Wis. budget crisis has folks talking
Jenna Theissen, right, and Jodi Cincotta discuss the turmoil in Madison over the budget at The Coffee Vault in Dousman, Wis.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at USA Today.
Saint Paul, MN
#1 Feb 24, 2011
I just finished reading the Dousman article in USA Today. I grew up not far away in Waterloo, and I feel I know the Midwestern mentality. I can see why Walker is appealing to so many Midwesterners. We were all, and still are, raised with a "don't spend more than you earn" mentality. The Tea Party makes sense to people raised with this practical, wholesome mentality, and it shows in the USA Today profile of Dousman.
However, Scott Walker, a Tea Party leader, is distorting wildly the good faith of those who voted for him. He is using the private-sector working and middle class, such as the kind, practical residents of Dousman, to do his dirty work for him. Walker has found a way, the unions, to pit middle class against middle class, leaving tax cuts, tax loopholes, and other hidden benefits for the superrich out of the discussion.
If Dousman is like my hometown, Waterloo, there are no superrich. Thus, the "richest" people in town are teachers, and the town makes them the enemy simply because they are visible. And what has Walker done other than made the teacher/union issue highly visible so private-sector working and middle class people would have a visible enemy. I bet if Walker's mansion and his corporate donor's leer jet were parked in Dousman 365 days a year, suddenly teachers wouldn't be Dousman, Wisconsin's, or the middle-class's enemy.
In short, the middle class can't win by fighting the middle class. Arguing that we should all have a job only as "good" as the worst job will not return any of us to prosperity. Walker supporters should ask Walker for better opportunities for themselves, not worse jobs for all of us.
When did we all become so brow beaten, especially Walker supporters in Dousman, that we stopped asking leaders for a path to a better life, and only that our neighbors suffer as we do.
If you are thinking that balancing the budget is a better future, I agree. But ask yourself, Why is Walker's first and transfixing idea for balancing the budget getting rid of unions? If Walker were serious, he'd have a list of ideas and be working on them simultaneously, rather than having a national stand-off. Plus, teacher unions already accepted cuts, but Walker turned them down.
Clearly Walker is taking advantage of his Wisconsin supporters. He uses their weight to eliminate unions, his only big money political enemy, and he and the Wisconsin Republicans are preparing to sell the Wisconsin utilities to a private entity (perhaps the Kock Brothers?) in a no-bid contract. This means that the money Wisconsites pay for basic amenities--heat and water--will be funneled to the Republican party. Imagine that--your drink of water, your house's heat, funding the republican party. How is that democracy?
Dousman, even if you decide to vote Democratic in an election cycle or two, your heat and water will be supporting the other guy.
The teachers, the only group of people left with an understanding of U.S. history, aren't protesting for money. They are protesting against Walker fundamentally changing who owns our state (corporations, not citizens), killing workers rights (which private sector people seem to have forgotten they had until the Reagan years), and using thethe good intentions of honest, sincere Republicans like the people of Dousman to finish off the working and middle class once and for all. Personally, I'd support private sector unions, which apparently, would be good for the people of Dousman. But the people of Dousman support neither themselves nor their teachers, which means that the middle class supports killing all rights of the middle class, both private and public workers.
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