UYGUR: Wisconsin Democrats are moving full speed ahead with the effort to recall the GOP state senators who took away collective bargaining rights from state workers. Today, several progressive groups launch a new ad campaign urging recalls. And the state Democratic Party says, they already have half of the signatures that they need to force recall elections and they‘ve got a month and a half left to finish the job. So, it looks like they‘re in good shape on that front. Meanwhile, the state senators who are in jeopardy were in Washington, D.C., getting paid for a job well done at a fund-raiser organized by corporate lobbyists. They got no shame. Totally brazen. Give me the money. Give me the money. I did what you wanted. Now, speaking of recalls, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder could be recalled as soon as July. And the emergency financial manager bill actually passed late yesterday in Michigan.
Now, more than 5,000 people turned out in Lansing, Michigan yesterday to protest that bill. His budget would cut the state‘s business taxes by 86 percent, 86 percent. Meanwhile, he‘s getting rid of earned income tax credit for lower income families slashing credit for seniors and cutting $1.2 billion in funding to schools, universities, and local governments. So, his paying poor people, old people and students pay for corporate tax cuts. That‘s not an exaggeration. You just saw the numbers. It‘s exact. And insult on top of that entry is the bill he signed yesterday. And republican described it as financial martial law. The bill gives the governor the power to declare a financial emergency in struggling cities and school districts. Then he can appoint an emergency financial manager to take it over.
Congressman Conyers has made the point that that sounds an awful lot like czars. So let‘s call them Snyder‘s czars. The czars have the power to void or break union contracts. Of course, that‘s what they always do. Seize and sell assets, eliminate local services, and even remove elected officials. So, Snyder‘s budget means local governments and school districts with a lot less money and then if they go bankrupt under those circumstances, a state-appointed official can come in and take them over. Republicans do a lot of complaining about unelected czars that have too much power and supposed government takeover in Washington. Maybe they talk about it so much because they can‘t wait to do it themselves. And that‘s exactly what‘s happening in Michigan.
.With me now is John Nichols, he‘s the Washington correspondent for The Nation. John, first question for you. Whether it‘s Walker in Wisconsin or Snyder in Michigan, did they promise us in their elections, they say hey, you know what, as soon as I come in, seniors, I‘m going to cut you. Students, I‘m going to cut you and I‘m going to give it all to corporate tax cuts.
JOHN NICHOLS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You mean, did they run and say, look, I want to be a monarch who appoints Viceroys? No. I did not hear that. In fact, I covered both of those campaigns and the weird thing is, that both Walker in Wisconsin and Snyder in Michigan were the moderate republican candidates in their primaries. They beat people who everybody thought were the draconian, you know, kind of way out there right wingers. So these were bait and switch campaigns. And now, they are out to do tremendous damage to communities. And I want to emphasize, you know, I like Congressman Conyers a lot and I like that Czar term. I understand what he is trying to do, term, push back at some of the Republicans. But this is much more than a Czar. This really does go to the sort of thing that we fought a revolution against back in 1776. This is a monarch appointing a ruler, a Viceroy to take over local government.
UYGUR: I mean, the great irony of this, is that the Tea Party people are talking about, oh, we have to take our government back and we have to have real representation. And then this guy comes and says oh, whatever your local government, whatever you voted for your local government, I don‘t give a damn. I‘m going—it sounds like Putin, doesn‘t it? That‘s what Putin did in Russia with the local governors.
NICHOLS: Well, I think that‘s a little unfair to Putin. The fact of the matter is, that as bad as he is, you know, he still wants to keep in the international community. Have a little bit of regard. These guys are pushing much further and, understand, this is the United States of America. We set a higher standard for democracy than other countries, I hope. And the other thing that I think really important to understand here is that when you‘re going into local government, to school boards, town boards, town councils, village boards, city councils, you are taking power away from representatives who are closest to the people, who feel the greatest responsibility to deliver services and to make things right. This makes government more disconnected from those in need and also from the taxpayers themselves. It is a breaking point for democratic structures and this is something we ought to be fundamentally concerned about.
UYGUR: You know, I think they had a term for that back in the revolution. It was taxation without representation. So, if you voted for a local representatives and your governor takes them away from you, what‘s happening there? So, but, John, let me ask you about the recalls because, look, these guys, they sold voters a bill of goods, right? And do this switch-a-roo and this switch-in-bait and all of that. So, are recall efforts real? I mean, do they have a real chance at recalling whether it‘s, you know, Snyder in Michigan in July or it‘s whether it‘s Walker, you know, a year after the election? Is that a real possibility, do you think?
NICHOLS: I think it‘s a real possibility. The recall was created by the progressive movement at the start of the last century for precisely moments like this. It‘s not just to remove somebody if they commit a felony, it‘s to remove someone who is doing damage to the state, and also someone who is in violation of their oath to protect and defend the state national constitutions. So, these are very legitimate efforts.
NICHOLS: In Wisconsin, I think the recall of the state senators will definitely move along and, frankly, I think there‘s simply no question at this point that both Walker and Snyder deserve a recall.
UYGUR: All right, thank you, John Nichols, we appreciate it. And we‘ll be right back.