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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Walker’
October 23rd, 2014 at 1:03 pm
Wisconsin’s Walker in Tight Reelection Race

Conservatives who want a “reformer with results” resume to run for President of the United States in 2016 should be praying that Scott Walker gets reelected this year. The Wisconsin Republican governor is in his third tough campaign for the state’s top office in four years, having initially won the office in 2010 and then surviving a recall effort in 2012. If Walker wins again in November, expect to see him become the dark horse candidate to win the GOP nomination.

But first Walker has to win reelection. And that’s no guarantee.

Robert Costa of the Washington Post has an interesting analysis of Walker’s main problem this time around: Falling 150,000 jobs short of his 2010 pledge to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin during his first term.

For his part, Walker has blamed the state’s union culture. “We don’t have a jobs problem, we have a work problem,” he said in a televised debate with his Democratic opponent. That may be true, but it’s not sitting well with some voters.

If Walker is defeated, conservatives will likely lose an important voice and option during the 2016 sweepstakes. It will also mean rollbacks of the union-busting laws he helped implement. Neither would be good. Hopefully, Walker can avoid both.

July 31st, 2014 at 1:59 pm
Wisconsin Supreme Court Vindicates Scott Walker’s Reforms

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker’s campaign for reelection just got a whole lot easier.

Earlier today the state’s seven member Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that Act 10 – the controversial union-busting law championed by Walker and the GOP-led legislature – is constitutional, reports NPR.

In upholding the law’s curtailment of certain state employees’ collective bargaining rights – in particular teachers’ unions – the majority reasoned that, “No matter the limitations or ‘burdens’ a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not a constitutional obligation. The First Amendment [right of association] cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect.”

The decision vindicates Governor Walker’s goal to free Wisconsin taxpayers from being held hostage by public employee unions who demand ever increasing compensation, and threaten to strike if unsatisfied. Throughout the country, public employee unions have abused the privilege of collective bargaining to bring many states to the brink of insolvency. Armed with this decision, Walker can consolidate his policy victories and begin to tout Wisconsin as a model for other states to follow.

January 24th, 2014 at 2:29 pm
ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion Poses Risks for GOP Candidates

For all the attention given to Obamacare’s federal and state exchanges it’s easy to forget that expanding Medicaid remains the single biggest way the controversial law intends to increase the amount of people covered by health insurance.

And unlike the private plans available on the exchanges, every new Medicaid enrollee is completely dependent on the government.

In states where Democratic lawmakers chose to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, the spike in enrollments could pose problems for Republican candidates.

Greg Sargent, after noting that around 75,000 people have signed up for expanded Medicaid in West Virginia, asks, “How would the GOP Senate candidate in West Virginia, Rep. Shelley More Capito, respond if asked directly if she would take insurance away from all these people?”

Sargent’s liberal frame is sure to be echoed in the 2014 election as Democrats try to portray Republicans as heartless skinflints. In this telling, the only options are either to embrace Obamacare’s massive expansion of the welfare state or return to the status quo of sizeable numbers of people unable to get health insurance. (To combat this framing, Republicans should unite around an already existing proposal that gives them the upper hand.)

But that’s at the federal level. More locally, GOP gubernatorial candidates in states that (1) expanded Medicaid and (2) appear most likely to elect a Republican governor are staying mum about repealing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

“None of these Republicans is pledging to repeal the Medicaid expansion put in place by a Democratic governor,” according to Jonathan Bernstein.

As Bernstein puts it, “Liberals assume that once benefits are extended, no government will take them away.”

Unless Republicans at the state level show the kind of policy moxie exhibited by Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, that prediction might come true.

September 20th, 2013 at 3:58 pm
Wisconsin Unions Losing Members Post-Walker Reforms

Arguably, the most important part of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s reforms of public employee unions was instituting an annual vote by members on whether or not to stay.

Two years later, Wisconsin’s unions are reeling.

“Under Governor Walker’s 2001 union-reform law, a majority of union members have to vote each year to recertify the union as their representative. If less than 50% of members vote to keep the union and pay union dues, the union effectively loses its ability to bargain for wages,” says an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

It looks like there’s a rush for the exits.

“A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state affiliate of the NEA, said recently, ‘It seems like the majority of our affiliates in the state aren’t seeking recertification…’”

To date, 13% of Wisconsin’s school districts and 39 state and municipal units have been decertified since the law went into effect.

Wisconsin’s experience confirms that, when given a choice, many public employees – and especially teachers – don’t see the value of belonging to a union.

Kudos to Governor Walker for giving them a forum to make that choice.

July 30th, 2013 at 7:20 pm
Wisconsin’s Walker Previews Potential 2016 Message

In a speech to a room full of government researchers, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker made some bold predictions: If Detroit had passed the same public union reforms as the Badger State did, it wouldn’t be bankrupt today. And if Chicago had done so, its public school system would be in much better shape.

Walker’s comments are sure to spark controversy from union-friendly Democrats who disdain his rollback of debt-creating privileges. But liberals should get used to the argument because the success of Walker’s program is quietly making him into a viable 2016 presidential contender.

Later this week Walker is hosting the National Governors Association in Milwaukee, and he plans to deliver a simple message: “Worry more about the next generation than the next election.”

Absent Walker’s track record, it would be an empty bromide. But with it, the phrase introduces a formula for success that Americans nationwide may be willing to try after eight years of economic futility under President Barack Obama.

Stay tuned…

July 23rd, 2013 at 6:40 pm
Scott Walker: The Anti-Obama

In his column last week, Troy identified Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as perhaps the best potential Republican presidential candidate to correct for Barack Obama’s deficiencies.

In an editorial by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we have even more proof.

One of Walker’s first acts as governor was to sign into a law a series of big changes on how public employee unions operate. The three biggest were limits on collective bargaining, requiring unions to recertify each year and prohibiting automatic collection of union dues.

According to analysis by the paper, in the two years since the law passed the Milwaukee affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees “has gone from more than 9,000 members and income exceeding $7 million in 2010 to about 3,500 members and a deep deficit by the end of last year.”

So far Walker’s law has translated into savings of $110 for Milwaukee taxpayers, says a new report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Let’s see, budget-busting president or belt-tightening governor? Maybe, just maybe, America will get to make a sensible choice in 2016.

June 6th, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Wisconsin “Close,” Like Hand Grenades

The old saying goes that “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Well, last night’s Wisconsin recall election must have been a really explosive hand grenade, according to the Washington Post. Drudge has been making fun of the Post for sub-heading its story on Gov. Scott Walker’s victory a “close vote.” Well, I went the extra mile and compared this “close” election to the Post’s handling of another one with very similar results.

In reporting on Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, the text of the Post story called it a “Democratic rout.” And what was Obama’s margin over John McCain? It was 7.2 percent. What was Walker’s margin over Tom Barrett last night? A nearly identical 6.8 percent. Yet the first was a “rout,” while the second was a “close vote.”

Hmmmm….. maybe what the Post meant was that last night was “close to being a rout.”

June 2nd, 2012 at 4:54 pm
Wisconsin Likes Walker, Could Boot Obama

Byron York explains why President Barack Obama is not campaigning on behalf of Tom Barrett, the Democrat running against Republican Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s recall election on Tuesday:

The latest poll on the recall battle shows why Obama is staying away. It’s not just that he doesn’t want to appear with a loser. Perhaps just as importantly, there is no advantage for Obama to risk his own popularity by making a high-profile visit to oppose policies that are finding increasing favor with voters.

The new poll, from Marquette University Law School, shows Walker leading Barrett 52 percent to 45 percent. Beyond the horse race, the Marquette pollsters also asked about specific elements of Walker’s reforms. It turns out some of the key elements of those policies — reforms Obama strongly opposed — are now winning the day.

Those policies include:

  • 75% of voters in favor of “requiring public employees to contribute to their own pensions and pay more for health insurance.”
  • 55% of voters in favor of “limiting collective bargaining for most public employees.”
  • 54% of voters thinking Wisconsin is better off in the long run because of the changes in state government

With these numbers and 52% of voters preferring him, Scott Walker appears likely to keep his job.  If Wisconsin voters start to apply the same poll questions to Obama’s failed economic policies – forty months of 8% unemployment, doubling the national debt in just one term in office – they’ll come to the opposite conclusion about the President.

No wonder he doesn’t want to be seen in Wisconsin.

February 8th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
Ads Defend Wisconsin’s Walker Against Recall

Greg Sargent: In case you were wondering how high the stakes are for the national right in the battle over Scott Walker’s recall, consider this: The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a branch of the conservative group founded by the Koch brothers, is sinking at least $700,000 into ads in Wisconsin defending Walker’s record.

Here it is:

May 26th, 2011 at 3:40 pm
Wisconsin Dems Still Wasting Time, Money

Huffington Post reports that even though a Wisconsin state judge invalidated Republican Governor Scott Walker’s bill to remove collective bargaining from public union members, nothing is stopping Republican lawmakers from re-passing the stalled legislation.

Democrats widely expect Republicans in the state legislature to simply attempt to re-pass the measure as law, and this time, the Democratic state senators won’t be leaving the state to slow down the process.

“There’s nothing that we can do,” said state Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover). “Republicans have the votes to do this, and if they choose to do it, they can and they will.”

My guess is that if given the chance to follow normal procedures, Republicans will easily re-pass Governor Walker’s bill.  When that happens, Wisconsin’s Democrats should stop wasting taxpayers’ time and money on frivolous lawsuits created by irresponsible lawmakers fleeing the democratic process.

May 16th, 2011 at 7:52 pm
Checking in on Ohio’s John Kasich

With all the media attention being lavished on governors Mitch Daniels (R-IN) and Scott Walker (R-WI), it’s easy to forget another Midwestern chief executive: Ohio’s John Kasich.

Human Events’ John Gizzi reports that the Ohio governor is bullish on winning a statewide initiative over whether public employees must increase their percentage of health care spending from 9 to 15 percent.  (Compared to the average 23 percent contribution in the private sector.)

Kasich is also preparing legislation with state Republican lawmakers to eventually eliminate Ohio’s income tax.  If these and other reforms are successful, Kasich might start getting the attention his herculean efforts deserve.

April 1st, 2011 at 2:32 pm
Police & Fire Flee GOP, Back Big Labor

Politico highlights how the budget battles between the Tea Party and Big Labor are threatening to shift firefighters and police officers into the Democratic Party, setting up a dilemma for fiscal conservatives.

The blowback from unionized first responders is being felt by Republicans in Ohio, New York, and Wisconsin.  In the latter, Republican Governor Scott Walker tried to exempt police and fire from the ban on public employees collectively bargaining, but they still refused to follow his order to remove protesting teachers from the state capitol.

Ironically, Politico quotes one police union leader saying his members are going to hold pro-union Republicans “accountable” for the cuts being made to balance state budgets.

Apparently, it’s a different kind of accountability than one based on sustainable funding formulas.  If the GOP is serious about reining in runaway government spending, it’s going to have to take on all public employee unions, and demand lower compensations (e.g. pensions, buy-outs, overtime, retirement eligibility, etc.).

We’ll see who has the stomach to make that case anytime soon.

March 21st, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Judicial Activist Blocks Wisconsin’s Union Law

If at first liberals don’t succeed, they plead their case to a friendly judge.  Last Friday, a Wisconsin judge granted a temporary restraining order to block publication of the state’s recently passed union law.  (State law requires the Secretary of State to publish the contents of the law to the public in order for the law to be valid.)

The law’s opponents claim Wisconsin Republicans violated the state’s open meetings law by negotiating the substance of the bill outside the normal committee hearing process.  The judge says all Republicans have to do is re-pass the bill with adequate notice (i.e. 24 hours instead of 2).

Where were these process-conscience Democrats when their federal counterparts rammed through ObamaCare while violating almost every legislative procedure?  Where was the outrage when the Reid-Pelosi gang used the budget reconciliation process and ‘deem-and-pass’ to thwart deliberation?  At least Wisconsin Republicans gave their absentee opponents a heads-up.

March 10th, 2011 at 8:11 pm
Wisconsin Dems Likely to Keep CBA Ban Once in Power

Their howls of protest notwithstanding, Wisconsin Democrats – whenever they gain control of state government again – are likely to retain Republican Governor Scott Walker’s ban on collective bargaining by public employees.

The Manhattan Institute’s Josh Barro explains that Democrats in Wisconsin are about to learn the joys of writing their own budgets; just like their peers in other states and the federal government.

For this reason, I am skeptical of Democrats’ vigorous hopes to retake Wisconsin’s government and repeal this new law. There is no clamor among Democrats in Virginia to give collective-bargaining privileges to public workers, nor have Democrats in Washington, D.C., shown much interest in empowering federal workers’ unions. This is because Democratic officeholders, quite rationally, prefer to write their budgets themselves, rather than hand over control of employee-compensation costs to unions. Once Wisconsin lawmakers get used to the new status quo, I think this is likely to be true there, too — why would mayors, school-board members, and state legislators want to give up a powerful new budgeting tool they’ve been given?

Eventually, Democrats will take power in Wisconsin again, and when they do I think they are likely to restore the “dues checkoff” — automatic deductions from public payrolls to pay union dues, eliminated in the just-passed bill. But I think they are likely to find the federal model of limited collective bargaining pretty useful, just as Barack Obama has. Under pressure from municipal officials, Wisconsin Democrats will be more likely to “reform” this law while retaining significant constraints on bargaining than to repeal it entirely.

February 25th, 2011 at 10:27 am
Video: A Revolution Brews in Wisconsin
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino comments on the budget clash in Wisconsin between taxpayers and public-sector unions, noting that the standoff and issues surrounding it have the potential to completely change the shape of American politics.

 

February 24th, 2011 at 6:13 pm
We Had an Election, Stupid

Maybe Wisconsin Democrats need Ragin’ Cajun Jim Carville to explain the concept that elections have consequences.  It wouldn’t be the first time Carville unleashed on members of his own party.

But perhaps Ed Morrissey will do as a substitute with his cool reasoning about the proper way to handle a campaign defeat:

If Republicans overreached with their budget-repair bill and unfairly restricted the rights of unions, then let Democrats go on record opposing the bill and make it the centerpiece of the next legislative election in Wisconsin. Under the circumstances, though, the Democrats who have tried to hijack democracy in order to dictate terms should be the ones who fear the next election the most.

The longer Wisconsin Senate Democrats delay action on legislative business, the more authority they lose to negotiate on any other issue this session.  They also shouldn’t forget the lesson they’re teaching majority Republicans whenever they do return: lock the doors and monitor the whereabouts of every quorum-busting Democrat to make sure they don’t pull this stunt again.

Is that really the precedent Wisconsin Democrats want to establish?

February 24th, 2011 at 5:40 pm
Wisconsin Dems’ Life on the Lam(e)

No one should pity Wisconsin Senate Democratic caucus members from being harried hither and thither by Tea Party activists uncovering their secret hideaways from public responsibility.  Nor should anyone doubt Republican Governor Scott Walker’s resolve to persuade them back to work.  From the New York Post:

Under the plan detailed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, legislators who miss two consecutive sessions will have their direct deposits stopped.

“You still get a check,” Walker said. “But the check has to be personally picked up.”

But the checks won’t be sitting in a basket in some random government office. They’ll be locked “in their desk on the floor of the state Senate,” Walker said.

Let’s see who blinks first.

February 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 am
Further Proof that Paul Krugman is Unstable
Posted by Troy Senik Print

From today’s iteration of the inimitable (thank God) Dr. Krugman’s column in the New York Times:

… what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.

If this is what makes it to print, one wonders what function it is exactly that Dr. Krugman’s ‘editor’ serves. The Grey Lady is on life support.

February 18th, 2011 at 6:36 pm
The Mayhem in Madison

If you ever doubted the indivisibility of disparate Leftist causes, then for proof look no farther than Madison, WI.  A community organizer-turned-POTUS is sending his minions to supplement Badger State public employee unions.  Jesse Jackson is leading a march in support of workers’ rights.  (Apparently, the only color in Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition these days is red.)

All we need now is a cadre of eco-friendly celebrities to descend on the Wisconsin state capitol and declare their love for collective bargaining (while demanding A-list treatment in their next film contract).  With the battle over union overreach spreading to other states, this may the beginning of a very tense year in states across the country.