I’m just about sick to death of hearing about it already, let’s be honest. Ever since Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I attend has been up in arms, panties in a bunch, protest sign (almost got taken out by one) in the left hand, drum/blow horn in the right hand, panting, ready for battle. I myself have stood on the sidelines in a dim sort of awe, trying to make heads or tails of those rising up from the crowd (at the budget protest demonstrations) to speak on the matter, trying to distinguish the legit, level-headed ones who make solid points for their cause from the radical ones at the farthest side of the lefty spectrum. Those ones are just scary.
Either way, the undergoing issue is the protest against Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts particularly for the educational system, yet more importantly, his move to eliminate collective bargaining completely in the state of Wisconsin.
These are serious issues, indeed, for they affect not only myself (a current student and a future teacher) as well as all public school teachers across the board, but also, the many teachers and students in the generation to come. There are future implications here, which include your current children and my future children–if I happen to have all five of them.
Let’s put the gossip aside and look at the facts. Instead of listening to the radical righty who claims no one will lose their job or the extreme lefty who claims the teachers will drop out and become drug dealers, let’s just skip the intense bull shit of propaganda we seem to cradle in this country like a first-born child and get to the FACTS.
According to our Governor, Wisconsin is facing a $3.6 billion dollar deficit in the upcoming two years. This is an intense amount of money to be certain, but how does it compare to the other states? Considering the state of the current poor economy, the unemployment rate remains high across the states, as well as the amount of people that collect unemployment from the government. As a result, the states keep dipping into America’s unemployment trust fund. Wisconsin, in particular, has “borrowed” far more than her share, ranking us 4th nationally for unemployment debt per capita. This means the amount we are borrowing from the unemployment trust fund far outweighs the amount we Wisconsinites make and are able to pay per year.
So a great chunk of this problem has to do with the fact that we have too many people on unemployment and not enough jobs for them. Well no shit, Sherlock, I say to myself. So how do we create jobs? Why, through the art of business and commerce, of course. I believe this has a great deal to do with Scott Walker’s tax breaks to businesses in particular, for the less taxes they have to pay, the more money they have to expand their business and HIRE MORE PEOPLE. This is how the economy works: business expands, people keep their jobs and make money, then are able to invest, buy products, and build assets by putting their money BACK into the economy, creating a cycle.
Truth be told, we need to start PRODUCING SOMETHING. It’s the only way to make money; we have to create, invent, and produce in order to obtain a flourishing economical state. This is one large reason why the housing market crashed, because unfortunately, all that buying a house, fixing it up, then selling it again does is pushes money around into different pockets of Americans at different times. But it doesn’t build wealth because its not actually PRODUCING ANYTHING, therefore, we cannot depend on it to hold up an economy. We need to give Americans incentives to produce and invent by allowing free business market and trade. Nothing beats brighter in the chest of an American than AMBITION and the OPPORTUNITY to grow and achieve. This ambition to succeed is the guarantee and seal to economic success.
This is what I agree on with Walker as I do with most conservatives, which are fiscal matters of economy.
However, the budget cuts to our school systems are an entirely different matter. Perhaps the one thing I have learned in my nearly six years of college is the importance, the absolute NECESSITY that education is to a growing, progressive nation. The only way we as Americans can compete with China and other countries of economic prestige is through an urgent, even desperate enforcement of EDUCATING the citizens of our nation. It is key, for most problems with the lack of American involvement in political, economical, and global issues are due to their lack of education in these subjects. A solid education system prevents this from happening, and if anything, narrows the gap between those who are ignorant, apathetic, and don’t participate, from those who are informed, interested, and able to take part in our status as a very great country in this world.
Although I’m sure the teachers aren’t happy about it, the new contribution they’ll have to make towards their pensions and healthcare isn’t actually the issue. (And considering I’m going to school for teaching, you’d think I’d give a rip). But to eliminate collective bargaining completely, Scott??? Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of unions (particularly the teacher’s union, the stealthy little suckers) by any means, but even I see the problem with this idea. Seems a little extreme, and gives me a terrible gut feeling of trepidation. I’ve been conditioned to listen to such instincts, therefore, I know this is a poor idea. Wisconsin is known for its very high standards of education, particularly the UW system, so to strip her of bargaining rights is to threaten the prestigious beacon Wisconsin holds nationally as a very smart state. Coincidentally… or not, the five lowest states on the education totem pole have done away with collective bargaining completely. This is not a good indicator, and definitely sets no positive precedence for Wisconsin’s educational future.
Also, I don’t believe it is right to target everyone with these budget cuts who works for the state save for a couple selective groups such as the fire and police departments. But they funded Scotty during campaign, so goodness, he couldn’t turn around and piss all over them, now could he? But this is exactly the problem with politicians and makes me loathe myself a little for writing about such a seemingly pointless topic at times. But it is my duty to write, my duty as a citizen and partaker in this country.
One more thing: I calculated from these charts that I will owe an extra $385 for tuition next year, thanks to Walker’s adjustment of tuition fees, which calls for a 5.5% increase in tuition costs EVERY YEAR. This sort of “adjustment” certainly doesn’t encourage society to strive for higher education and better themselves and this world. Considering we are the greatest nation, we SHOULD strive to set precedence of making this world a better place.
Let us not lose sight of this even in our economic strain. Let us continue on this road (particularly those of us in education) wherever it may lead us, only to find hope that one day, some day, things will be different.
We’re all just waiting for the world to change, aren’t we?
Let’s stop waiting and start moving.
Off your lazy ass.
And do something about it.