Unlike most right-leaning political blogs in this state, this blog has not hesitated to be critical of the Walker administration when it’s warranted.
The reality, however, is that every election represents a choice between imperfect candidates. And depending on your perspective, the candidate that emerges like Swamp Thing from the ooze of the Democratic gubernatorial recall primary May 8 either will be a backward move for the state, or will move Wisconsin Forward! off a cliff.
Tim Nerenz notes the lack of alternative as well as how one of the Dumocrats’ campaigns is going:
In the past few days the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a couple of remarkable articles on the upcoming Wisconsin recall elections – both interesting and infuriating.
The first one reported that the public-sector unions who endorsed Democrat candidate Kathleen Falk have now suspended advertising on her behalf with just weeks to go before the primary.
Thank you so much, WEAC and AFSCME, for forcing a primary upon us that will add several millions to the $9 million it was already going to cost the taxpayers to humor you with a recall, only to pull out when it came time to spend some of your own money on it. That’s just terrific; a sure-fire way to win over independent and undecided taxpayers by spending a boatload of their money for nothing. Bravo.
The second was the astonishing admission of both leading candidates to unseat Governor Walker – Falk and Tom Barrett – that they have no plan to offer the voters of this state to counter the reforms enacted by the guy they want to replace prematurely. Even the liberals at the paper found this bizarre.
Thank you so much, Democrat Party of Wisconsin, for forcing a recall election that will cost taxpayers upwards of $20 million in a runoff between two candidates who, with nearly 18 months to come up with a better idea than Scott Walker’s reforms, can’t think of anything besides not being Scott Walker. Isn’t the cream supposed to rise in the dairy state?Actually, it is no longer clear that the recall is about worker pay; in fact, I don’t think anyone knows anymore what this recall is supposed to be about.It started over benefit adjustments for public employees, but once a database of teacher salaries and benefit values was made public, sympathy for besieged public servants turned to envy.
Then it switched to collective bargaining, which sounded like a pretty good principled argument until residents of the Badger state got a good look at the behavior of the “collective” in question when they hit the capitol en masse last winter. And putting the muscle to neutral businesses turned off a lot of fair-minded people who suddenly understood that “bargaining” has a different meaning altogether to the boys from Chicago who are calling the shots.So the argument shifted to Walker’s cuts in education funding, which actually had a little traction going until we discovered the extent of the WEA trust insurance scam and realized how much we have been ripped off and for how long in the name of education. Turns out your average fish-fry cheesehead couldn’t get whipped into a frenzy over cuts to money-laundering.
Then it was just sort of, generally, um, that Walker’s Act 10 reforms, like, you know, kinda destroyed the state and stuff; until people started to see that the state was not destroyed and over $1 billion had been saved in less than a year since Act 10 was implemented over the objections of every living and breathing Democrat, who are still living and breathing despite the issuance of 100,000 concealed carry permits, thank you very much Governor Walker.
Then it was all about jobs – the Democrats had something going on there until they voted down the mining bill and killed off the biggest opportunity for high-wage job growth to come down the pike in this state in many years. It is quite a feat to get unionsand old people from up North pissed at Democrats – kudos.
Next they tried out this pitch: it wasn’t exactly what he did, it was how he did it. But when people looked at their lower tax bills and those concealed carry permits they pretty much decided it didn’t matter how he did it. And besides, having a majority of both houses of the legislature vote for a law that the governor then signs, is pretty much how he is supposed to do it. It’s the veto by any old county judge with ink in the pen that is a process problem.
So now about all that is left for The Left is the old standby – Walker didn’t tell us he was going to do this reform stuff before we elected him. Forget that we didn’t buy this crock when they first whipped it on us in January of 2011 – that’s their story and they are sticking to it … for now. …
This is not getting ridiculous; it put ridiculous in the rear view mirror a long time ago. President Obama has no plan to solve the deficit and the debt at the federal level; his Treasury Secretary admitted so under oath in a Congressional hearing. They apparently think not-Paul-Ryan is a winning strategy. Governor Walker’s opponents admit they have no plan to avoid deficits and debt at the state level; they apparently think not-Scott-Walker will work here, too.
Until someone in the Democrat party brain-trust decides to make this a difficult decision and give us a plan – any plan – to consider, the recall vote is going to be easy, even if you don’t care much for Scott Walker. Whoever runs against Walker plans to spend more, tax more, and tell us what to do, and if Walker wins he plans to spend less, tax less, and tell us what to do.
David Blaska makes a highly amusing comparison for those of us old enough to remember the least successful Democratic presidential campaign of our youth:
Paging Walter Mondale.
Here is the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 1984: “Let’s tell the truth. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”
Feed the beast! That paean to Big Government got a rousing ovation from the delegates to the national convention in San Francisco, no less, dominated as it was by public employee unions and champions of taxpayer-paid abortion. The American electorate, not so much. Reagan rolled Mondale in every state that November, excepting the Democrat’s home base of Minnesota and the D.C.
Ever since, the party of Big Government has been more discreet — but no less determined to grow government and hope that it “trickles down” to the private sector.
Back to the future in Wisconsin 2012: How much will Barrett, Falk, et al., raise taxes? They won’t tell you, but I just did. …
Now the Dems are soft-pedaling the union thing, trying to make the case that Gov. Scott Walker is scraping the paint off Wisconsin’s schoolhouses and chewing an inch off their yardsticks. (Wisconsin State Journal: “Education expected to be major issue in Walker recall.”)
Is it too much to ask other journalists to ask this question: If Scott Walker did not spend enough, how much more would you spend and where would it come from?
Well, Secretary of State Douglas La Follette (who is only a shirttail relative of Fighting Bob, by the way) wants to raise state sales taxes from 5 percent to 6 percent, with the 20-percent increase going to schools. According to the Institute for Wisconsin’s Failure, every one-point jump raises $800 million to $900 million in revenue, depending on which currently exempt goods and services get added to the sales tax.
That requires a brief history of the state sales tax. The sales tax started at 3 percent in 1962, then was raised to 4 percent in 1969, then 5 percent in 1983 (with the extra 25 percent promised to go to municipalities). And then counties were allowed to add a 0.5-percent sales tax, and 61 of them have. (Brown County’s sales tax is for the early-2000s Lambeau Field renovation; Fond du Lac County’s is to finance the incentive package that kept Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac.) In each case, state sales tax increases were promised to go to property tax relief. You can guess what happened to that property tax relief in a state with the fourth highest state and local taxes in the nation.
The irony is that, as I’ve written here before, there is, or was, an opportunity for Democrats were they not so stubborn, dense or indebted to their financial supporters to see it. The nonaligned voter, who supposedly decides elections in this state, is not interested in voting for ideologues from either wing. A Democrat who could pull off a Bill Clinton-style triangulation — who could stand in opposition to Republicans and the wildest-eyed elements of his or her own party — would do very well in this state. A Democrat who realizes that better schools — which is not the same thing as schools with more money — and government services provided in an efficient manner — which is contrary to the public employee union ethos — benefit working families probably could serve in office as long as he or she wants to.
That Democrat either doesn’t exist in this state, or stayed out of the gubernatorial recall race to let the Feckless Four lose. Barrett and Falk are a combined 0-for-4 in statewide races, few people know who Vinehout is, and few people know what the secretary of state does.
So what’s the actual alternative to Walker? Paul Socha nails it:
If the state of Wisconsin‘s (under Walker) budget is now balanced, why do taxes have to go up? What do they need more money for? What are they going to spend more money on? Is this election to give the power back to the unions or keep the power in the hands of Wisconsin tax payers.
We wonder how many media outlets that covered the Moody’s downgrades in Milwaukee’s bond rating and omitted Tom Barrett’ name will report Barrett and Falk will raise taxes to the people of Wisconsin. Don’t hold your breath. Will the media be honest with it’s readers?
If you want your taxes to go up in Wisconsin, want to return of the days of Jim Doyle then vote Kathleen Falk or Tom Barrett for governor.