Elite reform

Elite reform

by digby

The problem in a nutshell:
"She's Yale, Harvard, Oxford – she worked on Wall Street," says Paul Doughty, the current president of the Providence firefighters union. "Nobody wanted to be the first to raise his hand and admit he didn't know what the fuck she was talking about."
That's from Matt Taibbi's latest on "pension reform" also known as "stealing from public workers." It's a truly depressing tale. It's bad enough that government no longer have the ability to keep taxes at level that would support a robust public sector and civic life, but the money they have managed to set aside to support their public workers is now being scammed by the Masters of the Universe to keep for themselves. Of course.

The "Yale, Harvard, Oxford" in question is Gina Raimundo, the former venture capitalist and treasurer of Rhode Island:
Soon she was being talked about as a probable candidate for Rhode Island's 2014 gubernatorial race. By 2013, Raimondo had raised more than $2 million, a staggering sum for a still-undeclared candidate in a thimble-size state. Donors from Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital and JPMorgan Chase showered her with money, with more than $247,000 coming from New York contributors alone. A shadowy organization called EngageRI, a public-advocacy group of the 501(c)4 type whose donors were shielded from public scrutiny by the infamous Citizens United decision, spent $740,000 promoting Raimondo's ideas. Within Rhode Island, there began to be whispers that Raimondo had her sights on the presidency. Even former Obama right hand and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel pointed to Rhode Island as an example to be followed in curing pension woes.

What few people knew at the time was that Raimondo's "tool kit" wasn't just meant for local consumption. The dynamic young Rhodes scholar was allowing her state to be used as a test case for the rest of the country, at the behest of powerful out-of-state financiers with dreams of pushing pension reform down the throats of taxpayers and public workers from coast to coast. One of her key supporters was billionaire former Enron executive John Arnold – a dickishly ubiquitous young right-wing kingmaker with clear designs on becoming the next generation's Koch brothers, and who for years had been funding a nationwide campaign to slash benefits for public workers.
Read the rest. It's an amazing story.

I confess that lately I'm beginning to cringe every time I hear the word "reform." It's been co-opted by the wealthy, Wall Street and Big Business and used as a primary mechanism to destroy what's left of middle class.