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Corruption in state government not seen in more than 100 years
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October 4, 2015

Watertown, Wis.


Wisconsin citizens have witnessed a mind-boggling level political chicanery for nearly five years. The corruption, cronyism and incompetence in every branch of state government, as well as in civil service administration, has not been equaled in more than 100 years. As a result, it is now more difficult to sue nursing homes for negligence that results in serious injury or death of a resident. Family Care, originated in Wisconsin and copied by numerous states, will now be open to private-for-profit HMOs in order to replace nonprofit Managed Care Organizations.

It is easier to obtain a firearm than it is to vote. Ten percent of registered voters are disenfranchised by blatantly partisan redistricting. The University of Wisconsin has lost significant state support, while billionaire sports franchise owners have benefited by an equivalent amount, even though the UW has brought far more revenue to the state than professional basketball ever could.

The Department of Commerce has been replaced by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the very apotheosis of corruption, cronyism and incompetence (other state agencies exhibit the same in varying degrees). The legislature plans to transform other parts of state government (the Government Accountability Board and Legislative Audit Bureau in particular) to provide cover for the worst government money can buy. And now there is a move afoot to end the civil service and replace the rank and file and a merit system with a political patronage system.

With so much wing-nut mania for privatization, why do we not simply privatize Wisconsin government in its entirety? The legislature is part time employment at best (not in session since July—again) and, at around $50K per annum plus benefits per legislator, is extravagant recompense, especially given the end products of increasingly secret deliberations. Most of the current office holders have resumes (just read their individual biographies in the Wisconsin Blue Book) and on-the-job performance that would make it difficult for them to obtain gainful employment in the private sector. Perhaps the brighter ones might be suitable as greeters in big box stores (as long as customers are warned to guard their pocketbooks). And the corporations and the 1% no longer would need to divert part of their wealth to buy votes. Their money could be hidden overseas rather than used to line the pockets of politicians.

\First, the legislative [dys]function could be assumed by the American Legislative Exchange Council which, in fact, has been writing state legislation for some time. And we don’t need a Wisconsin Supreme Corp. We have not had a functional or ethical one for many years. The Club For Growth, The Bradley Foundation and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce could form a triumvirate to perform executive functions. And we don’t need a Department of Justice. There has been little of it emanating from that state agency since 2007. We don’t need the Department of Natural Resources since there is no interest in natural resources that can’t be extracted, killed or sold for political contributions: DNR now stands for Destroy Nature Rapidly.

The Department of Regulation and Licensing? We don’t need no stinkin’ regulations! Change the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to The Department of Industrial Agriculture. Consumers don’t deserve protection. The Department of Public Instruction could be eliminated along with public schools, vocational colleges and the university system and replaced with re-education camps. Faux News and Druggie Limbaugh could be streamed 24/7. With the dissolution of workers’ rights, we could close the Department of Workforce Development and create a Wisconsin Gulag and get former Blackwater employees to run it.

The possibilities are endless in our race to the bottom. Privatizing government would be the fastest (and least expensive) way to reach the finish line. And on our way down, we could take comfort in the sure knowledge that ex-legislators will be there to greet us. They have plenty of experience as bottom feeders.

Walter Mirk