The threat made by the Grumpy Obstructionist Party (GOP) is simple: "Gimme what I want or I'll kill the government." Democrats refused to pay the ransom by defunding the Affordable Care Act, so the GOP defunded the federal government.
By 2012, six out of 14 Wal-Mart's direct lobbyists had worked in Congress. In that same year, Wal-Mart retained a total of ten outside lobbying firms, bringing its total legislative agent count to 79 lobbyists -- of which 64 were revolving door lobbyists.
President Obama has waited too long. The president could help those 2,000,000 low-wage workers working for government contractors with an executive order, and for over four years now, he has refused to act.
Don't spend one dime on a gala inauguration. In fact, don't do anything more than you are legally bound to do, which is placing your hand on a Bible and swearing to uphold the Constitution. Keep it austere. Why bother with the ceremonial glitter?
Reforms such as the Employee Free Choice Act, which would restore the right of workers to join a union, will have to become law and be enforced. Workers -- not just in manufacturing but throughout the economy -- will have to have some bargaining power.
Fixing immigration and fixing labor are inseparable. Immigration reform could give increasing freedom to workers to organize without fear, but without vigorous protections on organizing, employers still hold all the cards.
The encampments against corporate greed in the financial districts of America could just as well have appeared outside of Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. There is no better example of corporate exploitation in the world.
In a "what have you done for me lately" world, there is little that labor can now offer and it is increasingly difficult to envision future circumstances for reversing its sagging political and economic fortunes.
MONEY has always been the most corrupting influence in our politics, a fact that is now on full display in Republican-controlled state houses across the midwest that are voting against public employees' right to collective bargaining.
It's no surprise that Republicans are up to their old games. Having successfully blocked efforts to strengthen the right of workers to organize, they now want to stop workers from learning their rights too.
The worst thing we must now face is that the 2010 election is likely a preview of 2012, unless some dramatic new element is introduced into our national politics that changes the character of national debate.
This week, Senator Bennet finally ended his silence on the Employee Free Choice Act by coming out against it. This is not surprising. What is surprising is the labor movement's messaging about Bennet's announcement.
The Employee Free Choice Act could lead to a re-empowerment of labor in the face of corporate greed and the possibility of restoring sanity and balance to a system that stacks the deck in favor of the wealthy.
All across the nation, people are watching the case of Shirley Sherrod, who was asked to resign as Georgia state director for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of an edited video clip.