Scott Walker’s right-wing austerity is destroying Wisconsin

The Koch Brother’s favorite governor, GOP Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, is struggling to show positive results on the local economy as neighboring states, and the rest of the country, pass Wisconsin by.  Since implementing Walker’s right-wing austerity-embracing economic agenda, Wisconsin has dropped in the state rankings for jobs creation from an already-bad 42nd to now 44th place.

The bright side of Walker’s reign has been a forecasted budget surplus for the state economy, though this means little to the unemployed. In January of this year, unemployment spiked in Wisconsin, while nationwide it’s going down.  The best that could be said about February was that things didn’t get any worse.  A few more years of Scott Walker’s Paul-Ryan-style austerity and Wisconsin’s going to start looking like Spain and the UK and Portugal and every other country that mistakenly thought right-wing austerity would bring recovery.

Why do Republicans keep insisting on imposing failed European solutions on America?  Sounds like socialism to me.

Wisc. GOP Gov. Scott Walker tells all in real phone call with blogger posing as billionaire David Koch

Curiously enough what is keeping Walker’s state unemployment numbers from looking much worse is the addition of government workers. Somehow Walker and his supporters are quiet about that point.

Like the rest of the country, Wisconsin doesn’t have a budget problem, it has a jobs problem. The US economy is rebounding (slowly, in part due to the stimulus that was too small), as are the neighboring Midwestern states but not Wisconsin.

A local Wisconsin newspaper editor weighs in:

The most unsettling prospect with Gov. Scott Walker is the notion that he might actually believe what he is saying about the budget he is proposing for Wisconsin.

When Walker assumed the governorship two years ago, Wisconsin was holding its own economically. Job growth was competitive with neighboring states and the nation.

No more. Since Walker began implementing his austerity agenda, growth has stalled.

Just as president Obama is responsible for the national economy, Walker owns the state economy of Wisconsin. For all of his talk about creating private industry jobs, Walker and the state GOP have failed as miserably as the national GOP, and all of their far-right buddies in Europe. GOP austerity is a recipe for disaster – a fact that Wisconsin had to find out the hard way.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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69 Responses to “Scott Walker’s right-wing austerity is destroying Wisconsin”

  1. Proud of WI, ashamed of GOP says:

    And there goes WI, racing to the bottom in job production(44th). I guess that’s what happens when you vote for a Koch addict

  2. i signed the recall but it didnt do any tired of other people saying we are stupid.Alot of us wanted the joker out.

  3. GMTA. Should have read ahead.

  4. I think they have a serious problem with vote counting. Not just in Waukesha. I think WI voters have been the victims of massive voter suppression and voting computer fraud.

  5. BeccaM says:

    Best wishes to you, friend.

  6. Edgeworld says:

    @BeccaMorn:disqus, we are moving to the Puget Sound area. We’ll be taking care of a family member so she can stay in her home until her as long as she lives.

  7. SkippyFlipjack says:

    thanks for doing the research that should have accompanied the original post. really damning graph

  8. Papa Bear says:

    I’ll have you know that Rick Perry is NOT one step away from wanting to be called Dear Leader. He wants to be called Dear Leader now — he’s just one step away from achieving it…


    Plus, I think it’s time we stopped saying “Right To Work” state and call it what it is — a “Right To Fire” state (anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any or no reason)…

  9. Papa Bear says:

    while I firmly believe that the voters did, indeed, fail at the polls, I can’t quite get that little voice in the back of my head to shut up. You know, the one that keeps saying “but who counted the votes?”…

  10. Joanna says:

    The investigations are all run by right-wingers, appointed by Walker. They have the senate, the assembly, the governorship and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It is next to impossible to fight through all that. We managed to do it with the recalls. We had the senate for a brief time, but it was in recess for the lot of it. Then the Presidential election took back the senate. This is an extremely corrupt regime. There were “fist-sized holes” in the ballot bags. There was massive voter suppression. There were dirty tricks on every corner and we were still right in there until they simply announced Walker’s win. There is no way on Earth that man won. And sadly, it’s difficult to show that when they hold every single card. So no, the majority did not choose self-destruction. Walker chose state homicide.

  11. BeccaM says:

    I still miss the Santa Cruz mountains…but alas, it’s just too damned expensive to live there. For the price we paid for our place here in New Mexico — 3 br, 3 1/2 acres, huge detached workshop — we’d have been lucky to be able to get a one bedroom bungalow in northern CA.

  12. karmanot says:

    Move to Northern CA—most welcome!

  13. karmanot says:

    Blink your eyes real hard and Tinkerbell will live!

  14. karmanot says:

    Give it a rest. The whole thing played on TV for weeks. The choice was clear. We saw the effort, cheered you on and then saw you fail at the polls. And it’s happening everywhere.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    I don’t doubt it, but sounds like all the more reason why someone should be investigating exactly what did happen. The problem there is, exit polling is not always a very accurate measure. People all too often tell pollsters whatever they think they want them to hear.

  16. Naja pallida says:

    What Walker was doing was readily apparent to anyone paying attention before the recall, even to those of us from other states. He went far out of his way to campaign one way, and then govern another. Plus, his ties to big out-of-state money weren’t a secret either. Then the airwaves being flooded with propaganda in itself should have been a warning. It angers me how many people fall for it and vote against their own economic self-interest.

    I don’t discount the effect of damaging primary, and what appeared to me a very poor lack of national support. The national Democratic party didn’t seem to want much to do with what was a very important fight. The President especially kept his distance, as he seems to like to do on every fight of any importance. If they had stepped up, things could have gone differently. And they would have been much better off going into the fight with an agreed upon candidate, instead of punishing themselves with a primary.

    It has happened in my state. Texas has been so heavily
    gerrymandered, and all Democratic and Hispanic voting blocks so
    carefully marginalized, that the state only has the slimmest of chances
    of ever going Democratic again. Republicans control everything, and Rick Perry is only one step away from wanting to be called Dear Leader. The
    state legislature is a black hole where tax payer money goes to
    disappear into corporate pockets. While schools, public services, health care all get sent to the chopping block every year. We’re already a right to (not) work state, and unions have already largely been busted. They like to cite Texas as an example of what they want other states to be, and that should scare everyone. It’s a perfectly fine place to live if you’re not considering retirement, solidly middle-class, have the opportunity/education to be self-sufficient, and in good health… but take away one of those things, and you can easily find it a pretty miserable place.

  17. Naja pallida says:

    *brief golf clap*

  18. JoyMama says:

    I’d hope so — depends on who the “they” is, yes? He sure didn’t go to any trouble to specify. And I’ve seen plenty of posts since the recall that are writing off the entire state of Wisconsin…

    Problem is, even if “they” is only meant to be the people who voted for Walker in the recall, the “they” that’s getting screwed by the Walker administration is the entire state — even if not everyone realizes it yet.

  19. UncleBucky says:

    The data speaks! Thanks!

  20. UncleBucky says:

    Hey, send a telegram and I am so sure you can get your free Pan Am flight to the Libertarian Paradise of East Somalia. Room for one more!

  21. UncleBucky says:

    Again, I think that Naja is not not having sympathy for you and your group, but rather not having sympathy for the sheeple and the bigots who supported Walker through that whole mess. But, I’m from Illinois, and I don’t know the whole story.

    I am angry with Walker and his bots. I even went up to Wisconsin to help in Milwaukee to make sure that people registered to vote. But there’s a lot of scolds who are convinced that Walker is a saviour. I think not.

  22. UncleBucky says:

    Well, I’m down here in Illinois. I think that perhaps Jonas isn’t angry with you, but rather with those who voted against recalling him, don’t you think?

    I should think (I don’t know Jonas) he would be more on your side than Walker supporters?


  23. Greg says:

    ^^ Fun yeast thing I’ve red in days.

  24. JoyMama says:

    And here’s a source for that 11th to 44th thing, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

    “For example, Wisconsin ranked 11th among the 50 states in 2010 in private-sector job growth, outperforming the nation as a whole. But it dropped to 38th in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker’s first year in office.”

  25. JoyMama says:

    Here’s a graph that does a great job displaying what’s happened here over time:


  26. obiwanginobli says:

    it is “sordid details”, not “sorted details”; and not to play doubles advocate here, but I hole-hardedly think you made an honest mistake. You may not have a sick sense for these kinds of things. For all intensive purposes, I think we should mustard up the courage and kindness to forgive you and turn a blonde eye towards your mistake. You shall see our forgiveness as a blessing in the sky, as we are known to have zero taller ants because it always leads to trouble. Our forgiveness shall be a ship off your shoulder, and you’ll have a feel day with the presence of a clean heart. Make my words, what comes around is all around, and in this doggy dog world, we too shall head forgiveness from strangers. It’ll come from a diamond dozen, but after denial and error, they will swallow their prize and we can live a glorious life.

  27. Unemotional Common Sense says:

    I read the comments and find the emotionalism unbelievable. Number one if you believe the voting was rigged try voter ID, Republicans are not against it. Number two: Budget deficits are not acceptable, you have to cut. Number three: Teacher’s unions could easily afford to help pay for their benefits and refused everyone in the private sector does. Number four: The offensive protests at the capitol opened my eyes to the tactics of the unions and teachers who are members. Number five: People who do not agree with you are not idiots Number six: High taxes prevent companies from creating more jobs. Number seven: National economy is uncertain and Obama care makes it more so. Creating jobs is not easy. Number eight: You do not expand anything unless you can pay your bills. You can live without luxuries. Number nine: Socialism, welfare, food stamps, what the Republican party stands for? Who are you kidding.
    Number 10: Pay fair taxes not for luxuries at a time the whole world is hurting. Number 11: When the public is paying for health insurance benefits for teachers and state workers you shop around for the most competitive prices that is what private companies do, I know I sold insurance and had to make changes for small companies who could no longer afford the coverage they had with the provider they had. Number 12. Public employees are no different than the private sector and should be treated the same and engage in shared sacrifice. The refusal to cut pay or pay for benefits hurts everyone and China wins as jobs go to more competitive states or countries. Number 13: Not everyone is stupid because they voted for Walker, I voted twice and know many others who did. Change is hard but not changing when it is needed is foolish. I lost respect for many teachers including my own family when I learned what a sweet heart deal they had and they did not even appreciate it they. They thought it was a right. It is not and when my learning disabled nephew can not get or keep a job blame Doyle not Walker. He is trying to fix the mess he was handed.

  28. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Well that probably deserves mention in the post, as it makes a more compelling case for his destroying Wisconsin.

  29. You are so right Laura and one day this will come out

  30. Badgerite says:

    This is exactly right. Walker created the deficit with his own budget of tax cuts for business on the theory that this would spur job growth. (Open for Business, and all). In order to pay for the tax cuts he imposed the burden of budget cutting on local governments and government workers (state and local). And then, of course, he carried with him to the state level the corrupt practices that landed some of his crony’s when he was Milwaukee co. exec. in jail. And I quote:

    “An Independent audit of the scandal-plagued Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation reveals that the quasi-public agency put in the hands of unqualified political operatives and incompetent political hacks has lost track of millions of dollars and cannot collect $19 million in loans.

    And for all this we are worse than Alabama in job growth. ALABAMA!!!!!!!!

  31. Badgerite says:

    Yes, it is!

  32. Badgerite says:

    This is not really true. The polls were neck and neck until a week or two before the recall election and then, according to some of the most respected polls in Wisconsin, Walker opened up a significant lead. This is why his win was expected. And it was. There was no big surprise about it. If you think Wisconsin is some kind of profoundly corrupt state, you’ve never been here.

  33. Badgerite says:

    Well, this is the state that thought putting Joe McCarthy into office would be a good idea. And kept him there! And replaced Russ Feingold with Ron Johnson. But it is also the state of Bob Lafollette, the founder of the Progressive Party, and Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day.

  34. Barry Urbas says:

    You are so wrong. Walkers’s budgets are larger then Doyle’s. He has not brought down spending only shifted it. By the way he has been borrowing money at a record pace. Over $800 million the year of his budget repair bill. $567 million the next year. His next two year budget has $1.4 billion in more borrowed money. Stop watching and repeating FOX lies. Walker is a fraud and laughing at you for being stupid enough to support him. By the way Wisconsin is now 44th in job creation. These policies do not work.

  35. JoyMama says:

    But people *didn’t* know, Naja pallida. Who was to tell them? The Walker ad campaign, with millions of corporate-interest money at its beck and call, which started way back in January 2012 for a June recall, spent six months hammering the state with the false message that “it’s working” (i.e. lying about the job numbers) and the weaselly message that recalls shouldn’t be used in cases of political disagreement (even though Walker became Milwaukee county executive due to a recall, he loved him some recall back in those days!) And too many people were convinced, and “our side” didn’t have either the resources or the national backing or the coordinated ad campaign to bring the counter. Meanwhile, we fought a bruising Dem primary in April, and then Tom Barrett only had ONE MONTH (May) to be the candidate and fight six months worth of the Walker messaging that had blanketed the airwaves, in concert with the right-wing media apparatus that has a lock on the Milwaukee area.

    You recognize that many, many of us went to an extraordinary effort…. and yet you have no sympathy. Yes, there’s a reason for nausea here — at the utter lack of sympathy that so many commenters here are showing. Don’t think it couldn’t happen in your state too.

  36. JoyMama says:

    Sure. Screw the ONE MILLION of us who signed the recall petition, and worked our hindquarters off to collect and process those signatures.

    Oh, wait, the millions upon millions of out-of-state corporatista ad-campaign money already did that. ( ) And the lack of support from national interests. And yes, our own creaky messed up party apparatus.

    We’ve already been screwed. We don’t need you piling on too, whoever you are.

  37. JoyMama says:

    We were ELEVENTH when Walker took office.

  38. BeccaM says:

    Remember Waukesha County, and the clerk who somehow keeps magically finding votes after the polls close — votes which always favor the GOP? The one who had better than 96% turnout in her county?

    Apparently this is rather common in the state, and she’s just incompetent at not being found out.

  39. BeccaM says:

    Where are ya moving to? Just curious, if you don’t mind my asking.

  40. BeccaM says:

    My wife has most of her family in Wisconsin. I feel sorry for ’em, especially since most of them do not vote Dem. Heck, one of her rather conservative brothers has said to hell with the GOP and is saying stuff now that is positively progressive.

  41. “sigh” though I do admit to agreeing w/ part of what you said..One problem was that many felt the recall was errr.. “premature” and he should be given a chance at his term. Of course I also think that type of thinking was.. err.. in error.. But the bottom line is many voted against a recall NOT for Walker.. UNFORTUNATELY.. they didn’t consider the long term things like redistricting.. ect..
    Walker is a good “politician” (and I do use that term derogatorily) …

    Seeing clearly (and being a majority) is a national problem… not just a WI problem…

  42. Edgeworld says:

    Yup. We are moving out of the state next month. (don’t worry, right-wingers, we won’t let the door hit us on our way out) Wisconsin has been a bust for us since 2010. An employment bust— one of the worst in the nation. A financial bust— prices keep rising. A social bust— we don’t attend church.

    Enough’s enough. I’m sorry for those we leave behind: the Wisconsin landlord losing the tenants who took good care of their place and always paid their rent on time; the Wisconsin apartment owner who lost reliable help; the 2 Wisconsin animal shelters who lost a steadfast, reliable dog-walker; the multitude of small businesses we sought out and patronized regularly; the animals we rescued; the rural roads we walked, picking up the beer cans and other garbage people throw out their windows as they drive past.

    The best thing about living here in Wisconsin was the wildlife and the liberals. I don’t know how they manage to survive in this ocean of often-violently-bigoted tea party red. It’s a great state with a remarkable history and lots of good people. It’s too bad they chose to let their fear and their greed lead them astray from their better natures. C’est la vie.

  43. sunmusing says:

    It is not all Walker…remember, he is a meat puppet of the Koch boys…bought and paid for…no links necessary…It is the Koch brothers who are behind a lot of these “think tanks” who come up with these extreme laws enacted by the Koch puppets…and now with the investigations in CA…who knows what will happen next…more than likely, paid silence…

  44. Straightnotnarrow says:

    Whoa there. I’m anything but stupid. I can’t stand Walker. The dems are as much to blame here for squandering the recall opportunity with a poorly run campaign that got off the ground too late and against a machine backed by billionaire funded PACs. The issues go a lot deeper than “those stupid cheese heads.”

  45. Oh he is sooooo full of crap for all of the reasons I’ve stated and more. He even pulls numbers out of his ignorant ass. Just another Fox news watcher .

  46. Not true. In fact Doyle had left a 2 million or so SURPLUS….you are spouting more right wing LIES. What he did to create a deficit is give 20+million dollar tax breaks to corporations so he could attack the middle class, unions and bargaining rights. He has brought NOTHING down and has cut education by 500+million dollars. The last thing this moron is is responsible….you just can’t get your head out of Fox News’ ass long enough to understand what he’s doing. He’s a liar and has repeatedly lied about the numbers getting better when in fact they had gotten worse. Try research….which means, stay away from blogs, fox news, heritage foundation (a Koch creation) and other right wing “think tanks” with an agenda.

    Oh and why you people call yourselves patriots is beyond me, given that it was the Northern Liberals and moderates in Lincoln’s army that were the Patriots and the Confederates/Rebels were the ones that Republicans of today back like states rights (over Federal), against civil rights, no responsibility towards your fellow man…except the rich, all laws protecting “land owners” i.e. rich, white plutocrats of today. No….you guys are yesterdays confederates…not yesterdays patriots. Learn history!

  47. olandp says:

    Well, I did have “New Math” when I was in school. Now is guess it is old, and evidently didn’t work. Algebra is a mystery to me, but geometry is easy. I can also count in base 7, for what it’s worth.

  48. A LIE is still a LIE…..

  49. They also…rigged it. Neck and neck during the race and then Walker “wins” by 9%…NOPE….can’t happen. They cheated, just like they cheated for Prosser. There is a lot of corruption in WI.

  50. They did, Tom Barret, but somehow stupidly thought they could introduce Falk when no one knew who she was…..too little too late. If they wanted Falk they should have made her more “known”. This didn’t happen

  51. However, Naja, keep in mind….I don’t believe that Walker did win the re-call. They cheated. I mean he was neck and neck with his opponent and then the exit polls said he won by 9%….that isn’t possible. They cheated.

  52. Agreed. They wouldn’t listen to those of us speaking common sense and I even brought statistical proof to prove to one person that claimed teacher retirements cost tax payers all this money….wrong, it doesn’t cost a dime. He still looked at me like a deer in the head lights….like duh! I don’t think I got through…it’s sad.

  53. Indigo says:

    Wisconsin. Is that the same Wisconsin that shot itself in the credibility with crackpot red-hunter Senator Joseph McCarthy? Oh, myyy!

  54. caphillprof says:

    You can lead a horse to water . . . . . . . .

  55. Drew2u says:

    General apathy from the recall and, “Oh, maybe this recall isn’t the ‘proper’ way to handle things” message that Walker pushed resonated with the inner-shame of the humble midwesterners, allowing Walker to Walker all over the state.

  56. karmanot says:

    Guess what? I’m an American patriot too and I think you are full of BS.

  57. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Dropping from 42nd to 44th is, well, I guess it’s sort of significant, it’s a whole two places and of course it would be better if they went up instead of down, and…

  58. eahopp says:

    You’re not doing the math wrong–you are just doing “new math.”

  59. American Patriot says:

    I’m a Libertarian and what I see in Mr. Walker is when he took over Wisconsin you had a $3.3 Billion dollar deficit because of people not caring and being irresponsible; he has brought it down to $143 million dollar deficit in two years. Unemployment was 8.5 now it is 7.0; sure sounds like he doesn’t care. He is being
    responsible and I know you may not like that fact.

    American Patriot

  60. Janey says:

    I totally agree with you on this. Why didn’t the Democrats have a strong candidate before they started the recall process? They didn’t have much of a chance when they had to settle for Barrett once again. It’s all a mute point now and I think Walker won’t run again for Governor now that he has his eye on the “big prize”. I’m torn on this point, I don’t want him to run again and win but it sure would be nice to have him run again and lose.

  61. Papa Bear says:

    Not all of them. Mamma Bear’s family are dyed-in-the-wool liberal progressives and did everything they could to get out the vote — they were simply outnumbered by the idiots…

  62. mike31c says:

    I honestly have no sympathy for the stupid people of this state. You had your chance to recall this asshole and you failed. You had the truth on your side and the people decided to choose the lies.

  63. frizbeesf says:

    For the Wisconsin GOP/Tea Party faithful the issues were clear; The hysterical, fat, greedy and lazy public employees were in bed with the loony lefty socialist Obama loving Union Thugs, and they were all out to destroy them. The fact that the policies of Scott Walker are as equally bad for them as they are for everybody else really didn’t matter. For The Republican base this wasn’t political it was personal. So they fought back like it was personal. The Democratic base, started out fired up, but there was no real large scale effort to keep them engaged, so they soon got bored and wandered off.

    When Scott Walker came under siege, the national conservative apparatus kicked into high gear, funneling massive amounts of cash into the State. Millions of dollars worth of Ads, robo-calls, and op-ed’s flooded Wisconsin’s airwaves, phone lines and blogosphere.

    Meanwhile, the national progressive apparatus can never decide what the core issue is on a given day. The Unions have an agenda slightly different from the Occupy folks, who have slightly different goals than the environmentalists, who have slightly different goals than the LGBT rights activists, who are odds with the African American Churches, who disagree with the Latinos on immigration who have a slightly different agenda than….than,.. than…. You get the picture.

    The Democrats began the fight against Walker with a massive popular movement behind them, and after collecting enough signatures to hold the recall election, they completely failed to use that movement or harness the energy of it. Instead they allowed themselves to get bogged down in a tedious primary election battle between Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. All the while the Democratic National Committee and the Obama Administration tried desperately to keep their distance, while trying desperately to not look like they were trying to keep their distance.

    Finally when the polls were showing that Scott Walker was actually ahead, and gaining ground. Bill Clinton was dispatched a few days before the election to try to relight the progressive fire under the Democratic base.
    Sadly, it would be too little, too late. Wisconsin is sadly reaping what it allowed to be sown.

  64. olandp says:

    But if you don’t count the jobs that are lost, employment numbers look really good! You are just doing math wrong.

  65. Naja pallida says:

    As much as I hate to, I’m inclined to agree with some of the others. A lot of people went to an extraordinary amount of effort to give the people of Wisconsin the chance to right a colossal wrong in the way it should have been, at the ballot box, and they chose self-destruction. Even after knowing many of the the sorted details on Walker and his cronies, that should be enough to make any sane person nauseous. I have no sympathy.

  66. Jonas Grumby says:

    They could have recalled him. They didn’t. Screw ’em. Just don’t care.

  67. bkmn says:

    I’m pretty sure that somehow, magically a few months before the next election either the state will open up a bunch of jobs and/or several public works contracts will go out to his buddies. And the employment rate will magically go up!

  68. ComradeRutherford says:

    It’s not a ‘bug’, it’s a feature!

    This is exactly what the Republicans wanted: elimination of the middle class; drastic increase in poverty, foodstamps and homelessness; and the utter collapse of the Wisconsin economy. This is why they voted FOR Walker!

  69. karmanot says:

    As I recall Wisconsinites had a chance to recall Walker and brought this on themselves.

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