Rants & Raves for the week of Sept 20th, 2010
Meg Whitman gets the hat trick in today’s special all-Whitman rant-fest.
In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Meg Whitman called Fresno “awful”, and said, “It looks like Detroit.” The callous comment drew ire from here to Michigan, and a spokesperson from the Detroit Mayor’s office immediately responded saying, “Perhaps Ms. Whitman is better served in making investments in communities like Detroit and Fresno, rather than profiting at their expense.” Fresno’s working families also took offense to the comment, and more than 50 protestors came out to a Whitman fundraiser today in Fresno to defend their community’s reputation, and let Whitman know that they think her Wall Street agenda is what’s awful.
Whitman is STILL taking campaign contributions from her old Wall Street cronies at Goldman Sachs. According to the most recent reports, Whitman has received more than $100,000 from Goldman execs since the primary (and that’s in addition to the $105,000 she raked in from Goldman before the primary). There’s no doubt Whitman is still Goldman’s girl – the firm is now her campaign’s biggest donor (other than herself), and much of her $1.2 billion fortune is still invested in Goldman funds. And coincidentally, Goldman underwrites a huge portion of California’s debt – which means the firm directly profits off of California’s budget crisis. Are we the only ones that see this egregious conflict of interest?
Just when you thought Meg Whitman’s war on public workers couldn’t sink any lower, this week she unveiled a plan to personally fund a ballot measure attacking state employee pensions. Even after spending more on her own campaign than any political candidate in US history, she’s still willing to drop even more cash on a ballot initiative to gut the pensions of public employees — that is, those that survive her plan to fire 40,000 of them. During an interview with the Sacramento Bee earlier this week, Whitman followed up her pension-reform ballot measure bombshell with an offhanded remark that extending collective bargaining rights to state employees in 1977 was “probably not a good thing.” A billionaire governor who’d spend her billions personally attacking her own state’s workforce? Yeah, that's definitely “not a good thing.”
Yes, unions are good for you – even if you don’t belong to one! A new study from Notre Dame University, which evaluated the workforce in 14 different countries, found that people who live in countries with a higher percentage of unionized workers are happier in general, regardless as to whether they themselves are union members. According the study’s author, Professor Benjamin Radcliff, “There's a direct effect of being a member and sort of an indirect effect. People who have union jobs like their jobs better. And that puts pressure on other employers to extend the same benefits and wages to compete with the union shops.” Now THAT’S what we call the union difference!
This week, several key provisions of President Obama’s historic health care reform law went into effect. As of yesterday, an estimated 1.3 million young adults in California will now be able to stay on their parents' health plans. Insurers are now prohibited from dropping coverage when someone gets sick, and they can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. The abusive practice of placing a lifetime limit on insurance coverage will end today as well, thanks to the federal reform. And that’s in addition to other components of the law that have already gone into effect, the most notable of which is closing the loophole in Medicare Part D so seniors can afford their prescription drugs.
A new Field Poll released this week shows Senator Barbara Boxer with a six-point lead over Republican ex-CEO Carly Fiorina. Many attribute Boxer’s jump in the polls with the release of a new campaign ad revealing Fiorina’s track record as CEO of HP, where she laid off 30,000 workers and shipped American jobs to China. The ad includes a quote from Fiorina herself, stating, “I’m proud of what I did at HP.” But Californians clearly are not proud of what she did at HP, and more and more voters are recognizing that Fiorina is the wrong choice at a time when California need quality, local jobs more than ever.