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Thanks, Fleeing Wisconsin Democrats !

February 27, 2011

Regardless of what happens next,  all of the American people  owe those disappearing Wisconsin  State Senators a big debt of gratitude.

There is so much we would never have known if Governor Walker had been able to ram  his union-busting bill straight through without delay. By causing a delay, all kinds of info vital to a real understanding  of what is going on had time to surface and become widely publicized. Without their delaying tactics, the world would not have known:

1. That it’s  all about power not money. The unions offered to accept cuts & meet the Governor’s demands, but were refused because the real issue was breaking the power of the unions, not resolving a budget crisis.

2. The artificiality of Wisconsin’s budget crisis would not have become known: that it was largely caused by a wave of new tax cuts to rich individuals and corporations.

3.   Current and impartial  studies show that,  except for the very lowest-paid ones,  public workers are not overpaid compared to workers in the private sector even with benefits factored in.

4.  Or that all contributions to the union members’ health care costs and pension plans come from the workers’ pockets as contractually guaranteed  deferred compensation. The State government in no way subsidizes those funds.

5.  The federal stimulus funds–so hated by Republicans– provided to Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010  kept the state budget afloat until they dried up and Walker slashed taxes on the rich.

6. The Governor’s bill to strip unions of collective bargaining rights had, hidden within it,  bombshell provisions to allow whatever officials the governor appointed to sell the state’s power, heating, and cooling plants to anyone they chose, without taking bids,  for any price they saw fit, with no oversight or legislative or popular input.

7. That same bill also has a provision in it allowing appointed (not elected) officials to slash health care services to low-income families  without going through the usual  legislative process.

8. That the notorious Koch Brothers, famous as dirty-energy giants (see #6) not only financed the Governor’s election campaign but helped shape his legislative priorities, design legislation, and organize pro-Walker protesters being brought in from out of state to create the illusion of popular support.

If  Walker had his way, his union-busting bill  would’ve been  over and done with before any of this “dirty laundry” came to light and revealed the true agenda.

Ed from sums it up: “it’s like a highlight reel of all the tomahawk dunks of the neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism. Extra bonus points for the explicit effort to legally redefine the term ‘pulbic interest’ as ‘whatever the energy industry lobbyists we appoint to these  unelected bureaucratic positions say it is.'”

As Paul Krugman points out, the real Republican/Libertarian/Tea Party/Conservative  agenda is to smash unions, “the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy.” It’s not about the details of  wages and benefits, it’s about crushing the last major organizational base of opposition to total dominance by the oligarchy. No other organized force appears to have anywhere near the needed strength, organization, finances, and motivation to opposed total control by the giant corporations.  That is what is really at stake in union-busting.

Essential links for more information:  (see also his NYT column “Shock Doctrine USA” accessible though his blog site) (on the agenda of  Walker and the Koch Brothers) (David Cay Johnston on the employees’  real compensation package)















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