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From an interview in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (emphasis added):

"We've decided to deal with the problem," said state Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater. "Did we know it was going to get ugly? Yes, we did. If we are successful here, I know other states will do it, too." Nass stood in his office Friday afternoon munching a sandwich as he leafed through Walker's proposed budget bill. Then he pointed to Dayton's proposal to tax high earners to patch Minnesota's budget. "How often can you go back to high earners when you are in trouble?" he asked

HUH?! Actually, Rep. Nass, before "going back" to rich people to help solve our deficit problem, you Republicans need to try going to them with tax hikes in the first place. The truth is you've been giving them more and more tax breaks, and then sending the bill to the middle class, including the public workers you now seem to think are the cause of all our budget problems. True, you've been aided and abetted too often by timid Democrats, but since the days of Ronald Reagan, there was no tax cut you thought inappropriate. And now, when the economy has seriously damaged state and federal revenues, and deficits naturally have popped up, your solution is more of the same.

Willie Sutton famously said he robbed banks "because that's where the money is." In tax policy, the money increasingly is in the hands of wealthy elites, who have benefited greatly over the past several decades by huge cuts in their taxable incomes. You can try to nick a poor man, or an average guy with a few bucks in his pocket, but Wisconsin won't solve our budget problems until we suck it up and go find the money where it really is. Lowering spending by cutting programs that benefit average people only exacerbates the problems we're facing. These are quality of life issues. Misery isn't much of an economic development tool, except for heartless, Scrooge & Marley type businesses we surely do not need.

The difference between Wisconsin under Walker and the GOP, and the states of Illinois and Minnesota, is that while our two neighbors seek to introduce more tax equity as they solve their short-term budget problems, retaining their edge in economic growth over Badgerland, Wisconsin lawmakers are focused almost entirely on moving ahead by screwing the little guy some more. Oh, that, and parlaying the current economic malaise into permanent political hegemony. Get rid of those unions, and then get rid of shared revenue, and then get rid of those pesky public schools, and then, well, undo most every public policy that has benefited Wisconsin and its citizens. Community? Commons? Sharing? No. Greed and individualism are to be the new paradigm.

The trouble for the GOP is, the current ruckus is likely to increase across this state when our reckless Gov. Decider soon announces his full budget plans, including billions of dollars in aid cuts to local school districts and municipalities, all on top of the local economic impact of cutting $300 million in annual public worker compensation. Because after that, it will be even more obvious that in the uncontested Walker-verse, things for average Wisconsin residents will get worse. And if they are indeed allowed to get worse, disaster-capitalist Republicans presumably including Mr. Nass will likely blame the public employees some more and proceed toward their long-term goal of drowning government in a bathtub.

Oh, it shall be so wonderful sending our kids to expensive private schools where they will be taught Ayn Rand-style political objectivism, corporate economics and creation science, but how will our kids get to school without decent roads or public school buses or mass transit, or even tuition money? Oh well, no matter, because in line with modern conservative/authoritarian ideology, only wealthy, politically connected elites absolutely need to be educated; the rest of us 'Murcans can just continue taking orders and carrying them out dutifully, and for a pittance.

The Walker motto of "Wisconsin is open for business" is tacitly accompanied by another: Shut up and do what you're told!

By the way, while Walker is busy trying to out-Ohio Ohio and out-Indiana Indiana, he ought instead to be trying to better emulate Minnesota, that nasty, high-tax state:

Unemployment (Dec 2010):

Indiana, unemployment rate 9.5 percent. Ohio, unemployment rate 9.6 percent. Minnesota, unemployment rate 7.0 percent. Wisconsin, unemployment rate 7.5 percent.  *Data source: http://www.bls.gov/lau/home.htm

Median Wage Estimates (all occupations, May 2009)

Indiana, $14.72/hour Ohio, $15.30/hour Minnesota, $17.14/hour Wisconsin, $15.56/hour

Published

February 20, 2011 - 1:21pm

Author

randomness