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C. Robert Gibson Headshot

4 Ways GOP Governors Wage Class War

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When a team's coaches, cheerleaders and spectators start booing the players on the field, that's when the team has officially lost. Even if they're up in points, the game isn't going to end in their favor. This can be said for Republican governors up for re-election next year in several states. Here are four ways that open class war is being waged in more euphemistic terms:

1. Class war masquerading as "jobs creation"

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker's agenda of upward wealth redistribution has been proven to be a failure by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The US Chamber ranked Walker's Wisconsin 44th out of 50 states in overall economic performance and dead last in short-term job growth. Ironically, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce paid Gov. Walker to speak at their "small business summit" in Washington, D.C., just before harshly ranking his economy in their report. I called him out on these facts at a recent public meeting, though he didn't give me an answer. You can see the video here (skip to the 1 minute mark).

Walker ran on a promise of creating 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin by the end of his first term in office. After roughly 3 years, Walker has only met his goal 20 percent of the way despite one of the most conservative state legislatures in decades. With 60 Republicans, the Wisconsin state Assembly is about as far to the right as the U.S. House of Representatives, and the GOP still enjoys a 3-seat majority in the state Senate. It isn't that the legislature is obstructing Walker's jobs agenda -- rather, Walker's economic agenda is obstructing progress on job growth.

2. Class war disguised as "economic recovery"

This lackadaisical economy isn't accidental. It's a product of the class war that's been waged for the last three decades, and as Warren Buffett has said, "My side is winning." This is evident in that even though we hear about the economic "recovery" often in the media, it only really happened for the top 1 percent of the country. American income inequality is already literally off the charts. Between 1970 and 2010, median income for middle-class households fell by an average of 5 percent. Meanwhile, the richest 1 percent of the population got 93 percent of all income growth as recently as 2010. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 have rallied to historic new highs several times already this year -- this is because corporate profits are only trickling down to executives who buy up company stock and make their options more valuable, rather than sharing them with the workers who sweated to make it happen.

3. Class war disguised as "business-friendly" tax policies

Even though the rich were getting richer anyway, our tax code has shifted in the last 30 years to allow the wealthiest to get exponentially richer through the addition of multiple loopholes and exemptions that only apply to the smallest fraction of the country. Governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Snyder in Michigan have all overseen a vast upward redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich, and those economies have suffered as a result. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett is presiding over a period of unemployment significantly higher than the national average. Rather than take responsibility for failed austerity-based economic policies of cutting public services to pay for corporate tax breaks, Corbett is blaming his own constituents alleging they're all too high on drugs to get jobs.

4. Class war disguised as "fiscal prudence"

Economists have said for awhile now that while the private sector has recovered all the jobs lost since the recession, the economy is still lagging because of public sector job losses. It should be common sense to anyone that if you put thousands of public employees out of work with budget cuts, that means less money being circulated in local economies, and fueling demand for small businesses. Businesses don't stay open because of low tax rates, they stay open because there are enough customers with extra income to spend on buying products. As 28-year-old Thomas Herndon proved through debunking the entire basis for austerity economics, government debt doesn't slow economic growth -- rather, measures aimed at cutting government debt slow economic growth. And it always ends up with the poor sacrificing the little they have so the rich can keep theirs and continue to acquire more.

All the numbers are out there to disprove the agendas perpetuated by Scott Walker and his ilk on the basis of economic panacea. The cruel process of depriving state governments of necessary funds to reward the corporate elite is nothing but class war. The class warrior governors who took office in 2010 like Walker, Snyder and Corbett are all up for re-election next year. Let's show them what unemployment feels like in November of 2014.