The Truth About Wisconsin

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The savings were particularly embarrassing for Walker’s political foes. After Walker’s budget passed, Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett, a potential challenger in this summer’s recall, hysterically warned that the governor’s cuts in state aid would make the city’s structural deficit “explode.” Not only did that not happen but because the city no longer had to negotiate health-care benefit changes with unions – a direct result of the curbs on collective bargaining – the city actually posted a $11 million net gain for its 2012 budget. But then that wasn’t the kind of “explosion” Barrett had been threatening.

As a consequence of the savings, many of Wisconsin’s school districts have been able to avoid the kind of painful layoffs that teachers unions had warned were imminent. For instance, the Wauwatosa School District faced a $6.5 million shortfall and the prospect of cutting 100 jobs. But because the teachers union abided by Walker’s budget and agreed to pay a higher percentage of health insurance premiums and contribute to their retirement plans, the school was able to save all of the jobs. Similarly, the Kaukauna School District was able to transform a $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus, allowing the district to hire more teachers and even to set aside money for merit pay, something teachers unions’ had long opposed. Indeed, as the governor’s office notes, new teacher hires outnumber layoffs and non-renewals of teaching jobs by 1,213 positions. That’s not to say that there have not been layoffs. The governor’s office points out, however, that nearly 70 percent of those layoffs have come from the three school districts that rejected Walker’s reforms.

There are also growing signs that decreasing the burden of the public sector has allowed Wisconsin’s private sector to revive. In January and February alone, Wisconsin gained nearly 20,000 private sector jobs, even as its unemployment rate was around 6.9 percent – the lowest in the state since 2009. From a budget deficit, Wisconsin is projected to post a budget surplus in fiscal year 2012. Rather than “ruining” Wisconsin, as Walker’s union detractors maintain, he may have sown the seeds of its economic recovery.

It does not follow from these achievements that Walker has accomplished everything he set out to do. Private sector job growth remains sluggish, despite the recent upturn, and Walker is still some distance from making good on his campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs. Still, it’s hard to see how these challenges will be overcome if the state reverts to a status quo ante that saw public-sector unions and Democrats join forces to run up a $3.6 billion deficit and unleash the kind of budget crisis that made Walker’s austerity reforms necessary.

Wisconsin’s voters seem to be coming around to that view. Although the state remains deeply polarized, Walker’s favorability ratings are on the rise. A recent Marquette Law School poll showed Walker in a statistical dead heat with his possible Democratic challengers. The bigger problem for Democrats is that the reforms they are intent on demonizing have resulted in cost savings and jobs rather than the crisis that their union allies had predicted. If that becomes more widely known in the months ahead, that truly would be a disaster for Walker’s opponents, albeit not of the kind they had been warning about.

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  • georgehend

    Companies will be barred from instituting caps on coverage when your costs for treatments goes up due to sickness, you can now get insurance with out caps on coverage at "Penny Health" search them online.

  • truebearing

    Walker should be lauded from coast to coast for proving what an insidious, unnecessary burden collective extortion has been on Wisconsin schools, and the taxpayers who pay for that corruption.

    As usual, the unions and Madison leftists are lying their asses off in a desperate, ruthless effort to demonize Walker before the truth can get out. The people behind this campaign against Walker are every bit as depraved as any Bolshevik or Nazi. I've stood face to face with them on the square at Tea Party rallies. Evil is the perfect description of the entire bunch.

    • Mark Hallman

      Well said, truebearing. We ought to call the positive benefits of putting the kabash on collective bargaining in the public sector "The Walker Effect".

      • truebearing

        That is a very good idea, and if you don't mind, I will be recommending that very phrase to some people who are working to defeat the unions in Wisconsin. Thanks!!!!

  • Chezwick

    In many ways, Wisconsin is ground zero of the country's painful struggle to gain control of its finances. Walker ran on a very specific platform and then – once elected – fulfilled it faithfully. For this, he was demonized by his opponents and now faces recall. Should the recall effort succeed, it will send a message to Democrats around the country that they can bully their way back into power after losing…and it will send a message to Republicans that responsible fiscal policy is political suicide. In short, the fate of the country hangs in the balance. The outcome will tell us whether or not the electorate is capable of denying itself the perks of the present in order to preserve the viability of the future.

    • intrcptr2

      The question is how well, or really even if, Romney can make hay with this this summer. If his handlers can properly execute a publicity campagin for Walker, nationwide, then Obama should go down in flames. Otherwise, it will b, as you've pointed out, business as usual, everywhere.

      • Roger

        This is exactly the kind of leadership the country is begging for.

        We need to hear more about this fight, and the details that made Walker a success up to this point!

  • Jeff

    The only way the left can exist is to perpetuate poverty. It is their army and constituency. The political left are modern era slave owners. The only difference is that the slaves don't know that they are slaves.

    • Voslucky

      Good point … but what the left does is not only perpetuate poverty but also ignorant voters. The less informed the voter the better it is for the left. Lies are easily believable to those without critical thinking skills.

      • Kendrick1

        Ignorant voters are the result of Federal Aid to Education — The beginning of the end to education!!!

  • cynthia curran

    This is what you can do in a whitle state, unlike Texas the minority populaiton is probably only 17 percent. Only a handful of cities have large minority populaitons, a Republican could reform well the problem is the strong public unions. Wisconian with the exception of some towns is mainly a middle class state with low poverty among whites but high poverty with the black population.

    • Roger

      White folks aren't the only ones that want to be a success.
      We need to spell out that liberalism keeps you from success and having conservative liberties allows it.

  • Spider

    I just love to listen to these union cry-babies talk about how bad they have it now. They now pay 5.8 % for their pensions – I have a 401k and so I pay 66.6 % for my pension. I also pay more for medical and dental than they they do. I also don't have someone collecting cash to BRIBE my boss with so he will give me a fat raise every year with taxpayer money and make sure I don't have to work too hard…

  • jacob

    So the unions are pissed off because WALKER decided not to be any longer their union dues collector???
    TSK, TSK, TSK …
    Perhaps the AFL-CIO head-knocker who sees OBAMA 24/7 can talk him into getting HOLDER to sick his
    DOJ or perhaps even the IRS to "autopsy" WALKER in order to find some little dirty secret for dragging
    him in the mud the way his abject and servile media is used to do…

    It remains only for the Wisconsin people to realize what is good for them, see the proof in the pudding
    and stop believing, once and for all, in the mermaid songs of "CHANGE" from the White House snake
    charmer and his sycophants….
    I believe unions should be already a thing of the past, as the SIMON LEGREE type boss wen long ago
    the way of the dinosaurs and I dare bet people forced into unions, given the tight economy, have better
    use for their extorted union dues on themselves and their families than on the unions, which happens
    to be what what they fear the most…..

    • Kendrick1

      Don't forget the NLRB!!

  • lizaz

    Let's hope the WI voters will support Gov. Walker this June. His reforms are obviously working, despite the influx of union types from outside the state who desperately are to discredit the positive results noted so far. We will be watching this election with much interest and believe the informed WI people will support their excellent governor!!

  • maria

    Leader of bloody Russian revolution V.V. Lenin wrote "Union Labor is school of communism". It is true still. Plus Big Unions intertwined with Mafia and became kind of mafia. They use many tactics as they. Lie is the weapon #1 for Unions. another weapon is voters BRIBE using our tax payers money. It is scheme. Democrats/socialists/leftists are controlling Media and Schools to have brain washed voters. Hope Republicans will change this situation soon.

  • Sound&Fury

    If Wisconsin voters vote in the union stooge as a replacement for Scott Walker, who has brought a measure of fiscal sanity to the state, then it's on them from there on. We'll all watch this cautionary tale played out as an example of what not to do.

  • bright knight

    It's unbelievable… the stupidity of the voters make me mad, maybe even angry! It's proven 1000times, that Socialism or related plans don't work and that the route of conservative politicians benefit ALL people, not only "the rich" (even those, who are not so fortunate, because the money that is needed to not let them behind is
    only availabe because of the conservative route). Unfortunately too many people just see the fancy package of the Liberals, wrapped in nice paper with lovely stickers – they don't see the crap that is in the package! Sorry for my French, I'm politically incorrect and call a spade a spade! The political correctness will kill us at the end of the day!

  • bright knight

    It's unbelievable… the stupidity of the voters make me mad, maybe even angry! It's proven 1000times, that Socialism or related plans don't work and that the route of conservative politicians benefit ALL people, not only "the rich" (even those, who are not so fortunate, because the money that is needed to not let them behind is

  • Cathleen

    A huge problem that I see, are all those coming into Wisconsin, establishing fake residency and then voting in May and June and probably coming back in the fall, as well. Since the unions have stopped voter ID for the recall elections, we have no photo ID in effect for weeding out the out of state, out of country vermin, coming to vote in our state.

    How do we stop all these infitrating union lover voters that do NOT live in our state but will do anything to be able to vote here and WILL vote here? We are probably talking about multiple thousands who are not Wisconsinites but will vote as liberals, probably getting paid or getting incentives.

    Any ideas on how to identify them and kick them out of our state?