OK, there's one good list of test items to follow for the next 2 1/2 years. I am pleased to note they are quality-of-life items, because our government exists, one way or the other, not as a self-serving entity but instead to serve the well-being of the people. How would you measure these quality-related items? What would you add or take out?
(I'm excerpting from the list posted above for convenience, not to snip out controversial parts. Please refer to the whole version.)
• Hardworking, law-abiding citizens should be provided with access to health care....They should not be left out in the cold just because they're unlucky enough to lose their jobs or to work for companies that don't provide affordable health insurance.
Percent covered by insurance?
• People who work hard all their lives should have an adequate income after retirement. It is not fair to punish those who earned too little to save much for their retirement or who worked for employers that didn't provide pensions.
Could we measure the percent of retirees with functional pension plans today, and in 2 1/2 years? Or the number of workers in jobs with pension plans? And the protections conferred upon existing pension plans, to keep them from being looted and the pensioners pushed out and onto public assistance? And the continued protection of programs to help lower-income elderly people for the same reason?
• ...In this rapidly changing economy the children of American workers must have access to quality education -- elementary, secondary, college, and beyond. The more quality education a person has, the better he or she will do economically.
Oh, the difficulty of measuring educational quality.... let's try at least ascertaining the percentage of students who complete various educational levels, for starters, and add in a measure of how many students go on to further education post-high school.
• People willing to work hard should be able to get the training they want for the jobs they need.... They should not be penalized because they can't get access to training they would be perfectly willing and able to go through.
Full availability of quality technical training, along with scholarships for those who need them? Support (tax credits?) for employers who pay for worker training, for apprenticeships, for periodic training updates in existing jobs?
• In today's global economy everybody has a right to a decent wage and everybody has a right to speak out and organize. American workers shouldn't be competing with workers in other countries whose wages are artificially depressed by the absence of even minimal standards and democratic freedoms. That's not fair to workers abroad or at home.
The first sentence speaks for itself, and we've rehashed the details to death already. Let's not get hung up, for now, on "right to work," but rather acknowledge the very real wage disparity between the US and, say, China, and think about ways to respond to it. One obvious way is to offer American (Wisconsin) goods and services to Chinese markets to build a reciprocal base of consumers in Asia. What else?
• People who work hard should also be able to spend enough time with their families. ...We have to find ways to give workers more time to spend as parents, instead of the other way around.
• ...Nobody who wants or needs to work in today's society should have to sacrifice the welfare of his or her children to do so.
This makes me think of support for child care services and earlier kindergarten programs. What else? A shorter work day has been tried in Europe, where it works well in some countries but apparently not in others, given the economic problems in Europe's south at this moment.
• We should make whatever investments are necessary to keep the economy growing. Solid economic growth benefits all Americans who are willing to work. It's a good use of tax money to spend whatever is necessary to maintain and safeguard this growth.
I'd like to see government investments in business evaluated in terms of the number of jobs created and the quality of those jobs.
I am also interested in the suggestion to compare/contrast Wisconsin's quality of life with other countries'. Any alternative to the race-to-the-bottom mentality is helpful, and we do live in both a global economy and a rapidly changing one.
And it won't hurt to keep an eye on Walker's performance versus his promises. Any elected official faces that scrutiny on an ongoing basis, not just at the end of his term.
When control is not dominated by either party, what passes is likely to be moderately agreeable to both sides because it will require compromise and consensus....
I too hope we can get our legislature back on track in terms not only of production, but process.
In reading the Atlantic article linked previously, don't skip sections 2 and 3 which are on different pages, and raise a whole different series of questions for another time.