It never fails that some Republican announces they are running for the highest office in the land because their particular supreme being whispered in their ear that they should be president. In Scott Walker’s case, his demigods, the Koch brothers, anointed him a couple of months ago as their next big purchase in their drive to takeover America. However, just prior to Walker’s announcement that he was running for the presidency, he claimed that it was god, not the Kochs, who planned for him to be president.
The Koch surrogate Walker said, “My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I prayed and then took time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling leading up to my announcement that I would run for president. With a lot of prayer I am certain: This is God’s plan for me.” If Walker is driven by private utterances from god, and Jesus Calling, then it is curious why he parrots his real god, Charles Koch’s reason for creating a nation living in poverty.
Walker said, “America needs new fresh leadership and big bold ideas from outside of Washington. We enacted big, bold reforms and took power out of the hands of big government special interests and gave it to the hardworking taxpayers.” One of the “big bold ideas” Walker wants to bring from Wisconsin is right out of one of his puppeteers, Charles Koch, who said in a self-promotion commercial that Americans earning poverty wages need to shut up and stop complaining. The uber-rich billionaire said that a family of four earning $34,000 annually belong to the richest one-percent of income earners in the world. Scott Walker did Koch one better and claims that that Wisconsin and America’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a living wage, and low-income workers in Wisconsin have nothing to complain about.
Hidden within Wisconsin’s last minute budget, besides eliminating retail and factory workers’ right to one day off per week, is the elimination of the state’s 100-year-old definition of a “living wage.” According to the century-old Wisconsin statute, “Every wage paid or agreed to be paid by any employer to any employee shall be not less than a living wage. A living wage must provide minimum comfort, decency, physical and moral well-being.” Under Walker’s new rule, not only is the state’s Department of Workforce Development stripped of all power to investigate complaints that an employee is not being paid a “living wage” according to the Wisconsin labor statute, Walker replaced all references to ‘living wage‘ with ‘minimum wage‘ throughout Wisconsin’s laws.
Walker’s not-so-stealthy maneuver was to counter about 100 low-income Wisconsin workers’ lawsuit against him for refusing to even read, or consider, their complaint that the current state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is not a living wage. For the record, a worker earning $7.25 hourly brings in a whopping $14,500 annually. The federal poverty line for a family of three is $20,090 annually, and for an individual it is $15,930. Not only is Wisconsin’s, or America’s, minimum wage not anyone’s definition of a living wage, it is well below a poverty wage. In 2013, the number of Americans in poverty earning what Walker calls a “living wage” was 45.3 million. Tragically, many of those tens-of-millions were holding down more than one “living wage” job, and it is exactly what Walker promotes in Wisconsin and the Kochs believe is world-leading extravagance.
It is likely that Walker’s idea that poverty wages are living wages came directly from the Kochs who have no hesitation comparing hardworking, highly-productive, and poverty-stricken Americans earning poverty wages with peasants living in still-developing third world nations such as China and India. It is important to note that the great majorities in those nations live in absolute squalor and barely subsist from day to day; exactly what the Kochs plan for American labor.
Walker was also parroting another member of the Koch cabal, billionaire CEO Bud Konheim, who last year echoed Charles Koch’s claim that Americans earning poverty wages are wealthy. Konheim said, “We’ve got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99% of the rest of the world, so we’re talking about woe is me, woe is us, woe is this. The guy that’s making, oh my God, he’s making $35,000 a year, why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy.” It is little shock that Scott Walker bested Koch and Konheim by claiming that in Wisconsin, a worker earning minimum wage, $14,500 annually, is earning at a “level of pay needed to provide ‘minimum comfort, decency, and physical and moral well-being.”
In America, a family of three would have to earn at least $48,000 annually just to afford the basic necessities to survive such as food, housing, and healthcare according to the Economic Policy Institute. Yet another organization not owned and operated by the Koch brothers, the Working Poor Families Project, estimates that the required minimum income to meet the most basic survival needs in America is $45,000 annually. As an aside and to illustrate just how many Americans are barely earning enough to meet basic survival needs, the nation’s median household income is approximately $51,000, or about three times what a Wisconsin “living wage” earner barely survives on.
There are myriad reasons to despise men like Scott Walker, but at the top of the list has to be his assault on hard-working Wisconsin residents living on less-than-poverty wages. There is a good reason why the Koch brothers anointed Scott Walker as their designated surrogate to lead the nation, and chief among them is his great showing in attacking Wisconsin’s labor force. Walker, like his Koch masters, has made no secret that he has no use for, and will abolish, the minimum wage that he has designated a “living wage.” Just because he replaced the word “living” with “minimum,” it doesn’t mean that Wisconsin workers stuck earning $7.25 an hour are not mired in poverty which is precisely what Walker and the Koch brothers plan for 98% of Americans.