The Enemy Within

When processing the anti-organized-labor diatribes from these supposed defenders of The American Way, at least consider that the motivation for stripping unions of their rights has much more to do with lowering the bar than lowering any deficit.  These are the same people who have shipped our industrial base to third world sweatshops, and have reneged on their “promise” of a full-employment high-tech wonderland.  What they have delivered is a nation based on retail sales of cut-rate goods from countries with very low wage and benefit standards.  They have collected massive subsidies, both tax relief and direct payments, from the same governments and in many cases have returned *nothing*. In Wisconsin, you have a situation much like we faced in Connecticut 10 years ago under convicted felon John Rowland.  The real problem with unions is that they didn’t contribute sufficient campaign cash to the Republican party.  Wealthy individuals, on the other hand did.  They would like the tax dollars that go to the public sector to be directed into their pockets.  They have a Governor who agrees.  Everything else in the argument is complete bullshit.

Speaking of Connecticut, when you see folks like the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) crying about how overpaid the public sector is, do consider that what they really want is a lower bar for their own employees wages and benefits, lower degree of protection for our environment, less enforcement of workplace laws, less enforcement of tax collection…. It is self serving in the most crass and harmful way.  State subsidies to the private sector have risen from $3million 20 years ago, to over $330 million today.  And *nowhere* in the discussion of budget cutting will you hear that sacred cow asked to accept less.  The working poor, the middle class, the sick, the abused, and so on… they will be asked to give, and give again.  The working-class heavy tax hikes hit the mostly working-class state employees in a way that the millionaires of the state love to call a “double hit” when it applies to them.

As much as I agree that state governments should be looking to eliminate branches wherever the work can be transferred to the private sector without a decline in service, we have seen much more graft an sub-par work under private contractors that by public employees.  The breakdown of the motor-vehicle emissions inspection program, and the failure of the privatization of highway construction inspection program for the I-84 “little dig” are just the peaks.  And peaks they are.  The emissions inspection program has been reduced to nothing (the intent, I believe) and every day thousands upon thousands of motorists travel over a highway in Connecticut with improperly constructed drainage and culvert systems.  More privatization, or less State oversight, is simply not what the public needs, though it might be exactly what wealthy patrons of our elected officials were promised.

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