Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin … he’s been in the news lately, hasn’t he?  There was an interesting tidbit that a lot of people missed back in January 31st, before this whole shebang started.  Governor Walker signed into law a little provision that says companies moving to Wisconsin will not have to pay corporate tax for 2 years.  In addition, he pushed through $140 million in special interest group spending in January.  He was busy his first few weeks!  Well this is strange, the $137 million dollar shortfall that he claims is why he’s going after the public employee unions is almost the same amount as the $140 million in spending he rammed through in his first few weeks in office.  I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, though – right?

Well, there’s a bit of very public evidence that a lot of people have laughed at but I feel not as many looked into – the “prank” phone call with Scott Walker and a journalist claiming to be David Koch.  In this phone call there is zero talk of tight budgets, a dire need to cut $130+ million, or really any significant discussion on fiscal issues.  The discussion at hand was all about the “us vs. them” philosophy and crushing the whole idea or unions.  One might even say that Scott Walker created a tense environment for the express purpose reducing or even stopping union power.  Heck, why stop there, why not just give your corporate overlords state utilities for pennies on the dollar?  A “loophole” in a proposed bill could do just that. 

I know, some of you are on the governor’s side on this.  The unions are antiquated, they don’t need power, heck, those overpaid state employees are just being greedy, right?  Well, on average public sector employees earn about 10% less than their counterparts in the private sector.  In addition many states have a mandatory minimum amount that gets put into a retirement fund.  Finally with so many recent state’s financial woes many state employees are now paying more money for the same or sometimes lesser health plans.  Very often state health plans are built using no or few bid contracts and the administer of that health plan is simply raking in the money with little reason to care for the wellbeing of the person at the other end of the plan – denial of benefits would look great on a bottom line if/when those health plan contracts go up for renewal, right?  In one state, North Carolina, the health plan was no-bid and the details are known only to a few. 

Still not convinced about unions?  How about this quote then:  ” … one of the most elemental human rights – the right to belong to a free trade union.”  Surely some liberal nutbag must have said something like that, right?  Dennis Kucinich, or Franklin Roosevelt?  It was Ronald Reagan.  He himself belonged to a union, in fact.  In a world where money is power unions allow those who don’t have as much to group together and argue and barter on equal footing with those who do have a lot.  In fact, a large majority of people say every American has a right to join or form a union, over 60%. 

Put all these things together, and what do we get?  A governor in Wisconsin who had $43,000 in direct donations from the Koch brothers and a multi-million dollar ad campaign paid for by Koch money that helped him get elected, and now he’s seeking to crush union power under the guise of financial woes he created and set his corporate masters up take over state utilities, probably under the guise of “if things get worse we’ll have to privatize our utilities” and suddenly things will be worse.  This and the North Carolina health plan are just two examples where corporate money flows to the politicians only to have taxpayer money – almost invariably from the middle class – flow back to the corporations.  Once again, another reason why we need complete transparency and a cap on any kind of corporate political contributions.  “We the people” is rapidly turning into “We the corporate rich people” and that ideal leaves a lot of poor huddling masses out in the cold.

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Zarberg is a member of The Political Observers, a sub-group of our writers who are devoted to topics that are political in nature. Zarberg provides a liberal viewpoint in his articles.

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