Monday, January 14, 2013

Here's the REAL State of our State

With tomorrow's State of the State address looming, you can bet there will be plenty of platitudes and stretching of the truth with our governor's speech. And you can equally bet that our state's bought-off media won't do much when it comes to analyzing these statements and calling out the inevitable deceptions and lies. Which is why I'm here.

1. "Wisconsin is Open for Business"- you'll probably hear some kind of variation of this now stomach-turning statement from Walker tomorrow. He'll probably mention as one of the ways this statement is being carried out is due to the state's "being a better place to do business."

The source of those claims? Surveys from such in-touch, unbiased sources as Chief Executive Magazine and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. And this will be followed by some equally nauseating tip of the cap to "job creators"- a role Scott Walker has never had in life (heck, he's barely been HIRED for a private sector job in his life), but somehow knows a whole lot about.

You know what you won't hear about tomorrow? The Forbes magazine survey that said Wisconsin would have the second-worst job growth through 2016, and ranked 42nd in states to do business in. Nor would you hear about another No. 42 ranking for Wisconsin - in private sector job growth in the first full year of the Walker/WisGOP budget. Heck, even a VP at the failing WEDC admits
“The study came out and we’re 47th [in entrepreneurship]. We suck. We’re bad.”
And if Walker brings up the cost of doing business as a reason we suck, and how perhaps there should be some modifications to help "our job creators," I bring up another interesting stat from last week's QCEW report. Wisconsin had the 2nd-lowest average manufacturing wage in the Midwest in the 2nd Quarter of 2012, barely rose above the rate of inflation the last 12 months, and was in the bottom third of the U.S. Our wages in manufacturing (and many other fields) are plenty low enough, thank you. The real problem in this state are greedy business owners who would rather pay off the Scott Walkers of the world than pay Joe Sixpack another 10 cents an hour, not Joe Sixpack demanding to get paid for his hard work.

2. "We made some hard choices and our budget is balanced." Funny, I don't see Scott Walker's corporate contributors getting over $300 a month pulled out of their paychecks a month like hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin workers did. No, the corporates already have received tax breaks from the first 2 years of Fitzwalkerstan, and stand to collect hundreds of millions more in breaks for the next 2 years. And Republican politicos like Scotty and his legions have a whole lot of wingnut welfare to suck up any lower paycheck that they might have had. Us with real jobs in the real world? Not so much.

As I've mentioned many times, any claim that Walker's current or future budgets were balanced by merely "spending no more than what we took in" is absolute bunk, as evidenced by the $500 million in increased long-term borrowing and $2.2 billion GAAP deficit in year 1 of the Walker budget, as well as the next budget relying on $219 million in estate taxes when Walker's own DOA admits the Wisconsin estate tax will not exist.

3. "Wisconsin's unemployment rate is under 7%, and we are poised for growth and expansion for the next 2 years." Well you can thank President Obama and the Federal Reserve for that one, Scotty. With Walker in attendance, St. Louis Fed Governor Louis Bullard told the Wisconsin Bankers Association last Thursday that he anticipates 3.2% growth for U.S. GDP for each of the next two years. That would be some of the fastest growth in the 3 1/2 years we've been in this recovery, and would chop unemployment down even more (and it went down 0.7% in the U.S. in 2012).

By comparison, Wisconsin barely stayed above water for jobs in the last year, having its unemployment go down by 0.3% while the U.S. dropped 0.7%, and we only gained 12,300 jobs in the last 12 months measured, while the U.S. added 1.9 million. And I can surely bet that we won't hear a mention that the Walker jobs gap is still over 90,000 jobs in the two years he's been in office.

4. "I plan to work in a bipartisan way, and I work to improve the lives of all Wisconsinites." We'll let One Wisconsin Now and Scot Ross take this one.
“Two years ago we got the same song and dance from Gov. Walker and the Republican legislative majorities, but they put raw politics and power grabs before all else at very step of the way. Their actions offer precious little reason to believe them this time," [Ross said.]

Ross noted that in his inaugural address, Gov. Walker promised to be a leader for “all of the people in this state of Wisconsin” and vowed to focus on jobs, improve public education and protect the state’s natural resources.

Yet, mere days later, Walker was caught on tape revealing his political strategy to “divide and conquer” to Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks as he and the GOP legislature stripped 175,000 state and local employees of their rights in the workplace. They followed up with enacting the largest cuts to public education in state history in his biennial budget and narrowly failing in efforts to rewrite state environmental regulations and clean air and water protections on behalf of an out-of-state mining company wanting to develop a pit mine in an environmentally sensitive area of Northern Wisconsin.
But you can bet our uncritical media will shrug when our governor says obvious bullshit about wanting to work with the Democrats tomorrow. And if the Dems are smart, they'll take the advice of Scotty's "cousin" George.

I'm seeing a lot of the 2005 Bush in the 2013 Scott Walker, and much like the 2005 Bush, I'm done listening to any speech our state's executive is going to give. I'm going to watch the 3-0 Badgers as they go to Bloomington to take on the top 5 Hoosiers instead, and now that I've already given you the real State of the State speech, I'd recommend you watch Bucky as well.

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