From the desk of Charlie Churchill’s Parrot

“Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is – the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.” – Sir Winston Churchill

While virtually all eyes are on the spectacular plane-crash-in-progress that is California, the nauseating reality is that the same cataclysm is playing out in states throughout the land of the decreasingly free.  Case in point: the State of Wisconsin.  

The background is depressingly familiar.  Under the meticulous financial mismanagement of Democratic Governor Jim Doyle since 2003, Wisconsin has ascended through the ranks to become the fifth highest taxed state in the Union.  This has resulted, of course, in a vigorous flow of business and brains out of the state to greener pastures.  Consequently, with the tax base ever-diminishing and the tax rate ever-increasing, we have Wisconsin face-to-face with its present nightmare: an unprecedented $6.6 billion deficit.  Granted other states boast more breathtaking deficit numbers, but when population is factored in – Wisconsin is rather more sparse at roughly six million – she is perhaps the worst off of the fifty United States.

And if she isn’t yet, she soon will be.

Enter the state legislature; majority Democrat as of the Obamanon of November 2008.  Full of hope and change and New Left (we’re not Socialists wink, wink) vigor, the Democrats on the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee last week approved – literally in the dead of night -  not a spending decrease in light of the leviathan deficit, but an increase of overall spending of roughly 7%.  Somewhere Lord John Maynard Keynes is giggling like a school girl. 

Mind you, Democratic assemblyman assuaged any fears of recklessness on their part by assuring Wisconsinites that the increase in spending is made possible by federal dollars from the economic stimulus package.  Then, in order to regain the mantel of fiscal conservatism, they explained that spending of state tax dollars will actually decrease about 3.4% should this proposed budget pass.  As the entire state government of Wisconsin is Democrat, there is no reason to believe it will not pass. 

We witness here in a very real and intimate way American government transmuting from Keynesian folly to Marxist tragedy.  For State representatives to so gleefully exclaim that they have transferred funding authority from local government to central government is to reveal the degree to which they are indeed Marxists.  If this reversal of Federalism doesn’t convince you of such a charge, perhaps a quick look at the rest of the proposed budget will.  

(Compliments of The MacIver Institute)

• A new income tax bracket for those despicable Wisconsinites earning over $300,000 per year.  

• An increase on the capital gains tax.

• An “oil franchise fee” to stick it to those miserable oil companies (which will result in higher prices at the petrol pump). 

• Eliminating welfare reforms designed to put welfare recipients to work. The latest proposal expands the benefit eligibility window from two to five years and relaxes education requirements. Welfare queens, pimps, drug dealers, ne’er-do-wells, and gangstas – Wisconsin welcomes you!

• Increasing the brand new tax on Wisconsin hospitals in order to draw down still more federal dollars to fund the ever-swelling Medicaid roles and various state plans which provide health care to pretty much anyone for “free.”  In a wholly unrelated development, Wisconsin hospitals are raising their rates. (Think “oil franchise fee.”)  Note: If you have insurance and believe in paying your bills, don’t get sick in Wisconsin. 

• New mandates on health and auto insurance which will increase premiums and force many to drop coverage altogether.

• Early release for felons to reduce the expense of incarceration of hardened criminals.   Brilliant!

• Elimination of moderately expensive GPS monitoring of sex offenders. Again brilliant.  

• Relaxing restrictions on teacher’s union benefits (which just may account for 6.3 of the $6.6 billion deficit already.) 

• A new cell phone tax. OMG! 

• A school district transportation mandate for pregnant students who live within a few blocks from school.

• The ability to sue pretty much any business any time for anything (this only affects those businesses and individuals participating in activities which involve some modicum of risk such as sky-diving, hunting, skiing, horseback riding, camping, fishing, walking on slippery surfaces, or occasionally sitting back a bit too far in folding chairs.) 

• Curtailment on the use of private contractors during hiring freeze.  In other words, look for the Union Label.  If you don’t see it, it doesn’t get done.

• Fees on mutual funds – A tripling of the registration filing fee and increased the annual filing fee by over $5 million dollars over 2 years. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to file mutual fund registrations! 

• Increasing spending to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.

• Providing tax-payer funded insurance benefits for domestic partners of state employees.

• Doubling the garbage tax from $5.90 per ton to $13.00 per ton; which will cost municipalities $63 million, and likely result in higher property taxes.

There is much, much more.  Why not read it for yourself?  And did we mention the millions of dollars of pork-barrel projects in Democratic districts figured into the budget; the icing on the cake, or the insult to the injury depending on your perspective.

“One, sweeping, secretly-negotiated omnibus motion, on which no public hearing was held,” says the MacIver Institute of this proposal.  “New taxes. New fees. New fund transfers. New mandates. New policies.” We would summarize it by another quote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” That’s the American way in 2009.

When California implodes under the strain of its own Leftist asininity it provokes little more than a roll of the eyes and a chortle. But when states in the purported heartland of America demonstrate such unabashed commitment to Marxist policy, how is one to react? After all, the people voted for this.

One by one American politicians, business leaders, and individual citizens line up to suck at the teat of private enterprise, despite her ever increasing burden and suffocating environment.  When she finally is sucked dry and collapses under the strain, they will point and say, “You see, the free market does not work.  Only government can provide for the needs of the people.” And the people will nod passively in agreement and shuffle along to their holding pens to await their next feeding.




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