Editorial: Show Walker the exit, fast

Scott Walker won a close race for governor largely on a promise to create 250,000 new jobs by 2015. Now, only 10 months into his tenure, Walker’s own administration has acknowledged that he’s going to miss that mark by a long shot.

The Department of Revenue released a report on Oct. 28 that predicted the state would add only 136,000 jobs in the private sector between 2010 and 2014.

Through September, the state had added just 29,300 jobs since Walker took office in January. If Walker’s job-creating pace were to continue, about 156,000 new jobs would be created in the state by 2015.

More frightening than the pace of job creation under Walker is the prospect of the kind of jobs the state will gain. Walker has not tried to hide the fact that his allegiance is to wealthy, out-of-state corporate interests rather than the state’s working- and middle-class citizens. Corporate chiefs paid for his victory, and they are now lining his campaign coffers to fight his prospective recall election next year.

Those corporations want to extract as much of the state’s resources as possible – and as cheaply as possible. This means paying workers the least they can get away with and having free rein to pollute our air and water. It means getting special tax status that minimizes their financial contribution to the state and being shielded from lawsuits that might result from their actions or their products.

Under the much-mocked mantra, “Wisconsin is open for business,” Walker has given his corporate backers everything they desired. He has enacted the most reckless legislative agenda in the state’s history.

In just a few months, Walker reversed the course of Wisconsin’s progressive history, enacting laws that busted unions, lifted environmental protections, gave big tax breaks to the wealthy, limited product liability, made it harder to vote and slashed healthcare programs for working- and middle-class Wisconsinites. 

The state’s Republicans also have decimated education spending, ensuring that many of the next generation of Wisconsinites will be unprepared for anything beyond menial, low-paying work. They have nixed 21st-century industries such as high-speed rail and green energy, because those industries would have competed with the business interests of their corporate sponsors. 

Instead of working to create quality jobs, Walker and his Republican cronies have focused on bizarre measures that will allow people to carry concealed weapons into government buildings and prevent insurance companies from covering women’s reproductive health.

Walker has not opened Wisconsin for business, but he has sold out its values, its traditions and its resources for the short-term financial gain of a few and the political gain of the extreme. This is not what democracy looks like.

Wisconsinites have a unique opportunity to show Walker the Governor’s Mansion’s exit next year. A broad coalition of progressive groups has joined forces with the Democratic Party to gather enough signatures to force a recall election. They’re knocking on doors, making phone calls, and fanning out across state to show this governor – and all future governors – that the people and resources of Wisconsin are not for sale to the highest corporate bidder.

Walker has done enough damage. We urge readers to join the movement to force him out of office as quickly as possible.