Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Walker, the WI GOP and the strategy of displacement

We've all heard the stories, or had the thoughts ourselves.

*  Parents push their high schoolers to apply to out-of-state colleges, like Minnesota.

*  Young adults decide to move out of Wisconsin, taking their careers, earning power and young families to more inclusive, open-minded states.

*  Vacationers opt to spend their time and money in a state where the government does not repeatedly attack working people and unions, or interfere with the right to vote or to live in a same-sex marriage. Or where state parks will continue to get reasonable, logical state financial support, bicycle riders are not the new Scapegoats of the Month, (replacing teachers), and phosphorous-generated algae and weeds are not allowed to choke state waters because big business is allowed to drag its feet in the cleanup.

(The DNR shows what that looks like, at the "basics" tab, here.):
weed and algae growth in Wisconsin waters (c) Will Stites
Excess phosphorus flowing into lakes provides nutrients that can spur weed and algae growth in Wisconsin waters.
© Will Stites
I would bet it all that somewhere within the Walker administration, or in the GOP legislative caucus meetings or their Madison and Waukesha watering holes, ''let em' move somewhere else" is a familiar refrain, like "Go Pack, Go."

The same goes for the poor.

It's been clear for a while that the Walkerites are determined to make life as difficult as possible for low-income residents by using the power of the state to prod them to move out.

That's the end game for politicians who intentionally decline available Medicaid financing, starve transit systems, cut food stamp and other basic assistance, move to mandate drug tests for aid recipients - - thus implicitly labeling the poor as criminally lazy, and deliberately keep the minimum wage at the lowest level legally possible - -  $7.25/hr. - - while several big cities and 29 other states, plus the District of Columbia have moved the minimum wage to $9, $10.10 and $15 per hour.

Again, "good riddance" is in the air, and in state policy, too, like a new official motto or state slogan.  It used to be "We like it here." Now it's more along the lines of, "We'd like some of you, a lot of you, to leave."

It would not surprise me if Wisconsin's population gain slows or plateaus as a result of these punitive, small-minded and overtly hostile GOP programs, guaranteeing Wisconsin's long-term status as a low-wage, slow-to-no-new job growth entrepreneurial and lifestyle backwater.

Walker won't even add a few bucks to the transportation budget to fix the potholes, dropping the state to third-worst roads nationally, a study has found.

Don't blame the snow or the cold or the trucks or yourselves. On this one, Ronald Reagan, Walker's hero and Fantasy Father, was right: "Government is the problem."

One last indignity to those getting message, packing up and moving out: a final flat tire or broken shock.


Anonymous said...

With the Anti-Public Education budget passed by the Wisconsin ReTHUGlicans in the wee hours of the morning, the message to all progressives and educated people of Wisconsin is absolutely clear: "Get the heck out of Wisconsin ASAP".

I have 2 bumper stickers on my truck that generate a lot of one-fingered salutes when I drive through Waukesha County. One says " Smart College Graduates Escape Wisconsin" and the other says "Love Teaching Again, Leave Wisconsin". Lots of thumbs up in the Milwaukee area, but all middle fingers and road rage in Waukesha & Washington counties.

Last Saturday, a 60-something ReTHUGlican walking with his grandson confronted me in the parking lot of a butcher shop in Waukesha County. After reading my bumper stickers, he came up to me and said, "Liberal retards like you should just get the hell out of Wisconsin-just go away-we don't want YOUR kind in our state".

I thought steam was going to come out of his ears when I told him that, in a few years, I would be retiring and joining the hundreds of great teachers who have already fled Wisconsin, and that it was my goal and passion to influence as many young teachers as possible to leave Wisconsin in the next few years. The guy got so angry he was literally shaking when I told him that it was my goal that every good teacher who wants to enjoy their career will have the opportunity to leave Wisconsin and that his grandson will be taught by uncertified teachers with only high school educations who are content with career maximum yearly salaries of no more than $45,000. So when your grandson doesn't finish high school, the thousands of former Wisconsinites whose children will academically destroy your grandson on ACT tests will be laughing hysterically at the plight of Wisconsin-the Mississippi of the Midwest. But remember-you have only yourself to blame because you VOTED these ReTHUGlican idiots into power.

Anonymous said...

We are seriously considering leaving Wisconsin, my home of 50+ years, when we retire next year. Our three children, all professionals, have already left.

Now that I know they want me to leave, I may just stay.

my5cents said...

After reading in our local paper this morning about what they plan to do with the schools in Wisconsin, I have to agree with you. I also agree that since Republicans have now made the government the problem rather than the solution, we would be better off without the one we currently have. I hope and pray Walker resigns and leaves Wisconsin, but what do we do about Vos and Fitzgerald as well as a few other right wingers who are helping to destroy a once great state. I now believe it will take decades to undo all the damage they have done and will do to Wisconsin before they can be voted out of office. What a rotten shame it has come to this. You know, even those rich people have to live on this planet and all of their money can only buy them a better life for so long before even their lives crumble.

Anonymous said...

I am going to give it few more years. I want to see how this all turns out. Will people wake up?

Dr. Morbius said...

Jim, the movement of the young of Wisconsin actually is a two-part story. A review of census information for Wisconsin reveals that county populations, except for Brown, Outagamie, and Calumet (Fox River Valley), Marathon (Marshfield Clinic area), St. Croix (Twin Cities), Eau Clair, LaCrosse, Dane County and environs, and the Milwaukee collar counties, are declining, while the average ages in those counties are steadily increasing. This suggests that some of the young are concentrating in Wisconsin cities (except for the Milwaukee collar counties where average ages are increasing--middle age influx). However this doesn't account for all of the population shifts, and it is those young individuals who are headed out of state. Since the average educational level in Wisconsin when compared against the numbers of higher education enrollment in the state never seems to catch up, the state is losing its most talented and highly skilled people to out-of-state migration. In other words Walker through his policies is making the state safe for his constituency--white, elderly, less-than-college educated, rural and suburban voters but with enough trapped minority members in the urban centers to serve as a cultural "targets" for tribal-based political hate-mongering. This state will resemble not so much Mississippi as it will resemble Maine with a rapidly aging population, little industry, and jobs confined to servicing the medical, house-keeping, and entertainment demands of an elderly population. For a stark example go visit Manitowoc, where a once metal manufacturing and fabrication dominated employment scene now features health care as its primary employer--and the city loses 150 inhabitants every year and currently boasts a population that is equal to its 1970 level.

Anonymous said...

I think I read that Wisconsin has now moved into the top 10 of states with people leaving. What this man and his Republican legislators have done in the space of just 4 years to destroy our economy, education system and environment all to satisfy their Tea party donors and institute corrupt "PAY TO PLAY" government is beyond anything I could have ever anticipated! I have great difficulty understanding why we are not marching on the Capitol again but this time with pitch forks to throw them out. 2016 is too far away to vote them out but I suspect recall elections this time around would be successful.

anonymous said...

Scott Walker declared Wisconsin open for business and anyone not a bible thumping rethuglican is an outsider. My health professional wife and I have decided to leave the state after an industry decided to make their busy log yard four blocks from our house a twenty-four/seven operation, and not have to honor our noise ordinance at night. The truckers' claim is that Scott Walker is on their side. I'm now working on vacating Wisconsin asap. How anyone that supports these criminals can think of themselves as "Christian" is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Intelligence, the scientific method, facts which showcase the truth and those who foster these values & practices are frightening to and abhorred by RW & Tea Party conservatives. I think instinctively they defend themselves against the truth through their legislative policies and dark pay for play maneuvers. Thus, designing WI's political infrastructure to shun young progressive intellectuals--or any true academician--is a defensive measure on their part. It looks like RW'ers attack education as if education and knowledge are attacking them. The light of truth is their enemy and they guard or defend themselves from it.

Anonymous said...

Signing a recall petition against Walker is a one-way ticket out of here. He and his cronies will make sure Wisconsin becomes a place you cannot stand to be. This is a petty little man that wants to be U.S. dictator.

nonheroicvet said...

Spent a week camping in an Iowa State park in mid May. They have in the area of 55 state parks and none of them have an admission fee. Only had to pay for the campsite. It was a well maintained park with RV hookups. With all the time Walker spends in Iowa, maybe he will learn something about running a state for the benefit of its citizens.
.........Not a chance.

Anonymous said...

It looks like The Political Environment Blog is becoming a place for the damned. You all should know that Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (as real news) that Scott Walker takes his orders directly from God. If this chases sinners and agnostics out of the Badger State, it is all part of God's plan.

Our Lord speaks directly through Scott Walker, so any criticism of his work, God's work, is tantamount to doing the devil's work. Please cast Satan OUT of Wisconsin!

Jake formerly of the LP said...

You also notice this in economic stats, such as 24,800 people dropping out of the Wisconsin work force since January. This lowers the unemployment rate without helping job growth. So instead of unemployment being 5.2% (as it would be with the same work force), Walker gets to brag about a 4.4% rate.

I do think driving away talent and/or minorities is a GOP strategy, because they can't win in states that have them. But the wreckage and low-performing work force that is left will mean the state will badly lag the rest of the region as a result.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 sons and my next door neighbor has 2. All four are in their early to mid 20s. 3 out of the 4 work and live in Minnesota. With the decimation of the middle class in Wisconsin -- really, What's to keep them here?