Scott Walker: Borrow big, spend big, tax the middle, comfort the rich | WisCommunity

Scott Walker: Borrow big, spend big, tax the middle, comfort the rich


Bloomberg News -- the respected financial wire service -- has Gov. Scott Walker pegged. He's a spender. And a borrower. 

Walker has pushed through his draconian measure against public employee unions and is pushing drastic cuts in state aids to local governments and schools because, in his words, the state is "broke." Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's questionably neutral Politifact rejects that meme. But it takes Bloomberg to put the Walker rhetoric into true perspective, quoting emeritus Prof. Dennis Dresang, a public policy expert at the University of Wisconsin - Madison (emphasis mine):

 “We don’t have unfunded pension liabilities or a bad bond rating. We’re paying our bills, and Walker just proposed a $60 billion budget -- that’s not quite being broke.

Niow, right there you have the type of quote you simply will never see in Wisconsin's mainstream news media. And the Bloomberg article in which it appeared (URL below) gives us even more:

> The state faces a projected fiscal 2012 deficit of $1.8 billion, or almost 13 percent of current-year spending, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit group in Washington that focuses on issues that affect lower-income Americans. The ratio compares with a national average of almost 18 percent, according to Nicholas Johnson, the center’s vice president for state fiscal policy.

> “States have the tools they need to pay their bills,” Johnson said by telephone March 11. “To say that any state right now is ‘broke’ is to oversimplify to the point where it’s pretty much meaningless.”

It gets even better. According to Bloomberg, among the critics of Walker's budget is one who is unsung in our own news media. He's a Republican:

> One target of Walker’s proposed budget cuts, Republican Treasurer Kurt Schuller, immediately protested the governor’s plan to shift two programs he oversees to another department. He said reduced resources will make it difficult for him to perform such remaining functions as handling unclaimed property.

> “Gutting the office is not what I committed to,” Schuller said in a March 2 statement, referring to his campaign pledge to eliminate the position he now holds. He said he wants voters to have the chance to change the state constitution to eliminate the treasurer’s office, a process that may take years.

Ironically, Schuller's complaint parallels one complaint of public employee unions, who say it will be almost impossible to implement on time Walker provisions that require annual member recertifications and new dues collection procedures. So now we have confirmation from within the GOP ranks, bolstering other evidence, such as Walker's already announced plans to add nine figures' worth of long-term debt to the state balance sheet: His "budget" measures aren't meant to save us from being broke. They're meant to change the political landscape in a hurry, eliminating potential opponents.

You've got to wonder where the tea baggers are, now that it's clear Walker intends to spend sixty billiion dollars over the next two years while borrowing more and giving out tax breaks to corporations. One man's prudence is another's recklessness -- even if many people refuse to see it.


March 15, 2011 - 9:23am