Hats off to the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for setting a high standard of gutsy truth-telling for other heartland MSM newspapers. Here’s a tasty morsel of richly-deserved snarkage from their editorial “Missouri Senate blames unions for economic woes. Oh, please.”:
The Missouri Senate has found the culprit. It’s public employees.
It’s those absurdly high-paid teachers, nurses, janitors, secretaries, pothole fixers and home health care workers.
Early Tuesday morning, while some of those workers were helping roll over your grandma or grandpa at the nursing home so they didn’t get bed sores, the Republicans who lead the state Senate set things right. They gave initial approval to a bill that will make it a little harder for the unions that represent those public employees to collect fees that might be used to elect thoughtful people to elected office.
The editorial goes on to note that Missouri public workers are already the lowest-paid state employees in the U.S. and weakened unions are struggling to survive with GOP domination of the legislature. But the Republican bully-boys just can’t resist beating up on working people who happen to be in a vulnerable position. Further, states the editorial:
But because union-bashing has become a big-money deal on the national scene (thanks to Wisconsin and Michigan), the lemmings in the Missouri Senate don’t want to be left behind. They’re doing the bidding of their corporate overlords in the American Legislative Exchange Council, which promotes cookie-cutter legislation written by corporate lawyers to enhance their bottom lines.
So, for those of you keeping score at home, this is what the Senate did (so far) in one of the key legislative weeks, the last before spring break, sending a signal to all where its priorities lie:
It raised taxes on poor people.
It cut taxes for rich people.
It hurt teachers, nurses and other public employees.
Naturally, the bill exempts first responder public unions (firefighters, police) which have strong lobbies and whose members tend to vote Republican more frequently than other union members. It’s all about shameless partisanship. As the editorial concludes, “Senate Republicans should have more pride than this. If they want to blame working people for the state’s economic problems, while banks and corporations sit on record profits, good luck with that argument. But have the courage to tell the truth.”
As with bullies everywhere, real courage, as in standing up for decent treatment of people who are struggling, is not a consideration. But at least the hometown newspaper is doing its job sticking up for working people who deserve a little support.