Two Paths: Bust Unions or Raise Taxes on the Wealthy?

While austerity measures are sweeping the nation – and Republican governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin are going after middle class workers to balance state budgets – Minnesota’s Democratic Governor has a different idea. Instead of balancing budgets on the backs of working families – Governor Mark Dayton is proposing a 5% tax increase on the wealthiest people in Minnesota – or the top 5% of income earners in the state. What Governor Daytona sees is the same thing that most progressives see – the easiest solution to both state and federal budget deficits – raising taxes on the rich.

America collects fewer taxes by proportion than most of the industrialized world – and taxes are lower right now than at any other point in the last 50 years in this nation. It’s not a coincidence that this drop off in taxes corresponds with massive levels of debt. It’s simple – banksters got us into this mess because they had too much money in their pockets thanks to the Reagan and Bush tax cuts – and used the cash to speculate on Wall Street – which led to our economy crashing.

So the banksters – and not working families – should now have to make some sacrifices to get us out of the mess.


DRUMMER's picture
DRUMMER 13 years 17 weeks ago

Those of us who agree with Governor Dayton aren't asking for any more than that the wealthy pay their fair share. And, please, at long last will you Reagan lovers stop repeating the tired and historically disproven assertion that tax breaks for the rich create jobs. The last several years have proven the error of that idea, and the last thirty years have proven the error in all of the Reagan economic theories. They only succeeded in redistributing the nations wealth from the middle class to the very rich. Let's stop supporting ideas that are against our best interests.

Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 13 years 17 weeks ago

It isn't just Wisconsin's governor that is attacking public employees. Ohio's Senate Bill 5 - supported by Gov. Kasich, whould effectively end collective bargaining for state and local employees.

suecarol's picture
suecarol 13 years 17 weeks ago

I was a nurse for 38 years and we were taught professional people should not belong or want unions. As a 72 year old now and listening to Thom on a daily basis I am so sorry I did not support unions in our hospital. My salary and benefits increased over the years due to the union, now as it is to late I realize why this occured.

ptpete 13 years 17 weeks ago

Who are the adults without high school diploma's voting for? You can bet they are voting Republican or they are tea baggers. Ask those people if Reagan was for or against assault weapons ban. If they say NO you know they didn't have a HS diploma. The members of our population 35 and under don't know of the single bread winner families of the 50's, 60's and 70's. They have seen only in a vast majority of cases, both parents had to work. And then on top of that, the righties have lowered education standards since the 80's and re-instituted segregation thru home schooling and vouchers. On top of that they use Religion as a divider of the masses. It is thru these separations of the population that breeds distrust of those who are not the same as the person they see in a mirror and by doing that they can manipulate different groups to vote against there own interests. It's hard to educate people who because of there personal fears won't listen or research any idea that would be different then what they believe. These are the people on the right who always have to interrupt you when your expressing your view.

doreen's picture
doreen 13 years 17 weeks ago

Next time you get in an arguement with someone who hates government workers and thinks they are overpaid, over- benefited and aren't productive, ask them what they would do if there were having a heart attack. Call 911, of course. A single payer, socialistic health care system. Then ask them if those government workers, Medics, should not be getting health insurance and a salary that attracts the qualified not just the cheap. Then ask if 911 should be eliminated and replaced with a private for-profit ambulance who can demand payment before providing services. And lastly should the government workers in the public hospital ER's be eliminated, so that he can try and find a private hospital that will treat him without payment.

Dane's picture
Dane 13 years 17 weeks ago

Definately raise taxes on the wealthy, and corporations,they all have had a free ride for the past 30 years, and the poor and working people paid the price,and will be for years to come, if something isnt done about it.

loisgrandi's picture
loisgrandi 13 years 17 weeks ago

YES! The rich and super rich do nothing to promote growth in this country. they have gotten away with having a free ride for long enough!! ENOUGH! Raising their taxes a couple of percentage points can solve the entire crisis. Why oh why can't the entire middle and lower classes see this and elect progressives!!!

I want to help. Tell me how???

Lois G

Chaplain Mary Murphy War Widow's picture
Chaplain Mary M... 13 years 17 weeks ago

Veterans Village B-2

4401 Teller Street

Wheat Ridge CO 80033-3448

303 238 1456

Please Dear Friends

The Billions Prosperity Gospel Cathoic Church has in reserves; we must have legislation that requires them to file a Form 9980 like every other secular nonprofit that is not paying taxes please

The War Widows

Mary Murphy, former VA/Prison Chaplain/Marshal Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

aeponrick's picture
aeponrick 13 years 17 weeks ago

EZ Solution for having more funds available to improve our quality of life and provide the necessities associated with a super power or even a developed nation is simply to roll back the taxes to Clinton era. Reagan era would be better, but even Clinon era solves the problem. Thom has been preaching that forever. But will it happen? Doubtful. Simple solutions are made so complicated by the off base personal belief structure, greed and power plays. When will the 95% who would personally benefit finally wake up and realize many of them are shooting both feet and working on cutting off their noses?? Until more of us open our eyes and get the manure out of our ears... sadly, we'll keep hobbling along while being taken advantage of by the more wealthy and powerful who rely on ignorance and habbit. Alan

garryej's picture
garryej 13 years 17 weeks ago

I think the question was "what do you think will happen" NOT what should happen. Unfortunately, what WILL happen is probably just what we don't want to happen - the poor will continue to get hammered by the rich. If you own the ball, the field, the players and you make your own rules... well you get the picture!

lollipopsinbensonaz 13 years 17 weeks ago

How long are we going to debate this question? Action please. Who's in charge of action? WE are. Let's talk about what WE can do. I don't know. Do you? I'm sure tired of struggling. Rowing upstream with no results. Really. What can WE do. Thom, we are counting on you. Lead us.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 13 years 17 weeks ago

Thom when you talk about Europe don't forget about free university education (until very recently). Housing, education,healthcare are basic human rights in Europe.

Still is only a nominal fee for University education in most of Europe.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 13 years 17 weeks ago










jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 13 years 17 weeks ago


Social Darwinism is a belief, popular in the late Victorian era in England, America, and elsewhere, which states that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die. The theory was chiefly expounded by Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), whose ethical philosophies always held an elitist view and later received a boost from the application of Darwinian ideas such as adaptation and natural selection.

According to Darwin's evolutionary theory, nature is a "kill-or-be-killed" system. Those that cannot keep up are either left behind or cut off. The strong survive, and those best suited to survival will out-live the weak.

The seeds of Social Darwinism were actually planted before the publication of Darwin's "The Origin of Species" (though of course the name didn't originate until after). Herbert Spencer, the father of Social Darwinism as an ethical theory, was thinking in terms of elitist, "might makes right" sorts of views long before Darwin published his theory. The concept of adaptation allowed Spencer to claim that the rich and powerful were better adapted to the social and economic climate of the time, and the concept of natural selection allowed him to argue that it was natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. Whether it be humans, races, or the state, Spencer's thoughts were clear: "If they are sufficiently complete to live, they do live, and it is well they should live. If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they die." In its simplest form, Social Darwinism follows the theory of "the strong survive," even in human issues. It is the application of the theory of natural selection to social, political, and economic issues. According to Social Darwinism, those with economic, physical, and technological strength flourish and those without are destined for extinction. This theory was used to promote the idea that the white European race was superior to others, and therefore, destined to rule over them.

Social Darwinism was used to justify numerous exploits which we classify as of dubious moral value today. Colonialism was seen as natural and inevitable; people saw natives as being weaker and more unfit to survive, and therefore felt justified in seizing land and resources. Finally, it gave the ethical nod to brutal colonial governments who used oppressive tactics against their subjects.

At the time that Spencer began to promote Social Darwinism, the technology, economy, and government of the "White European" was advanced in comparison to that of other cultures. Looking at this apparent advantage, as well as the economic and military structures, some argued that natural selection was playing out, and that the race more suited to survival was winning. Some even extended this philosophy into a micro-economic issue, claiming that social welfare programs that helped the poor and disadvantaged were contrary to nature itself. Those who reject any and all forms of charity or governmental welfare often use arguments rooted in Social Darwinism.

Social Darwinism has been used to justify eugenics programs aimed at weeding "undesirable" genes from the population; such programs were sometimes accompanied by sterilization laws directed against "unfit" individuals. The American eugenics movement was relatively popular between about 1910-1930, during which 24 states passed sterilization laws and Congress passed a law restricting immigration from certain areas deemed to be unfit. Social Darwinist ideas, though in different forms, were also applied by the Nazi party in Germany to justify their eugenics programs. With the development of the notion of eugenics — not only could you prevail over the unfit by making war on them, but you could improve the breed by applying "enlightened" notions of selection and genetics.

At its worst, the implications of Social Darwinism were used as scientific justification for the Holocaust. The Nazis claimed that the murder of Jews in World War II was an example of cleaning out inferior genetics. This view embraced the assumption that the strong were superior, and thus ordained to prevail. Social Darwinism applied to military action as well; the argument went that the strongest military would win, and would therefore be the most fit. Casualties on the losing side, of course, were written off as the natural result of their unfit status. Thus, if two countries were to make war on each other, the victor was biologically superior to the loser. It was therefore right and proper for that victor to subjugate or even eliminate the inferior opponent. Not only was survival of the fittest natural, but it was also morally correct. Indeed, some extreme Social Darwinists argued that it was morally incorrect to assist those weaker than oneself, since that would be promoting the survival and possible reproduction of someone who was fundamentally unfit.

A second way pseudo-evolutionary concepts were applied to human interaction was in the development of cut-throat capitalism in the United States. Here the ideology was that the cream naturally rose to the top; the successful made a lot of money simply because they were superior to the unsuccessful. Those who found themselves in poverty were poor because they were intrinsically inferior. It provided a justification for the more exploitative forms of capitalism in which workers were paid sometimes pennies a day for long hours of backbreaking labor. Social Darwinism also justified big business' refusal to acknowledge labor unions and similar organizations, and implied that the rich need not donate money to the poor or less fortunate, since such people were less fit anyway. This political philosophy resisted suggestions like universal education, welfare, minimum wage; in short, anything which interfered with the business of the "superior" ascending to the top of the heap and squashing the unfit beneath their expensive shoes.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 13 years 17 weeks ago



meemee 13 years 17 weeks ago

I think: 1) The rich got rich off of us/our labor/our purchasing, and therefore are cutting off their own noses to spite their faces (since, after all the abuse and exploitation we've already endured, we're still getting pushed and crushed by the Republicans, et al, we should stop participating in their games (even a little bit goes a long way when you're dealing with people who are so egomaniacal and deleriously, twistedly gluttonous); 2) "capitalism" is our economy, NOT WHO WE ARE (both of those aspects have to be considered and incorporated to sustain the free market concept, not only the "almighty dollar"); 3) YES, the "banksters" HAVE to CLEAN UP THIS MESS THAT T-H-E-Y MADE (I don't see it that we are just "all in this together" [WE were deliberately victimized, exploited, robbed] and I don't think that humbling them with a smack-up of the reality of their actions and the results is in any way a valid "sacrifice" -- it is justice, and nothing more (and, it is an absolute and indesputable crime that we have to go through this because of them --no, it didn't just happen, and no, it isn't OK). I think what will happen is exactly what we cause to happen -- in the best American way. Can I say, "Cairo, America?" Thank you, all.

dnarnadem 13 years 17 weeks ago

To those who have not been listening to the Neo-conservative message for the last 50-40 Years - The Republican Party is a party that seeks Complete Control of our society at all costs! It is Dictatorial, Oppressive and Fascist. They have been and are funded by Billionaires, Big Banks and multi-national conglomerates to create Think Tanks from which zealots plot to gain complete and total control of our society. They hate Workers, Unions, collective bargaining, abortionists, blacks, feminists, gays, muslims, you name it they hate it!

You have been living under a rock if you have not seen this coming. In ALL the States where there are now newly, or not so new, elected Repub governors, this is their game plan - DESTROY the UNIONS! Use every means to do so. Why? Simple. Their paymasters, the Plutocrats and the Oligarchs (New Fascists), want them to. Cheap labor, no more regulations, no more minimum wage, a complete unfettered control of all aspects of our society and the industrial base.

Where have the American Workers (for that matter ALL Americans) been for the last 40 Years? The Republicans have literally Placed a big Banner in the Sky and have shouted from the Roof Tops - DESTROY THE UNIONS and collective bargaining and everything democratic (Liberal). They have been saying this now for over 40 Years!

The Republican Party and their Paymasters are the New Fascists.

Fascism is defined as: "A governmental system led by a dictator (or Oligarchy) having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism."

This is what is happening in our country now. Anyone denying this is totally ill-informed. The Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower - it is now a party being controlled by multi-national corporations and Billionaires. And if, you, Middle America, are not afraid, you best educate yourself very quickly. This is happening, and it is happening very fast. ‘Citizens United’ is the instrument that will destroy this country if we, as a Democratic Free People, do not repeal or end this offensive and freedom killing supreme court decision!

One Percent of the US Population controls something like 35 percent of the wealth in this country. Two Percent controls 70-80 percent! So 4 million plutocrats control 80 per cent of the wealth, while 296 Million people have to do with 20 per cent! And this is still NOT ENOUGH for the Plutocrats!

America, this is still a Democracy. What is being played out in Madison Wisconsin this week should be a blue print for ALL Americans and ALL states to emulate? If we let the new Fascists win we are, as a free people, in pretty deep kim-shee!

dnarnadem 13 years 17 weeks ago


This needs a bit of clarification. Social Darwinism is NOT Evolution. Social Darwinism is a classic case where a group (New Rich) used, at the time, a theory to bolster their rational for their Capitalistic rapaciousness. They used the phrase ‘Survival Of The Fittest’ to justify their destructive actions. Darwin had nothing to do with it.

In fact, Darwin and the modern theory of evolution, most of the time, disprove much what the Social Darwinists put forth in their ill created theories.

In fact, this was brought forth to me quite dramatically back in the day. Think of a big strapping buck, big antlers, and a big territory. He effectively defeats all his male opponents and so has a big harem of females. One problem – he is sterile! So for all his efforts that is the end of the line for him. That, in a nut-shell, is what evolution is all about. It has nothing to do with who is the fittest or who is the strongest, but everything to do with how many offspring one leaves. And fortunately there are many strategies to achieve this. And on the female side they have many strategies at their disposal to make it a reality or not – it is not always strength on fitness.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 13 years 17 weeks ago

Banksters should be made to give back what they've frankly stolen for a real redistribution of wealth..

Lindawyeth 13 years 17 weeks ago

My husband is a retired Wisconsin teacher. Where would we be without the advocacy of his union? Out in the streets, that's where! Yes, of course, we should be taxing the rich, not the poor. But what is going to happen here in Wisconsin with this collective bargaining issue? I think if the governor has his way, he will live to regret it -- the backlash from voters will be huge. The main chant at the rally at the capital yesterday, I have heard from friends who were there, was "Recall Walker!" Also, Walker's threat to call out the national guard to deal with "labor unrest" has made people really angry.

Former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold is starting a new organization called "Progressives United." (Feingold was defeated for reelection last fall by Tea Party know-nothing candidate Ron Johnson.) We will be joining with Feingold to help overturn last year's U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision giving personhood status to corporations.

fbacher's picture
fbacher 13 years 17 weeks ago

If government should be run like a business, then when a financial disaster strikes we should do like insurance companies do and raise the rates.

meemee 13 years 17 weeks ago

What I keep hearing, and what Thom keeps saying, (and, what I know from my own uninformed life) is INVOLVE EVERYBODY! INFORM EVERYBODY! ENLIST EVERYBODY!! We are on the cliff's edge of losing it all!! It doesn't have to be this way! It is WAY PAST "somebody else will do it!" If WE, A-L-L, are not ready to participate, to know what's happening to us, and to fight (peacefully, persistently, unrelentingly and determinedly) them off of us by now, then just lay down and let them finish running us flat into the ground! THIS IS AMERICA!! THE main topic of conversation with everybody has to be WHAT we are, each one, currently working on to save our country! I ask you, "What else can it possibly take??" Let those of us who do know be helpful -- helpful -- to those who do not. Not everyone has the opportunity to just start getting involved and start getting educated/informed. This is a truth we need to be aware of and compassionate about. We must actively work to speak with all those we are around and be sure to invite them in, and not push them out, not criticize them because they aer not already up-to-speed. WE NEED US, EVERY ONE. Thank you, everyone.

Anella's picture
Anella 13 years 17 weeks ago

Drummer, While I do indeed believe that many (not all) of the wealty are greedy, I do not see that you have provided any facts in your commentary that support the idea President Reagan's policies did not help our nation. I agree that our elected officials have NOT succeeded in protecting ALL Americans from the greedy. I DO NOT agree that the answer is to take what we want from those whom we consider wealthy. And... greed is not unique to wealthy or powerful people. Poor people are just as greedy, and if they had the opportunity would suck up just as much as the wealthy. No, the real question here is, do you truly believe in the constitution of the United States, and are you ready to do what it takes to consistently apply it to ALL Americans. Throw out tax breaks. If doing business in this nation is not privelege enough, leave. Why should any of us be forced through tax breaks to subsidize businesses. Charge a specific percentage and be done with it. No progressive stuff either. Anything else is inequitable. We can't talk about the great American dream out of one corner of our mouths, and then talk about punishing those who succeed out of the other corner. Legitimate profit is what drives all good economies. As to redistribution, what would you call taking my money that I have earned and giving it to someone else - on a consistent basis - because they are poor? A lifestyle. If you can't afford it, don't take my money for it. And... I have been a state employee for more than 15 years. While I do appreciate my salary, and I have labored long hours in horrible conditions, the bottom line is that my state is in financial trouble. The unemployment lines are long. The median income and benefits are below my pay and benefits. It would be GREEDY of me to insist that I continue to receive pay and benefits above that which is typical in the private sector! The GREEDY unions have done this to themselves. (Check out the pay and benefits of your union officials....hmmmm...)

Anella's picture
Anella 13 years 17 weeks ago

Hear, hear!! I absolutely agree! Our elected officials, many of whom were sponsored by UNIONS should have been, and need to start holding ALL people accountable for their conduct. The banks and etc should never have received a bailout!! GREEDY

Anella's picture
Anella 13 years 17 weeks ago

@jkh6148 - So, quit! I've been a state employee for more than fifteen years. If my union demands anymore money for me during my state's crisis, and the crisis of all the unemployed and underemployed, I'll personally call for a vote to remove that union. Greed is not unique to the wealthy.

By the way... what are the salaries and benefits of your loyal union bosses????

Anella's picture
Anella 13 years 17 weeks ago

loisgrandi: Because "progressives" have been around since the 1800's, and they have never believed the US Constitution to be appropriate. There is a history of Georgia via biographies of the influential persons of the times. Some interesting details about "progressives" was provided in this very, very old book. Progressives were organized into committees, etc, and they had representation within all of the political parties of the day. ...... So..... NO "progressives." How about PROBLEM solvers who can respect the US Constitution, and all Americans? How about us electing people who will stand up to big business, and wealthy, and who will stop ruining generations of Americans through hand-outs? (Utopia is a myth that has been stuffed down our throats for way too long - by the progressives, and manipulated by the greedy wealthy.) And the so called progressives, in my opinion, are the ones who have been and are playing Americans off against one another.

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