"We all knew that our revenue cap was dropping in an unprecedented way, but we also all knew that we had unprecedented financial opportunity.". Ah yes, mistreating employees and making them take home far less is an "unprecedented financial opportunity." Sounds like what CEOs say when they outsource work to Mexico or China, doesn't it?
Well, Em, I understand that you probably view it as a good thing from a money standpoint that you might not have to pay as much to teachers. I mean, after all, you only had a budget problem to solve when Scott Walker cut your school's aid by nearly $600,000. (Page 3) So he and his allies deserve ZERO credit for jacking around teacher's pay with concessions that many of their unions were willing to give. Last I checked, schools were a service business, where the product is quality citizens and workers of high skills and values. And if you hurt the quality of the delivery of this service (which you no doubt will do through paying people less and crowding their classrooms more), we ALL get hurt by what comes out of declining schools. And when you drop the pay of professionals like teachers, they tend to move out of your communities, which'll drive housing values down, because it's now an area that no one wants to teach in. People didn't choose to live in bland places like Brown Deer, Hartland, or Menomonee Falls for their scintillating nightlife, so if you take away one of the few advantages those places have...good luck surviving, suburb boys!
On top of the counterproductive strategy of disinvesting in schools and people, it's also an example of one of the more disgusting acts of Walker and his supportershave done (and God knows, there are many). Thatis, they treat education and people as commodities who should be determined by dollars and cents. There is very little discussion of how to use policy or budget to improve the actual product or people's outcomes The recent call from Walker and State Superintendent Tony Evers for certain school accountability measures is a rare exception, although even that is flawed by clinging to the failed "everyone will be above average" mentality of No Child Left Behind. The GOP thinks human services should come down to cold, calculating cost-benefit analyses, and that doesn't work when you have items based on human variables (like educational outcomes for students), or items that shouldn't be left to the private, for-profit market because they are needs which people cannot afford to do without (like health care).
But when you're owned by corporate oligarchs, as Walker and today's WisGOP are, you think in the entitled, sociopathic method that CEOs do. See on Wall Street, they only care if you hit your numbers, not how you got to those numbers. Now, you can choose to hit those numbers by creating something of value that people want, paying people a decent salary to encourage them to join your cmpany, and continue to grow and innovate. Or, you can lay people off, offshore to another country, and make a garbage product. Both will get your stock price up and allow your board members to be paid handsomely, but only 1 actually adds something to this society.
Walker and company have chosen the "garbage product" method, and even though the LFB claims the budget is balanced and right-wing propaganda is yapping that the GOP "made their numbers", that doesn't mean it came close to making us better off. And that budget won't be balanced in 6 months, by the way. Unemployment is starting to come back to Wiscon sin, as we saw in May and last week. Watch how the revenues dive and unemployment and other costs kick in, and a budget hole magically reopens.