For Scott Walker and WI GOP, the 2011-2012 Legislative Session ends as it began – with a lie

The text of Scott Walker’s Inaugural Speech references the Wisconsin State Constitution as the basis for how the state will operate during his term as Governor:

“Today, I stand before you – not as the governor of one party or another; or the governor of one part of the state or another. Today, I stand before you as the Governor for all of the people in this State of Wisconsin…Just moments ago, I took a solemn oath to defend our Constitution…Our constitution is a document of, by and for the people…When the citizens of the Wisconsin Territory approved our Constitution in 1848, they envisioned a brighter future for themselves and their children. It was a Constitution born of conflict and controversy. First rejected, then approved as the people came together to forge a pioneering vision to drive our state Forward.”

The first lie of Scott Walker was stated in his inaugural speech, as he promised to govern Wisconsin under the Constitution of the state, as Governor of “all the people.” Walker and his speechwriters must have had limited access to the history of the Wisconsin Constitution. Had they done a little research, they would have known from their early days in office the Progressive history that flows throughout Wisconsin.

The first Constitution (1846) rejected by the state was done so for reasons we are too familiar with today. Voters influenced by moneyed and powerful banking interests in Eastern Wisconsin; and carried by an all white male voting population rejected highly progressive clauses adopted overwhelmingly by the Territorial Legislature –  affording the Right of Suffrage to African-Americans and Women, as well as prohibiting commercial banking establishment. The 1848 compromise took out the voting rights of women and African-Americans, but afforded the Legislature the ability to expand – but not rescind – future rights of suffrage. As for the banking…Wisconsin was just then, as now, ahead of its time. Walker twisted even the intent of the State Constitution in his first address to the People.

From that first speech on, the people have been subjected to a triumvirate of power in Wisconsin focused not on “jobs, jobs, jobs” (also from that same speech), but a Fundamentalist Ideological Crusade of Mississippian proportion. There has been a noticeable lack of governance; but a noticeable presence of social re-engineering, corporate pandering, and outright propaganda. Walker and the GOP used the lie “Wisconsin is broke” to push their early agenda on already hurting  Wisconsinites, and reward their wealthiest contributors.

The fact is, before Scott Walker came into office, Wisconsin was nowhere near broke. In a Legislative Memo to Joint Finance Chairs Robin Vos and Alberta Darling on January 31, 2011 the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported a $56.3 million net fund balance (in the positive) through June, 2011.  Walker and the GOP sprung into action – if they were going to kill unions and collective bargaining, they needed a crisis. What better way to create a crisis than to decrease revenue by giving tax breaks to already wealthy individuals and their corporate patrons?

Acts 1 ,2,3,4 and 5 accomplished the task in an early “Special Session”. Each was a tax break for the top 2% wage earners in Wisconsin and large corporations – most of which were considerable donors to Scott Walker, and members of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Act 7 (see previous link) created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Act 9 created the need for a supermajority to raise taxes for the General Fund. Finally, Act 10 (see previous link) ended collective bargaining as it had existed for decades.

Despite Walker’s claim to have run on all these initiatives, and that “no one should be surprised if they were paying attention during the election,” this Governor was acting not in accordance with temperance and moderation as he had promised in his inaugural speech. He was, in fact, following a script of ideological domination where the ends justifies the means. Even lying. Caught in this lie in front of the Oshkosh Northwestern Editorial staff (at 7:50 of the video), Walker states that he would work with labor unions to achieve “necessary pension contributions…as he did as Milwaukee County Executive.”

Throughout the 2011 Legislative session, this power grab and fundamentalist agenda has been on full display – resulting in Acts not for the benefit of Wisconsin, but for the select few in power. Acts 19 (de-regulation of water disinfecting), 21 (giving the Governor rule-making and killing authority), 23 (Voter ID – now on temporary hold), 43 and 44 (redistricting), 47 (expansion of Milwaukee private school choice funding), 68 (neutering the Department of revenue), and 118 (wetlands de-regulation) do nothing to help the hurting lower and middle class in Wisconsin. That fact has been recognized by many, and this writer would welcome ANY submission of proof that ANY jobs will be created by these Acts.

The initiatives and lies of Scott Walker and the GOP have actually harmed the state of Wisconsin. A (D-Monona) from June 2011 reports that the Walker tax breaks will increase the state deficit in revenue – over $331 million over the next 5 years. Walker is building the deficit on the backs of the middle class, to reward those he serves – the corporate elite.

Contrary to the current Walker lie, “Our plan is working”, Wisconsinites are not – and not by their own choice. The latest Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data prove that while Scott Walker has been Governor, his policies are not creating jobs. The state has lost over 12,000 jobs in 2011 (leading the nation), and the state labor force has declined by over 15,000 people in 2011. There are people who have given up looking for work, leaving the ranks of the labor force.

The pushback has increased, resulting in four additional recalls against GOP Senators (Fitzgerald, VanWangaard, Moulton, Galloway). Pam Galloway has retired, and will not face recall (although under statute, the recall election must still be held). Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch will face recall elections. Three GOP Assembly reps are also stepping down – Dan Meyer (Eagle River), Richard Spanbauer (Oshkosh), and Michelle Litjens (Vinland), further reducing the GOP hold on power. In spite of this clear message for a return to sanity, progressive values, and true moderation, the GOP continues their quest for a social and economic “grail” in this crusade at “breakneck speed” (in the words of Scott Fitzgerald).

In the waning days of the Legislative session, the GOP turned its focus toward attacking women’s rights and changing the Board structure of MATC in Milwaukee.  SB237 repeals the requirement for medically accurate sex education in public schools – allowing for abstinence only education. SB275 puts control of MATC into the hands of non-Milwaukee based corporations, and away from a co-operative partnership of academia and business – which had previously resulted in a 92% job placement rate.

This Legislative year has clearly been about one thing – and it is not (as Walker lied about from his inauguration) jobs and the Constitution. It has been a fundamentalist ideological crusade to remake Wisconsin into a Mississippi-style, single party state. Scott Walker and the GOP have done little to no governing in Wisconsin – they have taken us backwards, and that is not the Wisconsin way of government. This consistent barrage of lies is why the recall is necessary, and the People must take back Wisconsin.

One thought on “For Scott Walker and WI GOP, the 2011-2012 Legislative Session ends as it began – with a lie

  1. Thanks for this fairly thorough and comprehensive assessment. Will we ever see this information in recall ads and/or campaigns? Will the word on this ever get out through media outlets? We have reduced the entire message to Walter needs to go because he killed state unions. He also worked to kill education, public health, health care, public works, women’s rights, and voting rights. Why are progressives generally so quiet on these issues.

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