One morning last February, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker called his staff into his office. “Guys,” he warned, “it’s going to be a tough week.” Walker had recently sent a letter to state employees proposing steps—ranging from restricting collective bargaining to requiring workers to start contributing to their own pension accounts—to eliminate the state’s $3.6 billion deficit. That day in February was when Walker would announce his plan publicly.
– from City Journal, Winter 2012
Dear Mr. Schneider,
Doesn’t it amaze you that Governor Walker isn’t the most popular State executive in the country right now?! Within a year he has erased a the State’s $3.6 billion deficit (that’s real money) and his reforms have put local governments on a sound financial footing for years to come. It is quite literally insane that public sector workers contribute nothing toward their retirement. And the extra money toward their medical expenses won’t kill them either. Yet Walker remains unpopular — have the people of Wisconsin become so accustomed to lavish public-sector benefits (that really only serve public-sector workers*) they are unwilling to implement tough but needed reforms? If Walker loses the recall election, I will suddenly start sounding a lot more like Derbyshire and Steyn. In some ways, I think his recall election is more important than the Presidential election — if Obama is relected (God forbid) he still has to deal with Congress and the courts. If Walker and other reform-minded Governors cannot implement these structural reforms, I’m afraid we’ll have States going bankrupt soon, led by my own pathetic State, and I’m not convinced that the process will be better for all involved.
*One fact that is particularly disturbing about the story above is that both the author of the story and Governor Walker apparently never bother to question the assumption that it is always a good thing that schools are spending more and more taxpayer money on “education”. Never mind that the link between educaton spending and results is non-existant from a statistical analysis — you would think that a conservative Republican would remind voters that the government is not good at spending money, period. That’s why, even with Walker’s reforms, we still need some form of educational choice when all is said and done. But that is a blog post for another day.
UPDATE: This is good news, even though it is early in the recall process. Go Walker go!