Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ALEC + Walker = Jobs killed in Wisconsin

The corporations comprising ALEC call themselves job creators. They are anything but.

We know this because ALEC hijacked Wisconsin when Scott Walker became governor. His "pro-business," pro-ALEC agenda resulted in a net loss of jobs even as new jobs were created throughout the rest of the country.

Econbrowser reports:
Civilian employment in Wisconsin is less than it was when Governor Walker took office in January 2011. In contrast, US employment is almost 3% higher.
Heckuva job, Scotty.
If you haven't been following ALEC, it's a corporate dating service for state legislators. (Hence the name, American Legislative Exchange Council.) ALEC lawmakers put their names on bills written by corporations to gouge consumers, bust unions, strengthen monopolies and immunize corporations from lawsuits when they damage people or communities. In exchange, the lawmakers get lavish family vacations and introductions to deep-pocketed corporate donors.

Scott Walker is an ALEC alum. The Koch brothers are big ALEC supporters.

Anyhoo, since the ALEC-Walker cabal started running Wisconsin, jobs are scarcer than ever. The ones that have been created don't pay much. Wisconsin's average wage fell during Walker's first year in office, while the national average rose. Commerce is dwindling..

The Center for Media and Democracy, which has exposed much of ALEC's nefarious activity, explains how ALEC took over Wisconsin here. Shorter version here by Mary Bottari, who runs CMD:
Anti-consumer bills, union busting legislation, voter ID, enormous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy along with requirements for "super majority" votes to raise revenue were fast tracked through the legislature.
The extreme agenda sparked massive protests regularly topping 100,000 and an 18-day Capitol occupation... 
Wisconsin's 49 ALEC lawmakers (there are 132 in the state) shepherded at least 32 bills reflecting 41 ALEC provisions, most of which Walker signed into law.

Here are some of them:
  • An "omnibus" tort bill that makes it harder for Wisconsin families to hold corporations accountable when dangerous products injure or kill people.
  • The "Budget Repair Bill," which effectively eliminates collective bargaining for state workers. (Key provisions have since been vacated by the court.)
  • A prohibition on the state collecting union dues.
  • A prohibition on unions to re-certifying unless they get the majority of 100 percent of their members to vote.
  • A telecommunications "modernization" act, which removed protections for rural consumers and reduces government oversight of landline service. It was supposed to spur economic activity.
In return, ALEC elected officials in Wisconsin received more than half a million dollars in campaign donations. At least 17 received thousands of dollars of gifts from ALEC corporations in the past few years. They've taken flights and fancy hotel rooms filtered through the ALEC "scholarship fund."

CMD has asked Wisconsin's ethics board to look into the practice, as lawmakers aren't allowed to accept so much as a cup of coffee from lobbyists.