Saturday, March 3, 2012

Update on State Level Authoritarianism

The social trend of increasing authoritarianism at the state level started unfolding in earnest in 2011, starting with Wisconsin passing a union-busting bill into law and Michigan implementing its emergency manager law, and continuing through the rest of the year as more and more red (and even purple) states pass laws aimed at union busting, voter suppression, curbs on abortion and curbs to immigration. The forecast for 2012 called for more of the same with increasing state level authoritarianism (or government over-reach if you prefer to call it that).

Here is an excerpt from an earlier entry (Social Trends for 2012) underscoring the forecast regarding state level authoritarianism:

The trend of increasing authoritarianism is expected to accelerate in 2012. Many governments throughout the world increased their control over their own people in 2011. Even in the United States, there was a rapid rise in state level authoritarianism with people such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leading the charge with laws aimed at union busting, voter suppression, curbs to immigration, and curbs to abortion. Look for this trend to continue in 2012 with even more state and national governments increasing their control over people.

In spite of the Primary wave [3] down wave count being invalidated several weeks ago, the forecast is still being fulfilled. What seems to matter in regards to increasing authoritarianism is that a Grand Supercycle degree bear market is unfolding, and a bear market of that magnitude will inevitably result in increasing authoritarianism regardless of the wave path of the stock market that unfolds while the bear market is in force.

Since the start of 2012, state level authoritarianism has been accelerating:

1 -- Indiana passes a tougher version of Michigan's Emergency Manager law. The bill, Senate Bill 355,  gives emergency managers a number of new powers, including the power to review existing labor contracts, the power to renegotiate existing labor contracts and act as an agent of the political sub-division (municipality or a school district) in collective bargaining, the power to reduce or suspend the salaries of a political division's employees, and the power to enter in agreements with other political subdivisions for the provision of services.

2 -- The state of Texas passed new laws aimed at curbing abortion and reproductive freedom, including the requirement for invasive sonograms. The new laws are already taking a toll on people in the state of Texas, both for women seeking abortions and for providers, as well as the complications that arise from 90% of the counties have no clinics or hospitals that provide abortion services. Some complications of the anti-abortion laws have resulted in criminal charges that carry a five year prison term.

3 -- In the middle of February 2012, the state of Virginia was in the process of passing a law requiring invasive ultrasounds for those seeking an abortion. This caused a massive backlash from women's rights groups. The backlash resulted in Gov. Bob McDonnell settling for a watered down version of the law that was passed by the state Senate towards the end of the month.

4 -- Alabama's legislature is in the process of passing a law (Senate Bill 12) requiring invasive ultrasounds for those seeking an abortion.

5 -- In response to the Occupy Wall Street protests that unfolded in the last quarter of 2011, the Tennessee state legislature passed a law that was specifically made to stop the OWS protests from taking place in the state in the future. The bill, SB 2638, and its companion bill, SB 2508, already reached the governor's desk. The new anti-OWS law makes both "camping" and "homelessness" a class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail, a $2500 fine, and a permanent criminal record, including a permanent entry into the Tennessee Criminal Records online database.

6 -- In Georgia, the state of legislature is in process of passing a bill criminalizing union picketing in spite of widespread opposition to the bill. The bill amounts to another instance of union busting as the law is specifically aimed at unions and labor organizations. The bill, SB 469, was being considered by the state legislature near the end of the month apparently in response to a specific action by Occupy Atlanta and unions to protest layoffs at AT&T.

7 -- Increasing authoritarianism is accelerating in Wisconsin as Gov. Scott Walker is poised to sign into law a bill that repeals the Wisconsin Equal Pay Enforcement Act. Even as the state governor faces a recall within the next few months with state residents still angry over the union-busting legislation that was passed into law last year, the state government stays the course with laws aimed at union busting and voter suppression.

8 -- The Michigan state legislature recently passed a law, SB 0971, that was specifically aimed at stopping the 2200 member Graduate Student Research Assistants (GRSA) at the University of Michigan from forming a union. Michigan continues to lead the charge in terms of increasing state level authoritarianism in spite of being a purple state as a wave of voter anger allowed the GOP to take control of all three branches of the state government in the 2010 mid-term elections. SB 0971 is yet another instance of union busting legislation.

Only two months of the new year have passed and there is already very strong evidence of increasing authoritarianism at the state level, especially in the red states but also unfolding in a number of purple states as well. Even as we pass through the long "Extend and Pretend" phase of "The Great Deflation" (Cycle wave x of Supercycle wave (a) down), bearish social mood continues to simmer all the way to the surface as state and national governments continue to increase their control over people. The social trend of increasing state level authoritarianism is expected to continue through the rest of the year and in the years to come. We are currently in the late stages of Primary wave [A] of Cycle wave x (as per the main wave count), with Primary wave [B] down to unfold from June 2012 to 2016. Once Primary wave [B] of Cycle wave x starts, state level authoritarianism is poised to accelerate in both the red and purple states as social mood deteriorates.

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