Monday, July 15, 2019

Walker's soft landing in the heart of the welfare state

About Walker's announced punt out of Wisconsin politics in 2021 leaves him plenty of time to change his mind - - but he says he's off to run a youth-oriented right wing foundation in suburban Virginia near DC and turn America's young people away from socialism.


Like Ron Johnson, Walker's just another hypocrite selling another fossilized red herring to foment another red scare; it's no mystery why younger Americans want an equitable and functioning public sphere which these dishonest, place-holding Republicans are twisting and using by reviving the ghost of Joe McCarthy.

Younger people are rejecting a status quo which routinely subsidizes the Johnsons, Walkers and their donors at various payout windows while leaving millions of Americans in their 20's and 30's and 40's with crushing student loan debt, a fresh share of Trump-Ryan tax-breaks-for-the rich deficits, unaffordable medical care, shrinking job opportunities, an opiate epidemic and a polluted planet. 

But set aside whether young people really want to take direction from a defeated politician like Walker who is in his mid-50's and who lost to a guy who will be 70 in 2021, and note that:

*  Walker is quitting Wisconsin politics because he knows Tony Evers would beat him in a rematch and voters would bounce him in a Senate run. 

Wisconsin voters think of Walker every time they hit a pothole. And confront contaminated drinking water. Or see an algae-polluted trout stream - - all legacies of Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' and ideologically-driven, special-interest governance. 

And certainly when they see Foxconn with its insincere 'plans' and employment-killing robots at the ready while already benefiting from billions of dollars in distorted, public spending - - the kind of big government benefits Walker personally enjoyed for decades, loved handing out to favorites and traded to the company with dubious data and thin promises for photo ops and campaign commercials so obviously self-serving they ensured his defeat.

* Walker says he'll have a residence in the DC area and maintain one in Wisconsin, too. The organization hiring Walker, Young America's Foundation, pays well - - six-figure salaries all around, according to its IRS filing - - but unless Walker's deal includes a housing stipend, he'll discover that homes in the Virginia suburbs, and in Maryland and DC, are pretty pricey.

* I also don't think Walker will like living there. It's about as far from his base in exurban Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties as the moon.

The whole region is very Democratic. Northern Virginia is now solidly blue. Walker's new employer has its headquarters in Fairfax County, represented in Congress by a very liberal Democrat. Walker might as well be moving to Madison's west side or Milwaukee's east side.

And since we're talking about government priorities and spending and who gets the benefits, know that the region into which Walker says he's relocating relies on all sorts of government subsidies, including publicly-supported rail transit - - Washington Metro - - because the region's already-jammed roads would simply gridlock without it. 

And the area doesn't want any more tailpipe smog in its routinely-sticky air.

* And the reason the roads are so congested is because the population there continues to sprawl and swell - - and why, you ask? 

* Because the MD-DC-VA metroplex is heavily a creation of big government planning and spending - - socialism, if you will - - whether by Federal agencies, or through government-supported consulting and contracting dependencies. And nowhere is that more visible than in Northern Virginia, home to the Pentagon - - true driver of the US economy - - and an entire public spending-fed zone which includes a massive complex of roads, Dulles Airport, office parks and towers, residential high-rises and subdivisions for mile after mile after mile.

Throw in decades of government-provided home mortgage interest and property tax perks that supercharged development, suburbanization and farmland conversion sprawl and you've got people commuting over distances, county and even state lines unimaginable not that long ago.

I knew a man who car-pooled to downtown DC from just outside Annapolis, Maryland - - a round trip of more than 90 miles. 

He had a co-worker who came in daily from Harper's Ferry, West Virginia - - a round-trip of about 140 miles.

I know two people who commuted into downtown DC daily from communities in Delaware.

So Walker says he's headed for an right wing, socialism-fighting organization which enjoys government-conferred tax-exempt status, is surrounded by and connected to a vast network of similar groups and government-related programs, in a region where its vital rail cog is the kind of popular-government-created-road-congestion-battling-cleaner-air providing system Walker spent years in Wisconsin killing.

And he's there to fight socialism?

Unless he gets a chauffeur, or finds a residence within walking distance of his closet-to-DC/VA headquarters, or goes exurban and takes his chances on the California-style DC-area Beltline, I can imagine Walker riding Metro with his little brown bag of ham-on-wheat sammies - - 'ummmm' - - oblivious of the contradictions that have put him there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember the Y.A.F> when you and I were at UW-Madison. A scary bunch.

Poor Joel McNally thought he was free of Walker.