A list of participants obtained by Badger Democracy shows that key Walker Administration economic policy makers and supporters are at the center of a Regional Free-Trade study. The study, first reported in a July 25 posting, is the first domestic regional study ever conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) based in Paris. The OECD has a documented history of supporting bi-lateral, international free trade policies which lead to reduced wage, non-union jobs for multinational corporations. These corporations use regional “free trade zones” to locate operations in areas that supply increased “human capital” and decreased taxation/regulation policies in high unemployment areas worldwide. Recent regional studies have been conducted in India, China, South Korea and Russia. As reported on July 27, former Scott Jensen communications director and ally Steve Baas is coordinating the Milwaukee study segment for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), in his role as their chief lobbyist.
In addition to Baas and the MMAC, a majority of the participants in the Milwaukee study have political and personal interest in the promotion of free trade and privatization policies that would be pushed by this OECD study. Following is the list of participants at the first meeting, held in March, at Wingspread (SC Johnson & Sons) in Racine. Any Wisconsinite, especially those interested in the economy of Southeastern Wisconsin, real jobs, and a strong state economy, should take note of the participants:
Dave Volz – Wisconsin Department of Commerce, Executive Assistant to the Secretary – also the former Alberta Darling Chief of Staff
Dan Vrakas – Waukesha County Executive – also former American Legislative Exchange Council National Chair – Taskforce on Commerce and Economic Development
Mary Isbister – GenMet, Mequon – Milwaukee’s Next Generation Manufacturing Council, COSBE Board of the MMAC, Board of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and International Trade Association Council Member (Workforce Development Subcommittee) for the US Department of Commerce.
Dean Amhaus – Executive Director of Milwaukee Water Council (an offshoot of the Greater Milwaukee Committee), founder of “Spirit of Milwaukee” organization (most of its directors also affiliated with the Greater Milwaukee Committee).
Brian Schupper – Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC – served as a replacement for Julia Taylor) – Badger Democracy has previously documented the GMC record of supporting privatization, consolidation, and ties with Scott Walker and ALEC in its Policy Publications.
Dennis Winters – Department of Workforce Development – Chief Economist for Walker Administration. Participated in a 2004 report for a “free enterprise based” new economic model for Northeastern Wisconsin; one that highlighted increased “human capital” in “new order economic development.” Winters also helped author the “Open for Business” model for Scott Walker (this Open for Business pdf from a March, 2011 presentation in Baraboo).
Lee Swindall – Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) Director – The private, corporate – backed think tank for “New Economy” manufacturers is pushing for International Partnerships in Wisconsin, as a means of furthering corporate profits with little regard for quality of jobs or benefits.
The common link between all these individuals, Scott Walker, ALEC, OECD, and their corporatist sponsors is clear – the continued systematic dismantling of the state (and national) economy and political structure. The replacement being a corporate anarchy – with unfettered profits and a lower working class bound by financial need and debt as “human capital.” A working class that will supply bountiful labor for its multinational corporate barons exercising political and economic control. Any thought that the concept of a Corporatist State, ALEC, or intentional dismantling of worker’s rights being a mere “conspiracy theory” should be ended, and the reality of their purpose recognized.
A multinational “study” such as this, with these participants, and the alignment of its members with groups like ALEC should serve to unify every middle class, working citizen of Wisconsin (and the nation). We are not the enemy of each other – the corporatists are our collective enemy, stealing our Democracy, resources, and economy for their continued profit. The recalls in Wisconsin can and will serve as a message to the corporatists – the people will no longer stand for these “shadow governmental” bodies determining our laws and policies. Share the truth and message of the Corporate agenda at the hands of the GOP and every other politician complicit in their theft of Democracy. Show the world in the recall elections that Wisconsin Progressivism will again lead the way in recovering Government of and by the people.