Press Release

Nurses Offer to Buy President Shoes To March with Workers in Wisconsin

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2011

Recalling a pledge by then-candidate Barack Obama that “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself” and join them, National Nurses United today offered to buy the president those shoes.

While President Obama this week criticized the attack on workers, NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro said he has been “largely a bystander” in supporting working families who are under assault in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Maine, and other states.

He has “yet to address the heart of the problem with a clear statement of who is responsible for this crisis, the corporate class and the right,” DeMoro said.

“We will buy shoes for the president. But for others who want to send him shoes, please send them to a homeless shelter instead since we have  limited social programs to protect them, thanks to the banks and other corporations whose plundering of our economy has shredded of our social safety net,” she said.

“Standing with the embattled workers would be an important symbol (and might even get more of the media to show up). But we need far more from this administration -- and from the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill -- starting with a clear message that working people did not cause the economic crisis or unbalanced budgets. Public pensions did not spark a meltdown on Wall Street. It wasn't workers exploiting tax loopholes or off shoring their bank accounts that depleted public treasuries.”

DeMoro cited data compiled by NNU’s research arm, the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, that shows the massive shift in revenues from corporations and the wealthiest individuals to working families:

Individuals now account for nearly five times the federal tax receipts as do corporations, numbers that were roughly equal when Ronald Reagan took office.

For the 50 states, taxes on individuals produce about four times the revenues for states that corporations do. In Wisconsin, the ratio is about five to one – and that was before Gov. Walker gave corporations $117 million in tax cuts in January.

Corporate taxes as a percent of the Gross Domestic Product are at historical lows.

Corporate profits per employee are the highest on record. At $1.6 trillion, third quarter corporate profits were the highest figure ever recorded since record keeping began 60 years ago.

The top 1% of the population had 17.1% of total wealth after tax income in 2009, the highest figure for at least 30 years.

A one-time 14% surcharge on the super-rich would more than pay for the $1.6 trillion budget deficit projection for 2011 (according to the National Nurses United’s research arm, the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy).

And, finally, workers’ wages have been stagnant or falling for at least 30 years.

The president should show leadership, DeMoro said, “by standing and walking with the workers, and working to repair the budget deficit with a just rebalancing of the responsibility of the corporate elite and the rich.”

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