We are rapidly approaching what is sure to be the nastiest, most mudslinging, and costliest presidential and congressional election cycle, possibly in history. A group of billionaires and multi-national giant corporations, including those from the energy, pharmaceutical, food, consumer goods, banking and investment industries, will spend unprecedented money to take your eye off the economic
ball, all to have you vote (or worst yet, not vote at all) for the candidates they control. Their goal is to secure an agenda that takes away all regulations to protect the public, divides our communities socially, starves our public education in favor of for-profit education, further weakens the labor movement, cuts social programs, enhances tax breaks for the corporations and wealthiest one percent, enables Wall Street to gamble with the economy, further strengthens the interests of the oil, pharmaceutical, insurance and banking industries, and much more that is not in the best interest of working families.
Unfortunately, you cannot identify which candidates will support working family issues by the party, as members of both parties can be bought.
Don’t fall for all the hate mongering about social security, welfare, and undocumented immigrants. Our country is not going broke from feeding the poor and caring for the elderly; it is going broke from huge tax cuts for the ultra-rich, and subsidies for their corporations.
Don’t fall for the claim that one politician is more moral than another. Morality is taught at home, and neither party has demonstrated the fortitude to truly support people of faith.
Don’t fall for the low-wage, anti-union rhetoric that wages must be low to be competitive. If that were true, Walmart would have put Costco out of business years ago. and the same is true for the German auto industry, which pays much higher wages than the U.S. auto industry and still sells many more cars than U.S. auto makers.
So, educate yourself on the issues and where the candidates stand on them, from the president, to Congress, to the state and local races, and then vote your pocketbook.
Further, what is good for the labor movement is good for you and your family. Strong unions elevate everyone’s standard of living.
Our country can gain substantial new revenue by asking the wealthiest people in the country, and the largest corporations, some of whom, in a given year, made billions in profits and did not pay any federal taxes, to pay their fair share of taxes. Not by stashing their money in tax haven countries, nor should they be rewarded for shipping jobs to countries with no labor, safety, or environmental standards.
Our country needs to take that new revenue and invest in rebuilding our roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, water systems, power grid, real high speed rail and much more.
This issue of the Journal is dedicated to building communities. Nothing will build our communities more than the dignity of a good-paying job with benefits, like health insurance and a pension. That kind of economic stability strengthens families, and strong families build strong communities.
We have the power to take back our country. To do so, we must speak to everyone we meet about the issues and what is at stake. I am writing this article as we sit more than one year from the General Election, but we need that time to educate everyone we know. That is the only way to combat all the money that will be spent in this election cycle.
I have faith we can stop our country from becoming an oligarchy, where we only have the illusion of democracy. However, that kind of faith can only move a mountain if we all bring a shovel.
Let’s do it! God Bless you all.
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades