Unions, bruised and battered over the past few years, stand in the middle of a struggle over fundamental American values. Do Americans wish to swing toward a society demarcated by lower and upper classes or a society more equitably constituted by working, middle and upper echelons?
As Verizon would tell it, the decline in revenues over the past few quarters or so justifies an immense reduction in its union employees' health care and pension benefits, affecting nearly 45,000 union employees. All the while, top-level Verizon executives continue to make millions of dollars in annual compensation. Does this sound fair?
It wasn't the centerpiece of the evening, but it might signal that the DPVA intends to conduct outreach. Moran declared the need for a grassroots effort and development of a message that effectively advocates Democratic values and positions. There will be a July Summit to craft that message.
The fete at Crocs in Virginia Beach Sunday evening was billed as the first in a series of DPVA gatherings across the state that are intended to provide casual and affordable venues on a more regular basis than the annual banquets. Senator Mark Warner headlined the evening and was joined by a number of local electeds and a full house of Hampton Roads Democrats.
Here is his opening paragraph:
In 2009, the worst economic year for working people since the Great Depression, the top 25 hedge fund managers walked off with an average of $1 billion each. With the money those 25 people "earned," we could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers. (They make about $38,000 a year, including benefits.) Those educators could have brought along over 13 million young people, assuming a class size of 20. That's some value.
The wealthy will have placed an estimated $2 trillion into hedge funds by the end of this year. (That's about $6,500 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.)
And there is more. . .