In March 19 IssueBy Kathy Foley, Columnist
Unabashed and unashamed, the Wisconsin Republicans celebrated their illegal victory over the middle class with a huge fundraiser in Washington DC, hosted by the lobbying firm, BGR Group. So, if Governor Scott Walker is right when he says his policies will benefit "the Badger State's hard-working taxpayers" then why do they have to travel out of state to raise money? And, why is it that the major contributor to his 2010 gubernatorial campaign was Koch Industries, which isn't even based in Wisconsin? It isn't a big mystery for any of us who can actually see what is going on not only in Wisconsin, but all over this country as the Republicans wage their war on the middle class.
In Indiana the Republicans are trying to push forward union stripping measures while thousands have been protesting at the state capital. Additionally, they are attempting to shift public school resources into private hands.
In Boise, Idaho union rights for teachers were stripped away last week. And in Ohio the same thing is happening.
In Lansing, Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder is putting forth legislation that will redistribute funds with a tax hike of $1.7 billion on seniors, low-income earners and on donations to schools. And then he is going to take that money plus a little more--$1.8 billion--and give it to businesses in the form of tax breaks-making no impact whatsoever on his state's budget deficit. The AARP in Michigan is leading demonstrations there.
There is an almost identical story in Florida. Newly elected Republican Governor Rick Scott is planning to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from K-12 education in order to give it away as corporate and property tax breaks--$1.75 billion in education funding cuts and $1.6 billion in tax breaks. The state deficit will stay as is.
And that's not all. The Republicans are also hammering away at one of the most basic foundations of democracy: the idea of one person, one vote. How can that be, you might ask. Simple-make it harder for people who are likely to vote Democratic to actually vote. Who are likely Democratic voters?
Low income voters
In Florida, the previous governor, moderate Republican Charlie Crist in 2007 mandated that convicted felons who completed their sentence and paid their debt to society could have their voting rights restored. And 150,000 did so. New Republican Governor Rick Scott, after determining that demographically these voters were more likely to vote Democratic, immediately rescinded that policy and now requires them to wait five years before having their voting rights restored.
In Wisconsin those very same Republican legislators are trying to pass a bill saying that Wisconsin Student IDs would no longer be sufficient identification to be allowed to vote.
In New Hampshire, one Republican lawmaker was caught on tape saying, "…the kids coming out of the school and basically doing what I did as a kid. Voting as a liberal. And that's what kids do. They don't have life experience and they just vote their feelings." So, he introduced legislation that would end their policy of Election Day registration. And who benefits most from Election Day registration? College students and first-time voters.
And lastly (at least for this column), Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry has introduced five bills which he says must be considered on an emergency basis due to the $27 billion dollar deficit in his state. But isn't it odd that one of those bills requires the state to spend millions to force pregnant women to get ultrasounds before they can be allowed by Governor Perry to obtain an abortion? Apparently, that is an emergency fiscal solution to their budget deficit. Another of the five proposed emergency bills is a restrictive new voter ID law which again targets likely Democratic voters, with two major exceptions: the elderly and gun owners-oddly enough, two demographics in Texas which overwhelmingly support Republican candidates. No doubt, on some planet besides Earth, this bill could be construed to help a budget deficit.
I can't help but wonder what would happen if the Republicans, the Koch Brothers and the rest of the wealthy and powerful are successful in annihilating the poor and the middle class. Who would they tax then to help them become even more wealthy and powerful? I guess they would have to eat each other.