Apr 132011

Milwaukee’s ordinance requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave would be voided under a bill Assembly Republicans sent Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday.

Walker said he is likely to sign the measure. The city’s sick leave ordinance was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2008 but has never gone into effect because of legal challenges. The Assembly voted 59-35 to ensure it would never be implemented.

Patrick Marley, Journal Sentinel

Scott Walker - Cartoon

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

So let’s see, Milwaukee voters use the rights given them in an American democracy to effect legislation. The initiative is passed and then immediately subjected to judicial review and is left standing, so it becomes law. But then the “small government” Republicans in Madison decide that they don’t like the law, so they scramble to pass legislation that will effectively nullify the will of the people . . .

Isn’t democracy grand?

We presently live in a nation where the “haves” have everything. They don’t worry about paying rent or putting food on the table; they have healthcare; they have the wealth, with the top 1% having more than the bottom 95%. If they happen to get sick, they’re not concerned — they will likely be paid for the time away from work, and if not they have the resources to weather the storm.

But for the 98% of Americans who are the “have nots,” those of us who essentially live month to month, the story is quite different. Our incomes have been stagnant for more than 30 years; millions of us are unemployed or underemployed, with real rates currently over 22%; there are presently 52 million of us without healthcare insurance and millions more who are covered but still can’t afford treatment. When we get sick, we are worried about any loss in pay because we need every cent earned just to make ends meet.

So, the good people of Milwaukee, Wisconsin take the initiative to use their democracy to pass a law that would at least provide a solution for one of the many issues pressing on the working people of our nation. They didn’t fight for higher pay or even for healthcare; they didn’t ask for paid time for leisure — no, they just want to be paid when they get sick, but even that’s too much too ask for in the Bizarro World of profits-over-people American conservatism.

As stated by Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), “This [Republican] bill is a slap in the face to the people of the City of Milwaukee.” But alas, Darth Walker and his hoard of Republican stormtroopers don’t really give a flying flip about the people, about their democracy or about anything resembling ethical behavior. They have the power, so they will assert their rule of the land. The will of the people be damned! The aristocracy has spoken.

All working Americans will be well-served to pay close attention to what’s going on in Wisconsin and other states being overrun by newly elected Republican majorities. They all talk about small government and pay lip service to jobs and workers, but at every opportunity they use the power of government to trash the rights of the many for the benefit of the elite few.

Wake up America! Wake up and learn that in the Republican vernacular, “small government” simply means government that serves a very “small” minority. 

Read the entire Article at the Journal Sentinel  

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