The worst thing Scott Walker has done

Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but part of me believes one political side’s favorite members of the other political side are those who can’t explain their opposing views well, or succeed in convincing others of their contrary views.

Perhaps that explains the spittle-generating hatred most Democrats seem to have of Gov. Scott Walker. As Tim Nerenz points out:

Opponents of the reforms enacted in Wisconsin by Governor Scott Walker and his Republican legislature are understandably beside themselves; he was able to do in a single legislative session what they could not accomplish in a decade.

Last winter, an information campaign entitled “It’s Working Wisconsin” was launched to publicize the benefits of Act 10, the GOP budget repair bill that restricted collective bargaining privileges for public sector employees and gave municipalities new tools to address their budget shortfalls.

Opponents say it’s not working, and I agree with them. It’s not work-ing; it worked.

The Walker budget reforms are no longer a theory, an experiment, or a work in progress – they worked.  Cause and effect; action and reaction; input and output; stimulus and response; modification and result.

You can hold any opinion you wish about Governor Walker his Republicans; you can oppose their agenda, you can abhor their ideology, you can object to their tactics, you can fear what they will do next.  But you can’t say that their fiscal reforms have not worked – not if you have a clue what the word “fiscal” means.

And you can have any opinion of public sector unions that you wish, but you can’t say they weren’t the problem – not if you truly believe that Walker busted them and you truly believe that his predecessor did everything possible to fix the state’s fiscal mess without busting them.  Walker did bust them; and it worked.

A structural budget deficit of $3.6 billion has been turned to a $425 million surplus without raising taxes, gutting programs, or laying off large numbers of public employees.  Townships, cities, counties, and school boards have saved well over $1 billion – and counting – of taxpayer money in less than a year since Act 10 went into effect; property taxes actually declined state-wide for the first time this century.

I know those are Walker’s campaign talking points, but they wouldn’t be if Act 10 didn’t work.  And they could have been former Governor Jim Doyle’s third-term talking points if he would have done what Walker did during any one of the eight years he sat in Madison with legislative majorities and swore up and down that nothing could be done about our deficits but raise taxes, beg for federal bailouts, raid trust funds, and spray some accounting voodoo around to cover the stink….

Corporate tax revenues are up, personal tax revenues are up, sales tax revenues are up, the number of people working is up, the number of unfilled jobs is up, companies are hiring, exports are increasing, and Wisconsin is attracting business from surrounding states.  Unemployment is down, new claims for unemployment are down, and the average length of time on unemployment is down.

Municipalities which took advantage of the budget tools the legislature gave to them found ways to save money and improve services.  Many school districts reduced class sizes and enacted merit pay to reward great teachers.  Liberated from state choke-holds, local units of government began to govern much better.  He busted the Madison bureaucracy, too; and it worked….

With over a year to think about it, the Democrats haven’t offered up anything that appeals to libertarians, the Republicans can defend their own candidates, and there is nothing further that needs to be said.

Well … the budget isn’t really balanced by the measure by which it should be balanced. But since the previous governor and Legislature didn’t even pretend to have a balanced budget, the current state of state finances is clearly preferable. The previous governor also made the Democratic mistake of equating teacher unions with education, when the former has nothing to do with the latter. The state’s business climate isn’t as highly ranked as it should be, but mediocre beats abysmal, low standard that that is.



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