Thursday, January 17th, 2019

James Wigderson and his critics

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Sometimes when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Kevin Welch, you’re wrong. The following letter to the editor appeared in Friday’s Waukesha Freeman:

The real Scott Walker

To the editor: Mr. Wigderson lives in a dream world when it comes to Scott Walker. Walker’s budget was not lower than Jim Doyle’s; it was higher. As far as taxes go, Walker could have lowered all taxes back to the rate before Doyle raised them. Did he do that? No. He lowered them some. So, I guess all of Doyle’s tax hike was not bad, just some of it. Now that the economy is coming back who is benefiting? Walker. Now that the election is over, what is the Walker administration talking about? Raising the gas tax or increasing a whole host of fees to increase revenue for the transportation fund. I don’t care what you call it — if it smells like a tax, it’s a tax.

Act 10, Walker said he did it because he needed the changes to help balance the budget. Did he contact the union leadership and tell them his plan for balancing the budget? No, because if he would have done that and the union leadership would have agreed to the changes, and they would have, then Walker would not have an excuse to proceed with his real agenda, to weaken the public-sector unions.

I thought Walker was an honorable person. His actions speak louder than his words. At least Mark Belling has the honesty to say it like it really is, Walker didn’t want to deal with the unions so he got rid of them. After all, he was caught on video promising one of his biggest contributors, Diane Richards, that he was going to divide and conquer unions.

And finally, Walker dropped out of college or was kicked out for conducting illegal campaign activity while he was running for a student body position. Sound familiar? This guy cannot even get a job as a substitute teacher because he has no post-high school degree. This guy doesn’t qualify for most public-sector jobs because he has no post-high school degree and yet here he is talking about unskilled labor, people can’t expect to be paid higher wages without gaining skills.

This guy has done nothing but live off hardworking people’s taxes. I don’t get it. I must be missing something.

Kevin Welch

Hartland

Let me start by agreeing with Welch. He doesn’t get it, and he is missing something.

No, Walker’s budget is not less than what Governor Jim Doyle was spending. I never claimed that it was. I challenge Welch to show anywhere that I claimed that Walker’s budgets were smaller than the budgets he inherited. In fact, one of my recent columns for the MacIver Institute said that for real economic growth and tax cuts, Walker will have to cut state spending.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the total budget Walker merely slowed the rate of increase by cutting spending. Those cuts in state spending were offset by the savings from Act 10. So far Act 10 has saved the taxpayers $3 billion and counting.

Welch also needs to remember what Act 10 was. Act 10 eliminated collective bargaining for public employees on issues other than direct salary compensation. Yes, that meant taking power away from public employee unions, both at the state and the local levels.

That was necessary because despite all of the Doyle tax increases the state had a budget deficit for the second budget cycle in a row. Not the projected gap between revenue and agency spending requests which was $3.3 billion, the so-called structural deficit, but an actual shortfall in revenue of $150 million in the current operating budget for 2009-2011.

Doyle’s response to the previous deficit was to push through an emergency $1 billion tax increase with little debate. Walker’s response was Act 10, clearly the more successful solution.

As for Welch’s assertion that the unions would go along with Walker, Welch should not believe everything he reads in the union newsletters. When Walker was elected, the unions knew what he would be asking for. But Doyle, the public employee unions tried to cram through in a lame-duck session of the legislature new contracts that would have tied Walker’s hands. They even busted disgraced former State Rep Jeff Woods out of jail to make sure they had enough votes in the assembly. Only the surprise defection by State Sen Russ Decker stopped the public employee unions, Doyle and the Democrats.

After Walker took office, the announcement of Act 10 caused the leaders of AFSCME and WEAC to promise to accept the cuts in benefits Walker proposed. Even as they were making those promises, public employee unions and their allies in government were pushing through long term contracts that not only prevented Act 10 from taking effect in those communities, they often did not have the employee contributions Walker proposed.

Finally, the once-Catholic Marquette University has already said Walker left school in good standing. He wasn’t expelled, as some liberals keep claiming (and many know that they’re lying). Walker left school to pursue a job in the private sector, contrary to Welch’s false assertion, “This guy has done nothing but live off hardworking people’s taxes”

Welch claims Walker isn’t even qualified to be a substitute teacher. Welch should understand that this is not a criticism of Walker but of the state of public education in this country. Any system that would deny Walker the opportunity to teach after he has served as governor but actually puts former Governor Jim Doyle in the classroom is definitely broken.

 

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