Scott Walker's self-proclaimed dynamic boldness is making you sick | WisCommunity

Scott Walker's self-proclaimed dynamic boldness is making you sick

[img_assist|nid=48562|title=Sick day|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=155|height=155]Who writes Scott Walker's speeches? Someone who cuts and pastes from a chamber of commerce talking points memo? Or, perhaps, someone who writes Saturday morning cartoon dialog?

In signing legislation undoing Milwaukee's sick leave ordinance, which was created by a vast majority of city voters in a binding referendum, the state's new master rhetorician-thespian and, oh yes, chief sleaze-ecutive, proclaimed that the measure was yet another "dynamic" piece of Scott Walker legislation that gives localities Scott Walker "tools" they need to keep Wisconsin open for Scott Walker-friendly business and create 250,000 Scott Walker jobs. He also called the sick day ordinance a "patchwork  government mandate." Well, patch that dude right into reality, and quickly.

Gov. Walk-It-Back apparently forgot to use another of his favorite modifiers to say he was making "bold" pen strokes when signing the measure, which, actually, is not a mandate of government but a mandate from the people, who clearly told government in overwhelming numbers that they wanted it a requirement that all businesses in Milwaukee provide their employees with at least a modicum of paid sick leave for family, medical or health issues. Wow. Such a radical, extreme idea, don'tcha think?

The GOP-controlled Legislature not only voted to nix the Milwaukee ordinance, but also included language banning similar, future ordinances in other state localities, lest any other locality attempt to enact same. And so Milwaukee will not become the third city in the nation that actually works to protect the health and well-being of working families within its borders.

So what is this sudden Republican Party fetish for centralized government in Madison that tells townships and fire districts and tiny public school systems and especially the City of Milwaukee how  they are to conduct their business and the amount they can spend doing it? Wasn't the GOP all about local control being best?

What's more democratic (tough word for Repubs, obviously) and more people-oriented than a binding referendum? Well, in reality, that GOP "for the little guy" stance was only hype. Republicans of the 21st Century are heavy-duty authoritarians. They know that they know what's best, and if you disagree, they're just going to bulldoze you and then BS some more about how they truly care for you, despite your misguided notions of sound public policy. In loco parentis, and then some.

Walker's defense for meddling with local government once again is that small businesses won't come to Wisconsin (well, at least not to Milwaukee) if they have to face such terrible, onerous requirements like promising a limited number of paid sick days to their workers.  Score one more point for the team that's turning our great and progressive state into Mississippi. Most of those 250,000 jobs Walker promises to "create" -- although his party regularly insists government doesn't create any -- will be low-paying and low-benefit jobs, If he keeps pushing this agenda. If those jobs even materialize.

His other defense is  that the 70 percent of Milwaukee voters who agreed with the paid sick day referendum weren't fully aware of the consequences, which is laughable on its face. This from a man whose party is always telling us that the people are the best judge of what's best for them, and that we should liberate them from bureaucracy and politicians. This from the party that is also quite adept at boiling down complex issues into contrary and simplistic slogans (e.g., "save Medicare!") then fully expecting voters to rubber-stamp simplicity.

Hey, while Walker's busy saving the state's business climate, why not go the whole nine yards and ban the minimum wage? Boy, that'll really attract new business, won't it? Then, we could get rid of worker's compensation, unemployment insurance and all those other nasty, superfluous requirements that just slow down the profiteers. Bye-bye, after that, to child labor laws and local elected control. The bat-spit crazy Republican governors of Maine and Michigan respectively are enabling those fundamental devolutions in long-held social policy, so why not Walker, too?

Then on to Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare: Who needs 'em?! The private sector will provide! But about all it will provide in such event are fat campaign contributions to the man and his party for helping boost their profits at the expense and misery of working Wisconsin families.

By the way, it is quite true that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett opposed the sick day ordinance. But while Barrett is a progressive Democrat, it is also true that he is a local official, who, like local voters, hashed this matter out among themselves. When the dust appeared to have settled, and with the voters winning, the key influence in overturning the ordinance emerged. The local chamber of commerce sued to stop the law, taking its case and losing all the way up to the state Court of Appeals. At which point, the chamber turned to its campaign contributees in the state Republican Party and got what it wanted anyway. Money talks, as usual.

And don't overlook the fact that Barrett not only didn't get an invite to Walker's bill signing, but questioned language in the measure he said would negatively affect state laws protecting women against domestic violence and stalking. Milwaukee 9to5, which heavily pushed the sick day provision, says federal family and medical leave requirements don't include enough protection for workers and their families experiencing short-term sickness.

Wisconsin's main argument for attracting new businesses used to be that workers here were well educated, highly skilled, hard working and low absentee. Walker's moves in just his first 100 days have managed to weaken all those arguments.

Meanwhile, state Republicans and their fat-cat enablers now have more evidence they can upon a whim overturn any local laws they dislike. How does that fit into the cherished and often touted GOP notion of small and less intrusive government? It simply doesn't. So once again, don't watch  what they say, watch what they do.

ADDENDUM: With respect to the political use of the term "bold" to define one's own ideas, while I have pontificated on this in the past, I haven't denigrated it with half the economy or wit of Maya Schenwar, correspondent, who wrote:

Pre-emptive nuclear attacks are bold. So are bullfighting and extreme asparagus-eating competitions. So was the invasion of Iraq. Since when is boldness, in itself, a virtue, regardless of how it's applied?


May 5, 2011 - 8:41pm