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Monday, December 22, 2014

If elected, Romney will wage class war

Editor’s note: This column is another in a series of political pieces for the upcoming election. Last week, we invited readers to submit an approximately 650-word column to opinion@dailylobo.com (see “Kvetchers, come compose us columns” published Sept. 24.) The idea was to feature opposing viewpoints in the opinion section. Unfortunately, we have received no Republican submissions. We will continue to accept columns, and encourage writers from all political persuasions to participate.

For those liberals out there who are discouraged about and disappointed in President Obama and don’t feel like voting this year, consider the alternative.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney “earned” about $42.5 million in the last two years. That comes down to more than $408,000 a week, almost $82,000 for each of the five days in the week and more than $10,000 an hour. His vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, married an heiress who is worth several million dollars.

They don’t understand and don’t care about people who must live paycheck to paycheck and who are not able to stock away large amounts of money for college for their children or their own retirement. They don’t care if you can’t afford your education or if you will spend the rest of your life paying for it at a low-paid, insecure job.  

Romney, Ryan and like-minded Republicans’ (RRR) ideas of job programs are simple: give more money to the wealthy — who are well-known for paying themselves outrageous amounts while squeezing workers at the bottom out of unions, out of decent pay and benefits and out of jobs.

Governments at all levels have much better records of providing jobs with decent pay and benefits, and doing necessary work for all Americans. Public employees, including UNM faculty and staff members and student employees, work very hard, many in low-paying jobs. Education is crucial to the economic growth of this country, but that apparently does not include instructors and staff members.

RRR want to further cut the federal government — and, by implication, state, county and local governments — indiscriminately because Tea Partiers and extremist libertarians want to destroy government, while, of course, keeping all the government services they like and depend on. When you need emergency services after a disaster, such as in Joplin, Mo. after the tornado, you want all the government you can get, and they got it. The mayor appreciated it, although he didn’t otherwise like government.

Similarly, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Guard, FEMA, other federal and state and local agencies recently have responded, at great expense, to wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. Under RRR, the government may have to answer, “We’re sorry, but we can’t afford to help you this year.”

That would be good if it also applied to military spending, but it doesn’t. RRR are going to be “tough” internationally and need a bigger military and more weapons, probably to augment weakness in other areas.

I guess the plan is to lay off large numbers of government workers in good jobs and replace them with lousy private-sector jobs created by the fat-cat friends of Romney and Ryan — if they feel like it, of course.

On his website, Romney praises historical labor unions, then vilifies them in the present. He supports his wealthy contributors, who want to destroy all unions and reinstate industrial-era total control over workers, who will make possible the American dream for their employers while sinking into debt and misery themselves with low pay, no benefits and no safety or other pesky regulations. How about reinstituting child labor or slavery?

Maybe they could buy undocumented workers from Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the way black people were railroaded and sold in the South after the Civil War. Black slavery didn’t end in this country until the 1940s — see “Slavery By Another Name” by Douglas Blackmon.

The reason conservatives are fighting so hard to kill labor unions and the National Labor Relations Board is because those institutions do listen to and speak for working Americans. Unions and government agencies are not perfect, but corporations, businesses and business organizations may be even less perfect.

Yes, businesses are very organized in the extremely conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other alliances, yet they are very opposed to organized labor.

The rich have been doing very, very well lately, and if there is a class war, they started it and are vigorously fighting. You don’t start a class war by identifying it.

So please vote for Obama, Rep. Martin Heinrich, Michelle Lujan Grisham and the increase in the minimum wage in Albuquerque, for the dignity of all New Mexicans and all Americans.