Democrats Must Stay on the Lam

Today, depending on what the Republicans do, the United States may be left with 49 democratic states and 1 that is ruled by decree. That is why the Democrats left and why they should stay away. Democrats can only block financial bills, but at least they will be able to starve the new autocracy of Wisconsin to its senses.

There is a reason that the trade unions are getting attacked first–they offer protections to the workers to speak out and expose what is happening in government. Unions offer protections that allow workers to make sure that sunlight shines on the functions of government and prevent excesses.

The Budget Repair Bill that will strip workers of their rights also does many other things. It is a 144 page document. In addition to attacking workers, it also expands the number of positions that exist purely as political appointment–a drastic departure from open government towards the horrible days of patronage and boss politics of the late 1800’s.

It will also minimize the role of the legislature. The Joint Committee on Finance, instead of the Assembly and Senate, will decide on the sale of public assets. The Joint Committee on finance is a 16 member body with the Senate and Assembly each providing 8 seats. Currently, the Republicans (due to majorities in both houses) enjoy a 12-4 majority.

A colleague of mine made this comment:

“It’s even worse than this. It’s also a power grab away from public process and the deliberations of our democratically elected officials by inserting clauses throughout the bill – especially in the Medical Assistance section – that says whatever else is written in policy or statute can be overturned by the creation of “administrative rules” which are made by the Governor’s political appointees…”

That is right. Wisconsin’s legislature is giving up its role and obligation to provide due diligence and deliberate. Instead, Wisconsin will mostly be ruled by decree of political appointees.

This, is not what democracy looks like–at least not the type that we are used to in Wisconsin. Today may be the last day of the Wisconsin Idea.

Please continue to call and write the legislators. What happens in Wisconsin will sweep across republican held states.

About John McNamara

John spent 26 years with Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and currently helps develop co-op in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary's University and hopes to finish his Ph.D. in Business Administration soon. He has served on the board of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Board of Governors for the Democracy at Work Network. He currently sits on the Co-op Circle and Mission Circle for Sociocracy for All. He teaches on worker co-operatives and democratic management in the summer at The Evergreen State College.
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