As expected, there will be no new revenue to help alleviate violent cuts to various Wisconsin public services and institutions. Let’s preempt our planned horseshit-water rafting excursion; a deliverance, if you will, from the oncoming tide of lies about “tough choices” that supposedly appear via magic rather than their own deliberate set of calculations.
We can begin with the article linked above, especially this supper-club-sized serving: “Republican leaders have stood firmly against raising taxes, leaving them few sustainable options except to make cuts.” Journalism! Ummm, to rephrase: because of a non-binding choice entirely in their control, they have no control. Got it. Thanks.
And let the “tough choices” beating of breasts and gnashing of teeth begin.
Announcement: there are no tough choices now. The choices were already made, and the results perfectly match the desired outcomes. Lower tax revenue = smaller government; therefore, freedom! At the very least, media outlets, let’s not pretend that revenue shortfalls are a sudden change in unpredictable weather. They are the result of deliberate policy and deliberate choices. What we have now are not “tough choices.” What we have are tough, debilitating results.
So dear Patrick Marley, Jason Stein, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: your current headline reads, “No hike in revenue estimates forces tough budget decisions.” Let me rewrite the headline for you so as to not make excuses for people and circumstances that have clear, identifiable causes: “State revenue, declining because of tax cuts, allows leaders to move forward with desired cuts to state services and institutions.” There is no “forcing” involved here.
And here’s a reminder: when the “choice” you have to make is your desired outcome, it is not tough. Got it? When buildings fall, let’s not make martyrs of the architects.
Here’s another reminder: this is all about money. It has always been about money and the ideological reorganization of who has access to it. So… public authority, tenure, shared governance, reserves something or other… all relates to this budget, how? (See my previous post.)
We pause for an interview with Chuck Rybak! An important man who was generous enough to put down his coffee and speak with us!
Chuck: How will any alteration of policies related to tenure and shared governance affect the current budget situation?
Chuck: They won’t. There is no monetary connection whatsoever. Strike that. Shared governance does save money, so it’s probably more important now than ever. Furthermore, tenure is free, and likely the only thing preventing highly-skilled faculty from leaving the UW for even moderately higher pay.
Chuck: What connection does the public authority model have to this budget situation?
Chuck: None. Any flexibilities (cough) (unintelligible) can be legislated anyway.
Chuck: Then why do people spend so much time talking about these things?
Chuck: Don’t ask me (pregnant pause), but I do have ideas about why people would give the appearance of completely unconnected issues being connected.
Chuck: What could happen, in terms of choices, that might help the citizens of Wisconsin?
Chuck: Hmmm. Accepting federal money for healthcare. Raising tax revenue by tapping those most able to pay it and those who most benefit from a system of public education. Remember, the majority of Wisconsin corporations pay no state taxes at all. Even a little would help. Or this.
Chuck: You mean, nothing related to tenure, shared governance, or charter schools?
Chuck: Excuse me?
Chuck: Thanks so much for stopping by.
Chuck: No problem. Have a nice day.
Your guide for dealing with media and opinion from here until the final budget is passed:
- There are no tough choices. The choices that have produced this situation were already made by the very same people in question.
There are no tough choices. The above is very important for accountability (buzzword, I know). Let’s make this an election issue now: deliberate policy has deliberately weakened education in Wisconsin. Easy choices for them, hard results for everyone else.
There are no tough choices. Push against any rhetorical horseshit that positions the upcoming cuts as a situation that “just appeared,” hanging in the sky as if a distant sun we cannot reach. Our current leadership—in the Capitol and UW Central—deliberately brought us here. That’s the starting point of all discussion: “specific choices by these specific people have us in this specific situation.”
If the results are not good for Wisconsin and its citizens, the decision makers should be held immediately accountable. You know, just like they expect of teachers.
The beatings will continue until morale improves. Have a nice day!