Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Piecemeal Implementation of Plantation Economics in Wisconsin

We are all aware of Scott Walker's attack on teachers and other public sector workers in 2011 in the form of Act 10. We also are well aware that Act 10 was nothing more than an introduction to plantation economics, sometimes referred to inaccurately and inappropriately as "Right to Work."

The predictable and predicted negative impact to the state happened with the passage of Act 10. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs. Many more saw a reduction in their take home pay.  Businesses struggled to stay open and many didn't survive.  The state's economy sank so low that Wisconsin was last in the Midwest and in the bottom tier nationwide in most economic indicators.

Last year, when Walker and his Republican cohorts gained an even stronger stranglehold on the state government, many of the Teahadist legislators wanted to quickly finish off the unions and the economy with full implementation of their plantation economics.

Walker, already kicking off his presidential campaign, said that he did not want the legislature to pursue this, calling it "a distraction."

Sadly, the only distraction was Walker calling their economic agenda a distraction.

In the past few days, Walker and his allies have introduced the very same plantation economics agenda.  However, instead of introducing it one fell swoop, they are planning on implementing it in piecemeal fashion.  Walker's hope is that this new version of divide and conquer will leave different groups of people focused on the attacks to their own areas of interest and not seeing the big picture.

Walker himself has announced the higher education version of Act 10, as he seeks to cripple the University of Wisconsin system.

A few days ago, State Representative Rob Hutton introduced the part of their plantation economics designed to go after the building trades unions:
Today, State Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) unveiled Repeal Prevailing Wage legislation to eliminate the state’s prevailing wage law, allowing for broader participation in the governmental bidding process at wage levels that more accurately reflect market conditions. Prevailing wage is an artificial rate set by government that contractors are required to pay their workers, often times at inflated wage rates. These elevated costs are then passed along in the form of higher taxes to Wisconsin citizens.

“With tight municipal budgets, the elimination of prevailing wage will provide local governments with a critical tool to reduce costs associated with capital budgets,” stated Rep. Hutton.

“It is my hope that the Legislature takes a serious look at this issue, especially at a time when we are trying to make the best use of taxpayer dollars. Any discussion about additional investments in Wisconsin’s infrastructure must include prevailing wage reform. As good stewards of our state budget, we owe this to Wisconsin taxpayers,” said Rep. Hutton.
This will drastically cut the wages earned by the people that erect our buildings, build our bridges and help maintain our infrastructure. Not only will this do even more serious harm to the state economy by cutting workers' wages, but it opens the door for out-of-state companies to come in and take those jobs away from Wisconsin workers.

Not done there, two more of the most rabid and most racist of the Teahadists, State Senator Alberta Darling and State Representative Dale Kooyenga, have introduced the most offensive and most racist piece of plantation economic legislation that this state has ever seen. The bill would include the following:
The economic development proposals would:

■ Eliminate the corporate income tax for companies locating in needy urban zones. The tax cut would apply only if the business is from an industry not already represented in Wisconsin by existing companies, such as auto manufacturing.

■ Establish zones in which labor unions and private employers would not be able to reach agreements that require workers to pay union dues. Some Republicans are already pushing to make this so-called "right-to-work" approach the law statewide.

Opponents of the proposal question whether the state would have the authority under federal law to implement right-to-work in some parts of Wisconsin but not others.

■Eliminate in those zones the so-called "minimum markup" law, which prevents retailers from selling their products at a loss. The markup requirement would still apply to fuel sales.

■ Allow the formation of for-profit limited liability companies that could operate more like nonprofits. The companies would not be tax-exempt, but they would not be obliged to pursue only profits for their shareholders, leaving them more legal flexibility to work on behalf of their communities.

Other education proposals from Darling and Kooyenga include:

■ Streamlining the process for allowing high-performing charter schools to open additional schools.

Allowing high-performing charter schools run by MPS or non-MPS entities to automatically add new schools without official approval, if their students' average reading and math test score results beat the district average for two years in a row.

■ Convert the approximately $40 million MPS receives each year for school integration efforts within the system to a block grant with no state mandates.
This is pure plantation economics where they are giving every advantage to corporations and the wealthy while exploiting the workers.

Keep in mind that states with a plantation economy have average wages less than $5000 less than union states, they have higher levels of poverty, poorer education systems and higher numbers of work-related deaths and injuries.  This is what Walker and the other Teapublicans want to do to all of us.

Make no mistakes about it, the so-called "Right  to Work" agenda is coming to Wisconsin even as you read this.  Are you ready to fight it?


  1. My husband and I were working and cleaning up after a school event one night. For whatever reason Alberta Darling was there. She came up and started talking to us for about a half an hour. My husband and I kept looking at each other like what is this woman talking about. Not one thing she said made any sense. She's a nut!

  2. I love how you throw out stats, but don't provide any supporting documentation.... although, when you actually do that, it is only a link back to another crappy article from this same blog. Since I assume all of the posters on this blog are beyond the high school and college years, perhaps I can safely say that which ever school (s) they attended, were already failing prior to Act 10.

    1. If you have anything other than insults, post it up. Find your browser's search function and refute what Capper has posted.

    2. Corey,

      What are you ? some kind of moron.

      you should be reading blaska's blog or listening to sykes.

      a couple of bright educators.

    3. Wow, Corey! If you get that upset about a mere blogger not providing solid documentation to back up every stated fact and opinion then you must go nuclear when someone with real power over peoples' lies and livelihoods... someone in a position of public responsibility and trust... tosses out half-baked numbers, half truths and out and out lies... Right? Now who could that inaccurate untrustworthy person be...?

      While you're thinking that over, please show me some stats regarding UW professor workloads and class schedules, and explain how much of a dent every professor teaching one more class (assuming this is possible in a 24-hour day) will make in a $150,000,000 annual budget cut. Frankly I'm still wondering how the UW would monetize all that extra classroom time (assuming the classrooms are available -- I happen to know scheduling is very tight on the Madison campus). Will they charge people off the street by the hour for a bracing Calculus refresher course or a graduate seminar on topics in 19th century British poetry? Given your high standards I'm sure you can provide all the particulars for how Gov. Walker's proposed scheme would work.

      After that you can tell me where to find the 250,000 jobs.

    4. Sad that the media allows Walker to make the remark about teaching an extra class to cover another 300 million dollar cut, without probing him about how doing so would cover the loss.

  3. Anon 1:21

    Ask capper how his walkergate bloggin' turned out.

  4. No more significant statement about Walker divide-and-conquer politics has been made than this: "Walker's hope is that this new version of divide and conquer will leave different groups of people focused on the attacks to their own areas of interest and not seeing the big picture."

    1. I'm thinking that all these divide-and-conquer tactics can be brought together into one big picture by looking at who benefits in each and every case: cheaters. Freeloaders who want Union salaries and benefits without paying Union dues. Employers who want to skimp on training and wages and safety precautions or other conditions of employment. Industries that don't want to have to deal with the costs of what they accidentally or intentionally dump on their neighbors. People who are making a better than average living who are doing everything possible to avoid supporting the schools and other institutions that made and make their oh-so-comfortable lives possible. Heirs to great wealth who act as though their fortunes are some kind of reward for personal merit and who devote themselves to hoarding it for their own use, conveniently forgetting the workers and society that enabled it to be accumulated in the first place.

      Cheaters. Freeloaders. Ingrates. Bad neighbors. Egotists. Misers. Every time a supporter of Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP's mean-spirited, self-serving, socially destructive agenda gets nostalgic for the good old days when people helped each other, trusted each other, and worked together to achieve great things they need to know that they have only to look in a mirror to see what went wrong and who is responsible for the change to the worse.

    2. MadCityVoter- You have just won the Internet for this evening! The real takers are indeed Walker and his supporters.