Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wisconsin Governor: financial martial law?

This already happened in Michigan. Now, Wisconsin's right wing governor continues his plans to eviscerate democracy in his state. From Forbes:
Reports are surfacing that Scott Walker is now preparing his next assault on the democratic political process in the State of Wisconsin.

Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker’s approval.

According to the reports, should a locality’s financial position come up short, the Walker legislation would empower the governor to insert a financial manager of his choosing into local government with the ability to cancel union contracts, push aside duly elected local government officials and school board members and take control of Wisconsin cities and towns whenever he sees fit to do so.

Such a law would additionally give Walker unchallenged power to end municipal services of which he disapproves, including safety net assistance to those in need...
And given his history with cronyism, I doubt very much any good would come of giving him such martial powers.

I continue to be puzzled over the ostensible link between conservative Christians and this kind of politics. I'll bet you that Gov Walker considers himself a good Christian. These days, I doubt you can be a Republican if you aren't nominally Christian. So, how does Scott Walker justify his attacks on working people and the poor in Christian terms?

How do hard-core anti-tax conservatives justify it?

Well, apparently their love of money trumps their social contract.EJ Dionne writes,

At other moments in our history, the informal networks of the wealthy and powerful who often wield at least as much influence as our elected politicians accepted that their good fortune imposed an obligation: to reform and thus preserve the system that allowed them to do so well. They advocated social decency out of self-interest (reasonably fair societies are more stable) but also from an old-fashioned sense of civic duty. “Noblesse oblige” sounds bad until it doesn’t exist anymore..... a funny thing happened to the American ruling class: It stopped being concerned with the health of society as a whole and became almost entirely obsessed with money.
And the Koch Brothers are laughing all the way to the bank.


PseudoPiskie said...

Will these power grabs eventually negatively affect the people with guns?

WV = reseq - perhaps these men need to reseq(ence) soon or have more than red ink to worry about.

JCF said...

Go watch Rachel Maddow's final piece last night, on MI Gov. Snyder's first use of his financial martial law. I'm sure you will be all shocked-shocked to learn it's for the benefit of the rich&white, to the (GROSS) detriment of those poor&black.

[Having been in Michigan until last June, I can tell you that Snyder ran very self-consciously as a Safe,Sane & Rational MODERATE. There was NONE of this radical---and yes, FASCIST---BS in his platform. It was all a snowjob, to get elected.]

dr.primrose said...

Please read this article in the current Vanity Fair - Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% - by Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz. Excerpts:

"The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran."


"Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires 'collective action'—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.

"None of this should come as a surprise—it is simply what happens when a society’s wealth distribution becomes lopsided. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes."

JCF said...

And increasingly, this 1% feels no real sense of (US) "American-ness".

Did you see 60 Minutes a few weeks ago? It was all about US corporations fleeing to tax havens (their HQs and CEOs). They're only willing to return IF they're given MASSIVE "tax holidays"! Utter blackmail, and they say it w/ a guilt-less smile.

Both government and (esp.) labor are CRIPPLED, before the power of global capital. Unless we can legitimately get a "Working/Middle-Class People of the World, Unite!" movement, it's only going to get worse.

This isn't about "socialist revolution". It's about survival.