Tag: budget deficit

As he launches his presidential campaign, Scott Walker compares Wisconsinites to special interests

Approximately 19 seconds into Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential campaign announcement video, an unnamed narrator for the Walker campaign said that Walker “beat the special interests” over a video clip of progressive protesters supporting the unsuccessful recall attempt against Walker in 2012. At around the 39-second mark of the video, Walker himself spoke in front of the camera and talked about taking “power out of the hands of big government special interests”.

In reality, Walker compared the people of his state to special interests, while allowing special interests like big business interests and the school voucher lobby to benefit from the very big government that Walker rails against.

For Walker to compare Wisconsinites to special interests is not only false, it’s also offensive. More specifically, Walker compared Wisconsin progressives to special interests, and, having followed many of them on blogs and social media for the past few years, I can certainly say that they are not special interests. They’re people who want to make their state and their country a better place to live. They care about their communities, and they support workers’ rights, women’s rights, the middle class, open government, equality, and other progressive ideals. As Meghan Blake-Horst, a co-founder and the market manager of the MadCity Bazaar flea market in Madison, Wisconsin, put it, “Yes, we have special interests in feeding, educating and providing our kids a healthy place to grow up. And running our small businesses.” Comparing people like Blake-Horst to special interests dehumanizes people.

The truth about Walker’s record is that he and his political allies in Wisconsin have given special interests, such as big business interests and the school voucher lobby, effective control over Wisconsin’s state government. Those special interests have, in turn, helped Wisconsin’s state government, among other things, hand out tax breaks to the wealthy, give out tons of corporate welfare to businesses, privatize and cut funding from public K-12 education, cut funding from higher education, strip tenure away from college professors, make it harder for Wisconsinites to vote, make it harder for Wisconsin women to get the reproductive health care they want, bust unions, drive down wages, hurt Wisconsin’s economy, run up massive state budget deficits, and destroyed Wisconsin’s reputation. Martha Laning, the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW), didn’t mince words one bit in her statement criticizing Walker as he launches his presidential campaign. Laning stated that Walker’s record “is one of unprecedented corruption, division, extremism and a failure to foster economic growth and opportunity”. Laning also took Walker to task over “stagnant” wages in Wisconsin, “job growth that’s dead last in the Midwest and trailing most of the nation”, a corporate welfare agency “that’s known more for scandal than economic development”, and a massive Wisconsin state budget deficit “created by his failed policies”.

While Scott Walker compares the people of his home state to special interests, the truth of the matter is that Walker is beholden to real special interests that own him and his political allies, and they’ve completely wrecked Wisconsin’s economy, reputation, and quality of life. If Walker is elected president, Walker, his political allies, and big-money special interests will turn America into a third-world country by enacting the same far-right political agenda they enacted in Wisconsin.

An open letter to America about Scott Walker from an Illinoisan who has blogged about Walker

My fellow Americans,

Sometime tomorrow, Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker will formally launch his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

As someone who has blogged about Walker on a regular basis for the past few years, I’ve come to know Walker as a horrible politician who, with the help of his political allies in the Wisconsin State Legislature, has destroyed Wisconsin’s economy, reputation, and quality of life. In a sane world, Walker’s record as Governor of Wisconsin would be an immediate disqualifier for any future campaign for public office. To give you a description of Walker’s style of politics, if one combined the worst elements of Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, Herbert Hoover, Jerry Falwell, and Grover Norquist, you’d get Walker.

Since taking office as Wisconsin’s chief executive four and a half years ago, Scott Walker has, among other things:

  • Stripped collective bargaining rights from public employee unions
  • Enacted wage theft laws allowing non-union workers at unionized workplaces to refuse to join a labor union and/or pay union dues despite receiving union-negotiated wages and benefits
  • Drastically cut the pay of public employees
  • Made it harder for Wisconsin women to seek legal recourse if they’ve been denied equal pay for the same work as their male counterparts
  • Established a corporate welfare agency in Wisconsin that is rife with corruption, cronyism, and mismanagement
  • Cut funding from public elementary, secondary, and higher education
  • Expanded Wisconsin’s school voucher programs that funnel taxpayer money to religious schools
  • Made it harder for Wisconsin women to get the reproductive health care they want
  • Given out tax breaks to big businesses and the wealthy
  • Weakened environmental protections
  • Arrested people for singing
  • Enacted discriminatory voter ID laws designed to keep Wisconsinites from voting
  • Stripped local control from counties and communities in Wisconsin that usually vote for Democratic candidates
  • Openly compared the people of Wisconsin to terrorists
  • Blatantly violated campaign finance laws
  • Given wealthy right-wingers and big business interests virtually complete control of Wisconsin’s state government

Walker’s policies and actions have, among other things:

  • Driven down the wages of Wisconsinites
  • Stifled economic growth in Wisconsin
  • Has made Wisconsin one of the most corrupt states in the entire country
  • Lowered the percentage of middle-class Wisconsin households
  • Left Wisconsin with severe budget problems
  • Made Wisconsin the laughingstock of America

However, we don’t live in a sane world. Walker has been elected Governor of Wisconsin three times in a four-year period against weak, uninspiring corporate Democrats. I believe that, if Democrats do not nominate Bernie Sanders for president, Scott Walker will become the next President of the United States, and, given how he’s wrecked Wisconsin over the past four and a half years, that is a truly scary thought. If Walker is elected president, what little remains of the American middle class and American sovereignty will be completely destroyed, big business interests will completely take over the federal government at every level, America’s federal budget deficit and national debt will grow massively, social safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare will be privatized or outright eliminated, America’s economy will crash again, and corruption will run amok in the federal government.

You can read about Scott Walker’s horrible track record here, here, here, here, and here, among many other places. Furthermore, if you ever get in touch with these people either in person or by other means, you can ask people like Lori Compas, Wendi Kent, Karen Vieth, Kati Walsh, Chris “Capper” Liebenthal, Zach Wisniewski, Kelda Roys, Chris Taylor, Melissa Sargent, Kathleen Vinehout, Rebecca Kemble, Fred Risser, Kelly Westlund, Barbara With, Randy Bryce, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Heather DuBois Bourenane, Ingrid Laas, Sachi Komai, Laura Komai, Jenni Dye, JoCasta Zamarripa, Laura Manriquez, Mandela Barnes, LaTonya Johnson, Angela Walker, Christine Sinicki, Lisa Mux, and Mike McCabe, just to name a few, about what they think about Scott Walker…they’re all Wisconsinites, and they know how horrible Scott Walker’s policies and actions have been for Wisconsin.

As a lifelong Illinoisan and proud progressive, I would walk through fire to vote for the Democratic opponent to Scott Walker if he were to be nominated by the Republican Party for the office of President of the United States if that’s what it took for me to get to the polls.

Sincerely,
Aaron Camp
Westville, Illinois

Democratic Party of Wisconsin officials are at it again with horrible political messaging

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is not interested in being hired Communications Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and is not interested in any other position involving being an official spokesperson for a political candidate, party, or group.

Melissa Baldauff, the communications director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW), wrote this piece claiming that Scott Walker won’t run for the Republican presidential nomination, when, in fact, Walker has not officially said whether or not he’ll run for president in next year’s election:

Speaking with reporters today at a rare stopover in Wisconsin, Scott Walker commented that he’s “going to keep [his] campaign promises” – which if true means the governor won’t be seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 after promising to serve his full term.

Last October at the gubernatorial debate in Eau Claire, Walker said his “plan if elected is to be here for four years” when asked whether he’d serve a full term if re-elected. And last November following his re-election, Walker commented in an interview with WITI (FOX affiliate in Milwaukee) that “Right now, I still feel called to be the governor of the state of Wisconsin, and I’m going to do the best job I can over the next four years.”

While Walker did, in fact, promise at least twice that he’d serve a full second term as Governor of Wisconsin, once before the 2014 election and once immediately after the 2014 election, the headline of Baldauff’s piece, “Scott Walker Won’t Run For President in 2016”, incorrectly implies that Walker had made an official statement that he won’t seek the presidency in next year’s elections. As of this writing, Walker has not yet issued an official statement as to whether or not he’ll run for president. In fact, the (Eau Claire) Leader-Telegram article that Baldauff cited referencing Walker claiming that he wants to keep his promises pertains to Wisconsin’s transportation budget, where Walker and his fellow Republicans have fought against each other over how to eliminate a massive transportation budget deficit. The article Baldauff cited did not mention his well-known ambitions of wanting to be President of the United States so that he and his far-right Republican cronies can turn America into a third-world country. I’m not defending Walker by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, Walker has repeatedly broken promises to the people of Wisconsin and has repeatedly proven that Wisconsinites can’t trust anything he says.

If I were writing that piece, I would have written the headline of that piece as “Scott Walker has Twice Promised Not to Run for President in 2016…Will he Break yet Another Promise?”, “Scott Walker has Effectively Promised that he won’t Run for President in 2016”, or something else that makes it 100% clear what the article is about. In the past, people have pointed out to me on this blog that I’ve written an article that contained a headline and/or passages that implied something different than what I intended to claim, and, when that happens, I make the appropriate edits to the blog post in question. Unlike Republicans and establishment Democrats, I learn from my mistakes.

How Republicans are going to turn the Congressional Budget Office into a right-wing propaganda outfit

Anytime Congress needs to obtain a cost estimate, an economic impact analysis, and/or other types of budget and/or economic information, Congress is legally required to turn to its own internal think tank on economic issues, the officially non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

However, the Republicans that won control of both houses of Congress in last November’s elections are about to turn the CBO into a part of their far-right propaganda machine that will probably be one of the most hyperpartisan government agencies in the entire country.

The director of the CBO is currently Douglas Elmendorf, who has run the CBO quite well for the past several years, having originally been appointed by a Congress controlled completely by Democrats in 2009 and then continuing on as CBO director even after Republicans took control of the House after the 2010 midterm elections. However, with Republicans now in control of both the House and the Senate, the House Speaker (more than likely to be John Boehner) and the Senate President Pro Tempore (which will be Orrin Hatch), who are jointly responsible for appointing the CBO director, will almost certainly get rid of Elmendorf and replace him with a new CBO director that will likely be very conservative and use the CBO to spew right-wing lies about the economy and the country’s finances.

What the Republicans want to do is appoint a new CBO director who will turn the officially non-partisan agency into a right-wing, non-partisan in name only agency and use dynamic scoring, a disproven economic theory that is based on the falsehood that cutting taxes for the wealthy results in more revenue to the federal government:

AS Republicans take control of Congress this month, at the top of their to-do list is changing how the government measures the impact of tax cuts on federal revenue: namely, to switch from so-called static scoring to “dynamic” scoring. While seemingly arcane, the change could have significant, negative consequences for enacting sustainable, long-term fiscal policies.

[…]

Such proponents (of dynamic scoring) argue that conventional projections are skewed against tax cuts, because they do not consider that cutting taxes could lead to higher economic output, which would make up at least some of the lost revenues. They maintain that dynamic scoring will, therefore, be both more neutral and more accurate than current methodologies.

In reality, the whole concept of dynamic scoring is built on a mountain of lies and false assumptions about how the economy and taxation work:

But the bigger problems lie deeper. Federal deficits are on an unsustainable path (as it happens, because of undertaxation, not excessive spending). Simply cutting taxes against the headwind of structural deficits leads to lower growth, as government borrowing soaks up an ever-increasing share of savings.

The most optimistic dynamic models get around this by assuming that the world today is in fiscal equilibrium, where the deficit does not grow continuously as a percentage of gross domestic product. But that’s not true. If you add the reality of spiraling deficits into those models, they don’t work.

To make these models work, scorekeepers must arbitrarily assume either that we tax more and spend less today than is really the case…or assume that a tax cut today will be followed by a spending cut or tax increase tomorrow. Economists describe such a move as “making counterfactual assumptions”; the rest of us call it “making stuff up.”

In reality, dynamic scoring encourages absurd economic policies that would decrease the amount of revenue the federal government receives, drive up the federal budget deficit and national debt, hurt economic growth, and wreck our country’s economy. The fact that Republicans want to turn the officially non-partisan Congressional Budget Office into a part of the hyperpartisan right-wing propaganda machine in order to lie to the American people about how legislation effects the economy and our country’s finances absolutely scares me, and Democrats need to start attacking the CBO at every opportunity if they do start acting like a right-wing organization.

Bloomberg News gives Scott Walker a lump of coal for Christmas

All right, Bloomberg News didn’t literally give Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a lump of coal for Christmas, but they did figuratively give Walker a lump of coal for Christmas in the form of this article about how Walker, who is a likely Republican presidential nomination candidate in 2016, and his Republican allies in the Wisconsin State Legislature have wrecked Wisconsin’s economy:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has his eye on the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, and as he tries to boost his national poll numbers, there are numbers at home that also bear watching — his state’s finances.

Tax cuts and Medicaid spending are contributing to a projected budget deficit that may reach $2.2 billion in the two-year period starting in July 2015, according to his administration’s analysts. While Walker aides call the projections premature, Democrats say the figures prove the governor’s policies — especially income and property-tax reductions — turned a $517 million surplus at the end of June into a shortfall.

Tax collections and decisions by Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature will determine the size of the deficit. Yet the swing to a shortfall limits Wisconsin’s financial choices as the governor prepares his February budget presentation. Last week, he called for more property-tax cuts.

What they’ve opted to do is a policy choice of cutting taxes,” said Gabriel Petek, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s in San Francisco. “They’ve changed the fiscal trajectory of the state that had been on course for higher reserves.”

(emphasis mine)

Obviously, Scott Walker deserves at least a figurative lump of coal for Christmas. That’s because his policies of cutting taxes for the wealthy, implementing a statewide school voucher program in Wisconsin, and handing out corporate welfare to his campaign donors have completely wrecked Wisconsin’s economy, finances, and business climate. Despite the fact that Walker’s policies of cutting taxes and spending money on bad policy that only benefits the politically connected have clearly wrecked Wisconsin’s reputation, Walker wants to hand out even more tax cuts to the wealthy. That’s absurd, since cutting taxes does absolutely nothing to reduce or eliminate a budget deficit, in fact, cutting taxes makes budget deficits even worse.