Rallying attendees on the second afternoon of the Take Back The American Dream summit, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said of Republicans, “If they want to have a debate on class warfare, we’ll have that debate,” because “It wasn’t our class that started the war on working Americans.”
Trumka used his time to illustrate many of the examples of what he termed the “strange morality” of the modern economy, from mass layoffs at Bank of America despite record profits to narratives in which “the jobless are blamed for the unemployment crisis.” He also noted that, “The years from 1997-2010 represented the first protracted decline in family income since the Great Depression.”
Yet, referring to the many debates in Washington this year, he asked “When are we going to recognize that this crisis is a jobs crisis, not a debt crisis?”
When it comes to the supercommitee charged with resolving said debt crisis, Trumka offered his take to great effect: “We’ll fight anyone from any party that tries to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.”
But it wasn’t on behalf of benefits that Trumka called upon the audience to call their Congress members. Instead, he rattled off a toll-free number for listeners to use to express their opposition to the still-pending Korean, Colombian and Panamanian free trade agreements and then encouraged them to call House Speaker John Boehner’s office and demand that he bring up for a vote the recently-passed Senate bill denouncing China’s currency manipulation.
Obligatory trade policy shout-outs out of the way, Trumka returned to the meat of his speech and his obvious rhetorical preferences: the economic crisis. “Americans want to work,” he intoned, “and we won’t stop fighting, shoving, pushing and kicking until every single one is back to work.”
And lest his opponents try to argue that “‘Government can’t create jobs,'” he promised his response would be, “‘Just you watch, we’ll make government create jobs.'”
Photo: Flickr user transportworkers.