Ad attempts to cover up job losses, budget deficit and tax increasesGov. Scott Walker, perhaps anticipating that recall organizers will indeed reach the 540,208 signatures needed to initiate a challenge against him, issued a new "pro-ME!" ad that touts the "positive" aspects of his tenure thus far.
Unfortunately for Walker (and really, for the entire state), the "positive" picture Walker describes is grossly exaggerated.
To an observer of the ad who knows the facts, it is a frustrating minute-long diatribe that makes you want to scream "YOU'RE SO FULL OF IT!" nearly every five seconds. To someone who might not have had the time to follow the events of the past year so closely, however, the ad is very convincing, with its friendly music, images of Wisconsinites hard at work, and crowds applauding Walker for all he has done.
Let's break this ad down a little bit, looking at some of the major points Walker hopes will convince the state that he deserves to stay in office. First, the ad itself:
Titled "Results," the ad is laden with several exaggerations, false claims, and items worth pondering over. Here's a few for you to consider...
- When I ran for governor, I promised to rein in spending, eliminate the deficit, and hold the line on taxes. And you know what? That's exactly what we did.
Yet that's exactly what Walker DIDN'T do. Each of these items will be examined further down the line. But first, it should be pointed out that Walker left out the biggest thing he promised while he was campaigning for governor: that he would bring jobs to our state. Walker made a promise of 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term.It's interesting that Walker himself neglects to include that line in his opening statement, especially since it was the rallying cry of every Republican candidate, Walker included, during the 2010 midterm elections.
- Thankfully, we wiped out a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes.
There are two lies within this single sentence. First, Walker didn't eliminate the deficit -- at least according to his own standards on which he campaigned on. Walker promised to balance the budget using generally accepted accounting principles. These principles require that you not push the debt further down the road, properly balancing the budget (and your debts) within the fiscal year.
But the governor didn't do that. In fact, Walker's budget is projected to create a $3 billion deficit under GAAP standards -- a larger deficit than what was projected to occur when Doyle passed his last budget.
During his campaign against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret, Walker portrayed his opponent as "Worse than Doyle." It appears that Walker's own budget fits that moniker quite fine on its own.
Now, consider lie #2: keeping taxes down. Walker's budget created a net tax reduction of millions of dollars (reducing revenues and forcing major budget cuts in the process). But those tax reductions went primarily to the rich and to corporations. And the reductions more than made up for the tax increases that Walker imposed on working Wisconsinites.
Gov. Walker reduced to a significant amount the Earned Income Tax Credit than many poor Wisconsinites depend upon. As per one example, a single mother with two kids would see her taxes go up two percentage points as a result of Walker's budget.
- ...government workers are now contributing to their health and pension benefits...
Except that government workers were already contributing to their health and pension plans. These plans are deferred payments -- that is, income these workers would ordinarily be earning but instead have determined they'd rather have in the form of benefits. What really happened was that Gov. Walker required a GREATER contribution -- which, in effect, is a cut to his employees' paychecks overall.
- In the three years before I took office, Wisconsin lost 150,000 jobs...[but] since the start of the year, Wisconsin has added thousands of jobs.
Walker's statement here -- that the state lost 150,000 jobs in three years' time -- tries to imply that it was the fault of the previous (read: Democratic) administration. In fact, the loss in jobs was due to the national recession (which began under a Republican president).
Walker then takes credit for the entire year of 2011, stating that we've gained thousands of jobs since he took office. Problem is, the jobs that did grow this year all occurred in the first six months -- that is, while Gov. Doyle's budget was still in effect. Since Walker's budget passed in late June we haven't seen a single month of net jobs growth in the state. In other words, Gov. Walker is taking credit for jobs created during Gov. Doyle's budget cycle, leaving out the fact that Walker's budget has yet to do anything substantial for job growth in the state.
Presented in this manner, Walker is clearly trying to manipulate you into believing he's actually GOOD for the state. The million-dollar question is, will the people of Wisconsin buy it? Only time will tell.