If working-class Americans feel left behind, they need look no further than the mirror to understand why. They allowed union membership to be eroded. It is no secret that rising income inequality in the U.S. is directly attributable to the decline of union membership. And now working-class Americans are voting for politicians, both statewide and nationally, who are absolutely gleeful at the steady decline of union membership because it keeps the money where they want it — with the 1 percent. So, working-class Americans, keep electing those multi-millionaire and billionaire businessmen who feel your pain. Yeah right.
Judy Weingartner, Homewood
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GOP, get to work
Ironic, isn’t it, that Republicans should chastise Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan when the fact is that Gov. Bruce Rauner and his team have not come up with a budget, have not paid the state’s bills, are allowing schools and universities to go broke and letting the needy to go hungry? Republicans have been playing games for a very long time and are the ones who now should “get to work.” Neither party is deserving of awards for excellence. Stop campaigning and do your jobs!
Ann Gutierrez, Tinley Park
Few barriers to stop right wingers
Now that the radical and religious right has an ill-informed, inexperienced and narcissistic attention-seeker in the White House and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, there will be few barriers to imposing their shop-worn agenda. Among many negatives, we can look forward to a return of back-alley abortions performed on desperate women who deserve better.
Mary F. Warren, Wheaton
Money can’t buy you a legislature
The year 2015 was pretty good for Gov. Bruce Rauner. He was inaugurated governor of Illinois and earned a taxable income of $176 million. But Rauner has failed to achieve the goal he coveted most: a government that favors the rich over everyone else. Rauner calls this his “turnaround agenda.” It requires that the Legislature approve a reduction in union and middle-class earning power, end the practice of paying according to a prevailing wage, impose right-to-work rules in local communities, and reduce the social safety net for the needy.
After a year-long stalemate with Democrats who refused to approve this draconian agenda, Rauner sought to flip the Legislature the rich man’s way: buy it. Since the $28 million he spent to buy the 2014 gubernatorial election succeeded, he thought why not spend a little more and flip the Illinois legislature his way. Rauner upped his personal contributions to $46 million.
It didn’t work. The Republicans picked up only two Senate seats and four House seats, leaving the Democrats with sizable majorities that will never pass the governor’s turnaround agenda. Money can’t buy you love. It can’t buy you a legislature, either.
Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn