Paul Krugman, in his column on 24 February, noted that the shenanigans in Wisconsin have little to do with the state budget, but are a power play, a re-play in fact of the “shock doctrine” early in the occupation of Iraq. (Here’s Krugman’s column, Shock Doctrine, U.S.A. If you haven’t been following the story, here’s a backgrounder from Andy Kroll at Mother Jones, What’s Happening in Wisconsin Explained.)
Here is what seems to be an unexpected consequence of Governor Walker’s power grab: thousands of workers stand to lose retirement benefits if they do not retire, right now. So they are leaving, right now, in droves.
Across the state, record numbers of public employees are requesting retirement papers. Many, like Donnelly, have been advised that if they don’t get out quickly, they stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits they were counting on for retirement.
The effect on the state could be devastating. The number of people retiring from the public sector in the next two weeks could easily dwarf the 12,000 lay-offs the governor has threatened