Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin on the Nile

So Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) opened the door by comparing the current state of unrest in Wisconsin with the revolution in Egypt. Maybe some staffer handed him this hi-larious talking point, but doesn't he realize that the Governor of Wisocnsin, Scott Walker, is a Republican like him? Doesn't he realize this makes his own party the bad guys?

Former Wisconsin Rep. David Obey, a Democrat, picked up on Ryan's ill-thought out meme:
"All I know is that last week, when people were asking where Mubarak was -- whether he had gone to Sharm el-Sheikh or Paris -- I was saying he was ensconced in the governor's mansion in Madison," Obey said in a telephone interview with TPM.

"I think what Gov. Walker is trying to do amounts to political thuggery," Obey continued. "It is one thing to say that these are tough times -- everybody's got to cut back and public employees are going to have to take cuts like the rest of us ... but he's using it as an excuse to gut the ability of workers to organize and bargain collectively. In my view that's outrageous -- and what is especially outrageous is his demand that the legislature pass this in a week's time."

In fact, there would be not shortfall in that state's budget had not the new Republican Governor created it -- by the very economic policies he put into place during his first days in office:

One Wisconsin Now, the progressive watchdog group that has provided the closest monitoring of Walker’s budgetary gamesmanship, explains:

“Since his inauguration in early January, Walker has approved $140 million in new special-interest spending that includes:

“• $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation that still has $73 million due to a lack of job creation. Walker is creating a $25 million hole which will not create or retain jobs.

“• $48 million for private health savings accounts, which primarily benefit the wealthy. A study from the federal Governmental Accountability Office showed the average adjusted gross income of HSA participants was $139,000 and nearly half of HSA participants reported withdrawing nothing from their HSA, evidence that it is serving as a tax shelter for wealthy participants.

“• $67 million for a tax shift plan, so ill-conceived that at best the benefit provided to ‘job creators’ would be less than a dollar a day per new job, and may be as little as 30 cents a day.”

State Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, sums up this scheming accurately when he says: “In one fell swoop, Gov. Walker is trying to institute a sweeping radical and dangerous notion that will return Wisconsin to the days when land barons and railroad tycoons controlled the political elites in Madison.”

And now to complete his plan, Gov. Walker wants to balance it on the back of state workers -- that means, yes, teachers and everybody whom citizens depend on for basic services and to handle certain problems except police and firefighters -- while decimating their right to collective bargaining.


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