If idiot Americans were unsure, or confused, about what kind of damage the Koch Congress intended to wreak on the nation by way of “dynamically scored” budget cuts, they should be aware by now after Republicans released what can only be called a Draconian austerity attack on domestic programs. The House budget leaves no domestic program unharmed, and increases tax breaks for the rich and more money for the defense industry including racist warmongering Israelis. More on that in another article.
The only remote hope to thwart austerity madness at the national level is a united Democratic caucus in the Senate. But with Republicans planning a “reconciliation” plot, the only firewall to a devastating austerity attack is President Obama’s veto pen. Sadly, in Republican-controlled states there is no firewall, and since the Koch brothers own and operate GOP governors and legislatures, there is some seriously Draconian cuts on the horizon; none as harsh and damaging than Wisconsin’s Koch governor’s attack on public education.
Scott Walker’s budget epitomizes the Koch-Republican “vision for America” and not at all unique among states ruled by Koch-governors with Republican legislatures. In Wisconsin, because Walker has driven the state’s deficit over the $2 billion mark with tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, he intends on slashing yet another $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system over two years, and for fun will make seriously Draconian cuts to health care and food stamps. All to preserve tax cuts for the rich and corporations and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to build a professional basketball stadium. It is why the Koch Congress lusts to change Medicaid and food stamps to block grants; so Koch governors can appropriate them according to the Kochs’ “vision for America;” a vision that does not include a public education system.
Walker’s cuts already have colleges across the state suffering, and now they are bracing for the worst funding cuts to levels not seen in twenty years. Thus far, at just one campus, 325 staff and faculty members were offered “go away packages” which is over 25% of UW-Eau-Claire campus. Another campus reports having to completely “eliminate several entire majors” regardless of how many students are already enrolled, and will have to layoff half the school’s departments.
Public primary schools across Wisconsin will fair no better and will lose about $127 million more in education aid next year that a three decade-long teacher said is beyond “breathtaking;” particularly since public schools they are “still reeling” from Walker’s 2011 deep education cuts. Walker, like most Republican governors will use money from the education cuts for property tax relief specifically slated for the wealthiest people in the state. State educators say Wisconsin schools already suffer from “Depression-like economic conditions” such as overcrowded classrooms and epic cuts to music, art, and physical education programs. It is important to reiterate that the Koch brothers want public education eliminated completely; this is just a start and a portent of what Republicans intend to do nationwide. Wisconsin is just one of several states preparing their residents for what is certainly a nation without public education.
In Illinois, residents are organizing against Governor Bruce Rauner’s education cuts to take funding levels back to the 1950s despite the student population is three times larger today. Like in Wisconsin and Kansas, the education cuts, along with healthcare and food stamp cuts, are an attempt to cover in excess of a $6.2 billion budget deficit. At the University level, officials already predicted there will be “hundreds of staff cuts” at campuses and complete elimination of the pharmacy and flight schools. Students are pushing for the cuts to be distributed fairly among college presidents and chancellors who earn salaries in excess of $400,000 a year, but more education damage is possible laying off hundreds of professors making a tenth of that.
Like other Koch-governed states, Republicans could fund schools and keep bloated-salaried administrators and pathetically underpaid teachers employed if they eliminated tax cuts for the rich and corporations. But that is not something the Kochs will allow at the state level any more than the federal level because where the public education system is concerned, they want it eliminated entirely; a goal Republicans adamantly share.
Another Koch governor, Louisiana’s Piyush Jindal intends to impose more than $200 million more in education cuts to cover the more than $1.6 billion budget deficit; a direct result of “massive tax cuts” for corporations and the rich. In fact, legislators on both sides of the partisan divide have begged Piyush to consider ending just a fraction of the epic tax cuts, but like the Koch-devotee in Kansas Sam Brownback, Jindal said ending any tax cuts is off the table. He told an audience in Washington that, “I’ll veto any tax increase and I’ll veto any budget that includes a tax increase.”
It is noteworthy that Brownback, Jindal, Walker, and Rauner, all Koch Republicans, are leading states that are running monumental budget deficits due to tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Every one of the Koch-owned Republicans are drastically cutting education, healthcare, and food stamps to cover the budget holes and not one of the Koch acolytes will consider ending tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. It is far easier, and part of the Koch vision, to impose massive cuts to education funding and fire teachers that, as a value-added bonus, keeps the next generation of residents as monumentally stupid as the voters that elect them in the first place.
What is happening in Wisconsin, like Kansas, Louisiana, and many, many other Republican states is a well-conceived and executed plot to keep a perpetual stupidity-loop among the voting populace in place. The recent midterm elections fairly prove that cutting education is working to perfection for Republicans who will stay in power until they fulfill the Koch brothers’ goal of eliminating public education in America; even If they have to do it in one bankrupt Republican state at a time.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.