Many states are in trouble because they have deferred revenue through various forms of tax breaks and "incentives" to please wealth. That new stadium in town? It probably got a huge break to be there even though most people cannot afford to attend a single game.
Another way debt is manufactured is from companies with billions in unpaid back taxes over multiple years who then get special legislation voiding their past illegal tax evasion. If you or I did that, we would simply find our asses in jail rather than a special law tailor made for us exclusively to avoid paying back taxes, like the State of Washington did for Microsoft. If many states simply ended corporate welfare for the rich, and the wealthy actually paid their fair share, the budgets of most states would likely be in surplus rather than in debt.
While they can choose to reduce revenue, states still do retain various collective responsibilities they cannot as easily dispose of. Roads and highways do not become cheaper to repair. For many schools their principle budget is now in staff, having been stripped of other things already long ago in a race to the bottom. With fake reform that serves the existing insurance industry, health costs continue to escalate.
And then there are those state workers. An explicit promise (a contract) was made, first to past workers who already often had worked many years, and to new ones today, most already earning clearly substandard wages, based on the one assumption that they would instead be compensated through other benefits and pensions that they have earned.
The solution is not found in decreasing revenue to force austerity. This only serves to further impoverish the general population for the exclusive benefit of wealth transfer to those who are already wealthy. It also means even less revenue will be collected to pay existing debts, a kind of death spiral that eventually means the state will then be forced to sell public assets to private control, leading to even further impoverishment of the population. Nor is it found in reducing state functions and the public sector until they only serve the private security needs of public corporations and their parasite benefactors.
But capitalists who now run governments only understand how to "retire" people, that is, those too old or sick to work, those that have no "economic value." Useless eaters they are called. Like the old horses sent to the glue factories, perhaps they would find funding euthanasia days more cost effective than giving them their pensions due. This is what the protests in Wisconsin are ultimately about, whether all people are born with human dignity, or that workers ultimately are simply disposable sub-human labor commodities that can be cheated of their life-long pension earnings already promised them once they no longer have "economic value." What happens to pensions in Wisconsin today will likely determine what happens to Social Security nationally tomorrow.
I am currently Vice Principle Chief for the Cherokees of Idaho and chief facilitator for GNU Telephony. I spend my free time traveling, reading, occasionally speaking at scientific conferences, and working with various social and political (more...)
|The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.