Republican-based democracy: America is a club you can't afford | Wis.Community

Republican-based democracy: America is a club you can't afford

[img_assist|nid=83427|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=160|height=115]As the nutball legislation dispensed by the Republican caucus in Madison continues apace, it's good to take the 10,000-foot view and consider what the overall GOP asgenda means for average state residents. When you look over the list, one theme emerges: It's all about money.

If you don't have any money or an insufficient amount of it, you simply are not going to be able to afford the new GOP flavor of democracy. America is rapidly being transformed into an exclusive club, whose members are wealthy and whose dues are paid by the rest of us.

Here's a brief but not totally inclusive rundown exemplifying this bold new GOP world:

Injured by a corporation? Too bad, because you no longer will be able to afford the cost of suing.

Buying a product or service? Risky! You won't be able to complain if something goes wrong, unless you first sign the seller's "compulsory arbitration clause" signing away your remaining rights to sue in court. 

Get sick? You won't be guaranteed paid days off.

Lose your job? People without money needn't bother applying for job re-training courses in the state's technical colleges, because Gov. Walker heavily cut funds for those courses.

Trouble finding the money to buy food for your family or pay for winter heating fuel? Sorry. The cost of state food assistance just went up and the availability of energy assistance just went down.

Trying to vote? Republicans say you shouldn't bother, unless you have financial means and a narrowly defined ID card. Besides, the GOP helpfully gerrymandered your congressional and state legislative districts to minimize the chances any incumbent Republican will lose.

Seeking a decent, affordable public education for your children? The cost just went up and the quality is going down.

Can't afford a car? Walk to work, bike, or hitch-hike, because bus service is going to become even more sparse.

Applying for jobs in medical biotech? Start looking out of state, because Repubs are planning to ban stem cell research and other cutting-edge science that was pioneered here.

Without health insurance? Don't bother applying unless you're at least middle class, because the state is busy whacking safety-net programs for people who earn less.

Worried about pollution and the threat to your home, family and health? Move to an more expensive neighborhood where factories don't dispose of harmful wastes into your water, air and soil. Or stay put and suck it up. That's especially true if you live in northwestern Wisconsin, where Republicans want to fast-track a huge open-pit mine on forest lands.

Want to refinance because you can't afford your current mortgage, or take out a new loan because of pressing financial needs? You probably no longer qualify; after all, as an average Wisconsin resident, your income has been going down for years, while the cost of living has been going up. On the other hand, if you're an out-of-state venture capitalist, the state will send you millions of tax dollars, with no strings attached and no hard promise to repay the funds or even create any permanent jobs.

It all adds up to one simple message from Republicans: You want something better for yourself and your family? Then show us the money!

Published

October 15, 2011 - 10:24am

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