Melanie Conklin

Walker Opposes Bailing Out States

In a New York Times op-ed the former governor trashed state government and called for directing aid to workers.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - May 24th, 2020 09:22 am
Scott Walker speaking at the 833 East groundbreaking event in downtown Milwaukee in 2014. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Scott Walker speaking at the 833 East groundbreaking event in downtown Milwaukee in 2014. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

On Wednesday, former Gov. Scott Walker had an opinion piece published  in the New York Times, which largely repeated messages that Wisconsin legislators made in a letter to President Donald Trump and elsewhere. In brief, he stated that the federal government cannot afford to waste money on failing state governments, taking a few jabs specifically at Illinois.

His piece had a headline that certainly turned heads (and churned up rebuttals) from Wisconsinites who remember Act 10. The headline read:  “Don’t Bail Out the States: Instead of propping up failed state bureaucracies, the federal government should support American workers.”

Walker wrote at length about the success of his “reforms,” with no acknowledgement that they were built on cutting workers’ pay, benefits and taking away their rights by crushing unions.

And despite the pro-worker stance he claimed, he took a shot at his former employees — state workers — right away in the second paragraph, writing, “While unprecedented numbers of people are seeking unemployment compensation, many state government employees are still receiving paychecks as they sit idle at home.”

Evers was asked about the column on Thursday and whether he agreed with Walker’s premise that the federal government should not bail out states — particularly during a week when Evers was applying federal funding from the CARES Act to addressing obstacles faced by farmers, small businesses, food pantries, child-care providers, renters and long-term care facilities, Evers replied: “I didn’t have the pleasure of reading it but I’ll have to check it out.”

Evers instead described the “helpful” role federal funding was playing in Wisconsin.

“I will say, the state of Wisconsin and other states — and we talk regularly with the Midwest states — obviously need more resources. Certainly, we’re struggling as a state financially. And we also struggle in making sure that our long-term care facilities, our hospitals and others have the ability to survive, given the pandemic. So I think the federal government needs to continue to consider stepping up.”

Evers described the choice between protecting workers and helping states survive the pandemic as a false choice, asserting that state leadership can walk and chew gum at the same time.

“It’s also critically important that the workers that work in these industries that have had significant outbreaks of COVID-19 — they deserve protection, too. And I know that it’s important that our food chain not get disrupted. But I can’t believe in this day and age that we are in a position where you can’t do both. … Our workers need protection. They need the services they should get when they’re ill, and they need the equipment they need to stay safe as well.”

While Evers took no shots at Walker, “The Political Environment” blogger Jim Rowen called out the irony in his column responding to the op-ed.

“The New York Times could not have picked a more appropriate politician to put his name on an op-ed about ‘failed state bureaucracies’ than Scott Walker” began Rowen. “Set aside — but never forget — his op-ed’s camouflaged shilling for GOP-aligned, right-wing, states-rights groups which have hired him that he’s wrapped in a preposterous, pretend bond for workers … and remember that Wisconsin is where Walker froze the state’s mandated hourly minimum wage at the rock-bottom rate of the entirely of his eight-year reign at $7.25.”

Rowen cited a number of other Walker actions he calls anti worker, including Act 10, demoralizing teachers and public employees, cuts to private workers’ pay with the right-to-work law and a follow-up reduction to prevailing union wages, as well as “having mortgaged the state budget for (to date) non-existent high-tech manufacturing jobs pledged by the Taiwanese firm Foxconn.”

Concluded Rowen: “So let Walker’s record of failure by the bureaucracies he directed speak for themselves.”

Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.

12 thoughts on “Walker Opposes Bailing Out States”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    So this writer wants to send wisconsin tax money to pay for the corrupt public employee union pensions in Illinois? Is that what she is saying? Wow

  2. Larry Krolikowski says:

    Mr. Cotic, do you think the state of Wisconsin has the financial wherewithal to address the “obstacles faced by farmers, small businesses, food pantries, child-care providers, renters and long-term care facilities” without federal support?

  3. Paul Nannis says:

    No one knows better how to trash a state government than Scott Walker!!!

  4. mkwagner says:

    I would prefer my tax dollars go to support working families, family farms, providing broadband to rural Wisconsin, health care for everyone instead of paying for a lazy president’s numerous gold vacations, his corruption, the “wall” and nuclear testing, which Trump said he wants to start up again.
    As for Walker, he is the reason that Wisconsin is one of those failed states.

  5. Mingus says:

    As Governor, Scott Walker gave away billions of dollars to companies like Foxconn as part of his Corporate Welfare initiative to go along with the hundreds of millions of dollars to the school choice program. Now finding for essential services in these times for citizens are seen as a “bailout” caused by his policies.

  6. jayoak says:

    He’s a has been, and he is trying to come back. soon he will be relegated to the dust bin of history, in small letters.

  7. Edith Wagner says:

    Who cares what Scott Walker thinks?

  8. frank a schneiger says:

    Answer to Edith Wagner’s question: unfortunately for democracy, the significant numbers who voted for him probably still care. Decades ago, the Koch brothers and their rich extreme-right wing friends made a big discovery. Their efforts to destroy unions, get rid of programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and hated environmental laws that stood in the way of their further enrichment were all popular with most Americans. And, most Americans trusted the governments that provided them.

    To destroy these programs and services, they had to go through a backdoor. They had to undermine democracy by discrediting and undermining the governments that provided the programs that people liked. They made a conscious decision to take that path. Thus began the decades long – and highly successful – campaign to turn people against their own government, to make “liberal” a dirty word, to equate taxes with theft and link them to “welfare queens” and other forms of exploitation of hard-working white people, to discredit unions, especially public sector unions, and to put in place officials, first the likes of Ronald Reagan and then tools like Scott Walker, who would gut the laws that they hated, such as environmental protections and social programs.

    To achieve these ends, they set up think tanks, created ALEC and financed and secure elections for mediocrities like Walker, Vos, Fitzgerald and the rest. Wisconsin became a major demonstration site for their work, with the little Kochs – Menard, Hendricks, etc. – calling the shots. The results are there for everyone to see: crumbling infrastructure, decaying environment, the need for voter suppression, gerrymandering and racially poisonous politics to sustain their anti-democratic rule, and, that great symbol of Walkerism, the Foxconn triumph.

    That is why we should care what Scott Walker thinks, and why, at some point, there should be a consequence for him for the damage that he has done.

  9. Edith Wagner says:

    frank a schneiger: well stated. I just finished reading Jane Mayer’s Dark Money. You’ve summarized a very long book well. But I still don’t give a …. what Scott Walker thinks!

  10. frank a schneiger says:

    Edith, here is the perfect sequel to Dark Money. Read “Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” by Nancy Maclean (Viking). There is an interesting thing about what Scott Walker thinks, and your four dots between “a” and “what.” Most people thought the fake David Koch phone conversation at the beginning of his term was amusing, but it, along with the video that captured him taking instructions on sinking the unions from Diane Hendricks, in a sense were all you needed to know. They also gave you a forecast of what the corrupt, plutocrat worshipping future would look like.

  11. Thomas Martinsen says:

    The dialogue in response to this post is fascinating in that a consensus of opinion emerges from it that Scott Walker was intellectually a fraud; moreover, that his rise to power based on connections with self-serving corporate lackeys resulted in damage to Wisconsin’s economy, democracy and quality of life.

    Was his intellectual fraud founded on fraudulent actions that served to profit bad actors at the expense of the citizens of WI? Could exposure of those actions either shut him up or put him in jail?

  12. frank a schneiger says:

    Thomas: I think there is something else that is important in understanding the ways in which Walker was a preview for Trump, and how they get away with it. In their notion of “winning,” the most important thing isn’t that things get better for me. What is really important is that they get worse for the losers, whether they are unions, public sector workers or members of some other scapegoat group. Without scapegoats, where would the Republican Party be today?

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