A Right-Wing Jobs Program for America: To Apply, Just Go Directly to Jail

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A Right-Wing Jobs Program for America: To Apply, Just Go Directly to Jail

Attention jobless Americans! If you're among the millions of long-term unemployed people searching in vain for a job, here's a hot tip: they're hiring in Wisconsin.

Go to jail

There's one little catch, though, you have to be a Wisconsin jailbird to get one of these dandy positions. But that's no hill for a climber — I'm sure America has plenty of out-of-work folks who are enterprising enough to move to the Badger State, steal a six pack from a 7-Eleven, go to jail, and become eligible. I should mention, though, that you won't get paid.

This so-called "work opportunity" is the first tangible product of Gov. Scott Walker's corporate-scripted mugging of the collective bargaining rights of teachers and other civil servants. Having stripped public employees of their democratic rights in the workplace, government managers can now replace them willy-nilly with low-wage workers — even with free prison labor.

Jim Ladwig, the executive honcho of Racine County, has leapt on this like a chicken on an extra-juicy June bug. The day the law took effect, he announced that such jobs as landscaping and snow shoveling would be transferred from unionized county workers to prisoners. The captives will receive no pay, but they could be rewarded with reduced sentences. "We have a win-win when we use the inmates," Ladwig exulted.

He's not the only one thrilled with this scheme to take middle-class paychecks from public employees. The Washington Examiner, a far-right newspaper that cheers on the privatization of public services, hailed Racine County's jailbird ploy as "great news for Wisconsin taxpayers. Hopefully, we'll see more of it."

So there you have the right-wing's idea of a good jobs program for America. When Walker ran for governor last year, he promised to create 250,000 new jobs, and now he's delivering. To apply, just go directly to jail.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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