Friday, May 28, 2010

Assembly district 9 - Chris Garland and Kevin McCarty

                         Sacramento Progressive Alliance
There is an important election on  June 8, and it is important that you vote.
Assembly District 9. Endorsed:  Chris Garland and Kevin Mc Carty. Sacramento Progressive Alliance
Kevin McCarty
            Both Chris Garland and Kevin McCarty received the endorsement of the Sacramento Progressive Alliance.
Kevin Mc Carty presently serves on the Sacramento City Council. Like most of the candidates he has worked with the legislature. We regard  significant legislative experience as valuable.  In this era of term limits, electing a person with prior experience in the legislature allows that person to lead rather than spend the first two years in on-the-job training.
 The issues of the budget crisis in higher education  and K-14 education are urgent.  We need a candidate who can deal with them this year.  Kevin’s policy positions on budget agree with our own.   In the interview he was clear and consistent about the areas where taxes could be increased to respond to our current crisis, the VLF, tax on oil extraction, extending sales taxes to services, and increasing  the tax rate for upper income tax payers. and others. Mc Carty is particularly  well-versed on budget issues after five years as a consultant to the Assembly's budget committee.
To their credit, each of the candidates were willing to face the issues of the 2/3 vote requirement for taxes and the budget.   The current  anti tax strangle hold on legislative  budgets makes the state budget crisis worse.  We don’t have 2-4 years to wait while a new Assembly person learns the inner workings of the budget.
In addition to his service on the City Council, Kevin Mc Carty works as an advocate for a Pre School California.  In his interview he made the argument that increased  pre school preparation was an important response to the need for school reform.  In his role as City Councilman he has been active in developing mentoring programs at two Sacramento area schools.
Kevin Mc Carty has significant labor endorsements and the endorsements of former Senator Deborah Ortiz  and Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers Union.  In his role as a City Councilman, Mc Carty has been independent on some issues such as funding the proposed purchase of the downtown rail yards.  And, he has been a leader in advocating gun control.
It is particularly heartening that if Mc Carty or Garland, or one of the other candidates wins, we should have an effective legislator for the 9th.  Assembly district.
To volunteer for the McCarty campaign,

Why vote for Chris Garland?  Its time to shake up the Capitol.
The Sacramento Progressive Alliance and others interviewed each of the major candidates for Assembly District 9 on May 19.  Most of the district lies within Sacramento.  This is the seat currently held by Dave Jones.  District 9 has a 55.9 % Democrat, 19.8 Republican, 19.4 % decline to state voter registration.  ( Plus American Independent 2.5%, Green 1%, Libertarian 0.5%, and Peace and Freedom 0.8%).
After considering the major candidates on the issues most important to the Progressive Alliance,  on May 22 we voted to  recommend that you vote for either Chris Garland or Kevin Mc Carty.  All four of the major candidates on the Democratic side were impressive.  We will be able to support anyone of them who wins the primary.
Garland explains his advocacy this way.  “ California’s in trouble.
 Our state budget is in a constant state of crisis, our policy-makers are gridlocked, and vital services are at-risk. Teachers are being laid off, and the promise of quality higher education for all may be a thing of the past.”

Chris Garland is currently the political director of the California Faculty Association. His responses were clearly closest to the perspective of the Progressive Alliance.  Like most of the candidates, he has served in positions as staff within the legislature.  He was deputy director of member services  for the Assembly Speaker’s office from 2005-2007.  We regard this significant legislative experience as valuable.  In this era of term limits, electing a person with prior experience in the legislature allows that person to lead rather than spend the first two years in on-the-job training.
 We regard dealing with the higher education budget crisis (along with that of k-12) as critical.  Of all of the candidates, Chris Garland best understood the crisis of  budgets and higher education in California.
In the last two years California’s  k-12 schools have taken  over a  $16 Billion  cut . California presently ranks  47th  of the states in per pupil spending and last among the states in class size.  Now, the Governor proposes to reduce  k-12 spending by another  $2.4 Billion.  Last year alone, the U.C’s and the CSU campuses have taken over a  $2 billion cut while tuition and fees were increased over 30%.  Classes have been cut, graduation delayed, and  over 2000 faculty dismissed.   CSU tuition has increased by 182%  under Schwarzenegger .  Next year some 40,000 eligible students will be denied access to California universities.  The crisis in k-12 is equally severe as described in Robles-Wong et al. V. State of California (May 2010).  We need an Assemblyperson who will work with communities and labor to save pubic education in California.
The nation  including California is suffering a severe recession.  Twenty Six million  are unemployed and under employed. This crisis was created by finance capital and banking, mostly on Wall Street , ie. Chase Banks, Bank of America, AIG, and others.  It was not caused by teachers, students, or college students.   Fifteen million people are out of work.  Rather, finance capital stole the future of many young people. What caused this crisis?   Economist Dean Baker says, “The reality is that we got into this mess because of an overwhelming excess of greed and stupidity on the part of the Wall Street bankers and the people deciding economic policy. “
In response to the  declining revenues caused by the economic crisis, for 2010, the Governor proposes  further draconian cuts in Cal Works, IHSS, Medi Cal and Children’s nutrition  among others-  each of which hurts the  poor in our state.   State  budget cuts make the economic  crisis worse. They create more unemployment.
        The legislature must hear from us.  And, we want an Assembly person who will listen to our concerns.  Chris Garland demonstrated his willingness to listen, to share, and to  seek solutions to the crises.
To respond to the economic crisis , California needs majority rule.  We must eliminate the 2/3requirement to pass  budgets and revenue in the legislature.   This requirement allows anti-tax radicals in the Republican Party to cut corporate taxes even in the face of declining revenue.  And, they prevent passing new taxes.   It would cost less than $32 each from the average tax payer to restore state funding the higher education, but we can not get these proposals through the legislature nor past the governor.
 Chris Garland, of all the candidates interviewed, had  the clearest view of the budget and  a realistic comprehension of the role of public budgets  in responding to the fiscal crises in the states.  He, as well as the  other candidates, were committed to the repeal of the 2/3 rules for both budgets and taxes.   Each of the candidates had support from one or more sectors of unions.
In this election we must stop the Mississippification of California education. To do that we must take power away from the anti tax radicals in the legislature.  Chris Garland has the organization and the skills to support such substantive change.  To assist in the campaign,  contact.
Duane Campbell. Electoral Chair.  Sacramento Progressive Alliance.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Save jobs for teachers

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) introduced the Keep Our Educators Working Act. This jobs bill would provide $23 billion to help avoid massive layoffs of teachers and other cutbacks in public education. On May 26, urge Congress to include education jobs in the emergency funding bill by calling 866-608-6355emailing your legislator and sharing info on Facebook.
Be a part of a Virtual Town Hall Meeting with Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Tom Torlakson.  You will be able to call in and ask Torlakson questions about his plan and vision for public education. Call 877-229-8493 and enter Pass code 14804 to be connected.  We’ll even send you a reminder: Just text “tom4spi” to 69866.
·        View CTA recommended candidates
·        View CTA initiative recommendations

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Happened to the Progressive Majority?

By Isaiah J. Poole, 05/18/2010
Published on (

On a day in which voters in Arkansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania are heading to the polls in what is being widely described as an anti-politician, anti-government rage, and with a particularly strident strain of conservatism portrayed as on the ascendancy, it might seem harder to support the conclusions of a series of Campaign for America's Future reports that portray America as fundamentally a "center-left" nation.

But Tea Party activists and xenophobic Arizonans aside, Simon Rosenberg, a longtime political strategist, says the progressive majority identified in 2009 [3], 2008 [4] and 2007 [5] Campaign for America's Future reports still exists. Meanwhile, he says, "the conservative coalition is aging and contracting," opening the way for an era of progressive political dominance comparable to the period from the New Deal to the Great Society.

But that's only if progressives face the anxiety and restlessness in the electorate head-on with an effective message. How to do that is the subject that Rosenberg will address at the America's Future NOW! conference June 7-9.

Rosenberg—the founder of NDN and the New Policy Institute [6], which does research on progressive policy issues and on voting trends—offered a preview of his talk at his downtown Washington office.

"There is only one message and one argument" this year, Rosenberg said in his downtown Washington office. "It's got to be about the economy."

Specifically, progressives have to continue to make the case that their policies address the interests of working-class people—such as their desire for more income, for better access to health care, for better schools—while conservative policies have led to or argued for the opposite: less income for working-families in inflation-adjusted terms, support for continued barriers to health-care access, for cuts in education spending and other vital services.

In order to energize the progressive majority at a time when the economy is still not strong enough to provide jobs for the nearly 27 million people who currently are either unemployed or underemployed, "progressives and the president have to convey that they understand the challenge that's before us and have a plan that is commensurate to the challenge," Rosenberg said.

Don't be fooled, Rosenberg says, by some recent poll findings.

In a May NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll [7], for example, 40 percent of respondents defined themselves as "conservative or very conservative" while 22 percent described themselves as "very liberal or somewhat liberal." Thirty-seven percent described themselves as "moderate." In that same poll, respondents were equally split on the question of whether "America needs more sense of community and people helping one another" or "America needs more self-reliance and personal responsibility."

The April Washington Post/ABC News Poll [8] repeated a recurring question it has asked respondents about whether they prefer "larger government with more services" or "smaller government with fewer services." In June 2008, 50 percent sided with "smaller government" while 45 percent preferred "larger government." In April 2010, the percentage wanting "smaller government" rose to 56 percent, while those supporting "larger government" dropped to 40 percent.

Those numbers are more a reflection of a skepticism about government's ability to solve problems, Rosenberg said, particularly in an environment shaped by decades of conservative arguments about government as an obstacle to social good rather than an instrument of social good.

Beyond those numbers is evidence that growing numbers reject the conservative orthodoxy that less government is always good.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, for example, found that when voters were asked if they were more concerned that financial reform legislation in Congress was going too far (the argument advanced by financial reform lobbyists and by a multimillion-dollar U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad campaign), 55 percent said they were more concerned that the legislators "were not doing enough" to rein in Wall Street. The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that two-thirds of respondents rejected the conservative position against stricter federal regulation of Wall Street.

The NBC/WSJ poll also asked voters what they thought should be the top priority for the federal government. "Job creation and economic growth" was singled out by 35 percent of respondents, "the deficit and government spending" was chosen by just 20 percent of voters.

Rosenberg adds to these findings the importance of the demographic change happening in America. The country as a whole is becoming more ethnically diverse and is becoming increasingly dominated by a generation of voters with less of an allegiance to the views of their parents on such social issues as gay marriage.

Nurturing the potential of a lasting progressive majority will mean speaking to the needs of this new coalition and governing effectively on behalf of their interests, Rosenberg said.

Forging strategy for how progressive activists can lead that process, and get candidates in an election year to be forceful and fearless advocates of progressive change, will be a key agenda item for Rosenberg at this year's America's Future NOW! conference.

Why Ethnic Studies is Good For All Americans, Including White Folks

Published on Thursday, May 20, 2010 by
by Sally Kohn

There’s a proverb that says, “Until the lion tells his own story of being hunted, history will always glorify the hunter.” This, in essence, is the reason for ethnic studies.

The wonderful thing about America is that we are and have always been a nation of many stories coming together as one. But an unfortunate fact of our history has been that, for too long, certain parts of our collective have been overlooked or excluded. Most American children know about Lewis and Clark but not Sacajawea. They know about Thomas Jefferson but not Sally Hemmings. Because of who has traditionally held the microphone (and power) in American history, certain perspectives are amplified more than others.

Wait, you say. I know who Sacajawea and Sally Hemmings are! Well then, good for you — you have ethnic studies to thank.

The fact is that in our increasingly racially and ethnically diverse nation, we are not preparing our children for the future they face if we do not teach them a history that includes the many communities that make up our nation.

But practical arguments aside, there is a profound, moral imperative to tell the full truth of America’s history. I don’t want my daughter growing up to think that slavery and colonialism — which are indeed parts of her heritage — are anything other than unjust and inhumane, lest her generation go on to repeat the mistakes of the past. Unfortunately, the way American history is taught often excuses such indiscretions for the sake of tidy nationalism, the naive notion that one cannot be a proud of America and critical of America at the same time. That’s not patriotism. That’s fascism — enforced subtly through textbooks and lesson plans.

It is offensive to the independent and revolutionary history of America to not teach the inheritors of that history to think independently and critically for themselves. After all, in the earliest classrooms of our democracy out of which patriots like Sam Adams and Thomas Paine emerged, folks weren’t just talking deferentially about the history of the British crown. The full history of the world, including various perspectives on the American colonies, was essential to the critical consciousness that birthed our nation. To whitewash that history now — as though, for instance, our Founding Fathers were not oppressive in their own right with respect to slaves and women — dishonors the legacy they sought to create of an independent, free-thinking nation. In fact, were they alive today, I think our Founding Fathers would be the first to see how the world has changed and acknowledge how biased and incomplete their perspectives were so many centuries ago. They would be proud of the America we have become and want our full history taught, warts and all — for the sake of continuing our national legacy of freedom and justice, rather than stagnating.

Some opponents of ethnic studies say that it teaches our children to resent government and America’s history. Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s like saying you inherently trust a sleazy used car salesman more than a reputable dealer. Who are you going to want to do business with? The guy who tells you that the clearly imperfect and slightly dented car has never been in an accident and runs like new? Or the guy who says, “Yeah, there have been a few bumps here and there but the mechanic tuned her up and she’s got a lot of miles still to go.”

By the same token, President Obama isn’t weakening America when he acknowledges our less-than-perfect past — he is being honest and modeling for the world a new kind of diplomacy where the motivation isn’t the size of your missile silo but the desire to be part of the world community and global economy rather than left by the side of the road. Our President knows that, in an increasingly complex world in which American might alone can no longer govern, we will have more influence through being liked than being feared.

It’s ironic that these critics who think ethnic studies and honesty about America’s dark past are ruining the credibility of our government are precisely the same people who have been holding government’s head under water for decades. Do not be fooled into thinking they now want to protect government. They want to protect the power structure in which a small group of elites continue to dominate and manipulate our economy and our government to their exclusive benefit.

Pulling the curtain back to reveal the full story of that history of exploitation doesn’t hurt everyday Americans — it hurts those elites, who have benefited from a one-sided story for far too long. Yet now they’re trying to manipulate us once again, arguing that teaching all Americans about our shared history — a history that includes whites and Latinos and African Americans and American Indians and men and women, all of us — will some how divide us rather than unite us. The truth is, learning about what we have in common, the 360 degree history we ultimately share, can only bring us closer together as a nation — and help us all better understand the real problems and injustices that still plague us as a people. And let me tell you, with skyrocketing rates of unemployment and foreclosure and stagnant wages and rising costs of health care, ethnic studies is definitely not the problem we face as a nation. It’s a distraction. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we will al stop being innocent prey erased from our nation’s history and prosperity.

Sally Kohn is Chief Agitation Officer for the Movement Vision Lab

Tim Wise, "What If the Tea Party Were Black?", April 25, 2010

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters descended on DC armed with AK-47s. Would they be defended as patriotic Americans?

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protesters — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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Progressive Congressional Candidate Marcy Winograd Debates Conservative Dem Jane Harman

Thursday, May 20, 2010

CSU Faculty loses 10% in one year

Some 2500 fewer faculty members were employed across all CSU campuses combined in 2010 vs 2009; Students are Paying More for Education, Receiving Less

Sacramento, CA – The California Faculty Association (CFA) released figures today that show budget cuts to the California State University are killing thousands of jobs. 

There were 10% fewer faculty employed across all 23 campuses in May 2010 than were employed in May 2009.  

Some campuses have been hit harder than others. Loss of faculty members was especially high at CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU East Bay, and CSU Stanislaus. All but two campuses (CSU Monterey Bay and the California Maritime Academy) cut the number of faculty jobs, in some places by 15 percent or more. 

“This is a horrific one year drop in the number of faculty teaching our students,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles. 

She said, “These budget cuts are job killers for university faculty and staff and they are opportunity killers for our students.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

California budget cuts must stop !

As reported in each of the major papers, the Governor’s office is preparing a proposal to “balance” the state budget.  It increases the pain and suffering of the poor, the ill, and the unorganized. Even Schwarzenegger recognizes that these will be terrible, painful, cuts.
The major problem is not the  coming legislative conflicts, it is the deep, agonizing, unpopular cuts being imposed, including  lay offs of sheriffs, teachers, health care workers, child protective services, and the loss of the services which they provided.  Neither the government, nor the legislature  caused these cuts, they were created by the grand theft on Wall Street. The current  economic crisis has forced the cutting of higher education, of k-12 education, and of social welfare systems.
What caused this crisis ? It was caused by the greed and avarice of the financial class and aided by the politicians of both major political parties.
Major banks and corporations looted the economy creating an international meltdown.  Now, they have been rewarded with bail out money.  The crisis was not caused by students, teachers, public employees  nor recipients of social security.   The major bankers, finance capitalists in the U.S. robbed the bank last year  – and the federal treasury.  They took hundreds of billions of dollars – and you and I are being forced to pay for this theft with cuts in jobs and services.    
 Over 40 states have severe budget problems caused by the Great Recession and there will be more next year.  In Oklahoma, Nevada, and Arizona, the cuts are more draconian than in California- and these are low benefit states.
The solution ? Make Wall Street Pay. They caused this crisis.  All sale of stocks and derivatives should be taxed 2%.  I currently pay sales tax of 8% on the items which I buy.  That would pay for the services we need, and limit  the Casino Capitalism of the rich and well connected.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nine Myths About Socialism in the US

Monday 12 April 2010
by: Bill Quigley, t r u t h o u t Op-Ed

Glenn Beck and other far right multi-millionaires are claiming that the US is hot on the path toward socialism. Part of their claim is that the US is much more generous and supportive of our working and poor people than other countries. People may wish it was so, but it is not.
As Sen. Patrick Moynihan used to say "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts."

The fact is that the US is not really all that generous to our working and poor people compared to other countries.

Consider the US in comparison to the rest of the 30 countries that join the US in making up the OECD - the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development[1]. These 30 countries include Canada and most comparable European countries, but also include some struggling countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic and Turkey.

When you look at how the US compares to these 30 countries, the hot air myths about the US government going all out toward socialism sort of disappear into thin air. Here are some examples of myths that do not hold up.

Myth No. 1: The US Government Is Involved in Class Warfare, Attacking the Rich to Lift Up the Poor.
There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and the rich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10 percent in the US have a higher annual income than any other country. And the poorest 10 percent in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the US have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind since the 1980s. [2]

Myth No. 2: The US Already Has the Greatest Health Care System in the World.
Infant mortality in the US is fourth worst among OECD countries - better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic. [3]

Myth No. 3: There Is Less Poverty in the US Than Anywhere.
Child poverty in the US, at over 20 percent or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries. [4]

Myth No. 4: The US Is Generous in Its Treatment of Families With Children.
The US ranks in the bottom half of countries in terms of financial benefits for families with children. Over half of the 30 OECD countries pay families with children cash benefits regardless of the income of the family. Some among those countries (e.g. Austria, France and Germany) pay additional benefits if the family is low income or one of the parents is unemployed. [5]

Myth No. 5: The US Is Very Supportive of Its Workers.
The US gives no paid leave for working mothers having children. Every single one of the other 30 OECD countries has some form of paid leave. The US ranks dead last in this. Over two-thirds of the countries give some form of paid paternity leave. The US also gives no paid leave for fathers. [6]
In fact, it is only workers in the US who have no guaranteed days of paid leave at all. Korea is the next lowest to the US and it has a minimum of eight paid annual days of leave. Most of the other 30 countries require a minimum of 20 days of annual paid leave for their workers. [7]

Myth No. 6: Poor People Have More Chance of Becoming Rich in the US Than Anywhere Else.
Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US. [8]

Myth No. 7: The US Spends Generously on Public Education.
In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30 countries of the OECD. [9] Educational achievement of US children, however, is seventh worst in the OECD. [10] On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third. [11]

Myth No. 8: The US Government Is Redistributing Income From the Rich to the Poor.
There is little redistribution of income by government in the US in part because spending on social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries in the OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower. [12]

Myth No. 9: The US Generously Gives Foreign Aid to Countries Across the World.
The US gives the smallest percentage of aid of any of the developed countries in the OECD. In 2007, the US was tied for last with Greece. In 2008, we were tied for last with Japan. [13]
Despite the opinions of right-wing folks, the facts say the US is not on the path toward socialism.
But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies, our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it.

[1]. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an organization of 30 countries which works together for economic growth and to raise standards of living. The 30 countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the US.
[2]. OECD (2008), Growing Unequal: Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries, Country Note: United States.
[3]. US Country Highlights – OECD (2009) Doing Better for Children.
[4]. US Country Highlights – OECD (2009) Doing Better for Children.
[5]. OECD Family Database. PF3: Family Cash Benefits.
[6]. OECD Family Database, PF7: Key characteristics of parental leave systems.
[7]. Babies and Bosses (Vol.5): A selection of tables and charts. - Table 7.1 European workers often have seven weeks of paid holidays per annum.,3343,en_2649_34819_37836996_1_1_1_1,00....
[8]. Economic Policy Reforms, Going for Growth (2010) Part II, Chapter 5.
[9]. OECD Family Database, PF2: Public Spending on Education.
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