Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Yup, Walker Is Running for President

By Lisa Kaiser
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I’m still trying to get my arms around the budget vetted by the Joint Finance Committee in the wee hours of this morning

But one thing is for sure—Scott Walker is running for president.

He and the Republican members of the JFC have checked off all of the boxes Walker needs to promote himself nationally. Of course, Republican legislators gave him a head start two years ago, when Walker and the GOP decimated public employees’ bargaining rights. But the new budget proposal will serve Walker well as he pleads his case with conservative donors outside of Wisconsin.

  • Creating a regressive income-tax cut: You betcha. And it’s bigger than the one Walker proposed a few months ago. That’ll sell nicely to his deep-pocketed donors around the country who still, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe in trickle-down economics. Probably because they get the trickle.
  • Rejecting Obamacare: What else could get tea party donors more hot and bothered than the mere mention of Obamacare? Well, Walker’s rejected it and sticking it to low-income Wisconsinites who need it the most. The JFC came to Walker’s rescue by adding in millions of dollars for hospitals that would be forced to aid more uninsured people, driving up costs. Walker’s proposal makes no sense if you run the numbers. But it’ll play well with his government-hating base.
  • Expanding voucher schools: Of course. While Republican legislators tinkered with some of Walker’s original plan and removed some the statewide charter school board and special education vouchers from the budget, Walker and the GOP legislators are now expanding vouchers across the state—at the same time they're increasing funding for them and adding no new accountability measures for these taxpayer-funded private schools. Nice trick. The Amway family will go wild.
  • Creating a job for Dog the Bounty Hunter:  The JFC revived an ALEC proposal to legalize private bail bondsmen in Wisconsin, even though there’s no reason to do so. (And quite a few reasons not to.)
  • Seeming bipartisan by rewarding Chris Abele: The controversial Milwaukee County executive helped to push the anti-Milwaukee County and anti-local control AB 85 through the Legislature. So Republican legislators are coming to Abele’s rescue by redefining the Lake Michigan shoreline. That may help spur the Couture development, which Abele vetted in a highly irregular fashion. No wonder why Abele is known as “Walker-lite”—the two men seem to disdain transparency.

So, yes, Walker is running, and he’s running on this budget because he’s definitely not running on his job-creation record

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