Past actions put Walker in tune with the Old South: tax cuts for the wealthy, health care rejection, concealed permits for guns, drug-testing for welfare recipients, and an “open for business” sign for corporations. He signed a 20-week ban on abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, despite his campaign claim that abortion should be a decision between a “woman and her doctor.” Immediately after the killing in Charleston (SC), Walker signed two bills into law that eliminated the state’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases and allowed retired or off-duty law enforcement officials to carry concealed firearms into public schools. Walker banned guns at his candidacy announcement.
Nicknames for the once proudly progressive state of Wisconsin are “Wis-issippi” and the “laboratory for oligarchs.” These are some reasons:
All-out war on workers with neither jobs nor higher wages: In 2010 he began “Act 10” to abolish almost all collective bargaining rights of public employees to union representation and drive down the take-home pay of public employees by over 10 percent. He rescinded his promise to labor leaders and the public by weakening the already-limited bargaining power of private-sector unions with the Southern-style “right-to-work” law. In a long interview with Fox network’s Sean Hannity after his announcement, Walker called the minimum wage a “lame idea” while calling on the next president to connect with the working class.
Soon after Walker signed the “right-to-work” law (that he said he wouldn’t) while campaigning, a major road building and mining company, Hoffman Construction, moved to Minnesota because of the legislation. Hoffman said the new law would cost him money and Minnesota’s increase in transportation funding is a better deal for him.
Walker’s repeal of the 80-year wage law keeping taxpayer money with local construction workers will also destroy jobs in Wisconsin as well as the quality of public projects. It will also cost the state more because of the repairs for work by contractors who underbid and then can’t deliver on their promises. Lost income to workers also cuts taxes to the state.
In the public sector, the projected 13,000 layoff for 2015 will equal the number for 2012 (6,511) and 2014 (6.186). The high for Walker’s administration was 9,000 in 2011, his first year of office.
Destruction of Wisconsin’s prized public education system: Long ranked as among the best in the nation and the foundation of a democratic society, Wisconsin’s public education has been decimated. Loss of funding and low standards for privatized voucher schools were excerbated by a “hostile takeover” of powers of the elected Milwaukee Public School Board when Walker transferred control to a county executive. Walker also attempted to change the century-long university mission of “search for truth” to “providing state workforce needs.” Walker’s removal of tenure in the university system has caused reputable faculty to flee the state and warded off promising new professors.
Less accountability and transparency: Even the far-right attorney general denounced Walker’s tactics of secretive late night GOP legislator meetings resulting in controversial features of the budget. Walker has always insisted on secrecy for his records.
Humiliating and harming the vulnerable: Attacks on environmental protection, punitive abortion rights with no regard for the woman’s health, exploiting the poor, and humiliating public assistance recipients are only a few of Walker’s modus operandi. Food stamps and unemployment insurance recipients are now forced to take drug testing despite the failure of these in other states and the unconstitutionality of the practice.
Part of Walker’s anti-abortion bill allows biological fathers to sue women who have abortions for “emotional distress” regardless of the men’s relationship with the women. On the other hand, women cannot sue over pay discrimination because Walker said it would “clog up the legal system.” Between 2009 and 2012, the Wisconsin Equal Pay Enforcement Act allowed women to seek damages for wage discrimination, but no woman ever sued an employer during that time. Sen. Glenn Grothman, now a U.S. representative, said the gender wage gap was reasonable because “money is more important for men.”
A college dropout, Walker has so little respect for education that he promoted a bill allowing high school dropouts to become licensed teachers with no further education. Any person hired as a teacher could get a license, giving 424 separate school districts control over the licensing process. Fortunately, it was removed during the budget process, but the bill came close to passing.
Walker’s environmental approach is as dismal as his economic one, reducing the role of science in policymaking and silencing discussion of climate change by state employees. His rollbacks in environmental protection include relaxing laws governing iron mining and building on wetlands, loosening restrictions on phosphorus pollution in waterways, restricting wind energy development, and attempting to end funding for a university renewable energy research program. His current budget eliminates 58 scientist positions and 60 percent of environmental educator positions at the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In addition, he wanted to change the DNR citizen board that sets policy to an advisory position and proposed a 13-year freeze on the state’s popular land conservation fund. Public objections caused lawmakers to reject both these.
Two years ago, Walker signed a law for major political donor Gogetic Taconite to build a 4-mile-long open-pit mine in the Lake Superior watershed. Gogetic helped write the law that allows companies to dump mine waste into wetlands, streams, and lakes; doubles the land where a company can pollute; allows DNR to exempt companies from the law, including paying a recycling fee on waste rock; and strips citizens of the right to sue mining companies for illegal environmental damage. The new law states that significant adverse impacts on wetlands are necessary.
Seven years ago, Walker signed the Koch-backed “No Climate Tax Pledge” that opposes all climate legislature increasing government revenue. The utility commissioner he appointed in 2014 said that “the elimination of essentially every automobile would be offset by one volcano exploding.” Asked by a Boy Scout what he would do about climate change, Walker said he would leave his campsite cleaner than when he found it.
Former GOP state senator Dale Schultz, retiring after 32 years in the legislature, said, “I think what’s going on is appalling. As somebody who thinks that should be the first thing conservatives ought to be doing is protecting our environment, it’s embarrassing. I’m a pretty pro-business Republican. But a clean environment is essential to business. This is just wholly unacceptable.” He added, “Some days I look at Governor Walker and I just see a guy who’s afraid of the mob. He helped create it, he fosters it, but then he’s also fearful of it.”
Doctors will be encouraged, perhaps even required, to commit malpractice, if Walker gets his way. For almost two decades, Walker has introduced bills to make doctors immune from prosecution if they fail to tell women about health issues of the fetus. That bill failed, but he succeeded in passing a ban on partial birth abortions. In 1998, Walker introduced a bill that allowed doctors to deny patients services, such as contraception, if they didn’t personally agree with it. His ultrasound bill in 2013 caused the closure of several women’s clinics.
Mandatory useless ultrasounds for women who request abortions isn’t an oddity in the country after the conservatives made these required in a dozen state. Walker took a step farther to claim that ultrasounds are a “cool thing.” He said, “Most people I talked to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll pull out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, we still have their first ultrasounds.” Most of the time, ultrasounds are useless and not recommended
After his foreign travel, Walker is positive that “radical Islamic terrorists” plan to attack the United States. He has no evidence and doesn’t say who threatens the U.S. or what military actions he would use to combat these attacks. He also has no access to intelligence briefings. His confidence in confronting ISIS comes confronting the protesters in Madison for several months, including the parade of tractors that rolled through the streets one week in opposition to the governor’s draconian measures against the Wisconsin people. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” he declared. Asked if he were ready to be president, he answered in the affirmative, explaining that he is an Eagle Scout.
While Walker wandered Capitol Hill pressing the flesh in a pre-declaration campaign move during May, his own super PAC was handing out formal invitations to tell donors what they would receive for different levels of funding.
$1,000,000: Executive Board Member – Bi-Annual Retreats (Summer 2015 & Date TBA),MEMBERS ONLY briefings, Weekly Email Updates, Bi-Monthly MEMBERS ONLY Conference Calls, Dedicated Staff Time, 2 Private Dinners with VIP Special Guest(s), Inclusion in all public/regional fundraising events, and Exclusive Executive Board Pin.
$500,000: Executive Committee Member – Bi-Annual Retreats (Summer 2015 & Date TBA),MEMBERS ONLY briefings, Weekly Email Updates, Bi-Monthly MEMBERS ONLY Conference Calls, Dedicated Staff Time, 1 Private Dinner with VIP Special Guest(s), Inclusion in all public/regional fundraising events, and Exclusive Executive Committee Pin.
$250,000: Platinum Membership – Bi-Annual Retreats (Summer 2015 & Date TBA), Weekly Email Updates, Monthly MEMBERS ONLY Conference Calls, Dedicated Staff Time, Inclusion in all public/regional fundraising events, and Exclusive Platinum Board Pin.
Yes, Scott Walker is definitely for sale, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United is making it much easier.