As Ed Schultz rightly pointed out on his show tonight, if you're not a member of a union and you don't think union membership has anything to do with your own economic prosperity, think again. As unions go, so goes the middle class in America.
Our friends over at Think Progress posted the same chart Ed had up tonight on where we're headed here -- GRAPH: As Union Membership Has Declined, Income Inequality Has Skyrocketed In The United States:
Across the country, right-wing legislators continue their attack on labor unions, claiming that they are saving their states money. Yet in waging these anti-labor campaigns, these politicians are ignoring one very simple fact: unions were a major force in building and sustaining the great American middle class, and as they declined, so has the middle class. As CAP’s Karla Waters and David Madland showed in a report they first published this past January, as union membership has steadily declined since 1967, so too has the middle class’s share of national income, as the super-rich have taken a larger share of national income than any time since the 1920s:
As they noted, it's not the only factor that has led to the severe income inequality in the United States, but it is certainly one of them, and unions are the last organized segment in America pushing back against so many policies that have been terrible for American workers. They're not just defending decent wages and benefits and protections in the workplace.
And one final note here on Ed Schultz and the coverage on his show for the last month or so since these protests first started in Wisconsin: I just want to thank him for shining a spotlight on what’s going on in Wisconsin and in other states and for giving the labor movement in this country a voice on cable television. The only place we’ve seen that is with some of MSNBC’s prime time and no one else has been doing what Ed has with getting out there with the protesters and with highlighting a lot of the local voices in Wisconsin. Good job, Ed.
And somehow you managed to do it without bringing on Ron Christie or some other right-wing hack to get their opinion on what’s going on with labor right now. Imagine that. I sincerely hope this is the type of journalism you’re going to continue to do instead of having two talking heads arguing with each other that inform your viewers about nothing that’s going to improve our economy or get Americans back to work, or keep our labor unions from being busted.
I was really upset when MSNBC let Keith Olbermann go, but he’s moving on and seems happy with the change and I do get Current TV here, so I plan on watching and recording his show once he’s back on the air and I’m getting over his leaving MSNBC even though it still irks me. My husband refuses to even watch the network at all now that he’s gone.
One of the things Ed acknowledged when he moved to the later time slot was that he was lucky enough to pick up Olbermann’s staff. I think it’s been good for his show to have them working with him. Keep up the good work Ed on behalf of labor and the working class in America and thank you to the staffers left from Countdown for giving him a hand as well.