplier of bodies for precinct walking and phone banking during elections. This writer’s union, AFSCME, provided 40,000 volunteers for Walter Mondale’s presidential bid. This, more than anything else, was at the core of this rally.

Schwarzenegger has broken the gentlemen's agreement that exists between the Democrats and Republicans on how best to exploit the power of organized labor. This corporate strategy ensures that the labor movement remains a political pressure group tied to the Democrats as opposed to a powerful independent political force that can offer an alternative to the corporate agenda.

Relying on the Democrats will not stop the continued erosion of workers rights, benefits and wages. Instead, the May 25th mobilizations should be the first step toward a one-day statewide general strike to protest the attacks on all workers as well as cuts in social services. Demands for increased social spending, free health care and education, affordable housing and jobs for all; these should be the themes of a one-day work stoppage. An independent political alternative, a workers party, can also be built out of such a campaign. Organizing this should be the next logical step following this protest in Sacramento. Neither the corporations, nor their bought-and-paid-for politicians will back off because of a few protests. It is real power that matters, including the power to shut down production.

The union leadership is in the position to organize such a shutdown, but we must accept that they are unwilling to do so. They are too stuck on following the wishes of their Democratic “friends” and too stuck on sticking to the letter of their contracts (which the employers violate daily). Therefore, a movement for this has to be built from below. The money is there, the wealth is there; the social resources are there; it is our money; it is wealth we created; it was stolen form us and we have a right to take it back. There is no way of avoiding this fight if we want to reverse course.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy