Trickle trick

To the Editor,

The great middle class of the post World War 2 era was built on progressive economic “New Deal” programs of Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson.

With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 these progressive economic programs were replaced with a regressive economic theory of “trickle down” economics.

Simply put, trickle down economic theory is the idea that if the wealthy get wealthier than maybe economic growth will trickle down to everyone else.

Reagan-economics is a 35- year economic war on middle class America; that war includes white-collar workers, blue-collar workers, and the small business community. Wisconsin’s richest residents have experienced dramatic increases in income while the rest of us have seen our incomes stagnate or decline. Where is the trickle?

Five years ago Kohler employees agreed to a contract that froze wages. They did this to help the Kohler Company deal with recession consequences. They also agreed to a 2-tier wage system that brought new employees into the company under a lower compensation track.

The company is doing well, the economy is moving forward, and Kohler employees want to slowly remove the 2-tier system. The company’s refusal to do this seems to be a strategy to diminish the voice of the union along with a strategy of wage suppression.

I still remember the video of our Governor being caught on tape using a “divide and conquer” comment to talk about a strategy on dealing with public employee unions. His comment was in response to a corporate donor asking if there is "any chance we'll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions and become a right-towork?"

The 2-tier system can create a divisive working environment and eventually weakens the voice of the union. I support the efforts of the Kohler workers to change this system before the disparities in wages damage the work environment and before the effort to suppress wages becomes a permanent process. As I told my grandson every election cycle is about your paycheck.

Tim Lorenz Sheboygan WI

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