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Zach LaPorte

Zach LaPorte is an Iraq war veteran

March 2nd, 2011 1:55 PM

Corporate Hijacking

Big money is taking over Wisconsin

Last night, as I struggled to finish my homework, Walker’s new budget plan was released.  As expected, the cuts to the University system and k-12 education were deep.  As I read further, I couldn’t help but feel a deep-seated anger rising inside of me.  How dare he put these cuts under the heading “Enhance Higher Education” and “Protect Local Schools”?  To put it simply, I am appalled by the blatancy with which he has hidden these cuts.  By massively cutting public education he is enhancing and protecting?  

Let’s be honest here, Scott Walker’s agenda is to minimize the role of government to the point that nearly every part of our current state government is privatized.  This is evidenced by his failed attempt to introduce private security in government buildings as Milwaukee County Executive.  In this instance he hired an international private security company, Wackenhut, at the expense of government workers because it would save the county a couple bucks.  I might add the whole scandal ended up costing more in the long run.

The topic of privatizing education has come up in a few conversations I have had with friends and family.  In poverty school districts, this is simply out of the question.  Our local small town school districts would not be able to produce the level of education that our children deserve and would force them to travel to school or subsist at the same level of poverty.  This turns into a viscous cycle that is difficult to break.

Corporate interests are strongly backing conservatives not only in our state, but across America.  Last year, when it was ruled unconstitutional to restrict spending on political campaigns from corporations, the floodgates opened. With the ruling, we no longer are allowed to know where these campaign finances are coming from, as they are not required to disclose that information.  Corporate interests can effectively fund non-profit groups like Americans For Prosperity.  Americans for Prosperity then turns around and releases an unrelenting stream of commercials crushing the opponent.

Democrats only defense to this ruling is the unions.  Out of the top ten campaign financers last year; 7 were private companies and 3 were Unions.  Do the math and it’s obvious that the people are at a strong disadvantage.  We are at a turning point in our Republic, where money is worth more than people.  At some point this has got to end.

We are now allowing out of state interests to have an overwhelming say in Wisconsin politics.  Koch industries an energy company from Wichita Kansas, Wal-mart from Arkansas, or HNTB a construction and engineering company from Kansas City Missouri all donated to the Walker campaign.  These out of state companies stand to benefit by being awarded concessions for in state projects.  The state money that is awarded to these companies leaves Wisconsin and does not return.

Of course, one would say that this is a free country and the Koch brothers can do whatever they want with their money.  Of course this is true in some respect.  I do, however fail to see in the constitution where it says we have the freedom to be taken advantage of or the freedom to be exploited by private money.  With the loss of collective bargaining, public employees lose all power to negotiate the terms of their employment.  They can be replaced by someone that doesn’t necessarily do a better job, but can do it for cheaper. 

This week the capital building was shut down for cleaning and locked up.  In fact, some of the democratic assembly members were denied access to their work place.  As they stood outside, lobbyists were freely admitted.  Is this the state of our democracy, where lawmakers are turned away and private interests welcomed with open arms by the ruling body?

By ending collective bargaining in a dictatorial manner, the stage will be set for future de-unionizing legislation.  When that happens we can expect to see the fall of the Democratic party and the middle class as we know it.  At that time, the Grand Old Party will stand on top in a single party political system free to reign their economic power over the abiding citizens.   Corporations will work side by side with lawmakers to ensure the highest profits.  People will have jobs, but they will not be paid well.  They will not have health care or pensions because they simply cannot afford it.

Wisconsin’s path towards Corporatism is being paved as we speak and we have the power to stop it.  The people of this great state were the first to unionize and rise from the ashes of the great depression.   They have the money, but we the people have numbers and we refuse to be silent.

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