Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dismantling Civil Society: How It Is Done in Ohio

Isn't it nice for the news to give me fresh material, every day, in direct support of the two posts I have so far written on inequality in the United States, the fairy tale one and the evidence one?

Now Ohio is showing us how it is done. Yes, it sounds like a Ringwraith attack on the poor hobbits in Tolkien's Lord of The Rings, but these hobbits voted the Ringwraiths in.

Here is what the Republicans have done in Ohio:
State senators voted today to approve Ohio's nearly $56 billion, two-year state budget bill, a far-reaching collection of policy changes that would privatize state operations, overhaul Medicaid, limit unions, ban abortions at public hospitals and provide tax breaks on investments, income and estates.
The sweeping spending blueprint, strongly influenced by new Republican Gov. John Kasich, emerged from compromise talks between the GOP-controlled House and Senate shortly before midnight last night. In last-minute changes, lawmakers voted to allow private oversight of the Ohio Turnpike but not the Ohio Lottery and added provisions tying pay for teachers to a new evaluation system to be developed by the state Education Department.


Labor unions hit hard by many of the budget's provisions -- including those that impose a merit pay system on teachers, suspend prevailing wage requirements at public construction jobs, and allow privatization of five state-run prisons and the Turnpike -- have blasted the bill as anti-jobs.
There's more stuff about handing the state's assets over to the private section to manage, such as a desire to privatize or semi-privatize the state colleges.

Pay attention to the winners and losers. It is the one percent on the top of the wealth and income distributions who win. They get more tax breaks and cheaper labor.

The losers include workers whose earnings will decline with the increased obstacles to unions and fewer legal protections, the poor in general and everyone who worries about the oversight of privatized prisons or privatized turnpikes.

The effects of a budget like this are to increase income inequality in Ohio, and Ohio is simply a fairly typical blueprint of what Republican-ruled state governments are doing all over the country.

And what about that abortion ban? Hmmm. It's the price the Republicans pay for their power. You have to give the "peasants" something to make them vote for their feudal lords and their own demise, and that something is essentially a ban on abortions. Everyone is happy now! The society will go down the drain but at least every sperm is sacred! Or nearly so.