Late Night: The Shock Doctrine in Wisconsin
Three months ago in this space, I wrote about Wisconsin governor-elect Scott Walker, who was showboating by making bogus demands and proclamations even though he was still two months from being inaugurated.
It’s probably no surprise that actually taking office hasn’t diminished Walker’s ambitions (via TPMDC):
In an interview with the Associated Press, Scott Walker proposed stripping nearly all government workers of their collective bargaining rights…. Under his plan, which he’ll include in his forthcoming budget proposal, most state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn’t rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index.
… He also says this plan is non-negotiable — as in, he’s cut off negotiations with prison guards, teachers and other state workers.
Walker’s budget proposal would also reduce employees’ benefits by mandating substantially higher contributions, even though state workers accepted below-private-sector wages in exchange for those benefits in previous labor talks.
And remember what I said about showboating? The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel adds:
The governor also said the National Guard is at the ready to take control of state prisons if correctional officers strike or take job actions. No union official has endorsed such a job action, but Walker said he was prepared for any contingency.
The Capitol news conference where Walker announced his plan had unusually high security, with four Capitol police offers stationed outside of it and checking on who was attending the event.
This self-orchestrated air of crisis is simply the Republican governor’s way of introducing the shock doctrine concept to state government. Meanwhile, with much less fanfare, Walker is hurriedly pushing though other extreme elements of the right-wing agenda, from eliminating a money-saving birth control program to already-signed legislation “making it harder to sue businesses for harmful products and nursing homes for abuse and neglect, while another bill dismantled the state Department of Commerce, leaving the exact new whereabouts of numerous agencies and programs still unknown.”
Consider it a preview of the GOP will do if they get a grip again on all three branches of the federal government.