ALEC Publicopoly - The New Old Game In Town


If you're not familiar with ALEC, here's the high-level overview. ALEC is the acronym for American Legislative Exchange Council, a secret right-wing consortium created to write boilerplate legislation for states to use to advance the right-wing agenda. Some of ALEC's handiwork can be seen in Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Florida, to name a few.

ALEC has a new game called Publicopoly. Some of the "properties" include government operations, health, environment, telecommunications, infrastructure, education and public safety. But of course, it's not such a new game after all. The object of the game is to privatize everything. To that end, they have aggregated the reports of think tanks like the Mackinac Center, the Reason Foundation, the Platte Institute, and the Heartland Institute.

You can find sample legislation under some of the different categories. For example, under government operations, there is a link to the State Budget Reform Toolkit, which features lots of helpful suggestions to "streamline" the state budget process. Here's a small example of one of those suggestions:

Reform State Pensions
In recent years, state governments have encountered a funding crisis in their pension plans for public employees. This crisis in the states has resulted from many factors, including:

  • Escalation in health care costs
  • Significant losses in the stock market
  • Costly pension and health benefits provided in defined-benefit plans
  • Public employees retiring earlier and living longer
  • Reduction and postponement of employer contributions to the pension plans

This is their solution. I'll bet you guessed it before you've even read it.

Everything should be on the table, including changes in benefits and increased employee contribution rates, as well as employer contribution rates. Most importantly, states should consider replacing their defined-benefit plans with defined-contribution (401(k) style) plans for new employees.

In case state legislators don't have access to good policy wonks, ALEC helpfully supplies "model legislation" for each of their suggestions. Here's the description of the pension model legislation:

ALEC’s Statement of Principles on State and Local Government Pension and Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) Plans

Other helpful suggestions include delaying automatic pay increases, and of course, "embrace the expanded use of privatization and competitive contracting."

ALEC is heavily funded (and I do mean heavily), by Charles and David Koch, Betsy and Dick DeVos, and the Walton (WalMart) family. Legislation coming soon to a state near you.

By the way, I'm sure they hold all the "get out of jail free" cards, and there is no free parking.

[h/t Democratic Underground]


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