- Views & Opinions
I’m pumped about electing Mary Burke Wisconsin’s governor and ending Scott Walker’s divisive policies and incompetent administration.
Walker built his rep on standing firmly in support of Act 10, the GOP law that repealed the right to collective bargaining by public sector unions. This corporate-backed effort was sold as a means of government-streamlining and tax reduction. It intentionally targeted organized labor, the only force able to vie against the power and influence of private interest groups in the political arena.
So how did that work? Well, besides dividing the state and nearly starting a civil war, tens of thousands of middle-class people with family-supporting jobs — teachers, nurses, office workers, custodians — lost their job security, some their jobs.
With the loss of seniority rights and other job protections won through their unions, several friends who have been teachers for 25-plus years have been forced into retirement by budget-cutting school districts who can hire new college grads at half the pay and without any responsibility for health benefits, pensions or even continuing education. In the midst of a crisis in American education, Walker has trashed veteran teachers and slashed our investment in new teachers in a crazy race to the bottom.
And the budget savings from Act 10 promised by Walker are a no-show. Recent reports predict a state budget deficit of $1.8 billion. Walker’s solution calls for more tax cuts, always a popular sell at elections that makes no sense whatsoever in practice.
These aren’t Walker’s only irresponsible economic decisions. In 2011, he rejected $800 million in federal funding for the development of high-speed rail. That project could have been an economic engine for the state. Instead, the Spanish train-building firm Talgo closed its manufacturing plant in Milwaukee. While the world speeds ahead with new rail technology, Wisconsin will remain a backwoods region.
Walker also is foolishly forfeiting over $500 million in federal funds for more low-income people to get health care through BadgerCare. The reason: Nothing more than ideological opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Poor people in Wisconsin will suffer, just so Walker can make a political point.
If Walker is so keen on saving money, maybe he could dismantle the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., an entity he created in 2011 to replace the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. An audit found that WEDC failed to maintain financial controls over millions of dollars in contracts and incentives given to businesses to create jobs. WEDC’s management has been in turmoil since its founding, with a dizzying number of incompetent boobs from the private sector who have failed to keep track of the huge handouts or even document whether any jobs were created.
Walker also deserves the boot for officiating over a long string of anti-woman legislation — cutting public funding to Planned Parenthood; requiring waiting periods, lectures and unnecessary ultrasounds for women seeking abortions; and repealing a law that allowed women to seek redress for job discrimination through state courts, to name just a few.
Walker and his GOP cronies approved voter ID restrictions despite the fact that violations of voting laws are almost non-existent. A brainchild of right-wing operatives, voter ID requirements are intended to suppress the votes of poor people, students, the elderly and disabled. This is a skunky law that must be overturned.
Please get involved in Mary Burke’s campaign for governor and work for candidates in your district who will change the reactionary tide of the Legislature.