ROP Central is hearing you all loud and clear as you report that there is definitely a resurgence of the radical right – maybe it never went away, but it is louder now than it’s been in a while!
The economy is falling apart, there are no jobs as real un- & under-employement hovers at 24%, the healthcare system is a corporate money machine, the war is sucking our youth away and bankrupting us – and no one in power is doing anything about it. No one. Not Obama, not Limbaugh, not even Kucinich (though he might try hard).
Instead, as the pain increases for you, me, your neighbor, your grocer, your local vocal conservative, the left and right become increasingly pitted against one another. At this moment, the spark of separation is over healthcare and taxes.
Of course, it couldn’t be more obvious that workers on the left and on the right have similar interests – affordable quality healthcare, control over our own destinies & a tax system where all income levels pitch in an equal amount. Perhaps we have different approaches, but the same needs.
If only it were that simple, right! There are other factors to consider but the bottom line is that the multi-national corporate interests and uber-wealthy folks are pitting working people against each other in order to maintain power. We know who benefits by maintaining the current healthcare system, keeping immigrants hidden in the underground & stopping a tax increase on the wealthiest Oregonians.
As the powers-that-be become more desperate to separate us, this is our opportunity to be uniters of working people in our communities.
However, I don’t want to under-appreciate the danger of a well organized radical right movement in rural Oregon. Even if the working people of the right are fighting against their own best interest, they are still a formidable nuisance and a real threat to democracy.
While there was no one flinging pies or bloody dolls at our Congressmen this recess, there were certainly lots of people trying to block the most basic democratic process – the Town Hall. Equally as important though, they were at many meetings collecting signatures to put the tax reform passed by the legislature on the ballot in the hopes of voter rejection.
In your community watch out for Americans for Prosperity and Americans against Job Killing Taxes (AAJKT). Two well funded groups of the radical right that are doing leadership trainings in places like Tillamook and Grants Pass & collecting signatures opposing the tax reform of 2009.
AAJKT, headed by Kevin Mannix, has until Sept 25 to collect 55,000 valid signatures from registered Oregon voters in order to get the tax reforms sent to the ballot for voter’s consideration.
What is the tax reform about anyway? Tax reform is not about raising taxes, it’s about equaling out the tax system so that the most wealthy people in the state pay a similar percentage of tax that you and I pay. The tax reform would ask of people making $125,000 or more; pay 10.8% to the state to maintain basic public services that we all use and we all value. Roads, schools, elder care, forest service.
State Rep. Mary Nolan breaks it down for us like this, “While middle-class families face cuts to schools and health care, two-thirds of big corporations get away with paying only $10 in taxes each year. And today, as a share of income, the wealthiest 1 percent of Oregonians pay a lower amount of taxes than those making $40,000 per year.”
What you won’t hear from AAJKT is that reasonable people in business believe in fair taxes too. Oregon Small Businesses for Responsible Leadership have endorsed the tax fairness package from the Legislature, because they believe the measures are fair to small businesses and because they know the state needs education, health care and public safety.
Sign our “Decline to Sign” Petition to stand up as an American for Job Creating Taxes or an American for Job Creating Infrastructure Based on a Fair Tax System or even an American Against the Job Killing Tactics of the Radical Right.
Beyond this particular tax measure, it’s time for us to think about our strategy for uniting the left and the right around a economy based on people’s needs and people’s power over their own lives. What do you think our approach should be? How do you envision a People’s Economy where healthcare is quality, all community members are welcomed & we all invest equally in the community money pot? To host a conversation with ROP on Envisioning a Democratic Economy contact email@example.com.