Saturday, March 28, 2015

What GOP Primary Voters Need To Know About Scott Walker. Part I


Zach Wisniewski is DWT's new Wisconsin expert. He's a husband, a father, a public servant, a blogger, a proud liberal, and a fourth generation union member. A lifelong resident of Wisconsin, he talks about how proud he is to have been born and raised in a state that produced progressive icons like Bob La Follette, Bill Proxmire, Gaylord Nelson, and Russ Feingold, and he's going to help us understand the fight against the regressive policies of Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies. His first post for us, as Scott Walker surges among GOP primary voters in Iowa, explains how Wisconsin's middle class has shrunk more under Walker than any other state in the nation and emphasizes just how miserable Walker's record has been on job creation, the middle class, and the economy.

Scott Walker's Biggest Success: Shrinking Wisconsin's Middle Class
by Zach Wisniewski

As noted by CapTimes reporter Mike Ivey, a new report by the Pew Charitable Trust showed Wisconsin with the largest decline in the nation in the percentage of families considered to be middle class.
If you feel like you're working harder for less money, it's not your imagination. Wisconsin ranks worst among the 50 states in terms of a shrinking middle class, with real median household incomes here falling 14.7 percent since 2000, according to a new report. The Pew Charitable Trust report showed Wisconsin with the largest decline in the percentage of families considered "middle class," or those earning between 67 and 200 percent of their state's median income.

In 2000, 54.6 percent of Wisconsin families fell into the middle class category but that has fallen to 48.9 percent in 2013, according to U.S. Census figures compiled by Pew.

All other states showed some decline but none as great as Wisconsin's 5.7 percent figure.
The results of the Pew report should come as no shock to those of us here in Wisconsin who've felt the full weight of Gov. Scott Walker's attack on the middle class thanks to Act 10. After all, a vast majority of public employees are middle class wage earners, and the provisions of Act 10 empowered Gov. Walker and his Republican allies in the Legislature to further cut the take-home pay of public employees beyond the cuts those public employees had endured thanks to furloughs under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. In fact, I know a number of public employees whose take home pay is less now than it was nearly ten years ago (in some cases by nearly ten percent), and many of those solidly middle class public employees could ill afford a cut in their take home pay.

While Gov. Walker's main purpose in "dropping the bomb" that was Act 10 on public employees may have been to weaken public employee unions politically, one of the most destructive side effects of Act 10 was the weakening of Wisconsin's middle class. It's widely accepted that a strong middle class with plenty of disposable income grows the economy far better than the trickle down theory of giving tax cuts to the richest individuals and corporations, and here in Wisconsin we're seeing that fact borne out in the struggles our state's middle class are facing.

It's my hope that at some point during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries Gov. Scott Walker is going to have to answer for his absolutely miserable record on job creation and growing Wisconsin's economy. As proof of Gov. Walker's absolutely miserable record, one needs not look very far, whether it's his record of creating more low-wage jobs than middle-wage jobs, or the fact that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the quasi-public job creation agency created by Gov. Walker, sent millions of tax dollars to companies that outsourced jobs to foreign countries. And don't overlook the fact that Gov. Walker's job creation corporation also failed to track whether 99 businesses were repaying a total of $8 million in past-due loans over the course of a year. The $8 million in overdue loans the WEDC lost track of constituted 16% of that agency's $51 million loan portfolio.

That's not the kind of job creation record I'd want to have if I were running for president, and given the fact that Republicans control all three branches of government in Wisconsin, Gov. Walker has no one to blame but himself for his absolutely miserable record on job creation and the economy. However, Gov. Walker has been quite successful in shrinking Wisconsin's middle class, which no doubt will play well with with folks like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, who are the very people who may decide which Republican will be that party's nominee in 2016.


with "Scott Walker-- Serial Flip-Flopper"

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At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This all makes sense to a progressive.

But progressives are almost exclusively registered Democrats. Primary voters capable of voting for Walker are Republicans.

The "run-of-the-mill" Republican, I can only assume, see Walker as a total hero. He's trashed government workers, their pensions, unions, health care, education. The only thing left is to unleash him on Iran and Putin!

Of course, the Republican primary voter is significantly more radically reich than the run-of-the-mill GOPer.

John Puma

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Zach W. said...

Anonymous, you raise a good point, but there are a lot of Republicans here in Wisconsin who voted for Gov. Walker multiple times who are now starting to see the error of their ways.

On paper Gov. Walker looks like a dream candidate for Republicans, but once he's pressed hard by his opponents I suspect folks will start to see that he's about as smart as Rick Perry.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Few people cause me to forget my pledge of non-violence. Scott Walker is one who does.

I hope the cheeseheads who felt that recalling that Koch-roach was not fair have enjoyed Scott's gratitude in their reduced incomes and services. Maybe they will also rethink their relatively blind allegiance to the GOP, who clearly sees them only as a source of plunder and economic rapine.

If not, then they will end up giving Kansas a run for the lowest of the low, third-world trickle-out states. and they will deserve every twinge of pain the end up feeling for being so ignorant,

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

National GOP voters also need to know that WI conservatives have begun expressing voters' remorse.

"Dear conservatives, your governor has betrayed you" is the title of an opinion piece by Pete Kennedy, former editor of the "Waukesha Freeman," published in that conservative suburban Milwaukee community's newspaper last week.

Kennedy's piece begins: "There comes a time when you have to face reality — when it’s time to say, 'My date isn’t late. My date isn’t showing up.' Wisconsin conservatives have reached that moment of truth. It’s time to accept the fact that Scott Walker is done with you. The man you love is not walking through that door."

After listing examples of Walker's betrayal, he writes: "I could go on, but you don’t need to hear it all. Deep down you know the truth: Walker is an opportunist who is stepping on this trivial state as he makes his way to the presidency.

"But he’s not just stepping on the liberals who marched in circles around the Capitol, or signed the recall petition, or went to court over his emails.

"No, he’s grinding his heels into the conservatives — the people who fought for him, and trusted him. People like you.

"He’s betrayed you for something bigger and better and clearly planned to do so for some time."

The whole thing is worth a read. The newspaper has a paid restricted site, but a copy of the opinion piece can be read here:


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