In case you haven’t noticed the GOP has a plan. Over the years it’s been called “Voodoo Economics” or “Trickle-down or Trickle-on Economics”, (depending on one’s vantage point). They talk of getting government so small it can be drowned in a bath tub. They denigrate social programs that provide medical care to the elderly and dignity to those who can’t take care of themselves, as well as keep the elderly and children whose parents die, out of poverty.
They want to take those social services away from the government and hand them over to for profit corporations, who they believe, (falsely, ignorantly, and often times corruptly), can do a better job. In other words they want to privatize government services and let their friends, and campaign contributors, profit from them. That’s their plan for education, and it will soon, if left unchecked, trickle-down to law enforcement, fire, EMS and all other government employees.
Here’s what we have to look forward to if nothing changes, Arizona State janitors swept up by recession.
In the 11 years that Beatriz Roman worked at ASU, she waxed the floors and dusted the insides of five buildings. She even knew exactly how much toilet paper each building needed. Eight rolls, for every floor. Then, at the very end of last school year –
BEATRIZ ROMAN: The lady, she comes and she says, oh. I have bad news.
That lady was an ASU administrator.
ROMAN: Everybody lose their job. Everybody’s working only two more weeks.
The university laid off its entire custodial staff. All 191 were offered jobs with private companies that would take over ASU’s cleaning duties.
ROMAN: After this, I’m depressed. I’m very depressed.
Roman is a widow and the mother of a teenager. But she turned down the offer. In fact, only three people took the job. Custodians say the pay and vacation days were less. Health insurance premiums were more expensive. Plus, there were no state retirement benefits, and if Roman accepted the work, she’d lose her university severance package. That pays $1,100 bucks a month, the same as her previous salary after taxes. With a pet parakeet chirping behind her, I ask what happens when the money runs out in November. [Emphasis added]
ROMAN: Good question. Good question. I need find job. Soon.
This is relevant because of what the Williamson County Commissioners Court did this yesterday, Williamson County commissioners approve cuts in budget.
The commissioners slashed $348,000 from the budget by cutting the 1.5 percent pay raise proposed for law enforcement. The court also cut the pay raise proposed for civilian employees from 3 percent to 1.5 percent, which saved $626,500.
The court also cut two full-time and one part-time clerical position from the Department of Public Safety office in Georgetown, which saved the county $65,500.
It was understandable when people would get up in arms about government overspending on defense contracts and too much waste., but we’re way beyond that now. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, teachers, cops, and firefighters those are needs, not luxuries or waste. Citizens in Williamson County and across this country have to wake up and realize what we’re losing with these austerity measures.
Government is hurting for money at the federal, state, and local levels. All the while corporations are making huge profits, hoarding their money, receiving tax breaks, and laying off even more workers. Which basically means that they aren’t hiring despite having more money then they’ve every had.
It seems logical that if they’re not going to use that money to hire workers then maybe it’s time the poeple, in the form of the government, started taxing that money and using it to create jobs. Our main economic problem is lack of demand. High unemployment means there are many people who can’t afford to buy stuff. Until they have jobs, and money, the can’t buy stuff. And until they start buying more stuff, that corporations make, the corporations won’t start hiring again. Therefore if the corporations won’t hire then the government must. There’s much to be done.
It’s taken decades for the anti-worker, cheap labor conservatism, to trickle-down to the local level but now it has. And unless it is stopped soon we will be paying our most needed public employees like they’re clerks at a convenience store.
[UPDATE]: From last night’s Countdown – The War on the Poor.