Paul Krugman is at it again. In a piece titled Shock Doctrine, U.S.A., he sees all sorts of connections between what’s happening in Madison and what happened in Baghdad in 2003. And of course, there’s the obligatory reference to Bush. Can’t have a Governor Scott Walker walking around without a Bush stamped on his forehead like a scarlet letter. That mission accomplished, he takes off in a way that only an op-ed writer cum Nobel laureate can–a laureate with no sense of irony.
Referencing Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” he argues that Paul Bremer’s push for privatization in Iraq
was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, [Klein] suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.
Ahem, comments by the newly elected Mayor of Chicago come to mind, but that doesn’t count, I suppose, because his and his boss’s multi-trillion dollar exploitation of a crises imposed a vision of a less harsh (for some), more equal (for some), more democratic (for some) society. But I digress.
In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.
What he means by the attack on unions having nothing to do with the budget is that . . . hell, I have no idea what he means. If collective bargaining has no impact on Wisconsin’s budget, then union members have been getting screwed by their leaders for a long, long time.
What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy.
Pot to kettle and more. Where are the corporations and the wealthy in the drama in Madison? Last I checked, we were talking about public employee unions protesting against the state government, which gets its political power from average Joe Wisconsin.
And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.
Only 144 pages long? Not over 1,000? And there are some extraordinary things hidden in there too? Really?
I’m out of time, but you get the idea. But if you don’t, let me take you to the 3rd from the last paragraph in Krugman’s piece, the paragraph where he trots some other allegedly evil doers out on to the stage, out from the shadows for all conspiracy theorists to see,
If this [the push for privatization of state-owned power plants] sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?
And the left criticizes Glenn Beck. At least he apologizes occasionally.