Friday, December 26, 2014

The GOP goal in Wisconsin - - certain people can move out

You could not find a stronger indicator of Wisconsin's emerging backwater status and unflinchingly callous political direction under Scott Walker than his blockade of a minimum wage increase and dismissal of the need to even have it - - while 20 other states and the District of Columbia will increase it on January 1, 2015.

And setting the bar highest? Activists in Portland or Berkeley?

Nope. Conservative South Dakota, where voters by referendum showed themselves far ahead of their elected officials by approving the biggest hourly increase - - $1.25. An extra $50 a week will buy a lot of calories for growing kids bones and brains, for diapers or gasoline or bus fare or winter heat.

And in Wisconsin, Wrong-Way Walker has cut some poor people's take-home pay by raising their taxes - - breaking a promise to raise no taxes - -  and he intends to further degrade those with the least through a mandatory, guilt-assumed drug test before releasing federal food stamp assistance he has also failed to fully expand.

I've said here that Walker is following a southern strategy of sorts to win what Capital Times editor Paul Fanlund brilliantly called the base GOP resentment vote, and I'm not kidding when I say Walker's ultimate goal is to use state power to force the poor - - and others - - to leave the state by any means possible so the GOP can seal control of the state's electoral votes.

The cold-hearted policies driving Walker's agenda reminded me of an interview I did deep in the segregated, poverty-afflicted Mississippi Delta in the late 1980's for The Milwaukee Journal when reporting from the nation's poorest county at the time  - -  Tunica, Mississippi.

Tunica had been brought to bear on the nation's conscience when Rev. Jesse Jackson publicized the plight of families living in shacks without indoor plumbing along the polluted, misnamed Sugar Ditch, and where I saw families still housed there without window panes or screens.

I interviewed the local public assistance director about the situation, and also about the minimal levels of aid over which he presided, and he told me that the county always was there for its poor residents by purchasing a one-way Greyhound bus ticket out of town to anywhere in the US for anyone on welfare who wanted to leave.

Walker and his compassionate conservative allies haven't gone quite that far, yet, but their policy and budget campaign against the poor can have the same effect.

Throw in forward-looking millennials, entrepreneurs, families and seniors who can choose to work, vacation or retire to states without government-sponsored hostility towards voting rights, pay equity for women, and health care for low-income residents, particularly females, unions and collective bargaining, public schools, same-sex marriage, transit, environmental protection, Native American culture and clean energy and you can see why people are beginning to call our one-party state Wississippi.


Anonymous said...

Has Walker ever stated which God he talks to? He certainly doesn't relate with Jesus Christ nor does he carry the Holly Spirit in his heart!

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Good article. I agree with part of it, in that Walker wants to drive out people who appreciate "quality of life" metrics, as well as young talent who might threaten and put to shame the mediocrity of our corporate oligarchs.

But I differ with you on Walker trying to drive out the poor, especially the "urban" poor. He needs them as scapegoats to distract mediocre white people from realizing how badly they're being screwed over in Fitzwalkerstan. The red states aren't generally just uneducated, they also are poor.

James Rowen said...

@Jake - - Agreed. Either or, same effect.

Wisconsin Green Senator's Staff said...

The absurdity of the Walker "Chamber of Commerce mentality" will become evident soon enough. This is, by the way, the Chamber of Commerce of 1914, not 2014. The old Chamber, which saw the only way for business to prosper, was to impoverish the working class and the reserve army of the unemployed, who are now disparagingly called an "underclass," of permanently underemployed or unemployable people.

The problem? You cannot run a modern, consumer-based "growthy" economy upon an economic base that depends on 1914 methods of impoverishing the same workers and poor people who you need to be "consuming" all the Chinese-made crap that the WMC members are selling in their stores.

As the real wages of Wisconsin workers lead the rest of the low-wage states (mostly in the Deep South, the former slave states/sharecropper, Jim Crow states) down the hill in the race to the bottom, you also will see income tax revenues, and more critically, sales tax revenues, decreasing.

Eventually, Wisconsin's creditworthiness will hit "junk" status along with that of nations in the very bottom tier of the human pile of suffering.

Happy New Year!!