Tuesday, May 31, 2011

After holiday weekend, Walker is still governor

Did you have a good weekend? Personally, after 2 days of this heat and humidity, I'm starting to feel nostalgic for cold, wind, and rain.  Imagine! the rest of the week is supposed to be something resembling normal!

Which is more than I can say for our dinosaur era state politics. The race backwards continues, except the race forward to the strengthening of the corporate state.

If anyone still questions my contention that the heart of the rightist corporate agenda is to shift more public funds - those funds that are accountable to you and me and our elected politicians - to the private corporate sector for their profit, I could hardly have better evidence than the recent news - CAPCOs.

If you took time during these busy days to read the newspaper, you've been learning about them on the front page. Gov Walker, undoubtedly at the behest of his corporate backers (because he would not by himself even know what 'certified capital' companies are), has been planning to offer $200 million of your tax dollars (right, as most of us slip into greater insecurity and even impoverishment) towards a program called the Jobs Now Fund (this is getting really, really cynical, with names like that) as tax breaks to insurance companies, and control of a $250 million fund to outside management firms called 'certified capital companies' (CAPCOs).

I don't want to take space in a blog post to explain what these are so urge you to read this Journal Sentinel article which does it pretty well. Not only would we dole out these hundreds of millions of your money to these insurance companies, but it would allow the insurance companies to recoup 80% of their investment - in other words, they don't have to pay us back.

He says this is for job creation. But there is very little evidence that this program will create many jobs, and certainly few with decent pay, while there is a lot of evidence that these private companies will make out handily.

So loud was the outcry - even from some Repubs - that Walker's fearless spokesperson Cullen Werwie was forced to acknowledge that Walker may need to rethink his plan.

Here's another example: Repubs in the legislature are considering a bill to lower energy rates for big companies in the state - mind you, big ones, like Mercury Marine which has already used state funds and tax breaks as part of its profit margin, thanks to Gov Doyle), not small businesses or family farmers - to (really, it's actually hard to write this with a straight face or without tearing my hair out) help the economy grow.

Cynicism does not even say it. They want us to be stupid, to not get what's going on.

Who will pay the overall energy costs in this state when you lower them for the big firms?  Right - another transfer of public money to big corporations.

To put this in a larger context, a few days ago a federal judge in Virginia, appointed by Reagan, just ruled that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money directly to political campaigns.

I cannot put write any clearer what is happening here than by simply reporting the news. Meanwhile, MPS is planning to cut 21 nurses from its schools, the JS reports that dental care for poor kids in this state is so woeful that we are among the bottom of the 50 states in delivering care. Private and public benefits have been cut or disappeared in recent years, wages are falling, and good-paying jobs are being replaced with MacDonalds. We are in a downward spiral in terms of well-being for all, aided and abetted by the policies of these rightist state governments.

Paul Ryan is trying to do this at the national level. This is not just Walker. He is a tool, one of many being used around the country to dismantle the public sector for the good of the corporate right.

We need to understand this. We are in trouble in any case, but if we don't know this, or refuse to know this, we are in big, big trouble indeed.

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