Some of the most dangerous words in politics today are, “I’m a businessman, and I’m here to help.”
I don’t have to introduce you to “businessman” and “business friendly” Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin; his reputation precedes him. However, he has jumped the crazy shark with his latest claim that Wisconsin’s worst job losses in the nation are the fault of … wait for it….
Yes, it is the protesters of Walker’s policies who are to blame for the result of his policies.
Sunday on UpFront With Mike Gousha Scott Walker blamed protesters for scaring off businesses (this argument is predicated on the premise that the record breaking job losses in Wisconsin were all in the private sector, but of course, that’s not true either.)
Walker warned that job losses might again ramp up in Wisconsin if either Barrett or Falk are elected in the June 5 recall because “they will rehash the collective bargaining issue,” scaring off potential employers.
“They don’t want to see the positive foundation reversed for us to go back in time not only to the Doyle days … but even back to what we see in Illinois right now,” Walker said on Sunday’s show, produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com. “That’s where Tom Barrett, that’s where Kathleen Falk would to take us.”
Walker said Wisconsin’s job picture was improving in January and February of last year, shortly after he took office, only to deteriorate when concern over his budget repair bill led to prolonged massive protests at the state Capitol.
Walker says the political uproar that has continued in the state has contributed to employers being afraid to add jobs.
Walker concluded with the usual Republican fear tactic of telling voters that if they vote Democrat, more jobs will be lost. Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terror Alerts, oh my!
Those jobs added “right after he took office”? Those are not attributed to his policies, because in fact they were added in December of 2010 before he took office. It is only the luck of the way the DWD tabulates the numbers that allows Walker to mislead the public by taking credit for those jobs.
Excluding thousands of jobs added in December 2010 but included in Walker’s total because of the way DWD tabulates numbers, the latest revisions show the state gained only 900 private-sector jobs since January 2011. It actually lost 12,500 total non-farm jobs, a number that includes public jobs.
In March, Walker announced that job numbers were “going in the right direction”, “(T)he jobs numbers and falling unemployment statistics released today show Wisconsin is headed in the right direction.”
Wisconsin saw the largest percentage decrease in employment in the nation during the 12 months ending in March, a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
During that time period, while 27 states and the District of Columbia saw significant job increases, only Wisconsin saw “statistically significant” job losses, the report said.
From March 2011 to March 2012, the state lost 23,900 jobs, for the country’s largest percentage decrease, at 0.9 percent.
Of the 23,900 jobs lost in Wisconsin in that period, 17,900 were from the public sector and 6,000 were from the private sector, according to the BLS.
Walker cites some survey he did of businesses, but it seems that this survey may have simply been phone calls made to business people he knows. Perhaps campaign donors who are not presently in jail, just released from jail, convicted, or under investigation? Or, maybe he included those too.
Wisconsin could have had all of the jobs from the high speed rail system, but Walker turned that project down and instead used some of the federal money (he turned down the high speed rail system because of evil federal money – go figure) to improve the existing rail, which benefited one of his campaign donors who was convicted of felony counts of violating campaign finance laws. To add insult to injury, when Walker turned down those funds, the state had already spent millions on the system and owed millions in cancellation fees, which Walker assured them would be reimbursed by the feds (but with no new rail system). You haven’t truly seen waste and debauchery until you watch a post-Reagan “fiscal conservative” in office.
Later in the interview, Walker claims he has conducted himself with “high integrity.” If this were true, then it would be a first for the man who dropped out of college (where he maintained a C average according to his campaign, but he refused to release his transcripts) after he was found guilty of illegal campaigning, and who left the Milwaukee County Executive position by taking almost every file with him and around whom the John Doe investigation into campaign violations centers. Maybe “integrity” means “systemic corruption” to Walker.
Walker isn’t even smart enough to know what a Koch tool he is, or that laws, procedures and rules exist for a reason, and there’s really no excuse for his ignorance because one needn’t go to college to have an open, willing mind. He has made the choice to remain ignorant.
Walker is taking credit for jobs added under the previous administration, while fear mongering the public to vote for him because if they don’t, things could get worse. Gosh, it brings me warm Bush fuzzies of 2004, “Vote for Bush otherwise we’re going to get attacked again and you don’t want to die!” Nothing like a little fear-mongering to duck and dodge policy debates. No matter, Republicans figure most people won’t pay attention. All they have to do is keep lying and scaring people.
If you want to know what a “businessman” Mitt Romney presidency would look like, just take a look into Wisconsin under Scott Walker. It is the only state with statistically significant job losses. Like Michigan and other Republican-controlled states, Wisconsin now also has discrete higher taxes on the poor and middle-class (taxes come from places other than income taxes, but Republicans don’t like to talk about the ways they inflict their “shared sacrifices” only on the serfs). Walker’s wars on working people and corporate agenda have decimated a great state.
This is Wisconsin under the “business friendly” polices endorsed by Mitt Romney. Wisconsin might be “open for business”, but it’s not open for jobs. It’s just like a Republican to blame the people he’s hurting the most for the predictable ramifications of his bad policies.
Did I mention how much money Walker wasted pushing legislation that is now being held up in various courts? Millions of taxpayer dollars.
When you hear these words, “I’m a businessman and I’m here to help,” run. Just run.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.