During the first attempt by GOP lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act, I remember seeing a number of articles which made the claim that tax reform would one day prove far more daunting a task for members of congress than repealing Obamacare would.

If they could not repeal Obamacare, these writers were saying, they did not stand a chance at reforming taxes. And yet now, here we are, GOP lawmakers, having tried three times, failed to repeal Obamacare but stand poised to pass a tax reform bill which will explode the deficit and will hurt something like half of all middle-class taxpayers.

So why did those writers get it so wrong? What did they miss? Why was it so easy for GOP lawmakers to get their tax bill through after they had failed to get rid of the healthcare reforms that for seven years they’d promised to repeal?

The answer lies in their motivation. Repealing Obamacare was a promise that GOP lawmakers made to voters, while reducing the corporate tax rate was a promise they made to their donors. Their inability to keep the one promise, and their willingness, their eagerness even, to keep the other, speaks volumes about where their loyalties lie.

American politics has a money problem, and it is a problem for both parties. On the national level, it means the passage of a tax bill that, according to some polls, 75 percent of Americans don’t like. Here in Wisconsin, it means Gov. Walker’s FoxConn deal, which analysts say will not pay for itself for almost 25 years — think for a moment about the television you owned 25 years ago and ask yourself if you really think that factory will be active a quarter century from now.

Corporate-backed legislation has resulted in the deceptively named “Homeowners Bill of Rights,” sponsored by Adam Jarchow, which strips communities and townships of local control over property issues and gives it over to the state — which seems to fly in the face of the very conservative ideology that GOP lawmakers lay claim to — and clears the way for corporate mining concerns to set up shop where they wish, despite objections of local citizens.

Republicans will tell you that all of this is to grow business, and help the state economy, but seven years of corporate-friendly legislation has left our education system battered, our workers with fewer rights and protections, and despite their claims that “Wisconsin is open for business,” Forbes magazine has ranked us a lousy 33rd in its list of best states for businesses.

Here in Wisconsin’s District 10, we are gearing up for a special election to fill the State Senate seat that has been opened by Sheila Harsdorf‘s departure. We have an opportunity to take a small step towards changing a system that every day looks a little more like oligarchy, as our politicians continue to put their wealthy donors’ concerns over the concerns of the voters.

John Rocco Calabrese has been devoted himself for years now to changing the system and returning our government to its people, by working with the Wolf-Pac, a national organization devoted to getting money out of politics. He is the only candidate, in either party, who has made money in politics a central issue.

Visit his website (calabreseforsenate.com), watch his videos, or go out and talk to him, he is out there every day, and you will see someone who is not only passionate about change, but well versed on recent legislation, someone who can connect the dots that lead pretty clearly from corporate interests to legislative votes.

Mr. Calabrese wants this our state to be a place where our kids can get a good education — and their teachers can be compensated for it — where workers don’t have to worry about their health and safety when they are on the job, and where all of us can rest assured that our air and water are clean.

What stands in the way of all that? Money. So I urge you, on Dec. 19, vote for John Rocco Calabrese in the Democratic primary, and vote for him again in the special election on January 16th. It’s time to take back our democracy, Wisconsin.



Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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