…and why you might want to too.
I decided to make a post about the ongoing recall efforts in Wisconsin against Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch. As I get into my analysis, I want to make very clear that recall efforts should never be used to remove elected officials solely for ideological disagreements. I strongly disagree with many of Governor Walker’s policies, but that is not a reason to sign the recall petition. Those are issues for the general election, and in our system of government we need to accept that policies and people we disagree with will end up making laws we have to obey.
This is a pretty good reason not to sign the recall petitions. So what prompted me to make the minimal efforts of signing my name in support? Quite frankly, it’s been down to three issues. The first issue I have with Walker is that he is being extremely dishonest with the people of Wisconsin. In this day and age, all politicians spin things in their favor, but what Walker has done has more than crossed the line. There are many examples, but I will list a few.
The first is the issue of the unions and balanced budget. Yes, when you focus on balancing a budget, everyone should accept their fair share and do their work. If one sector is being paid too much, you should renegotiate with them. This already occurred in Wisconsin with the public unions prior to Governor Walker’s Bill. Governor Walker ignored these efforts and literally refused to talk to the unions. Additionally with the union situation, he made it an issue of the “budget”. Remember that this entire bill (later, two bills) was a budget bill. This cannot be the appropriate time and place to remove people’s statutory rights of 50 years. By combining and confusing the two, Walker was able to use “fiscal responsibility” and “need for a balanced budget” arguments against people’s right to unionize. This just doesn’t make sense, but it was successfully done. (To see my arguments against the bill I wrote at the time, go here.)
The second issue derives from the first. It comes down to dividing the state. Walker managed to cast the bill and protests as an “us vs. them” approach. Now, people honestly hate public workers who have been doing their jobs well for a long time with little to no problems. People hate the republicans. Our electors fled to the state to protest. We had literally hundreds of thousands of people converge on the capital for months to protest. This is Wisconsin, we work together here. Turning our own citizens into scapegoats for all of our problems is not how it is done here.
The third issue (and this comes close to policy disagreements, so I apologize) is the lack of acknowledgment of his new budget. Walker claims he’s helped education and healthcare in the state, but that it simply not true. This year, 65,000 people in Wisconsin will lose healthcare including 29,000 children. How can we define our governor as a success when this happens? As for education, Wisconsin’s cut in state aid to schools is the second largest single-year reduction in per pupil spending (out of 46 states). 97 percent of school districts are receiving less state aid. You can see the spin on this in Walker's "Budget in Brief".
For all of these reasons, I feel I must elect someone new, republican or democrat, who cares about our state and more importantly, all of its citizens.