Republicans: The Red Scare Is Back


By Jean-Sébastien Stehli
Machiavelli could never have imagined this.
Translated By Zachary Hebert
23 February 2011

Edited by Patricia Simoni

France – Le Figaro – Original Article (French)
The United States and the USSR were at odds for 45 years, but during that time, the two superpowers had many things in common. Today, the USSR is no more, and we suddenly are witnessing a strange phenomenon. The dream of American conservatives is to create an oligarchical system similar to the one that ruled over Russia: power for a few, deconstruction of regulation, and privatization of all that could be sold. That is the ideal of the GOP and its tea party allies. The Wisconsin story, seen as that of a courageous governor’s refusal to accept the shameful advances of unions, at a time when the entire country has to tighten its belt, is a huge farce and an untruth. Here’s an explanation.
For over a week, Wisconsin’s civil servants, professors among them, have been on strike. The state’s governor, Scott Walker, wants to increase the percentage of civil servants’ salaries that goes toward their retirement pensions and to increase their contributions to their health insurance premiums, two propositions that do not at all please the unions, but which were accepted. But the governor, who is close to the tea party moment, wishes to limit unions’ negotiation power and obligate them to accept a system in which employees would annually vote to say whether to continue to be union members.
In reality, what is going on in Wisconsin has nothing to do with the official reasons invoked by the governor and his supporters. As Nobel Prize for economics winner, Paul Krugman, highlights, what Scott Walker is “trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.” The hypocrisy is flagrant: Although the governor admits that it is necessary to reduce the deficit, he is trying to pass tax cuts for a portion of the population (always the same one), which does nothing but exacerbate the deficit.

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