Monday, September 01, 2014

Walker, Unions, Act 10, Campaign Truth

Small Ball in Wisconsin | The Weekly Standard:

A good little article, on the long side, making a couple of points that ought to be understood by all.

First, Act 10 has worked, and worked so well that Burke is not talking about repealing it, and in fact not wanting to talk about it at all. Remember that The Party and it's union labor arm ran Walker and WI through an expensive recall campaign trying to get Act 10 repealed in 2012 -- now, two years later it has worked so well that they simply avoid the issue. Their media arm is strong enough and it appears that the typical low information voters memory is bad enough that they are getting away with it.

Burke didn’t explain what was so bad about the schools in Neenah, a city of 25,000 people about 40 miles south of Green Bay, but the district certainly isn’t having a hard time finding good teachers in the Walker era. “We probably get a couple hundred applications for every opening,” John Lehman, vice president of the Neenah school board and a Republican, told me. “After Act 10, we increased our starting salary from $34,000 to $40,500.”
Because of Act 10, Lehman said, the district reopened two elementary schools that had been closed after earlier budget cuts. Budget constraints were forcing the district to lay off 10 to 12 teachers each year. How many teachers have been laid off since Walker’s Act 10? “None,” said Lehman. The middle school has even begun offering Chinese language courses.
Neenah’s story is typical of districts across the state: Walker’s reform gave administrators the freedom to make modest changes to benefits and work requirements—most of which Burke says she supports—so they could balance their budgets without firing teachers, raising taxes, or hurting students. It’s little wonder Burke has dropped the issue of Act 10: The law is working.
Second, even though the WI picture mirrors the national one, essentially a "jobless recovery" where unemployment drops because less people are working, the fact that TP and it's media arm don't talk about that issue nationally allows their state apparatus to make it seem like a "local problem", and again, the only audience that they really need to convince is the low information voter anyway.

Burke’s campaign has relentlessly attacked Walker for falling short of a 2010 pledge that Wisconsin would create 250,000 jobs during his first term. The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.8 percent, but only 100,000 new jobs have materialized. Walker countered by pointing out that when Burke was secretary of commerce under the previous Democratic governor, the state lost 133,000 jobs.
When you own the media, a comparison of actual results -- plus 100K for Walker, minus 133K for previous Democrat, is not something that the press would like to talk about. When it comes to "breaking campaign promises", failing to reach the number of jobs expected would see less in control of the executive than "If you like your healthcare you can keep it", but then we wouldn't really expect TP's media arm to look at things in that kind of light would we?

My bottom line here is that as a Conservative, I can be highly disappointed in WI voters, but the fact is that "it is what it is". We have allowed generations of children now to be more brainwashed than educated by largely leftist union hacks in K-12, and their more elite, but same ideology counterparts at the universities. In many ways, it is amazing that it isn't a worse situation than the actual bad one we see. 

An emotional aside is that while I see Walker as a superb Governor, it seems that he lacks the kind of personal charisma and political genius needed to win the Presidency. 

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