As many of you know, I live in Madison, WI which has been the epicenter of a major political protest thanks to our new governor, Scott Walker. At the heart of the debate is a bill designed to severely diminish the collective bargaining rights of state employees. He wants to cut their pay, reduce their ability to collect dues and spend them, and force a vote to keep the union active every year. All these things combined will surely mean that state unions will succumb to employer pressure and be shut down when the vote to do so comes around one year. In addition, the bill will effectively double the health care premiums of all state employees. He claims it will save the state a bunch of money and will help fix the $137 million deficit we currently have. However, it becomes obvious that this not the actual reason for this union-killing effort once you read into the details.
Scott Walker, as this article’s title implies, is merely a puppet for the interests of billionaire corporate giants, the Koch brothers. They donated over $100,000 through various ways to Walker’s campaign, making him clearly in debt to them with his legislation. Their “astroturf” movements like Americans for Prosperity and The Reason Foundation have been against public-sector unions for a long time. Walker is merely doing what these people are telling him to to, which is not in the best interest of any middle class, public sector employed person.
So with this bill in motion, the stage was set for some craziness to go down in Madison, the state capital. People started organizing in the town square and in the halls of the capitol building. Teachers in Madison called out sick a majority of last week in order to protest the legislation and to join the masses at the capitol. Best of all, all of the Democrat legislators have fled the state in order to prevent quorum, effectively not allowing a vote on it until they return. Walker has tried to make the state police bring them back to force a vote, but since they are beyond state borders, they can’t do anything In response to these protests, the Tea Party (also largely funded by the Koch brothers) has been organizing counter-protests, and will be busing in these people this weekend to show support for the bill.
So what do I think? I think Scott Walker needs to go. Within the first month of his installment as Governor, he spent $140 million on his corporate buddies who financed his campaign and then blamed it on public employees. He gave back an $810 million grant from the federal government to build a high-speed rail system in the state. He is doing just what his corporate sponsors tell him to do, and this does not ever benefit the working and middle class.