Watching Scotty blow -- your money, that is. | WisCommunity

Watching Scotty blow -- your money, that is.

When it comes to Scott Walker, you've got to follow the money, and follow it all the way. Nine-figure sums from largely anonymous, out-of-state donors elected him and saved him from recall. And he's blowing similiar sums to puff up the Republican Party's meme that he's been a godsend for Wisconsin's economy. Well, a godsend for GOP finances and the fat cats, at any rate. And whenever Walker breathlessly touts his actions in saving your tax dollars, it's imperative you take him not just at his word.

The newest example: Walker's announcement that he'll call a special session of the legislature to approve property tax rebates (of up to eleven bucks this year, for a typical homeowner. Wow! ELEVEN BUCKS!) based on mere projections that the state might gain more revenue than expected (which, apparently, has nothing to do with the national economic recovery that Walker has had absolutely nothing to do with influencing).

It's feel-good chump change, at best, but it's even worse than it seems. Because this give-back, if it actually happens, was in large part made possible by Walker's decision to seize tens of millions of dollars intended to go to victims of mortgage fraud in Milwaukee by private lenders. So consider, all you in Wausau, you in Chippewa Falls and you in Marinette who might celebate having a very few extra bucks to spend next year thanks to Walker: You're getting that money, maybe, on the backs of people who as a result of a class-action settlement were supposed to get back a few hundred or a few thousand dollars after banks ripped them off through improper lending practices and even foreclosures. Read it here:

That's is a classic case of Republican "let's you and him fight" politics. Enoy the six-pack of beer or extra few smokes you might get from your eleven bucks in saved property tax, but do it knowing someone else might have lost their home to help cover the cost.

In the perverse Walkerverse, this sort of fiscal sleight of hand seems to happen with regularity. For example, sneaking a measure into the state budget in a midnight move Walker once claimed to abhor, the GOP Ledge last summer created a new law allowing the state to seize the assets of deceased state residents who were on Medicaid. Walker promptly signed it. The idea is to reimburase the state for providing low-income, often senior, sometimes disabled residents with modest health coverage. This seizure can be accomplished even if your spouse survives you, meaning the widow of a former Wisconsin Medicaid recipient could be turned out of her home, all to make the state budget look slightly better.

Mind you, Medicaid isn't some kind of giveaway; many Medicaid recipients are earnest, upstanding citizens who paid taxes to support the program and who are working poor or retirees who have fallen on hard economic times. But seizing the assets of such people when they die is fair dinkum for Gov. Dink-'em. It's all in service to the conservative principle that the state really owes you nothing for your contributions over the decades. Meanwhile, it seems to feel it owes political favorites and fat-cat businesses as much money as it can steer their way, and not only do they seldom have to repay that money, but the state increasingly has lost track of millions it "loaned" to businesses. For more on the Medicaid asset seizure, see:

What's most aggravating about Walker is his frequent use of state tax dollars to reward his political appointees with fat pay raises for helping him look good. You may recall that when Walker took office, he got his pals in the GOP-controlled legislature to give him wider power to appoint top agency heads and their lieutenants, and huge power to reward them (mostly to the exclusion of tens of thousands of other state employees) through a new "merit" pay raise plan based on rather obscure and largley unmeasurable performance standards. Yes, while most state employees have seen their pay shrink or remain stagnant, Walker has been laying merit bonsues and also huge, double-digit pay increases on a handful of his appointed minions. Bloggng Blue has this well covered, so read it and weep here:

So there you have it: Walker and his enablers raise taxes on the working poor, cut programs that serve the lower and middle class, and swipe money intended for victims of economic manipulation. All in order to pay off sycophants while cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations, in hopes they might create some jobs they would have created anyway, based on conservatism's own purported economic ideology. Then Walker has the gall to hold news conferences touting how he's balanced the budget (but only by whacking public employee pay and incurring billions in new debt) and proclaiming with great zeal that he's going to get ELEVEN DOLLARS of state revenue back to you this year, maybe.

There's your fiscal conservative for you, in the appropriate garb of a nutshell.


October 14, 2013 - 10:21am