Scott Walker's Wisconsin—A Curse upon Our HouseBy Mike Konopacki (used with permission)
Actually, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda is an unqualified success. Everything Walker has done over the last two years was designed to keep wages low and ensure employers a weak and desperate labor force. It’s simple supply and demand, high unemployment ensures low wages.
The reality is that Walker’s agenda is an unqualified success. Everything Walker has done over the last two years was designed to keep wages low and ensure employers a weak and desperate labor force.
Walker’s claim of “uncertainty” is a lie. Wisconsin companies continue to move jobs to “uncertain” countries in search of low wages. Thermo-Fisher closed its Hamilton Manufacturing plant in Two Rivers and shipped the jobs to Reynosa, Mexico, a city embroiled in a deadly drug war. The situation is so bad that the U.S. State Department has prohibited federal employees from personal travel on highways outside of Matamoros, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo. Outsourcing to China continues even though Chinese workers have been striking in increased numbers against low wage, dangerous jobs. At Foxconn, workers committed suicide by jumping out of windows in the face of unbearable conditions. If drug war violence and increasing social unrest are no deterrent to Wisconsin companies, it’s fallacy to claim that peaceful protests and harmless elections have forced Wisconsin “job creators” to dive under their desks cringing in fear.
Scott Walker and his Tea Party cult have no interest in creating jobs or a prosperous economy. Their agenda is to keep Wisconsin a low-wage state and to maintain brutal income inequality. In Janesville members of Rock County 5.0, an economic development group, were caught on film celebrating the the GM plant closure because it would force down area wages. Eric Isbister, CEO of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer outside Milwaukee, fired 15 of 25 skilled new hires to avoid workers with union experience who expected to be paid more than $15 an hour. And while employers complained about a “skills gap” for welders, UW Milwaukee professor Marc Levine reported that Wisconsin has 2,000 unemployed welders for about 500 job openings and at a recent jobs fair for graduating welders only eight companies showed up.
Walker emulates a Republican economic model deployed by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The promise then as now was that union busting, deregulation and tax cuts for the rich would create prosperity. It did and it does: for the top 1%. But the rest of us get stagnant wages, outsourced jobs and massive layoffs. Worse, Bush’s tax giveaway to the wealthy in a $2 trillion plus stimulus package spurred the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s and a nationwide collapse in home values—the primary source of wealth for average working people.
Surprisingly, many working and middle class voters continue to support Republicans! Wisconsin is no exception. Despite Walker’s total failure to deliver on his promise of 250,000 jobs and a better life for the people of the state, he’s got a 50% approval rating according to a recent poll. Are Wisconsin workers so beaten down that his lure of a measly $83 tax rebate is all he needs to buy their vote? You can bet he’s counting on it. If he’s right, not only can we expect more of the same but an insourcing of the same kind of exploitation and misery the ruling class imposes on workers in China. Better put up safety nets around what’s left of our factories ASAP!
Note: The MacIver Institute, a right-wing think tank with connections to ALEC and the Koch Brothers, promoted Scott Walker’s jobs deception, claiming that he is "more than halfway" to his jobs goal. PolitifactWisconsin rates this claim Pants On Fire and argues that Walker’s policies have generated only 63,700 jobs—far short of Walker's campaign promise that propelled him into office in 2010.