Monday, February 28, 2011

Leaving Children Behind

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: Leaving Children Behind

As the events in Wisconsin progress, the issues are gaining clarity. Perhaps the real agenda of the Right is at last so crystal clear that folks are finally beginning to pay attention. At least the folks in Wisconsin are aware and involved. The issues are large, the choice is stark and clear. It will take some work, some energy, and some good ole' fashioned stubbornness to fight off the threat to the middle class, the poor, the children, women, college students, and the unions. Speaking of unions:
Back in 1776 a whole new nation was formed. Thirteen British colonies tried unsuccessfully to have the concerns of their citizens heard or taken seriously by the empire across the Atlantic. So the colonists formed themselves into a union. The preamble to the constitution begins with these words "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…". A more perfect union was the very first reason for the founding of the United States of America. America IS a union. You can't be anti-union and pro-America at the same time. Period.
- Arlo Guthrie
Fact is, America came into being as a place to escape religious and economic persecution, and gain a voice in our own governance. That, friends and neighbors, is what is at stake in Wisconsin.  Governor Walker considers his recent actions a crusade.  He feels that he is the consummation of Ronald Reagan and the Right Wing dream of plutocracy.  He considers himself to be the leader of this fantastic movement and that ultimate victory is in sight. He's going for the gold, literally and figuratively.

The current recession and fiscal crisis is the golden opportunity, largely brought on by these very partisans, to gain what they consider to be an ultimate, final, and complete victory over... whom?  Think Progress has a good list of ten more things besides children they are fighting to defeat. Here's a review:
  1. MEDICAID; A Wisconsin success story being cast aside by ideological hacks.
  2. POWER PLANT PRIVATIZATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEGLECT - a rapid fire-sale, no bids sale of state owned power plants.  Deemed fiscally irresponsible by the last Dem Governor, these aging facilities are being handed over to private companies releasing them from regulation, rewarding political cronies, and handing environmental responsibility to private corps.
  3. CLEAN WATER - Mr. Walker is trying to cut the regulation that requires municipalities to disinfect their drinking water. The GOP cry of "too expensive" is a stark contrast to what they consider a good bargain. Before the regulation of the water supply, 103 folks died and 40,000 were sickened in Milwaukee in 1993. Bargain indeed.
  4. WETLANDS - deregulating a GOP donor's private wetlands with language that might affect the entire surrounding county.  Bye bye ecosystem.....
  5. LEGISLATING A "NO NEW TAX" RULE - it will take a 2/3 vote to initiate any new revenue or raise taxes, forcing cuts in social services, transportation, education, and law enforcement.  See what's important?
  6. DISENFRANCHISING VOTERS - a tried and true GOP partisan wet dream.  Fewer voters are necessary remember, because there aren't as many Republican voters!
  7. CUTTING JOBS, LOSING THE FUTURE - The High Speed Rail line that was funded by the Stimulus has already cost Wisconsin 130,000 jobs and untold numbers of future jobs and business start-ups that would have accompanied the building of the railway.  For a history lesson, go review the role of the railroad in the opening of the great western half of America.
  8. NAKED POWER GRAB - The governor will now have the sole oversight of government agencies and services including rule-writing power over education, law-enforcement and ethics in government. These agencies have always been independent...  Foxes and hen houses anyone?  I remember a famous President once saying that it would be "easier to be a dictator."  Evidently Mr. Walker agrees.
  9. STIFLING INNOVATION - Mr. Walker tried and failed to cancel 11 proposed wind power projects.  His motivation.... would it perhaps be to increase the state's use of coal?  Yup... His most famous friend, David Koch, is just achin' to sell the Gov. lots and lots of coal.
  10. POLITICIZING STATE AGENCIES - Cronyism unbounded.  The GOP passion for litmus testing any and all state beaurocrats is in evidence here. He's trying to switch 37 state employees from civil servants to political appointees.
So what is the GOP fighting for?  Could it be any more evident.  Mr. Krugman gives a powerful example. The events in Wisconsin highlight it in living real-time technicolor.  The GOP is fighting the poor, the middle class, the teachers, firefighters, policemen, and civil servants of all stripes.  We saw it at the end of the last legislative session.  Nothing less than the total ascendency of the plutocracy will do.  NOTHING  is more important than preserving and building the wealth of the few at the expense of the many.  This is clear.

Go make a sign and walk around town.  Start a parade.  Write a letter.  SPEAK UP!  This whole debate is about really, really rich people complaining bitterly and violently about the wealth and privileges of the POOR.  The choice is clear.

More work to do.

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