Iowa Is One Vote From Being Wisconsin

Funny that we would ever use Wisconsin as an example of a state that is heading the wrong way. But since they elected Scott Walker and then reaffirmed his governorship, the state of Wisconsin is about the finest example of Repuiblicans turning a decently run state into their idea of a corporate paradise. The wealthy and the corporations have already been given huge tax breaks and other considerations. In return they are supposed to create jobs, which ain’t happening. Scott Walker is willing to give corporations anything they want. The latest rumor is that the Wisconsin Employee Retirement System will be tapped for the next financial “crisis.”

Thank goodness it can’t happen here, right? Well, here is a wake up call for one and all. Iowa has so far avoided to onslaught of corporatocracy by only the slimmest of margins. Following the 2010 election, Democrats lost the governorship, the House and held onto only a one seat (26 – 24) majority in the senate. If one seat had been flipped through a death or resignation (remember this is why the special election for Swati Dandekar’s resigned seat was so important) then Republicans would have the majority by virtue of having the tie breaking vote in the Lieutenant Governor.

Why is that so important, there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats anymore you say? Well that is no longer true. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is as stark as being able to keep the local pool open and having medical care available.

Republicans in state legislatures are pretty much owned by a group called ALEC these days. Most Republicans dance to the tune that ALEC plays, no matter what the consequences. Dare to be even a bit independent and chances of being re-elected tumble. ALEC has brought us such bills as the “Shoot your Neighbor” bill, the “Show your papers” bill and a myriad of others that bust unions, give huge tax breaks to businesses while starving cities and counties of revenue.

Given that Republican legislators are no longer working for the state but instead are working to advance a national agenda on a state by state basis, I wonder why anyone would vote for someone who so desires to turn Iowa into another version of Wisconsin which is in the process of becoming Mississippi or Texas?

One of their major targets over he past decade has been to turn public schools over to the private sector. To do this they have given schools nearly impossible goals to reach, cut funds whenever they can and run a campaign of hate and distrust against teachers and teacher’s unions. It is succeeding wildly well, especially in the south. What isn’t succeeding is the privatized education that has so often replaced public schools. The charter schools that take the place of public schools have often scored worse on most methods of measurement. But oddly we seldom hear that. Usually the charter schools also cost more while paying teachers less. There is a profit margin to maintain you know.

Having said all this, let’s go back to Branstad. Once upon a time his star shown brightly in the pantheon of Republican lights. But not being able to bust unions and shut down employment bureaus or provide tax cuts to the wealthy has dimmed his shine somewhat. Oh, taking food out of the mouths of the poor (http://dailydisgust.wordpress.com/tag/food-bank-of-iowa/) gave him a little luster, but he needs to burnish a bit to get back his luster.

And here comes a great chance – stand up against health care from the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice Roberts gave governors a wee bit of an opening to oppose Medicaid and Branstad has joined many of America’s lesser lights to show how tough he is by denying a human need to those he apparently does not consider human enough. They don’t have enough green in their pockets. Now, he may be able to do this himself, but if he could have a Republican legislature behind him, he could do it more easily. And he could get about the business of giving tax breaks to the rich, turning education over to corporations, busting unions and stopping people he doesn’t like from voting. None of these are good for Iowa, but then Republicans in the Iowa legislature and Governor Branstad are no longer governing for Iowa.

On the other hand, if Iowans elect Democrats to run the legislature, they will do such mundane things as work to keep the quality of education in Iowa high, bring good paying jobs to our state, maintain the infrastructure, negotiate with unions for fair employment contracts and in general keep Iowa at the leading edge of the American Dream.

Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota were three of the most progressive states in the history of the United States. It is a shame to see Wisconsin fall prey to the bullying of the new robber barons. We need to keep those folks out of power in Iowa. They do not bring jobs, nor do they increase wages or benefits. One only needs to look at Wisconsin – the only state that has lost jobs in the recovery – to see that.

If we have to have Branstad as governor he needs to be tamed by a Democratic legislature.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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