Buzzflash: Scott Walker Will “Open the State up to a Corporate Asset-grab Not Seen Since the Robber Barons”

March 13, 2011- "Scott Walker's real agenda in Wisconsin: The Republican governor's budget plan would open the state up to a corporate asset-grab not seen since robber baron capitalism."

That headline is not from BuzzFlash at Truthout; it's from The Guardian UK, and it pretty much nails where the current GOP is at: Milton Friedman on a triple dose of steroids.

Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout speculated about the trend of the government selling off public assets. In the end, this would lead to Grover Norquist's dream of "strangling government and drowning it in a bathtub" (a paraphrase). BuzzFlash, alas, was not being entirely sardonic when we predicted that we will have a manufactured "education crisis" resolved by selling off corporate naming rights (and perhaps ownership) to high schools, privatized teaching (mostly through computers), Wackenhut school security and even pay toilets to cover the costs of privatized sanitation services.

For anyone who thought that this was a parody, read this from The Guardian:

Fast-forward to Scott Walker today. Representing a new breed apart from Wisconsin's earlier Republicans, he is seeking to reopen the asset-grabbing, Gilded Age-style. A plague of rent-seekers is seeking quick gains by privatizing the public sector and erecting tollbooths to charge access fees to roads, power plants and other basic infrastructure….

But who is one to steal from? Most wealth in history has been acquired either by armed conquest of the land, or by political insider dealing, such as the great US railroad land giveaways of the mid-19th century. The great American fortunes have been founded by prying land, public enterprises and monopoly rights from the public domain, because (to paraphrase Willie Sutton) that's where the assets are to take. Throughout history, the world's most successful economies have been those that have kept this kind of primitive accumulation in check. The US economy today is faltering largely because its past barriers against rent-seeking are being breached.

Nowhere is this more disturbingly on display than in Wisconsin. Today, Milwaukee – Wisconsin's largest city, and once the richest in America – is ranked among the four poorest large cities in the United States. Wisconsin is just the most recent case in this great heist. The US government and its regulatory agencies are effectively being privatized as the "final stage" of neoliberal economic doctrine.

Will the likes of Koch Industries, Bank of America, and Wal-Mart "own" your high schools soon? If Scott Walker and much of the GOP across the United States has its way, the answer is not, "That is ridiculous." The answer is, "It is really quite possible."

Just think of your grandchildren looking forward to their 20th reunion from JP Morgan Chase High of Peoria.

Oh, on the upside, they will get a free starter checking account.


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