Thursday, February 10, 2011

Journal Sentinel's Scott Walker contradictions

In last year's election, the Journal Sentinel editorial board endorsed Scott Walker. The reason why was as dismaying as the endorsement itself: " a time of economic peril and at a time when government must be reformed, it's time to throw away the this election, we're looking for a kind of fiscal tenacity that this state has, perhaps, never seen. Talk that Barrett isn't 'tough enough' is a bum rap. But, on fiscal matters, there is tough and then there is the right kind of experience. Walker has both, and that makes him the better choice."

Now today you are all upset because Walker is about to declare himself our supreme leader by granting to himself the right to veto all state rule-making.  What is it about all these rightist conservative constitutionalists who hate democracy and the Constitution, who when they get into office, are ready to throw out things like separation of powers? Neither the feds nor the states created a governing system that allows the executive to simply overturn work that belongs to the legislature. There's another word for that, and it ain't 'democracy.'

Now you guys knew exactly who Walker is. He derides government and the public sector. He loathes public sector unions. He is a 'business above all other interests' kind of guy. He hates high-speed rail as he takes large campaign contributions from road-building interests.  Business trumps worker rights, including decent wages and benefits as dignified compensation for the labor workers provide to those business interests, whose CEOs are very wealthy.

Over the past 3 decades, wages in the US have been stagnant or in decline. The public sector was one of the few where one could still work for a good wage and benefits. Now politicians like Walker are trying to undermine those workers, too, in part by creating resentment towards those workers among those losing good-paying jobs and benefits in the private sector. For decades we have seen a relentless assault on unions and on worker rights by business interests in league with anti-labor politicians.

As Kohler, Mercury Marine, and Harley Davidson made clear (and I worked on issues like these for many years in DC before returning to my hometown), corporations have been intent on bringing the costs of labor in this country down to the scale of developing countries. With little effect, some US-based unions had the forethought to try to create international labor solidarity to move things in the opposite direction, to bring global wage scales up closer to the West. But corporate lobbyists simply have more resources to get their guys in office. Now watch what happens to labor conditions, environmental policies, quality of life for the working poor, the already vast gap between rich and poor in this state and around the country, as Walker's time in office unfolds, with no push-back from the legislature.

So, good job JS Editorial Board! You endorsed the guy and he turned out to be exactly who we thought he would be. I look forward to your continuing upset over the way in which he does exactly what he set out to do - a power grab intent on gutting the public sector and favoring business interests over those of the people who voted him into office.

From your endorsement: "...there is tough and then there is the right kind of experience. Walker has both, and that makes him the better choice."  Good luck explaining that away!

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