Friday, March 11, 2011

The Wisconsin Train Wreck with Engineer Scott Walker

Against the back drop of thousands of voices, Wisconsin Governor (until the recall vote) Scott Walker signed into law a bill that rapes state union workers of collective bargaining abilities.  This feat occurred after the Fitzgerald boys used the state constitution and associated protections as door mats to bum-rush a modified "Budget Repair Bill" through the Assembly and Senate.  Refusing to recognize fellow assembly members who wished to debate and a Senator who was quoting statute and determining a violation was in progress, the Fitzgeralds took a voting roll call, then sprinted for the door, heads down.  They apparently feared projectiles in flight or were trying to muffle the roar of "Shame!" erupting from everyone else in the rooms and galleries.  They were scared and, rightly so.

Walker, known in high school as "Diablo," initially marketed this action as budget repairing besides requiring public workers to contribute out-of-pocket dollars toward their retirement funds and health care premiums.  He claimed that these were the reasons for the projected 3.6 billion dollar deficit facing the state.  Well, even Fox News couldn't drink the kool-aid for that massive lie.  Commentators correctly labeled it a union-busting measure. 

As to the notion that paid retirement and health care is free money to the workers; there is no free money.  I am a public servant but spared the collective bargaining shakedown because... I'm a cop.  Before you snicker too much, I'll point out that I am not naive enough to believe that we (police and fire) will escape the axe forever.  When Walker believes that he doesn't need us to protect the palace (Capitol) or he thinks the National Guard can do what we do (God help us!), it'll be Thanksgiving morning with our necks on the block too. 

Okay, so now you know where I speak from.  I said that there is no free money.  For the past 20 years, my colleagues and I have received a 1 or 2 percent, seldom three percent raise.  Even when times were good and the private sector was going like gang busters, we settled for those low figures because we knew the benefits were solid.  Paid retirement and health care is compensation for no large in-the-pocket raise.  It does not come FREE as the state politicians and media outlets assert.  And, it certainly does not account for the debt the state finds itself in. 

It does amount to a ten to fifteen percent (right now!) drop in disposable income for a lot of working families.  I've heard some people making comments that we should share the hurt.  Retail stores, restaurants, and every other business that relies on discretionary income will take the hit as well.  Why wouldn't a Governor who is supposed to be looking out for his people, want to elevate his people to a higher level than drag the people who have it purportedly "good" down to the lower level?  The "us" people so eloquently named in his now infamous tape with a fake Koch brother and money roller of several propaganda machines are million or billionaires.  The "them" are the rest of us.  I can't wait for the 250k (minimum wage paying) jobs that Walker promised to create for the state without collective bargaining protections.

As I mentioned, I am a street cop.  I have to follow rules and preserve the constitution for everyone equally.  I also served a three year hitch in the Army to serve this country in the same capacity.  In the words of Sydney Ellen Wade from American President, "My god, he's making it up as he goes."  Walker and his lackeys are making their own rules and breaking others to ramrod legislature down the throats of Wisconsinites to balance the budget?  Exactly, how does giving Walker the ability to sell off the state's coal powered energy plants to whoever he wants to without a bidding process and nobody else to watch over the transaction help do this?  Did I mention that the Koch boys deal in coal?

It's probably a good thing that I am not a person to hold public office in the House or Senate at present.  Rules say that neither Assemblymen nor Senator can be arrested while the body is in session.   Simple battery is not mentioned.  After watching the shenanigans of the Republicans holding court, many of them would have been in need of first aid before my arrest.  Then, I would request a jury of my peers,  the tens of thousands who know this circus is voodoo economics gone mad.  I'd bet even money on acquittal.