Friday, June 1, 2012

Analysis of Walker's Obfuscation and Barrett's Success in Final Recall Debate

The short election campaign for Tom Barrett is nearing its end now that the second of two debates are complete. I would first like to say that the right-leaning Mike Gousha did a fantastic job of moderating the debate last night. Gousha sure didn't forget about the follow-up question, and he elegantly danced from left to right in a nonpartisan fashion. It was a breath of fresh air. Thank you, Mike Gousha!

It's really too bad there were only two debates. Barrett has far exceeded my expectations, knocking down nearly every one of Walker's dubious claims with passionate but calm and simple reasoning. Thank you, Tom Barrett, for being the candidate this time that we knew you could be in 2010.

You can watch the full video online at WISN.

Clearing the Air

Nearly all of the questions that I felt were critical were asked either by Mike Gousha or Tom Barrett, but Scott Walker, the "Rock Star of the Tea Party," continued to obfuscate everything with his thoroughly rehearsed lines.

Walker continued to say that stripping collective bargaining rights saved money, but this is simply not true. Walker even admitted it didn't save money under oath in front of Congress last year. The same savings would have been reached had Walker negotiated with the unions, because, as Barrett mentioned, the unions conceded to massive cuts to their pay and benefits Walker asked for as long as they could keep their rights. But since Walker wanted to strip their rights, he did it even though he didn't need to.

Taxes did not go down for everyone, just the average, and that's only real estate taxes with an average decrease of only 0.4%. Taxes went down for the very rich, many of whom now don't pay any taxes. However, many poor and middle class are receiving less from the government, in effect increasing their taxes. In fact, the Homestead Credit was cut, which is a tax increase on the poor and middle class. And we can't forget about increased tuition costs for Wisconsin technical colleges and universities. It's simply disingenuous to say that Walker saved the average Wisconsin taxpayer money, because it's not true.

Walker actually increased spending beyond the Doyle administration, though less services are now being provided.

As Barrett pointed out, since 70% of Wisconsin schools had to fire teachers, the tools were clearly not enough to make up for Walker's historically massive cuts to education. Our class room sizes are now the largest they've been since 1995. Talk about moving backward. It simple doesn't add up when you cut funds by the most in Wisconsin history, schools will suffer. We need to pay teachers more, not less, and we need to equip our students with the tools and books necessary for a proper education. That simply can't be done with the funds Walker has appropriated to our public schools.

Unions are not and can not be dictators of anything, contrary to Walker's claims. Unions bargain, as in collective bargaining. The definition of bargain excludes any ability to dictate anything. If Walker wanted to make real change the democratic way, he would have negotiated with the unions to achieve Wisconsin's goals. There was simply no need to strip their rights to accomplish Wisconsin's goals, in this case, balancing the budget. The power was already in the hands of the taxpayers to balance our budget before Walker took office, but by stripping their rights, Walker made himself a dictator.

Barrett is not the "union's candidate." That was clearly Kathleen Falk. Barrett said he supports our citizen's right to collectively bargain, but he won't agree to their every whim. He'll do the tough job of actually negotiating to accomplish goals.

The reason that collective bargaining isn't the only thing that pro-Wisconsin people decry Walker for is because Walker has done so much more damage since, not because the reforms are working. Official verified statistics have shown this consistently for over a year. If you want to use Walker's unverified numbers, we're still dead last in the nation and far from his promised 250,000 jobs.

After the debate, Tom Barrett was finally able to fully clarify the issue with Walker's numbers to a WISN reporter. Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics told PolitiScoop that they have not verified Walker's numbers yet. The Bureau told Walker that they "confirmed the methods used" not verified the numbers saying, "...we would not have confirmed the numbers yet."

Critical Obfuscation

When asked about his "divide and conquer" plan, Walker blatantly lied. The "powerful special interests" Walker supposedly wanted to divide and conquer are not the real powerful special interests. All you have to do is look at the $25 million Walker has and who he got it from and compare that to Barrett's $1 million. The powerful special interests are clearly behind Walker, and most are from out-of-state.

A further example of Walker's intent was his discussion with the faux-Koch in which he said he "dropped the bomb." A governor doesn't drop bombs to ethically balance budgets, especially budgets as close to black as it was. We weren't broke, which Walker's increase in spending is clear proof of.

A third example of Walker's intent is his refusal to say whether he would veto a Right-to-Work bill. When Barrett said that Walker would sign a Right-to-Work bill, Walker made no attempt to deny it. That's a very clear answer. Walker wants to rid Wisconsin of unions.

As Barrett said, not giving billions in tax breaks to corporations that aren't linked to job creation would have been a good start to solving the budget deficit without resorting to stripping citizen's rights. Those tax breaks were a complete waste of our tax money, which we must pay to make up for, particularly with Walker's increased spending. Big corporations and the very rich that pay little or no taxes love Scott Walker.

Who's funding Walker's $160,000+ criminal defense fund? Walker refused to say. Instead, Walker continued spreading the lie that he started the investigation as if he's simply been cooperating. In fact, Walker "stone-walled" the investigation. Walker provided a flaky attempt to explain himself, but if Walker wasn't able to get the information, why would someone be left with the impression they were stone-walled?

Walker won't release his emails, even though he's been told he can. He continued to hide behind the notion that he can't talk about the investigation. However, as Gousha stated, unless Walker is under investigation, there's nothing preventing him from talking about his own involvement. Walker refuses to clear the air with his emails, because he clearly can't. I don't know how one can come to any other conclusion at this point.

We Can Remove Walker

Just think of what we've been able to accomplish. Down financially $25 million to $1 million in any other election, we wouldn't stand a chance. Instead, the election has been a statistical tie from the beginning. It's clear that people in Wisconsin can see through Walker's lies.

We can remove Scott Walker on June 5th. Lets make it happen.

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