Day: May 13, 2015

Campaigning against educators and the middle class

 

It is outrageous to campaign for any public office, especially for president of the United States, on a record of attacking teachers, health care workers and other public employees who provide essential, everyday services to millions of people, often at subpar wages.

Yet that is exactly what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is doing as he travels the country, bragging about his record of attacking unions and cutting taxes in his home state. When Walker brags about attacking unions, he actually is bragging about attacking teachers, bus drivers, school nurses and thousands of other employees caught in his rampage through Wisconsin state government a few years ago.

(Remember, he also compared teachers, nurses and other public employees to “terrorists” when he claimed, not long ago, that he could handle the Islamic State because he had taken on union protesters in Wisconsin. Were it not for the seriousness of international terrorism, some national political correspondents may still be laughing at Walker over that one.)

Walker hasn’t officially announced for president yet, but he likely will, joining several other presidential wannabes whose main interest in government seems to be enacting policies to further enrich the rich at the expense of everyone else.

In truth, Walker’s policies in Wisconsin were largely a disaster, especially for the middle class, and things are threatening to get worse because Walker’s previous spending cuts haven’t produced the rosy budget picture that the governor promised.

So, while Walker is off on the presidential campaign trail, he has asked his Republican allies in the Legislature in Wisconsin to cut some more, including further reductions in public schools, universities and many other programs, according to the article linked below in the Washington Post.

But, in his topsy-turvy sense of priorities, Walker wants to keep a state tax break for manufacturers and farms and issue $220 million in bonds for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise.

Although Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is below the national average, its rate of private-sector job growth is among the worst in the country, and wages have remained stagnant, the Post reports. The article also cites a recent study by the Pew CharitableTrusts, finding that Wisconsin’s middle class – households making between $34,500 and $103,000 a year – has shrunk at a rate faster than any other state.

That latter finding may be the most damning result of Walker’s legacy to date. The middle class – the working class — used to be considered the heart and soul of America, before the Scott Walkers of this country began to do their number on it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/will-scott-walkers-budget-troubles-hurt-his-potential-2016-bid/2015/05/12/5b70fe90-f578-11e4-b2f3-af5479e6bbdd_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1