Mike Konczal has another essential post on the Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan for Wisconsin, summed up neatly in this chart he created.
There’s a three-prong approach in Governor Walker’s plan that highlights a blueprint for conservative governorship after the 2010 election. The first is breaking public sector unions and public sector workers generally. The second is streamlining benefits away from legislative authority, especially for health care and in fighting the Health Care Reform Act. The third is the selling of public assets to private interests under firesale and crony capitalist situations.
This wasn’t clear to me at first. I thought this was about a narrow disagreement over teacher’s unions. Depending on what you read, you may have only seen a few of these parts, and you may have not seen them put together as a coherent whole. This will be the framework that other conservative governors, and even a few Democratic ones, will use in their state, so it is good to get a working model in place....
That's a model for conservative governance nationally, not just in the individual states. Mike outlines the roadmap further with a series of links, pointing out that, "as Zach Carter found, Wisconsin’s public pensions are among the nation’s healthiest." This isn't about the budget, its about defunding and delegitimizing public workers.
Another leg is cutting government services, particularly in Medicaid: "From the CBPP: '[Walker's] bill would strip the legislature of practically all of its authority to set the guidelines for the program (known as BadgerCare), leaving the power to do so almost solely in the governor’s hands.'”
This is the most important thing that has gotten the least coverage. The administration of Medicaid would be moved away from the state legislation to be more directly under the control of the Governor’s office. People may be dropped right away and there could be extreme games of chicken with the Federal government over medicaid spending.
And finally, privatizing assets:
Privatize everything. Ed from ginandtacos caught the language related to no-bid energy asset sales in Walker’s bill. Both Felix Salmon and Yves Smith have followed up on how this will be a new normal for states over the next two years, where more and more government infrastructure is going to be sold into a crony favor-and-campaign-contribution trading environment. Matt Taibbi’s new book has a chapter on this topic that is really good. This is going to be much more relevant over the next two years, and we should learn about how it works and what the consequences are early on.
Notice that each of these objectives overlap with each other. Privatizing services cuts public workers out while crony deals, skimming and poor services creates distrust in the government, leading to a negative feedback loop.
The Reagan Revolution would be realized. (Read the post to find out how Walker believes Reagan defeated the Soviet Union by firing air traffic controllers. Really.) A very few people will be positioned to become even wealthier, while the rest of us become a permanent underclass. Ironic that the modern day American GOP is trying to turn us into the modern day Russia.