March 17, 2011
Until the union issue gained momentum and invited legislative scrutiny it was largely unreported that stealthily inserted into this ostensible “labor bill” were provisions to liquefy in no-bid sales 37 state-owned power plants which provide for University of Wisconsin campuses, prisons, and a variety of smaller facilities under the Wisconsin Department of Health’s overview.
The contagion of “knowing” appears legion, as two days after the body voted, WI State Senator Chris Larson incorrectly stated on Twitter that: “And before you ask, yes, the no-bid contract for state power plants was in the bill they passed. Shame.” Shame, indeed.
Privatization is a recurring theme across the American Midwest. In Michigan the governor seeks the power to disincorporate town and city government at will. In Indiana the roads and water have been privatized. Similar actions are being proposed regarding publicly owned services in Illinois.
Whatever the strictest constitutionalist or state minimalist may believe, he would be hard-pressed to argue that such public benefactors as libraries would ever have been made available to the masses without government support. Despite its failings, imperiled public education produces many who are capable of questioning the powers that be and often challenging them. At a minimum, many citizens still expect something more than a plutocratic legislature in return for 40% or more of their gross wages. Lamentably, perhaps universal privatizers will only learn how sorely the lack of moderation in any belief system can pinch when police and fire departments are finally defunded to widespread distress.
Not for nothing is Moscow the city with the world’s most billionaires, oligarchs who made their fortunes stealing public resources through corrupt politicians.
As to the stage which was set in Madison, following a lifetime in politics it can be stated affirmatively that in such matters the primary performers and their main narrative is never the plot on which one should focus. Ever. Unions and collective bargaining may have had less to do with this matter than anyone guesses.
Things have happened in Wisconsin, but in this world of duplicity, deceit, false motives, and hidden actors, it is easy to be misinformed as to what. Almost no one except the pawns were acting for the reasons they seemed to be, and I have no doubt that many were being tricked to act (often outrageously) for parties who were wholly opposed to their declared aims.
The worst aspect of it all is that despite our best efforts to be well-informed, I fear there is something crucial that has occurred in Wisconsin which various forces are making every effort to ensure that none of us fully understands…that is, at least until it is far too late for us to do anything, and by then it won’t matter whether we know or not.