Mike Konczal is a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, and is a blogger at the Rortybomb Blog and New Deal 2.0.

Originally posted here


Have you heard about 16.896?

The fight in Wisconsin is over Governor Walker’s 144-page Budget Repair Bill. The parts everyone is focusing on have to do with the right to collectively bargain being stripped from public sector unions (except for the unions that supported Walker running for Governor). Focusing on this misses a large part of what the bill would do. Check out this language, from the same bill (my bold):

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

The bill would allow for the selling of state-owned heating/cooling/power plants without bids and without concern for the legally-defined public interest.  This excellent catch is from Ed at ginandtacos.com (who, speaking of Madison, took me to the Essen Haus on my 21st birthday, where the night began to go sideways). Ed correctly notes:

If this isn’t the best summary of the goals of modern conservatism, I don’t know what is. It’s like a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism. Extra bonus points for the explicit effort to legally redefine the term “public interest” as “whatever the energy industry lobbyists we appoint to these unelected bureaucratic positions say it is.”

In case it isn’t clear where the naked cronyism comes in, remember which large, politically active private interest loves buying up power plants and already has considerable interests in Wisconsin. Then consider their demonstrated eagerness to help Mr. Walker get elected and bus in carpetbaggers to have a sad little pro-Mubarak style “rally” in his honor. There are dots to be connected here, but doing so might not be in the public interest.

It’s important to think of this battle as a larger one over the role of the state. The attempt to break labor is part of the same continuous motion as saying that the crony, corporatist selling of state utilities to the Koch brothers and other energy interests is the new “public interest.”

Category: Politics, Really, really bad calls, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

6 Responses to “The Less Discussed Part of Walker’s Wisconsin Plan: No-Bid Energy Assets Firesales.”

  1. Greg0658 says:

    wow – The Chicago Skyway & parking meter approach .. gotta love this FMCitBPtP bullpoop – best managers Corpocracy can buy with our own money .. Americas bucket manager jobs abound .. wheres the “Save the American J6P Fund” office at?

  2. murph says:

    Check out the following section:

    “(c) If the department sells or contracts for the operation of any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant under sub. (1), the secretary may identify any full−time equivalent positions authorized for the state agency that has operating authority for the plant, the duties of which primarily relate to the management or operation of the plant, and may decrease the authorized full−time equivalent positions for that state agency by the number of positions so identified effective on the date that the state agency no longer has operating authority for the plant.”

    Sell the contract, fire the workers.

  3. foosion says:

    The other less discussed aspect is the ability to slash medicare and the like without further action by the legislature.

  4. rip says:

    Well. Let’s hear it for the Koch brothers, the Tea Baggers, and the idiots that voted as they did.

    You too can buy your own state.

    What exactly are the other GOPs drinking? The Kool-Aid???

    Oh, I get it. They get a slice of the pie. And kick the Dems down the road. Easy sailing now. LOL.

  5. Kock Brothers have their eye on in Wisconsin.

    So in short:

    1) Koch Brothers get their puppet Governor Walker in power
    2) Governor Walker gins up a crisis
    3) Democrats and Progressives take the bait and counter-protest on collective bargaining
    4) Governor Walker will compromise on collective bargaining if the rest of the budget is passed as is
    5) Bill passes, with trojan horse give-a-way to the Koch Brothers nested in
    6) Koch Brothers will buy Wisconsin state-owned power plants for pennies on the dollar in closed unsolicitated bids for which there will be no oversight
    7) Koch Brothers get the best vertical monopoly in a generation

  6. Sarge says:

    Sheesh, what a cesspool. Quoting the DailyKOS too.