cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Wisconsin has witnessed a bad budget situation made worse through process as well as outcome.
The process was flawed in that it occurred beyond our purview; we were the people who would pay whatever price was to be extracted, but we were not permitted to watch the process. Worse yet, we weren't permitted to participate in the process through the means of open debate and committee hearings.
The outcome, although not yet fully known since the governor has just begun the process of review and line item vetoes, promises to be as bad as any budget in the history of the Badger state, and very likely the worst ever.
Where will this budget take us?
We will continue to bleed jobs. We will pay more for the goods and services we consume. We will continue to see government grow in size and reach. We will likely never regain what was lost in "process" over this past six months or so; once government has taken something away from us, it is seldom returned. We will reap the results of the elimination of the QEO rules at a time when we struggle to simply stay even, let alone grow. We will pay more in taxes than we even comprehend yet. The hidden "pleasures" yet to manifest from this budget will gnaw at us for years to come.
Beyond the fiscal issues lies something even more damaging; we have lost our sense of what is ethical. We have stood by and watched as our governor and the assembly and the senate made a mockery of our basic freedoms. That is a lesson many of us haven't yet begun to fathom, but it is real and it is terribly damaging to our state. We look more like a New Jersey than a Wisconsin with the backroom deals and the quid pro quo mentality and the payoffs and sops to the big donors.
It appears that we have been bought and paid for and yet none of us mere citizens will reap anything but the cost...unless we seize this moment and begin to effect the change that must occur. We must take back our government and we can only really do that in the polling places all across this state. We do that by sweeping the ethically challenged from office and by maintaining our personal "institutional" memory of this time and the consequences of not paying closer attention; of the consequences of abdicating our responsibilities as voters to make ourselves well informed and of demanding that those we elect remember their promises to us.
The idea that non-fiscal issues ought to be made part of a budget bill to avoid the scrutiny that each deserved is an abomination; it flies in the face of all that is good and decent; it reminds me, at least, that trust in an elected official, once violated, can never be relied upon again. Without trust, the politician must be removed from office. Without trust, there is nothing. The mere idea that a politician is permitted to be devious and underhanded because he or she is a politician just doesn't cut it anymore. Not for me and not in my state, anyway.
The Curmudgeon Blog today is titled "Kid In A Candy Store".