Sunday, September 14, 2014

Walker's southern strategy

Paul Ryan and Scott Walker are perfecting the pitch of their dog whistles to the party's tea party base and competing for the same far-right, white-voter love as the 2016 GOP presidential race takes shape.

Ryan got a head start, (no pun intended), when he said earlier this year that the inner cities were full of lazy black men.

Sure, there was some backlash, and Ryan said he'd been misinterpreted, but Mission Accomplished/Signal Sent, and his cheesehead rival Wrong-Way Walker needed to respond in kind.

But Walker has his own race-baiting record. Remember his 2012 plea to upscale Waukesha County voters for votes so that opponent Tom Barrett, the Mayor of the largest minority-majority city in the state, wouldn't turn Wisconsin into "another Milwaukee."

And Walker has channeled Newt Gingrich's 2012 attack on President Barack Obama as "the food stamp president" by proposing over the weekend that food stamp and public welfare recipients in Wisconsin take mandatory drugs tests before they can eat and feed their kids. 

Walker says it will help the poor find work. 

In fact, Walker is adding a fresh scapegoat - - the unemployed and low-income themselves - - to his excuse-me list of Syrian rebels, Obamacare and recall protesters - - to explain away and distract from his inability to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin.

This time he's suggesting to otherwise law-abiding workers that the poor must be too high or tipsy to get a job.

You just can't keep a good divide-and-governor down.

This isn't the first time Walker has used and abused the poor for political purposes - - remember that he is the one standing in the way of an increase in the minimum wage being raised elsewhere that the WMC says will boost prices - -  like the fast food AM 620 WTMJ talker Jeff Wagner and his pals, through their snickering, demand be kept dirt-cheap.

And In his first budget, Walker kicked at the poor financially when they were already far, far down in the Great Recession - despite Walker foot-stamping spin to the contrary - - as noted several times on this blog, including this summary from two years ago:
Despite the denials, the same Scott Walker budget that contributed to months of job losses statewide also contained tax increases totaling $49 million on lower-income Wisconsinites - - plus a 'just-cuz-you're poor-$20-monthly dunning - - and also cut taxes on some capital gains and business income. 
The Walker machine spun on, claiming in statements and ads that the budget was balanced without raising taxes, even though the information about the tax increases came from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, as reported by PolitiFact.

Overall, Walker’s budget included a modest $34 million reduction, mainly through business tax breaks. His plan included $83 million in tax cuts, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, but that was offset by $49 million in tax increases. 
The bureau determined that Walker included three tax increases in the budget. As we noted in our Walk-O-Meter item on the promise: 
"The largest involved a reduction in a state tax credit for low-income working families, known as the earned income credit. A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe. 
"In this case, the earned income tax credit is in place for both state and federal taxes. It’s refundable, so individuals with little or no income tax liability may still receive the credit. 
"A second tax increase, the fiscal bureau said, is stopping the inflationary adjustment of the state’s Homestead Tax Credit -- the property tax break that appears as a credit on income tax forms for low-income homeowners and renters. The bureau calculated that change would increase taxes by an estimated $8.1 million. 
Ryan and Walker are showing us that while the GOP apologized for it a few years ago, the so-called southern strategy which worked for Dick Nixon is back in right-wing Republican vogue.

Forty percent of the 860,000 Wisconsinites receiving food stamps live in Milwaukee County: who thinks Walker's food stamp drug testing scheme is aimed at people in River Hills or Whitefish Bay?

Though many formerly-employed Wisconsinites statewide who are still reeling from the Great Recession, and Walker's inability to get the state's economy on track despite holding all the budgetary and policy-making cards, might be surprised to learn that the Governor and his valet Robin Vos want them to pee in a cup to prove they haven't unemployed themselves by smoking dope or having a cocktail with lunch at the club.

Take that, laid-off office administrators, middle managers, sales staff, HR supervisors, small business owners, and the like - - all now under suspicion.

And when the poor and unemployed are done degrading themselves at Walker's direction at some government food-stamp-drug-testing station, office, let the poor chase after the voter ID we tricked the Appeals Court into thinking is needed in Wisconsin. 

Better the poor should spend their time driving or busing around to find a DMV office with the voter ID information and assistance that's actually open than on the job or applying for work.

That subset of the poor is also under a different kind of suspicion - - cheating at the ballot box, like the accusatory billboards posted by a Walker donor, with Walker's advice had said when he was fighting the last time for his political life.

What a dark, vicious loop that is.

Walker's fresh assault on the poorest citizens among us during a re-election campaign - - a politician's time of greatest self-interest - - will be added to a post on this blog documenting the many ways he continues to disrespect or disregard Wisconsin and its low-income residents:

There has never been a Wisconsin Governor in our memories prior to Wrong Way Walker who so widely disrespected the time, resources and basic interests of so many Wisconsinites, particularly the state's lower-income residents, just to advance his own political career. 
Conflationists can claim until the cows come home that every Wisconsin Governor has behaved this one-dimensionally, opportunistically, selfishly, coldly.
If proper eligibility and stewardship and of public money is what's behind Walker's pledge to tighten up taxpayer-paid assistance, maybe there ought to be drug testing for Walker, legislators and their appointees who created and are running the dysfunctional Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, where millions of public dollars have been misspent or misplaced.

The agency was supposed to create jobs but now prefers talking about the jobs it has "impacted," - - deceptively camouflaging how little employment has resulted from all the millions it has spent. Actual number: 5,480, one study shows.

Maybe there should also be drug-testing for the private sector officials who have taken public WEDC financing, grants, loans or credits while 'impacting' so few real jobs in Wisconsin and creating jobs overseas

Here's an example of one company that took millions of state dollars, and which was lauded by Walker, but has brought on only a few people, hasn't put up the promised assembly line and is busy hiring workers in another state from which Wisconsin allegedly had lured the firm's business and commitment.

Right-wing talk radio Monday will give a big ride to Walker's fresh attack on the poor.

The AM talkers provide open microphones for Walker and his legislative allies to gin up fear and anger among their conservative suburban and smaller-town Wisconsin listening audiences.

In fact, the latest John Doe document dump showed Walker routinely sending the shows their talking points.

Attacking the poor from the cushy digs of elected office, or isolated radio station studios is about the easiest, cheapest self-serving effort imaginable - - but a reminder of the depth of that hole Walker correctly found himself in the other day.

CAPTION CONTEST: All right gang, have at it. And keep it clean.


JoAnn said...

I say make Walker pee in a cup. After all he he gets taxpayer money also.

Anonymous said...

James ....this post says it all and summarizes the Walker divide and conquer type of government he has foisted upon Wisconsin. They control everything, the legislature the courts and all state agencies except DPT, but they are starving that one to death. Walker and his troops are driving the bus and we're headed for a cliff unless Wisconsinites slam on the breaks on Nov. 4

Jake formerly of the LP said...

There is no bigger, unaccountable welfare recipient in this state than WEDC granted. Scotty's starting with them, right?

Anonymous said...

To add insult to injury, the unemployed will probably have to pay to have their pee tested.

As an aside, a small businessman once told me that providing a family supporting job for his employees was a gift. His business was successful because he worked hard and was able to make sure his employees, who also worked hard and helped him build his business, were rewarded with high wages. Too bad more employers don't feel the same way.