The One Percent of Solution
How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time
Publication Year: 2017
In the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United decision, it's become commonplace to note the growing political dominance of a small segment of the economic elite. But what exactly are those members of the elite doing with their newfound influence? The One Percent Solution provides an answer to this question for the first time. Gordon Lafer's book is a comprehensive account of legislation promoted by the nation's biggest corporate lobbies across all fifty state legislatures and encompassing a wide range of labor and economic policies.
In an era of growing economic insecurity, it turns out that one of the main reasons life is becoming harder for American workers is a relentless—and concerted—offensive by the country’s best-funded and most powerful political forces: corporate lobbies empowered by the Supreme Court to influence legislative outcomes with an endless supply of cash. These actors have successfully championed hundreds of new laws that lower wages, eliminate paid sick leave, undo the right to sue over job discrimination, and cut essential public services.
Lafer shows how corporate strategies have been shaped by twenty-first-century conditions—including globalization, economic decline, and the populism reflected in both the Trump and Sanders campaigns of 2016. Perhaps most important, Lafer shows that the corporate legislative agenda has come to endanger the scope of democracy itself.
For anyone who wants to know what to expect from corporate-backed Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., there is no better guide than this record of what the same set of actors has been doing in the state legislatures under its control.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
This book is the product of five years of research and writing, preparing legislative testimony, briefing lawmakers, and trying to make sense of the flood of corporate-backed legislation that hit the country starting in early 2011. As long-dormant policies like “right-to-work” were suddenly revived and radical new policies gained currency, ..
Introduction: A Corporate Political Agenda for the Twenty-First Century
In January 2015, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, unveiled a proposal to expand his state’s Medicaid program to provide health insurance to two hundred thousand low-income residents. At the time, Haslam was at the peak of his power: he had just won reelection with 70 percent of the vote and had been named to head the Republican Governors Association. ...
1. Wisconsin and Beyond: Dismantling the Government
In January 2011, legislatures across the country took office under a unique set of circumstances. In many states, new majorities rode to power on the energy of the Tea Party “wave” election and the corporate-backed RedMap campaign. Critically, this new territory included a string of states, running across the upper Midwest from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, ...
2. Deunionizing the Private Sector
In 2006, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by the Teamsters union. The year before, on his first day in office, Daniels had issued an executive order abolishing collective bargaining for state employees. Now he had come to reassure the Teamsters that nothing similar was coming their way. “I’m a supporter of the labor laws we have in the state of Indiana,” ...
3. Remaking the Nonunion Economy
Across the country, the attack on public employee unions has been framed as an effort to help hard-working nonunion taxpayers in the private sector. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker famously justified his elimination of union rights by insisting that “we can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots.”1 ...
4. The Destruction of Public Schooling
In 2014, New Orleans’s Recovery School District became the first all-charter district in the United States. 1 The teachers’ union, which boasted seven thousand members on the eve of Hurricane Katrina, has been completely wiped out: the recovery district is entirely nonunion. Following the hurricane, every one of New Orleans’ teachers was summarily fired. ...
5. Silencing Labor’s Voice: The Campaign to Remove Unions from Politics
One of the central political puzzles of recent legislative history is why large private
corporations devote such substantial efforts to dismantling public employee
Earlier chapters of this book described the labor market effects that make unions a larger concern than their numbers might otherwise suggest: ...
Conclusion: Populist Pushback and the Shrinking of Democracy
The task of deciphering the legislative agenda of the nation’s largest corporate lobbies poses a daunting challenge. Every year, these organizations promote hundreds of bills, covering all fifty states and a wide range of issues. Furthermore, the cast of characters is constantly in flux; different issues attract shifting coalitions of allies, ...
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2017
OCLC Number: 960641999
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The One Percent of Solution