My friend Philicia is working on getting her own diary here at dailykos. But until we can make that happen, I am helping out with an important message. Being this close to a very important and historical recall election in Wisconsin, this cannot wait.
First, the JS editorial. http://www.jsonline.com/...
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently ran an article which states that Scott Walker should not be recalled over a single issue. I couldn't agree more. Allow me to elaborate on that topic. Almost everything Scott Walker and his republican allies that campaigned for him, and serve him in the state legislature have done from his candidacy thru his first year in office right up till the present has been either UNETHICAL, ILLEGAL, DEEMED UNCONSTITUTIONAL , OR JUST FLAT OUT BAD FOR THE PEOPLE OF WISCONSIN! ...lying on the campaign trail, campaigning on the state clock, illegal campaign contributions, embezzling funds for veterans, turning down job creating federal high speed rail funds, falsely creating a budget crisis with corporate giveaways, hastily announced assembly votes, closing of the state capitol, violations of open meetings laws, considering putting trouble makers into a peaceful protest, signing of clandestine redistricting agreements, collaborating with the AmericanLegislativeExchangeCouncil and out of state bussines interests, attempting to sell off state power plants in no bid deals, appointing unqualified friends to high paying jobs, gutting $1 billion from education, expanding the school voucher system, cutting funding to badger care, attempting to bypass or strip longstanding environmental regulations, weakening clean drinking water guidelines, stripping of renters rights, raising refuse tipping fees, voter disenfranchisement, corrupt polling practices, running fake candidates, concealed carry laws with minimal training, stripping of planned parenthood, putting up hurdles to equal pay for women, mis-allocation of federal foreclosure funds, ending clean wind energy projects, tax credits that create jobs for out of state workers, greatest job losses of any state in the nation, abandoning his post to stump for recall campaign contributions out of state, failure to work closely to form a consensus on the mining bill, the need for a criminal defense fund, dividing the state, and the list goes on. Oh and i almost forgot, stripping of collective bargaining rights for public employees. I hope that this clarifies the SINGLE issue that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel feels these recalls are about!
The vilification of union workers by the Walker administration has been by far the most egregious act of hatred against labor I have seen. Walkers statement "divide and conquer" shows what disdain he holds for workers and the middle class and is a clear indication who his next target will be. Almost all of us who work today have forgotten where these things we take for granted every work day have come from. From 8 hour days and 40 hour weeks, to the minimum wage and overtime pay, from holidays and paid vacations to sick days and Occupational Safety and Health, from unemployment benefits to workmans compensation, from maternity leave to the FamiyMedicalLeaveAct, from health coverage to 401K's, from protection from discrimination to freedom from sexual harassment, and the list goes on. All of these things were not handed out through the benevolence of our employers. If they were there never would have been unions in the first place. These gains were made possible through the efforts of collective bargaining. I promise you all, you will miss them when they are gone. For so go unions so goes labor.
Unions are not responsible for driving jobs oversees, the abhorrent greed of corporate CEO's willing to poison the environment of nations with little environmental regulations or to exploit those willing to work for a bowl rice all for a bigger bonus have done that. The biggest factor making skilled manufacturing wage packages overseas more attractive is the fact that all the economically developed nations with whom we compete have a single payer healthcare system removing a large part of the wage benefit package cost we have here in the United States. If unions are guilty of anything it's of giving America one of the highest standards of living in the world. They set the bar of a living wage which non union employers must reach to attract the skilled laborers they desire.
I find it ironic how it is often the same people who assert that unbridled greed is good are often the same people pointing a disdainful finger at those greedy unions. But truth be known all workers want is a decent living wage. One that will allow them to buy a modest home, pay their bills, spend time with their families, maybe send their kids to college, and make ends meet when they retire.
Most Wisconsinites don't know the difference between a fiscal budget and a structural deficit or how the two relate. Our fiscal budget is our game plan for meeting our monthly bills for a year. Our structural deficit is an interest charging debt obligation much like a mortgage and is included in our monthly bills. Scott Walker put his political ambitions above what was good for Wisconsin when he choose to pay this off in two short years. Wisconsin was not broke ...if someone has a $100,000 mortgage that is twice their yearly salary of $50,000 are they broke? Do they turn off the utilities, quit buying food, and sell off the copper wire and pipes to pay it off in 2 years? No. Fact is that with a $48 billion dollar budget $3.6 billion dollars is more like a car payment for the state of Wisconsin.
Scott Walker gutted $1 billion dollars from education and as much as $400 dollars a month from the paychecks of some 379,000 state employees. The same employees that educate our next generation and make sure the food we buy, the water we drink, the air we breath, place where we work, and the roads we travel on every day are safe. In doing so he failed to recognize how much this would affect the states economy. He failed to recognize that many of the states school districts conduct a large portion of their business with Wisconsin companies, purchasing the goods and services they rely on in their day to day operations. Some districts conduct as much as 70% of their business in state. He failed to recognize that the 8% he pulled from state employee paychecks was close to 100% of their disposable income. Income that people would have spent on dinner out, the movies, or maybe a day of shopping at local stores. This is part of the reason that the state of Wisconsin continued to spiral downward with job losses while the rest of the nation grew. This is the reason that the states anticipated revenue has declined. The other part of the reason is the political climate that Scott Walker has complained about... The political climate that he created when even though the public employee unions capitulated to his demands he still felt it necessary to add insult to injury by stripping them of their rights. Scott Walker claims that his policies are responsible for the recent job creation in the state and yes there has been some. The truth is that the recent uptick in jobs in this state is commensurate with the same percentage rate of cyclical seasonal growth seen every year with the end of winter and return of warmer weather for more than a decade and has nothing to do with his policies.
Imagine how much different things would be if the cuts to education were only $250 million dollars or a $165 million dollars over 4 or 6 years, or if public workers took a more modest cut in pay over a longer period of time or if the governor stuck to his campaign talk of furlough days to balance the shortfalls. Imagine if Scott Walker did not set out to satisfy a personal vendetta against hard working Wisconsin state workers. Wisconsin would still have paid off it's structural deficit, the economy would have time to adjust to modest cuts and fewer jobs would have been lost, and most importantly, neighbors would still be talking to neighbors.
I can't help but feel that somehow it may help voters to make the right choice between Tom Barrett and Scott Walker by focusing on the fact that both candidates served the electorate in the Milwaukee area. Scott as County Executive and Tom as City Mayor. In the 2010 gubernatorial race Tom Barrett received 61.6% of the vote to Scott Walkers 37.7% in Milwaukee county. A 24% margin! Who knows them better than the constituents they served together for close to 8 years. If Tom Barrett did such a terrible job in Milwaukee , why is it that he was overwhelmingly elected as Mayor again in 2008 with 79% of the vote, the largest margin ever, and again in 2012 with 70% of the vote. In Milwaukee county Walkers pension waiver scandal earned him a severe rebuke from the Department Of Justice, and left Milwaukee county with a $300-$400 million dollar pension shortfall. Under his leadership as Milwaukee county executive taxes went up by 17% and spending went up by 22%. The county currently faces a $55 million dollar deficit and owes $7 million in back pay to employees due to his illegal furloughs. The public transit system has been severely diminished, the parks are in deplorable condition, and the state of public roads in the county are horrible.
The choice for me is clear... I will choose the candidate that puts friends, family, community, integrity, and good old Wisconsin values over a corporate dollar and personal political gain any day. Because that's the world I want my children to live in.