Friday, May 29, 2015

Walker and the dismembering of Wisconsin

Conservative power broker Grover Norquist famously said he wanted government shrunk to the point that he could drown it in a bathtub.

That's been Walker's plan for us the citizen lab rats in his right-wing, roll-back experiment as he hacks at Wisconsin these past few years and budgets - - from the intentional undermining of public K-12 education in favor of subsidized private schools, to Act 10 and its wholesale discounting of public service, to the demolition of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's historic scientific-and-conservation-for-the-peop;e mission, the rejection of federal funding for health insurance and Amtrak expansion, to the future construction of bike trails, and bike lanes/sidewalks along major state-and-federally-funded major road projects.

Also the abandonment of state stewardship land acquisition, to the harsh upending of home care for the disabled and senior prescription drug programs, to his arbitrary, politicized attack on the UW system's role, programs and faculty, and more examples too numerous to list here.

Walker's definition of small government comes with a giant, hypocritical asterisk: his retention and use of state power from on high when it suits his personal advancement and ideological goals, such as gaining the rights to insert more political appointees in state agencies, approve all state administration rules or sell any state asset.

Also barring any increase in the $7.25 minimum hourly-wage, mandating medically-unneeded and invasive ultrasound procedures for women, stripping of funding for women's health clinics, humiliating public assistance recipients with mandated drug tests and a presumption of criminality while slashing their eligibility and food on the table, wiping out local input and controls on everything from public worker salaries and union negotiations statewide, to development-related water planning in Dane County, to employee residency in Milwaukee. to local zoning oversight in Madison where a politically-tainted $200 million publicly-financed palace for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, its bloated, debt-laden budget and road-building clients is to be built without a pressing need.

And turning state attorneys and bureaucrats loose to fight everything from cleaner utility smokestacks, to pollution-free streams and rivers, to marriage equality for same-sex couples to unfettered ballot-box access.

We've lost track of his various divide-and-conquer tactics, but it's clear that to Walker, small government comes with a heavy dose of Big Government power-tripping - - a toxic contradiction borne of cold-blooded hypocrisy to serve big donors' narrow corporate interests - a warning sign as Walker single-mindedly and self-servingly tramples on whomever and whatever he selects to further his campaign nationally to win and wield ultimate Big Government power.

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