Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Wisconsin Department of Crony Capitalism

We already knew that Scott Walker operates from a "haves and have-nots" list when it comes to business in Wisconsin. He showed those true colors when he killed the high speed rail project. That act undercut jobs, development, and the business interests of those apparently black listed by Walker. As we move closer to his coronation inauguration we are getting a more troubling and vivid view of his actual agenda for commerce in Wisconsin.

Not only is Walker attempting a power-grab from other lawfully elected officials but he has now announced plans to eliminate the Department of Commerce (especially those pesky regulatory duties) and replace it with something that could become more of an incubator for corruption than for real commerce.

There is still much to learn about Walker's plans to replace the Department of Commerce but what we do know is that he wants to semi-privatize this taxpayer financed entity. He also wants to appoint a board of which he (surprise!) is the chairman. Who will be on the board and how will they be chosen? As chairman of this board does Walker have the ultimate authority? Are there going to be any substantive systems in place to prevent total corruption of this body (and I'm talking about something more than just Walker's own word)? Who will be empowered to monitor such things and exactly how will they do it?

I fully expect the new Republican-controlled legislature to forfeit their own power to Walker and simply serve as rubber stamp on any issue of consequence. So who will be left to ask for the important details that are involved in such radical changes? Will the public be able to rely on the corporate media to ask the hard questions? Even if the usual suspects do ask the important questions will it come before Walker's plans are fully in place or will they only bemoan things after the fact?

If Scott Walker's time as Milwaukee County executive shows us anything it is that he has a propensity for appointing political friends and cronies to positions of public authority. All too often possible conflicts, bad appearances or even simple competence don't seem to matter much to him. So will he continue this practice by extending it to his cronies and campaign contributors among the business elite? We will soon find out the ultimate answers to these and other questions. Only then will we find out if the Wisconsin Department of Commerce is being replaced by the Wisconsin Department of Crony Capitalism.


A said...

For a "conservative" he sure has a lot in common with a Socialist dictator. Each new thing I read about his plans reminds me more and more of what my Venezuelan friend says about Chavez.
Well, look on the bright side, maybe we'll all get free Chinese TVs at some point. Sadly, they will only be broadcasting state-approved images of Chavez-Walker by then. :(

Jack Lohman said...

Yea, his move to privatize the Department of Commerce is a potential problem. His bent for public-private outsourcing/privatizing will simply drive costs up because now you have to add the extra profits that the private sector will now "deserve" for helping (plus the political payola that is always passed down to the taxpayers).

When I was a business owner I would have served for free if it would help the business climate, and that must be Walker's rule. Business leaders that are not campaign contributors should be considered, and certainly there are many retired that should be tapped.

I wrote about this here: http://tinyurl.com/22vn6b4

Free Lunch said...

I wonder how long the love-fest between Walker and the newly-elected legislature will last. Tommy Thompson was far more skilled in dealing with the legislature and he often had to compromise with Republican legislators. So far, Walker has been attacking the Fitzgeralds' power almost as much as he has been attacking state employees.

Anonymous said...

Cory's comments regarding rail are both gratuitous and false. Government (that is, taxpayer) support of any business that can not or will not stand on its own DESTROYS jobs, DESTROYS wealth. While he and I have often disagreed, I do agree with him on Commerce. When I hear the words, "public-private partnership," I instinctively reach for my wallet and hold on tight, as surely some "capitalist" will have the government on his side in attempting to take its contents.

A said, does your Venezuelan friend have the initials MP? Look for him to make the news soon.

And while I disagree with Walker on this issue, I suspect many of his pronouncements are for political effect, and to soften the competition. Public workers will HAVE to compromise as the budget situation and the economy are in dire shape. I think Team Walker realizes that for too long, the right has played defense.

Cory Liebmann said...


That first point is an awfully broad statement which in my opinion makes it mainly "faith-based" rather than fact-based. There is nothing wrong with that (even if i disagree) but i can't accept such an all encompassing declaration as coming from verifiable fact rather than a strict ideology. Besides, do you realize how many gop favored biz interests you are including in that statement?

i assume the mp you are talking about is the guy being rumored for the workforce development job.