An email obtained by Badger Democracy through Open records request from Governor Scott Walker’s staff to The Greater Milwaukee Committee, discloses Wisconsin participation in a tri-state study to promote “international competitiveness in job creation” and “labor reforms.” The study is being conducted under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – a multi-national consortium of the world’s 30 wealthiest economies, and sanctioned by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Also involved is Argonne labs of The University of Chicago for energy research and the Friedman Foundation of Economics. The Tri-State study encompasses the “Metro Chicago, Northwest Indiana, and Southeastern Wisconsin” business corridor, and is the first regional domestic policy study conducted by the OECD.
The OECD has as its primary platforms, the liberalization of international free trade zones, and organized labor “reforms”. These reforms are pushed as policies of “flexibility” in labor negotiations as a means to make multinational corporations more competitive and profitable in a worldwide free trade zone (see pages 4 and 5 of the linked document). In 2002, the group lobbied with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for “full market liberalism” in Russia – resulting in a devastation of Russia’s remaining industrial workforce. This study, encompassing Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, Chicago’s Rahm Emmanuel, and Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, include three regional politicians who are fierce advocates of Privatization and Free trade policies. The Study Group recently sponsored two visits to Wisconsin – the first in March at Wingspread (S.C. Johnson) in Racine, and the second in June. The study has as its stated goals the fostering of “bi-lateral free trade and foreign direct investment,” and the use of “human capital” to “fuel long-term economic growth.” The email also indicates the first attendees from Wisconsin will be part of a “Wisconsin Advisory Council” for the duration of the study. Badger Democracy is attempting to obtain the list of those attendees at the time of this writing.
When asked why Governor Walker’s Administration would refuse comment or information to inquiries from Badger Democracy, a source in Chicago close to the study stated they did not know. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce had approached Wisconsin (Milwaukee, specifically) media with press releases, and they were “completely uninterested” in the story (The Chicago Tribune has already run an article on the study). In addition, the source stated the group has “very good feelings” about the “Walker Administration’s involvement” in the study, as they examine methods of achieving an “integrated regional economy,” a tri-state free-trade zone.
Scott Walker is bringing more anti-Wisconsin ideas to bear on the people he was elected to serve. Entities such as Koch Industries, ALEC, and now OECD are lining up to push for policies purchased in the last election, supported by Scott Walker and the Greater Milwaukee Committee. They continue the plunder of Wisconsin’s resources for maximum corporate profits – regardless of the human or socio-economic costs. If the Corporatists of today are allowed to succeed, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and every other state in the nation will more resemble South America post-Milton Friedman doctrine than the United Stated we used to know. Once again, the Wisconsin press has slept as Scott Walker sells away the State of Wisconsin-and his soul.
Badger Democracy will update as more information becomes available.