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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

 
Today's report from the laboratories of democracy

by digby

From Jacobin Magazine:

The Left should be paying attention to Florida. If you’ve ever desired a nightmarish vision of the legislature-driven austerity measures sure to proliferate around the country in the coming years, look no further than the Sunshine State’s 2012 budget. With little protest, Florida lawmakers are eviscerating public welfare and rapidly turning the state into a haven for the exploitation of workers. Despite the laughable “moderation narratives” now propagating in local newspaper coverage–which depict it as part of a trend away from rightist absolutism–the 2012 budget is nothing less than an unqualified victory for free market zealots everywhere: its legislatively-imposed austerity measures and multi-billion dollar tax cuts will no doubt serve as a useful model for other “business friendly” Southern states and the country as a whole.


Read the whole thing to see just how bad things can get under one-party conservative rule. It's not just that they have passed laws effectively legalizing murder. They're in the process of turning Florida into a third world country for the 99%.

The 2012 Florida budget is a perfect example of this overarching strategy. On its own terms, it is a document of frightening severity, inflicted on a state with little risk of popular backlash. Scott and the Republican leadership may be widely despised, but the Sunshine State lacks the formations capable of challenging the imposition of austerity, such as what we’ve seen in Madison and Zucotti Park. I don’t want to downplay the noble efforts of the Floridian Occupiers (yes, they exist) but the state’s overwhelmingly suburban geography, its lack of density and dearth of prominent public space, prevents the sort of spectacular urban reclamation that made Occupy so compelling. And unionized public workers, the warp and woof of the Madison eruption, are a tiny minority of Florida’s total employed. Fittingly, the 2012 budget disproportionately harms university students and state workers, the two groups actively resisting the descent into austerity.


One might also wonder about the Florida Democratic Party, but they are not present either. It's the same everywhere. The Party looked at its massive losses in the 2010 elections and decided its only hope was to support austerity and elect more conservatives. After all, they lost to Republicans who ran on that platform, right? It must be what the people want. That's just where their logic naturally takes them when they lose.

It's a truly harrowing tale of a descent into fiscal and social madness, with no end in sight. It turns out that America hasn't been spared the European style austerity after all. It's just happening in the states.

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