It is pretty clear that behind the pretext of budget deficit lies an ideological battle :
-Although the unions have already agreed to the budget cuts in exchange for keeping their collective bargaining rights, governor Walker refuses to back down.
-When Walker was pranked by a journalist posing as David Koch from the Koch Industries (one the richest men in the US and major funders of dozens of right-wing groups) he came out as a clear ideologue out there to get "the bastards" , not even blinking an eye when it was suggested he might plant some trouble makers into the demonstrators, acknowledging he "thought" about it. (source)
The unions are not without fault and deserve a lot of their criticisms - either in France or the U.S. but without unions to bargain, it is a return to a feudal type of relationships between workers and corporations.
The most bizarre part of the Wisconsin story so far is this one:
Wisconsin State troopers were dispatched early Thursday morning to the homes of the 14 Democratic state senators who have been in hiding over the last week to delay a vote on effectively ending collective bargaining rights for most public workers. (Madison.com)
Interesting development yesterday - the police who were supposed to throw out the demonstrators have actually joined them. (Salon).
And the protests are spreading to Missouri, Ohio, and across the nation.
In every country affected by damaging cuts, it is the ordinary folks who pay the price for something in which they had no say, meanwhile major corporations and banks continue to make millions and not necessarily pay the taxes they owe to pay.) I realize that this may sound awfully far-left, like the words of some neo-marxist and be reassured I am not.
My favorite example (among many others one could find) is that of Goldman Sachs in Greece :
Goldman Sachs arranged swaps that effectively allowed Greece to borrow 1 billion Euros without adding to its official public debt. While it arranged the swaps, Goldman also sought to buy insurance on Greek debt and engage in other trades to protect itself against the risk of a default on those swaps. Eventually, Goldman sold the swaps to the national bank of Greece.
Despite its role in creating swaps that may have allowed the Greek government to mask its growing debts, Goldman has no net exposure to a default on Greek debt, a person familiar with the matter says. (Businessinsider)
In other words, Goldman Sachs caused higher risk credit for Greece by secretly lending the Greek government money and acquiring credit protection on the trades on the cheap to protect itself from the risk only it knew. Wicked indeed!
Now what about the situation now....
Thinkprogress assembled a short but far from comprehensive list of these tax dodgers (see here) : they include Bank of America, Boeing, Citigroup, Exxon-Mobile, GE, Wells-Fargo, etc...
France is far from immune - while high profile dodgers such as L'Oreal owner Bettenocurt (with the complicity of French politicians) have made the headlines - more than 60 large French companies have been investigated for tax dodging among which are Michelin, Total or Adidas. (The Guardian)