No, not “owned by” corporations, as we have today.
By Jack E. Lohman
Can you imagine if we had a state that was profitable, and those profits went back to the shareholders, the state’s taxpayers?
It can happen, even still. But voters will have to demand that the current system be fixed. It gets tiresome talking about the same political corruption that created this mess, but it remains, and until we eliminate it the state’s economy will never reverse.
Imagine a governor, or better, a CEO, actually competing with 49 other CEOs to attract companies and jobs and taxpaying workers, rather than trying to satisfy those special interests that fund the elections. He’d be paid on a performance basis and not a guaranteed salary. He’d have to earn it like the rest of us do.
How do we get there?
1) By fixing our current mess. Surely we are spending money on government departments that should have been closed long ago, and at the very least trimmed or merged with other departments.
2) By ensuring that the salaries and benefits of our state employees are consistent with the private sector.
3) By getting rid of the political payola that drives our politicians to dole out wasteful spending and no-bid contracts. They should act as a credible board of directors, and no CEO would allow his or her board to take cash payola and give away corporate assets in exchange. No state should allow it either.
4) By getting smart. Sure it’s popular to nail the big, bad, corporations for taxes. And the higher the better. Problem is, they just pass those taxes back to the public at the cash register. Our CEO/governor should eliminate corporate taxes for companies that employ Wisconsin workers, which will attract new jobs and keep those that are already here. A subsidy per Wisconsin employee will work.
5) Same is true for health care costs, which are also passed on to the consumers. In both of these cases these costs are regressive and are born disproportionately by lower-waged workers. And they cost jobs! Wisconsin should replace ObamaCare with its own single-payer system.
6) All people being honest, privatization is my preference. But all people are not honest, and the taxpayers must ban together and develop their own “public options” where needed.
a) A state-owned bank, like in North Dakota, a state that avoided the housing crisis. By funding our own bank that actually loans money to businesses and finances cars and housing purchases, we could also enjoy their unemployment rate of 4.1%.
b) A publicly funded electoral system so our politicians begin working for us rather than the special interests who want in our pocket. The Fat Cats’ funding of elections is the root of our problems.
Of course the Right will object to any form of “socialism,” but some socialism is in order. Not 100% but also not 0%. Some things should indeed be government funded, especially those that are vital to the public and have been taken over by the money vultures (like fire and police protection, health care). These are not “constitutional rights,” but they are for the common good of the country.
I’m less concerned about a privatized educational system, as long as it is regulated and we maintain a good public option.
The last item above (6b) is most critical, because until we eliminate political bribery we will remain no more effective than other countries that are run by corrupt hooligans. We will remain in a massive hole with a wide disparity between rich and poor with the associated risks.
Unfortunately our current gubernatorial candidates are ignoring this issue, because (they must feel) these are politicians they will need to rely on once in office. But they miss out on a major issue the public is concerned about.