So, you think Gov. Walker and the Republican Legislature are doing a good job for Wisconsin?
They say they fixed the budget deficit that Gov. Doyle created. Well, they can claim that they fixed the “structural deficit,” but in fact they just moved money around. The state still has the same $3 billion or so in debt as when Walker took over. Besides, Doyle did not create that debt load, Govs. Thompson and McCallum did.
Republicans say Wisconsin is “open for business” again. And the mantra is “It’s Working.” Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is down. Yes, Walker gave away lots of money to a few businesses, but it’s not working. Every other time we’ve heard about a drop in unemployment lately, it comes with the caveat that the slow increase in actual jobs does not match, so it is likely that some people have stopped looking for work. But here in Wisconsin, where we have been losing jobs for most of the last year, Walker and the Republicans conveniently leave out that observation. My guess is with fewer jobs but lower unemployment, people must be scrambling to escape our fine state. I can’t blame them.
Reublicans say they’re making state government smaller, and getting it out of the way of business and the people. Actuallyo, Walker’s budget was 1 percent or so larger than Doyle’s last budget, while also taking money out of the pockets of many state employees. I suspect many of those same state employees would agree with me when I point out that taking away the rights of workers to bargain collectively with their employer is a gross interference of government in peoples’ liberties. There are numerous other onerous bits of legislation that Walker and the Republicans have passed this last year, many of which are getting hung up in the courts due to their dubious nature.
But hey, they sure put those darn unions in their place. Those union workers are lazy and get paid more than they deserve. Oh, really? I’m stunned by how often I hear that sort of talk. I suspect union workers might respond by saying, “Maybe if you want to get paid what you’re really worth, you should try unionizing.” Fact is, unions helped get blue-collar worker into the middle class. And as union-bashing legislation and tactics by the Republicans since the Reagan years has brought private sector union participation down from 29 percent to just 7 percent, those gains have deteriorated. While productivity of the American worker grew by about 80 percent since 1979, household income of the bottom 90 percent has been flat, only gaining 5 percent by 2007. Meanwhile the top 1 percent gained over 200 percent.
If median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would be nearly $92,000 not just $50,000. Of course, it’s not just union bashing, pro-business Republican support for direct outsourcing of jobs to increase corporate profits has also been a major downward pull on overall income.
So do you still support Walker and the Republicans?