David Obey

In Solidarity With Wisconsin Public Servants: Progressives Rally For Labor Rights

Progressives everywhere should be very proud, and stand in solidarity with Wisconsin public servants and their supporters, who have rallied at the state capitol in Madison for the past three days to protest Republican Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip workers of long held rights to collective bargaining, and to stop the raid on the salaries and benefits earned by hard won efforts over many years by thousands of dedicated teachers, nurses, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, prison guards, librarians, sanitation workers, social workers and others!

Wisconsin is the home of the progressive movement of a century ago, begun by Governor and Senator and third party presidential candidate Robert LaFollette, Sr. Wisconsin has had many great political leaders, including LaFollette’s two sons, Senator Robert LaFollette, Jr and Governor Philip LaFollette; Russ Feingold; William Proxmire; Gaylord Nelson; Herb Kohl; David Obey; and Patrick Lucey among others.

Democratic lawmakers in the State Senate have fled to Illinois, in order to prevent a 3/5th quorum needed to pass legislation, and we should support their refusal to come back and participate in what is seen as a union busting tactic encouraged by conservative talk show hosts and conservative think tanks and the billionaire Koch Brothers who have been conspiring to stop all reforms and promote corporate power as part of the Republican takeover of many state governorships and the House of Representatives!

The battle in Wisconsin is also the battle in Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and other states, as Wisconsin is simply the first in a long struggle to preserve the great reforms of the New Deal and Great Society. Middle class Americans are seeing their status destroyed, as the elite upper class sets out to concentrate wealth even more, which will lead to a growing underclass, and the wiping out of the middle class!

It is encouraging that President Obama has now come to the defense of public service employees, and it is making very clear where Democrats stand against the Republican onslaught against labor and the middle class!

Congressman David Obey, Afghanistan And Domestic Reform

Long time Wisconsin Democratic Congressman David Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has called upon the President to ask for a war surtax if he intends to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

His argument is that the Afghan War will cost $40 billion more per year if we send 40,000 more troops there, which is the proposal of General Stanley McChrystal being considered by President Obama. Obey says we cannot afford that cost, and that it will destroy the entire domestic reform agenda of the President, as we cannot sustain escalating the war and also pursue domestic change.

So Obey suggests that it is time for us to pay for an escalation of the war by taxing the American people, instead of just the troops sacrificing their lives, and taxpayers not having the responsibility as in past wars to pay taxes as their sacrifice for the war.

I think David Obey is absolutely correct in his statements. If we as a people are for this war, then let’s pay the taxes for it, instead of just waving the flag but otherwise making no sacrifice for the war we supposedly believe in.

Of course, a better answer is get out of this war and promote the domestic agenda. Isn’t it interesting how Republicans have no issue with spending for the war, but tell us we cannot afford a domestic reform agenda? However, is this really new, or just the old GOP hypocrisy about government spending?

Let’s remember that most of our national debt is due to militarism and war, not domestic reform, and that most of the national debt occurred under Presidents Reagan and Bush II. And yet the GOP has the gall to claim that the Democrats are the big spenders!