Co-published by AlterNet
A Supreme Court case that could topple the power of California’s unions has been a perfect storm gathering for 40 years.
When Bisbee, Arizona banned single-use plastic bags in 2014, leaders in the plastics industry worried Bisbee had sparked a trend. So they did what corporate lobbyists do in a reliably conservative state: They persuaded legislators and the governor to declare bans like Bisbee’s illegal.
As lobbyists and state legislators gathered at San Diego’s Grand Hyatt resort last week for the three-day annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the delegates seemed to barely glance at the several dozen exhibitor tables that made up a sort of carnival sideshow of right-wing groups outside the hotel’s second-floor warren of meeting rooms.
Convention attendees had more pressing concerns. Namely, turning this year’s corporate wish list into the infamous boilerplate bills known as “model laws” that would aspire to undermine things like health and environmental standards, worker rights, campaign-spending limits and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) across the 50 states.
Many of the exhibitor booths were occupied by familiar ALEC friends, such as the collection of extreme-right think tanks known as the State Policy Network,
“The biggest scam of the last 100 years is global warming!” thundered Stephen Moore to ALEC’s plenary breakfast club this morning. “It’s no surprise that when you give these professors $10 billion, they’re going to find a problem.” Moore then singled out North Dakota for its regulatory-free attitudes toward the fracking industry: “I just have one message for you — drill, baby, drill!”
The annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council began wrapping up business in San Diego Friday on this defiant note from Moore, a former Wall Street Journal writer. This newly hired Heritage Foundation economist is an apostle of completely eliminating state income taxes and has been in a running feud with liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, over Moore’s casual regard for accurate reporting.
Moore’s speaking partner today was fellow supply-sider Arthur Laffer,
Scott Walker couldn’t have asked for more.
When the Wisconsin governor took the dais Thursday at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual conference in San Diego, his audience was ravenous for any vision that included destroying unions and cracking down on America’s criminal underclass.
The venue was the plenary croissants-and-eggs breakfast, but it would be hard to imagine an audience hungrier for the red meat Governor Walker threw out to it.
Every key bill Walker has been associated with, since his get-tough-on-crime heyday as a state assemblyman in the 1990s, has been a plagiarism of an ALEC model bill. Such as laws that eliminated parole (and ballooned state prison populations) or that imposed a voter ID law, gutted public education and teacher protections, and made Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state.
Walker himself isn’t an actual member of the secretive corporate lobbying network (ALEC only admits legislators,