Auto workers initiate strike, Brandon Johnson to tackle budget deficit

Plus, a GOP state senator thinks corporal punishment in schools should make a comeback.


In a vote that fell along party lines, the Wisconsin Senate voted not to reinstate Meagan Wolfe, who held the highest position within the state’s Election Commission. Wolfe, who has no official party affiliation, was tenured from 2019 to this past June. Despite a unanimous confirmation in 2019, she faced an onslaught of conspiracy theories and calls for her arrest following the 2020 election. There is concern that whoever is selected to replace Wolfe would be inexperienced and not capable of handling the impending shit-show that will be the 2024 presidential election. However, Democrats say Wolfe’s ouster is illegitimate and are determined to take the issue to court.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) declared a strike on Thursday evening, with 13,000 employees at GM, Ford and Stellantis plants walking off the job today. While not an industry-wide strike — the union has some 146,000 members — the labor action will target three plants from each of the Big Three automakers, the first time in history the union has had workers strike against each firm simultaneously. UAW representatives are demanding, among other things, a 36% wage increase over four years, the end to the “tiers” system of pay and the inclusion of Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) provisions. The 36% rate matches the Economic Policy Institute’s projections that Big Three CEOs have seen a 40% salary increase over the past decade.

“We didn’t have a problem coming in during COVID, being essential workers and making them big profits,” one worker told the Associated Press. Big Three CEOs recently gave themselves a substantial pay increase, as U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA) demonstrated to Congress. For example, a UAW employee working at the maximum salary would need to do so for almost 440 years to make what the CEO of General Motors makes in one year.

"To the Big 3: Pay those workers what you owe them. Don't act like you forgot," Lee said, quoting Rihanna.

U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL) pushed far-right, anti-immigration conspiracies in Congress this week. "What we have going on at the Southern border right now is an invasion. We basically replaced the population of my entire state with people we really don't know who they are," Moore said. His statements mirror claims made by extremists in recent years that the Democratic Party is trying to “replace” the electorate with undocumented migrants.

Johnson administration in a troubling budget dilemma

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is facing his first substantial policy test as a budget deficit looms. For the city’s 2024 fiscal year, a budget gap of $538 million is staring down the freshman mayor, and he’s standing strong on his campaign promise to not raise property taxes to reconcile said deficit.

Before the announcement, Johnson critiqued the use of property tax as a major revenue source. “We have relied upon property taxes as the sole source of revenue generation … to balance quote-on-quote the budget. And I find that to be lazy,” Johnson said last week. “And I believe it’s important that everything is on the table.”

Instead, the Johnson administration approach will include “expenditure reviews, revenue enhancement measures, and potential reallocation of resources,” his office said in a statement.

“While specific details of the plan are still under development, Mayor Johnson's administration is focused on minimizing the impact on vital public services, and ensuring that the burden of closing the budget gap is borne as fairly as possible.”

The hole in the city’s finances is in large part due to the costs associated with managing the influx of asylum-seeking migrants and, in classic Illinois fashion, pensions.

Johnson will need to get creative about the city’s finances if he’s going to implement compelling policies like building city-owned grocery stores in neighborhoods stricken with so-called “food deserts.” But until we have a comprehensive plan from the mayor, it will be difficult not to assume that some austerity could be on the table.


In a talk radio interview, a Republican state senator from Minnesota defended occasionally beating students to improve discipline. Just another normal day from the party that branded itself as committed to Saving the Children™!

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Jamie Larson