Thursday, March 3, 2011


Most of you know I am a word nerd. In bridging with last post Availability I would like to continue with other 'bility words. I'm open for suggestions too.

In Scott Walker's recent promotions (or defensive speeches) on behalf of his budget bill he continually speaks of giving municipalities "tools" and "flexibility" to balance their own budgets. In reality he would like to shove the problem of the debt of the state down to the municipalities and in order for his (hopefully short) history as governor he would like to be remembered as the man who decreed that no taxes should be raised anywhere in our great state under his reign, not even if the local governments would wish to do so.

The only way that teachers could receive any increase in their pay is through a referendum, and even if said referendum should pass, the teacher's raise would be limited to no more than an increase equal to that of the consumer price index (inflation). As I have said before, if this bill were to pass, that means that every teacher you know stands no hope of ever improving their standard of living. As far as district compensation goes, anything that stands would be up in the air.

Our districts and municipalities will have their hands tied, the left hand of collective bargaining tied to the right hand of no tax levies, behind their backs with duct tape, while strapped to the chair of relentless public criticism. There are four legs on that chair: cutting of services, economic deterioration in loss of capital spent in our communities, those who will STILL complain about the fact they pay taxesi, and overall degradation of quality of life.  Where is the flexibility there?

For me the Wisconsin Idea rests on our progressive ideals, education, research, community values, collaboration and ingenuity. These qualities see us through our hardships and are where the true "tools" and "flexibility" lie. Flexibility lies within the people, who will tell you what you think especially if you ask them. We work hard until we are back to where we want to be, and then we celebrate with good food and beer everyone can afford.  Wisconsin is the birthplace of bargaining rights, Fighting Bob, and the farmers who poured milk on the railroad tracks and also drove their tractors around the Bellin building in Green Bay back in the 50s or 60s, stalling traffic, in order to protest for fair milk prices. 

This bill will not allow flexibility for local governments. It is a big government move by an unchecked executive that will bludgeon the middle class and our communities and leave us with wounds that may take decades to heal. Despite the hardships I know this bill would leave us in as a collective people, I have faith that our tool of democracy will give us the flexibility to win our state back from the grips of corporate lobbyists.  I am praying that the overall people will look to their neighbor to see what ravages this bill might bring before they look to corporate sources like Fox News.

I want to know where are my tough Wisconsinites who stand strong through bitter cold Packer games, who know think for themselves with their publicly educated minds, and who know a fear-mongering Joe McCarthy when they see one (Where are those commies, anyway?). Walker is trying to futher tie us down with his threats and fear-mongering of economic calamity if we don't pass his bill. But he is the one who gave the corporations their tax breaks and put us between a rock and a hard place.  That rock climber that ended up between the rock and the hard place ended up cutting his arm off. I'm hoping we have better options. Governor Walker, where are the taxes of mass destruction?

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