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Continuing the Call to Action

Governor Corbett’s proposed budget cuts are the largest in the history of American higher education. These cuts will transform what education is for a Penn Stater, slashing departments and wages, raising our tuition to unaffordable heights and laying off teachers and campus workers. The proposed budget cuts amount to more than 1.5 billion dollars in reduced education spending and are attacking the very foundations of public education.

This is part of a nationwide movement that is attacking students and working people, while using fiscal austerity as an excuse. What is fiscally responsible about cutting jobs and attacking the middle class?

Governor Corbett claims the state budget cuts are because of the economic crisis. He refuses to search for alternative sources of funding, and instead seeks to harm the institutions that make Pennsylvania the national leader it is.

No one wants to reduce the budget cuts in exchange for more attacks on public workers and middle class families. This too would make more and more Pennsylvanian families unable to pay for their children to attend Penn State. Penn State and the Pennsylvanian community must stand together so that the economic recession is not used as an excuse to cut jobs, public education, and workers’ rights.

Unfortunately these attacks on students and workers are not isolated incidents. There is a national movement to curtail the rights of workers and to defund public education in states throughout the country. Corporations have funded and placed into office politicians who are not serving the interests of all their citizens. From blatant ideological attacks against collective bargaining in Wisconsin to removing murals that depict workers in Maine, working families are struggling for their very existence. Students in all levels of public education, from kindergarten to the university level, face massive cuts from governors who don’t see the need for public education. Meanwhile, their teachers are having their pensions cuts, wages frozen, and unions busted. The current political dialogue is pitting working families against one another and attempting to have students fight against their teachers for meager shares of their states’ budgets.
We need to stand up and resist these absurd attacks on our core. The American Dream that working families can make a decent living and children can have a better life than their parents is being destroyed. We need to stand together, across economic, cultural, religious, and state lines, if we are going to stop the national attack on working families. We need an economy that works for everyone so that Americans can meet their basic living expenses and have access to quality public education.

In these times of economic hardship, the answer is not to weaken the education system that has built this country, it is not to attack the rights of workers, it is not to balance the budget on the backs of the people. We cannot stand by and permit these attacks on workers and students while those with power line their pockets with donations from banks and corporations that wrecked our economy. We must join together as one people, one community, and one nation, if we are to succeed in resisting these attacks. We have to fight for an economy that works for everyone, not just the politicians, corporations, and banks that are creating hardships for working families.

Our economy, education system, and our very rights as citizens have come under fire as part of a growing corporate-funded assault on our democracy that punishes students and workers, instead of the banks and financial institutions that wrecked our economy. While Pennsylvania faces a $4 billion deficit, banks like JP Morgan have enjoyed bailouts and continued profits, receiving tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks over the last decade. The political dialogue needs to change to one that demands a fair, working economy as an alternative to the current system that rewards corporations that steal profits, avoid paying taxes, and fund politicians to push students and working families to fight against each other. Join us, on April 4th from 12-1pm on the Old Main Lawn, in standing up and uniting for a fair economy and against the national movement to disenfranchise working families.

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About the Author

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