Thursday, November 29, 2012

After Nov. 6th, aren't we already at 'the table'?

“...being seated at the table, which do you think is a better place to be?” -- Sen. Durbin
November 6th was the election. The very next day came the "fiscal cliff" media deluge, concocted by the leadership of both parties as a way of justifying the grand deal that's already in the works -- a slashing of so-called entitlements in exchange for a slight bump in the tax rate for the multi-millionaire and billionaire class. Obama is adamant about the next step: putting money on the table, by not extending tax breaks set to expire at the end of the year for earners over $250,000. By entitlements, they mean the very survival basics of millions of poor and elderly -- social-security, medicare, medicaid. Also on the table are more massive cuts to public education.

Like the artillery barrage before the military assault, here comes the brigade of liberal pols, softening up the ground for the grand deal. In Illinois, where a Democratic governor is already leading the charge on the pension fund, it's the liberalist of liberals, the number 2 leader in the Senate, Dick Durbin leading the retreat.
Sen. Dick Durbin delivered some tough love Tuesday to his fellow progressive Democrats in a speech on the “fiscal cliff.” His message: Be ready to compromise — or be left out of the conversation while others make decisions about the priorities you care about the most, such as preventing the middle class from carrying an unfair tax burden. -- Sun-Times
Compromise or be left out of the conversation? Now? Before the battle even begins? Sound familiar? Hasn't this been the mantra of some national teacher union leaders as they push contracts in Newark, Cleveland, and D.C. that include self-destructive demolition of teacher's bargaining rights and test-based teacher evaluation, in exchange for a "seat at the table" they already have?

How can Dems possibly be "left out of the conversation" after November 6th? What the hell are you talking about, Sen. Durbin? Off course compromises may be necessary based on the relative strength of the base of each party and the willingness of the leadership to mobilize that base.

But the CTU strike pointed the way. There's no need to surrender before the fight even begins. The real targets of the grand deal on entitlement cuts are the poor, the elderly, the sick and the children. We don't need more "tough love." We're not afraid of the fiscal cliff. Many of us are already over it.

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