Politicians of both parties are taking hits from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement for serving multinational corporations and the wealthiest one percent of Americans while neglecting the other 99 percent of Americans.
The list of offending officials is long.
But if there is a poster boy for anti-worker, anti-labor, anti-community and anti-democracy policies, it has to be Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Since Walker took office in January, corporations have gotten sweeping tax breaks, while unions that represent working people have been attacked.
Under Walker, public employees and teachers have lost basic rights, while public schools and public services have lost basic funding.
Walker’s anti-labor agenda was supposed to create jobs. Instead, it has caused a spike in unemployment that has seen joblessness rise in Wisconsin at a dramatically faster rate than it has nationally over the past six months. While neighboring states seem to be weathering the worst of the downturn, Wisconsin has seen its official jobless rate go up 0.6 percent in the six months since the governor’s policies began to take hold.
Walker’s “Wall Street Wins/Main Street Loses” approach sums up an awfully lot of what has angered the Americans who are protesting corporate abuses from Wall Street to Wisconsin.
Could Walker be the first prominent political player to be removed from office by the 99 Percent movement that has spread across the country from the site of the “Occupy Wall Street” protest?
Major unions think so, and they are making the connection as the endorse plans to force a spring 2012 election to remove the anti-labor governor.
“Scott Walker lied to the people of Wisconsin. Not once did he campaign on stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights and busting public employee unions. He has divided Wisconsin. He is attacking the rights of working people and the middle class in order to advance his corporate agenda and payback his wealthy friends. We can’t afford to continue to put the super-rich above the 99 percent,” declared the Wisconsin AFL-CIO’s endorsement of the recall drive that United Wisconsin will formally begin November 15. “Governor Walker’s extreme and radical approach to governing must be stopped before it does any more damage to our state. The people of Wisconsin have come together in an effort to restore democracy and get our state working again.”
Decrying the way in which “Walker has forced public employees and the middle class to bear the entire burden while handing out millions in corporate tax cuts,” Wisconsin’s Service Employees International Union affiliate urged union members to join the recall drive.
Dian Palmer, a former public health nurse who serves as SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin’s president, nailed the point when she said of Walker: “His policies add to the real cause of our revenue problem—the global economic crisis caused by Wall Street and the failure of corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share.”
The Wisconsin Education Association Council endorsed backed the recall drive, with WEAC president Mary Bell accusing Walker of “[dividing] this state by imposing harmful budget cuts and extreme legislation designed to silence the voices of teachers, nurses and others who keep Wisconsin running smoothly.”
“Scott Walker has consistently shown he is not on the side of Wisconsin’s middle class families. He has made massive cuts to public education, health care, and other vital services in order to pay for tax breaks to the wealthiest state residents and his corporate backers,” said Kennedy. “From day one of his administration, Scott Walker has given the citizens of Wisconsin a thousand reasons to support his recall. Dishonest campaigning, extreme policies, and stubbornly refusing to negotiate are not the Wisconsin way. AFT-Wisconsin proudly supports the Scott Walker recall efforts, and our members will work tirelessly to see this election through.”