Friday, February 25, 2011

Why I'm An Angry Bird (Scott Walker edition)

I begin with a quote from Tavis Smiley, as stated on "Real Time with Bill Maher on 2.18.11:
"These budgets are moral documents. And when we see what you put on the table, we know then what you really believe."

It turns out, that while I don't think of myself as political at all, my friends have told me that, yes I am a political person. And this blog is gonna get all political up in your shit. True!

And Governor Walker has been upsetting me (and tens of thousands of other individuals across the state AND the nation). And I've been wanting to blog about it for awhile, but was out of town, getting cold sores from the stress of it all, and I was generally getting my agitation out by just discussing with my friends.

But it doesn't seem to be letting up. Paul Krugman keeps writing about Wisconsin, We're figuring heavily into "Real Time" with Bill Maher. We're regular fixtures on the Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

And since I'm a bit of an attention whore, I like it.
But then I remember WHY we're getting the attention.
Because our governor is bat-shit crazy. Yes. I realize he's an elected official. And that 53% of Wisconsin voted for him. BUT. I have a slight feeling that if he would've been TRULY honest (not "honest" as he states he was) in his campaign, if he would have come right out and said:
"The only TRUE way to fix the budget crisis here is to bust all the unions," my guess is that maybe not so many people would have voted for him. Just a guess here, I'm no political theorist. I'm just a person who was laid-off once and decided to start a blog about my adventures in the poor-house, which due to me being born in the wrong social class, are most likely to continue on for the rest of my days.

And I'm not gonna lie. I'm a total liberal.
I have no bones about labeling myself that.
I'm not one of those who says "I'm X-leaning" or "I don't vote for the party, I vote for the person," although my paternal grandma always said that one. Even though I think she voted republican 99% of the time, but she's adorable and could do whatever she wanted. Personally I think it's because her dad was a union president and probably PROBABLY (I have no basis for this fact, this is pure conjecture) voted democrat her entire life. But like I said, I never asked her about it, so that is a pure guess.

But as her father (my great-grandfather that I never met) WAS a union president, I feel it would be remiss to NOT talk about what's happening in my state. That I love.

Supposedly, Scott Walker ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility. He demanded that the public sector unions pay into their pensions at a rate of about 5.8% (compared to their previous 1%) and pay more for their healthcare, I believe at a rate of 12.6% (compared to their previous 6%).

Honestly, I think there are better ways for the state to get out of it's deficit (raise the sales tax) or here is a fun visual a friend of a friend posted on facebook:

My Wisconsin teachers taught me to show my work:            |
|                                                                                     |
| Deficit = $137 million                                                       |
| WI Adult Population (2009) = 4,342,866                           |
| (5,654,774 total population times 76.8% adults)                 |
|                                                                                     |
$137,000,000 divided by 4,342,866 = $32                  |
|                                                                                     |

While I'm sure there are some people/adults who couldn't afford to pay this I know there are people (like myself, my friends, those who commented on this statistic via facebook) who would be willing to pay a double or triple share. And let's be real. I'm not flush with cash. I live paycheck to paycheck and receive no support from my parents. But I would gladly do this to enable the teachers  (THE TEACHERS--THOSE WHO TEACH YOUR KIDS [yep your kids, cos I don't have any]!!!) to keep their "great" benefits and measly pay. Not to mention their collective bargaining rights.

Here is a fun twist:
While Fox News originally reported that 61% of those polled were FOR ending collective bargaining, it quickly corrected itself by saying that it actually had the figures flip-flopped (are you freaking kidding me?!?!) and that 61% actually OPPOSED ending collective bargaining rights. This can be seen here in the always funny Colbert Report. While I realize people make mistakes, this seems a little too ridick, even for my tastes.

I'm just a little mad over this.
Mad that my brother, my cousins, my old teachers might get paid even shittier than they would have if this bill passes. I've heard their (and other state workers, like prison guards) will received a $200-$600 cut PER MONTH. That is a mortgage payment for some.

Mad that this bill would make cuts to a $1 billion cut to health care programs that serve the disabled, elderly, and low-income residents currently served through Badger Care, the state’s Medicaid program.
Mad that this bill would undermine all that the unions have done. I like the fact that I get days off, get benefits, and get to work in proper working conditions. This didn't happen because bosses thought the workers deserved more or better. It happened because the workers organized, formed unions and demanded it.

Mad that the unions have AGREED to increase their contributions to their pensions and benefits (the part that is actually about the budget) and STILL Governor Walker won't take out the collective bargaining language that's in the bill.

Mad that I feel this bill is going to pass, barring some Christmas Day miracle that gives three republican senators hearts.

Mad that the president has said very little about this situation as this is CLEARLY a political issue rather than a fiscal one.

But I hate to end this on such a downer (because I don't see these blogs getting any more cheery), I have to say that I'm so very proud of Wisconsin coming together, protesting peacefully, getting us much needed national attention, getting the message out that this ISN'T about just the budget, this is political high-jinks, in full force. 

So thanks to all my awesome friends who keep posting great links and articles, thanks to the public service workers who are protesting non-stop, thanks to all of the supporters who aren't public workers (Ian's Pizza in Madison has received donations from all over the country and other countries, including Egypt!), thanks to Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow (and all of their writers!) for bringing and keeping this issue in the spotlight of American politics, thanks to Paul Krugman for bringing his always super-smart analysis to this issue. 

Mad love to all of you.

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