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Whitman Cares About the Rich, Brown Cares About You

I hope you watched the televised gubernatorial debate between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. Because if you did, you saw a clear difference in the values that will shape how each of them as Governor would try to run California.

It seemed like Whitman never opened her mouth without bashing and blaming people like you and me: union workers.  She actually seemed to be making the crazy argument that because we workers will be better off under Brown, we should vote for her.

If Brown wins, Whitman declared, he will hold a meeting, with “all the special interests and the unions who are there to collect their IOUs from the campaign they have funded.”

Then she added that because Brown isn’t so hostile to unions, putting him in charge of a state budget is “like putting Count Dracula in charge of the blood bank.” Actually, as we’ll see, it is Whitman who hopes to sink her greedy little fangs into what little is left of working people’s bank accounts.

She wasn’t done. “The labor unions and Jerry Brown have been joined at the hip for 40 years!”

I really hope every union worker has clearly received Meg Whitman’s message: You’ll definitely be better off if Jerry Brown wins this election.

So who will be better off if Meg wins? Obviously, people like her, the extremely rich. That’s who’s contributing to her campaign, and who will make a bundle at our expense if she has her way.

Jerry Brown pointed that out by keenly analyzing her plan to eliminate capital gains taxes, which would blow a huge new hole in the state budget, and further jeopardize the state’s ability to fund needed public work projects that create good Building Trades jobs.

“One of these targeted tax cuts is targeted to billionaires like Ms. Whitman, and millionaires.  It’s about a $5 billion tax break that will go to the richest people in California. Eighty-two percent goes to those making over $500,000,” Brown noted.

“That’s not fair, that’s not right, and I think it reflects the difference in our values,” he added.

Brown pointed out the unfairness of giving more tax benefits to the very richest among us, at the expense of jobs for working people. “Those with the biggest belts should have to tuck them in first,” he said.

“I have a very specific plan, and it’s not to give a $5 billion tax break to myself and much less to the billionaires and millionaires,” Brown said, referring to the job creating proposals outlined in detail on his website,  “It’s about investing in California, not giving tax breaks to the most fortunate.”

Think about it: Whitman wants to eliminate the capital gains tax, which would help billionaires like her and some mere millionaires, and eventually save her enough to recoup the $150 million she’s spending on her campaign. Which means we will have all paid for her campaign!

Whitman then made an argument that sounded eerily familiar; that because she’s so rich and can spend so many of her own millions trying to buy the office, she can’t be beholden to anyone else.

Why does that sound familiar? Because it’s exactly what we heard from another  wannabe governor seven years ago, only with an Austrian accent.

In 2003, the inexperienced, incredibly wealthy Republican candidate got elected. How has that worked out for working people? Well, for starters, more than a half million California workers have lost their jobs on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s watch.

A number of observers have pointed out that electing Meg Whitman would be like giving Arnold Schwarzenegger a third term.

Ironically, Meg herself weighed in profoundly on that topic. “I thought Einstein had it right,” she said. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result.”

Well, we’ve already elected a rich Republican governor who thinks working people should  have to suffer to finance tax breaks for the rich. Whitman is right: It would be insanity to do that again and hope for a different result.

Building Trades brothers and sisters, you have a clear choice: reserve your space at the asylum now, or work your tail off for Jerry Brown.

It’s up to you.