Scott Walker is the current Republican governor of Wisconsin. He has just declared his participation in the greatest horse races of the near future: the Republican primaries for the presidency of the United States.
I have this thing about Scott Walker. He is very scary, so I downplay his scariness in many of my posts by calling him a Ringwraith from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sauron would be the Alec Foundation.
The trick hasn't really worked to make him look less frightening, but that's because he IS frightening. To show you just how frightening, what follows is a summary of his achievements in Wisconsin, mostly picked from my earlier posts:
First on our boy Scott and his views on women:
He believes in no abortion even in the case of rape and incest, he has adamantly worked towards that goal, and it's pretty likely that should he become the president he would continue on that path.
He also doesn't believe in equal pay rights for women. He repealed Wisconsin's 2009 Equal Pay Reinforcement Act.
Second, on what he has achieved in Wisconsin:
He tells us that he has destroyed the Wisconsin unions so he can easily take on ISIS/Islamic State. Of course the former don't burn people in cages or toss them off tall buildings or behead or crucify them publicly, but other than that Scott is utterly correct in his parable, right?
Well, he has certainly hurt both unions and workers . He would have the same intentions for the country which already suffers from excess income inequality and wages not keeping up with productivity increases (which means that the value of those increases has almost all gone into the back pockets of capitalists).
He is openly on the side of corporations, which just may come across in this little Freudian slip (5. in the post).
He is also in the pockets of the NRA, changing Wisconsin's gun laws rather drastically, and he has declared open war against higher education.
His latest budget tells us how he plans to fix higher education. It:
* slashes $250 million from the University of Wisconsin, one of the country’s great public institutions of higher education, and ensures that most K-12 school districts will get less funding than they did last year;
* removes from state law tenure protections for University of Wisconsin professors, a move that educators say will seriously harm the school’s ability to retain and attract talented faculty;
* expands the state’s voucher program that uses public funds to pay for tuition at private schools, including religious schools — even though there is no evidence the program has helped improve student achievement in the past — and creates a new “special needs” voucher law that cuts into protections for special needs students.
What a busy bee he has been! From that last and recent link to Washington Post:
There is one common theme to Walker’s budget: underfunding public institutions, expanding the privatization of government functions, restricting environmental protections, and decimating workers’ rights. Among its many provisions:
• Mandatory drug testing for those seeking unemployment insurance and public assistance services;
• A repeal of “prevailing wage law” requirements for local government projects, and elimination of a state mandate that factory and retail workers get at least one day off per week.
• Removing the term ”‘living wage” from state statues, referring only to a minimum wage, which in Wisconsin is $7.25 per hour...
Did you get that? You no longer need to get a day off in every seven in Wisconsin!* Granted it's supposed to be a voluntary agreement between the boss and the worker, for the latter to give up that one day off. But in practice the bosses can tell the workers who don't want to work like robots that there are many others out there salivating for a job.
Scott Walker is intrepid! (I have to say something good about him, right?) But he knows nothing about economics, zilch**, and his plans for this country are nightmarish, unless you happen to be a rich corporation.
*Which goes against the Bible, I would have thought. Given that Walker believes his task is from God (though it's really from Sauron), shouldn't he stop meddling with that seventh-day-is-for-rest thing?
**To take the simplest example, people WILL respond to cuts in the benefits to their jobs. It will be much harder to find teachers if they are first demonized and then stripped of their pensions, given that to become a teacher requires a fairly serious monetary and time investment in acquiring a college degree and that the salary for the job is already lower than the average for people with graduate degrees. But Walker doesn't understand that or the likely consequences for Wisconsin in the longer run: Greater difficulty in finding teachers, in retaining teachers, and most likely a drop in the quality of the teaching force.
Likewise, to remove tenure from the professors at University of Wisconsin matters in a similar way. Suppose a recent PhD applying for professorial jobs gets an offer from Wisconsin and another offer from a university outside that state. The salaries are roughly equal, but Wisconsin doesn't offer tenure. Which job will the applicant take? Or put in another way, if the University of Wisconsin cannot guarantee political non-interference or future job security, then it will have to come up with MUCH more money to attract and keep good faculty.