In today's On The New segment: there's another audio tape Mitt Romney doesn't want you to hear; corporations not paying their fair share in taxes mean workers have to pick up the bill; slowly but surely – the Walmart workers' strike is spreading; pushed to the brink by austerity in Greece, workers walked off the job today as part of a national strike, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. There's another audio tape Mitt Romney doesn't want you to hear. In the last few weeks – several corporate CEOs have been exposed for encouraging their employees to vote for Mitt Romney – and warning them that should Barack Obama win re-election, then they might lose their jobs. Billionaire CEO of Westgate Resorts – David Siegel wrote a mass email to his employees saying that during a Obama second-term, he will, "have no choice but to reduce the size of his company." Similar emails have been sent out within the Koch brothers Georgia Pacific Corporation – and Ohio's Murray Energy company. Now, we know where all of this may have started. As labor journalist Mike Elk with In These Times reports – during a June 2012 conference call with the National Federation of Independent Businesses – Mitt Romney told employers that they should make it clear to their employees who to vote for in this election. As Romney said, "I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise, and therefore their job and their future, in the upcoming elections...Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business." One of the consequences of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is that employers now have a lot more freedom to compel workers to vote in a certain way. So not only can corporate plutocrats spend as much money as they'd like to help Mitt Romney – but they can also enlist their employees to be Romney campaign foot soldiers. And Mitt Romney is pushing the ploy. In this post-Citizens United world – the wealthy have seen their free speech rights expanded, while working people have seen their free speech rights restricted. This radical ruling needs to be overturned to stop Mitt Romney and the plutocrats' power grab. Go to MoveToAmend.org.
In screwed news...Corporations not paying their fair share in taxes mean workers have to pick up the bill. A new study by Citizens for Tax Justice finds that the federal government lost more than $430 billion in revenue from corporations hiding their profits overseas. Corporate profits stashed overseas are not subject to our nation's corporate tax rate. Currently – more than $1.5 trillion in corporate profits are stashed away. And looking at more than 280 corporations on the Fortune 500 that hide their profits overseas, Citizens for Tax Justice found that if these companies all brought their profits back to America – and paid on average a 27% corporate tax rate – then the United States government would collect $433 billion more in revenue every single year. That's nearly half the size of our current budget deficit. Theseguys aren't patriots – they're corporate predators who, as long as they're hitting quarterly profit goals, have no problem parking their money overseas while the nation of their birth collapses. It's time to tax corporate America for the roads, bridges, and educated workforce they use but don't pay for.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Slowly but surely – the Walmart workers' strike is spreading. On Monday – workers with the retail giant in Oklahoma walked out on the job to protest what they claim are intimidation tactics against employees by Walmart. One of the workers involved in the strike claims he had his hours slashed after he got in a dispute with a regional HR manager. Last week – in a dozen states – nearly 100 Walmart workers held demonstrations outside their stores. And earlier this month – as many as 60 Walmart workers went on strike outside a store in Southern California. In Walmart's 50-year history – only once have employees successfully unionized - and so WalMart closed that store. Which is why today it takes one Walmart employee, making on average $8.80 an hour, more than 76 million 40-hour weeks to accumulate as much wealth as just one of the Walmart heirs – Tim Walton, who's worth $27 billion. We need to put an end to the Walmartization of America – and give workers a living wage to achieve the American Dream. A union is one of the best ways to accomplish this.
Speaking of strikes...pushed to the brink by austerity in Greece, workers walked off the job today as part of a national strike. As many as 40,000 workers participated in the action according to some estimates – bringing the city of Athens to a standstill. The strike was largely peaceful – though there were some clashes with police outside the Greek Parliament building in Syntagma Square. This is the second nationwide strike in the last three weeks in Greece. Workers are hoping to send a message to European Union leaders, who are meeting in Brussels today to discuss new austerity measures to be leveled on the collapsing Greek economy. Electoral politics can no longer put an end to austerity in Greece. Only mass actions like what's happening today have a chance at working. We should lend support to the Greek people, because if Mitt Romney and Republicans win here – then we could end up just like Greece.
And finally...with the nation approaching a "fiscal cliff" at the end of the year, President Obama is taking a tough stand. As reported by the Washington Post, according to administration officials – the President will veto any legislation to block the fiscal cliff if that legislation doesn't include tax increases on the Romney super-rich. The President has made similar veto threats in the past – only to cave at the midnight hour when facing a Republican Party that's willing to crash the economy for their political gain. But this time – with an all-or-nothing election looming – the President can politically afford to take a tougher stand and demand the rich pay their fair share in taxes again. Stay tuned to this fight, which will continue even after the election is over.
And that's the way it is today – Thursday, October 18, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.