Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Like WABC once did in New York, Chicago now has its very own Cousin Brucie. But instead of spinning records, our Cousin Brucie spins facts. 

You see, our Cousin Brucie is governor.

Bruce Rauner is a billionaire vulture cap, er, venture capitalist, who assumed office by outspending and relentlessly trashing his opponent. Like so many of these things, last year's gubernatorial election was a choice between tepid and not-so-hot.

Cousin Brucie was always a little short on details, at least when they didn't concern the atrocities committed by the previous administration. Which is why his Valentine's Day gift to the workers of Illinois is such a surprise.

You see, Governor Rauner wants to give workers—drum roll, please—the right to work. That might sound a little redundant and confusing, buts that's only because it's supposed to.

In that cunning way Republican wordsmiths have, they take an idea, cloak it in a deceptive-sounding name and make it sound like the most patriotic and sensible thing ever. 

The right to work? Gosh. That just makes my chest swell with pride. I want to run to the nearest window, fling it open and shout “I am an American, dammit! And I have the right to work!”

Okay. Deep breath, LPG.

If you aren't aware of it already, Republicans are cold. And where you have cold and water (which Illinois does), you frequently have icebergs. And the sneaky thing about icebergs is that most of their mass is underwater.

So while you're coming in for a closer look, BOOM! The part you couldn't see punches a great big hole in your boat, and now it's sinking. I hope you're in compliance with local nautical safety codes, because you're going to need a life jacket.

And let me tell you: the patriotic affirmation offered by Right to Work proponents is one big, freaking iceberg.

It seeks to destroy unions. It seeks to destroy them by eliminating the source of their support, which is M-O-N-E-Y. 

Contrary to just about everything Republicans have done for the past one-hundred years, they will offer workers something for nothing, but only as long as they agree to slit their own throats. Workers can theoretically enjoy union benefits without paying union dues. 

But I say theoretically because guess what happens to a union when no one is paid to represent it?

That's right. It dies. Which is the whole idea.

This is a spectacularly good thing for Republicans and businessmen. And who doesn't want that?

Another benefit of de-funding a union is that you also eliminate an important source of income for the Democratic party. Still another is that when wages in a union-free environment fall, profit margins zoom, further concentrating wealth in the hands of the already well-off.

You don't have to squint very hard to see the outcome.

Do you know what Feudalism is?

Of course, Cousin Brucie isn't admitting any of this. He's sticking to script, and spinning Right to Work as a legitimate plan to strengthen Illinois' economy and boost its regional competitiveness.This despite a complete lack of supportive data. 

It's not union-busting. Honest.

But it's worth noting that at numerous campaign fundraisers last year, Rauner stressed to donors his urgent desire to lower the minimum wage. Not maintain it. Not raise it. Lower it.

The great poet Maya Angelou once said “When people tell you who they are, believe them.”

The governor doesn't want to restore the economy of Illinois. At least not yours. No, he wants to make Illinois “business-friendly”, which is code for an open house free-for-all where profits are high and costs are low and the skies are not cloudy all day.

So. Have you figured out what Feudalism is yet?

I can't wait for Labor Day.

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