We’re all familiar with the expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
It seems that Wisconsin’s government is controlled by people who have such ideological disdain for any public institutions that their approach is, “If it ain’t broke, break it.”
K-12 education? Break it.
Fair electoral system? Break it.
Supreme Court? Break it.
Wisconsin Retirement System? Break it. (You heard it here first.)
You couldn’t imagine a better example of this “philosophy” than the unprecedented damage Scott Walker proposes to inflict on the University of Wisconsin System.
We’re talking about an institution that is admired around the world. Obviously, much of the admiration is directed at the oldest campus, Madison, but the entire system offers first-class — and often world-class — education to Wisconsin citizens at some of the lowest costs available in the nation.
This is an institution that doesn’t need repair.
Aside from ideological disdain for public institutions, there are two other reasons for this proposal:
- Tax cuts and refusals to take federal funds have combined to create a massive deficit, in large part because the tax cuts were a double-whammy: They directly reduced revenue to the state, and rather than enhancing the economy, they created anti-stimulus, dampening economic activity and further reducing revenues. Republican fiscal policy has ill served this state’s economy.
- Scott Walker can’t take responsible action to fix the deficit, because responsible solutions aren’t part of the extreme right-wing ideology on which he hopes to float his presidential aspirations.
Speaking of those aspirations, it’s clear that Walker is ready to sacrifice one of this state’s greatest legacies for the sake of his personal ambition. So yes, there are potential benefits to this proposal, but they are for Scott Walker, who wants to leave this state, not improve it.
Scott Walker’s proposal was not formulated to benefit the State of Wisconsin or its truly great public university system. It is designed to win the support of people who imagine that any public activity is a threat to their private interests — especially if it’s successful.
People who believe “if it ain’t broke, break it.”