Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Under Assault? Fight Back

There has been so much bad news in Wisconsin (and the nation) this week, I haven't had two seconds to catch my breath. Each time I get a moment to think about what is happening here, and how powerless we seem to be in response, something else happens and my temperature rises.

Governor Scott Walker seems determined to tear apart the foundation of middle-class life here in Wisconsin, starving the University of Wisconsin System to death. I really don't care whether or not the right to "lapses" (in judgement) was contained in his godawful budget, the fact is that we have already taken a terrible $250 million cut, and now we face another $113.8 million shortfall on top of that. The effects will undoubtedly be detrimental to Wisconsin's middle class, as workers across the state are laid off, and students who can't afford to take 5 years to earn a bachelor's degree will drop out ( declining resources often lead to larger classes and waits for key courses at less-selective universities like the various UWs).

I am hard-pressed to see how destroying Wisconsin's pride and joy is a solid approach to job creation. The fact is, this isn't an economic strategy at all. It's a political one: Walker intends to reduce UW System to a shriveled raisin and then propose that we "solve" the higher education problem in the state by open the door to more private and for-profit institutions. "Businesses", he'll say. Moreover, by keeping the population from a postsecondary education, he'll help increase the likelihood they'll vote for him. (Seriously: I have NO PROBLEM with college dropouts, and don't bother sending me an email accusing me of such. My problem is with people who dropout and recommend that others do it too!)

Each week it's something new. Walker no doubt praised the heck out of Steve Nass for tormenting UW-Madison with his silly legislative hearing on affirmative action, and he's undoubtedly chuckling over what will happen when DOA gets UW System's plan for coping with the cuts. There's another Nass hearing in early November, and who knows what else around the corner.

If you can't stand this anymore, and you have the guts to say so, now's the time to get loud. Folks are organizing and together, united, we have to take action. I wish the UW-Madison football players would simply halt in the middle of their next game and tell the national television audience just what a schmo Walker really is. SCOTT WALKER IS KILLING BUCKY! We can't afford to take small steps here.

This is the Walker some of us knew was coming. This is the Walker we said you cannot trust, when others argued we could hand it to Scottie to come up with a new governance model for UW-Madison. This is the Walker who we must recall. Now. Get on it. Get to work.

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