On Thursday, Scott Walker went for another one of his taxpayer-funded non-campaign campaign jaunts. This time he went to Minnesota.
Now, keep in mind that for the past 4+ years - with the exception of professional and college football - Minnesota has been kicking Wisconsin's butt on just about every economic measure. The reasons are myriad, but the biggest four reasons are health care, minimum wage, unions and pay equality.
As one might expect, Walker was welcomed with a fair amount of taunting. However, it was R.T. Rybak, former mayor of Minneapolis, who gave Walker third-degree political burns:
In 2010, both Wisconsin and Minnesota faced similar budget woes and a worrisome economic future amid a national recession. Both are also Midwest states, deeply invested in manufacturing and agricultural economic drivers. The only difference was that Minnesotans elected DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to turn Minnesota around, while Wisconsinites chose Scott Walker to lead their state’s recovery.
Only one governor was successful.
In Minnesota, Dayton turned a $5 billion budget deficit into a more than $1 billion budget surplus in just one term. By raising taxes on the wealthiest earners, Minnesota is now in a position to invest more resources into the state’s schools and infrastructure.
In Wisconsin, Walker was unable to take his state out of the red and is still facing a $2 billion budget deficit. Walker made the decision to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, while slashing programs and refusing investments at the expense of middle-class families and Wisconsin’s financial well-being.
In Minnesota, Dayton has moved forward Democratic policies like increasing the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and investing in the middle class, and now we are seeing one of the most business-friendly states in the country. Just this year, Forbes ranked Minnesota as the ninth best state for business, seventh in economic climate and second in quality of life.
In Wisconsin, Walker opposed a minimum-wage increase and equal-pay legislation, rejected federal funds to expand Medicaid, and attacked Wisconsin workers with right-to-work and anti-collective-bargaining policies. As a result, the cost of doing business in Wisconsin is higher than the national average, and median household income is thousands less than in Minnesota.
The facts are clear: Walker and the Republican trickle-down economic policies have made it practically impossible for Wisconsin to recover from the recession, and the state consistently sits at the bottom of the region in private-sector job growth.
Walker, true to his nature, wouldn't admit that he is a failure or take any responsibility for the consequences of his policies and budgets:
"You've had the advantage of other than a two-year period of having Republicans in charge of at least one part of government for some time. Before we came into office, for many years there was a Democrat governor, a Democrat assembly and a Democrat Senate," Walker said, noting the state's peak 9.2% unemployment rate prior to his election in 2010 and its 4.6% standing now.
"You look at where we were at, where we started and where we're at today, there has been a dramatic change," he told reporters following his meeting with GOP lawmakers.
Minnesota's jobless rate has consistently been lower than Wisconsin's but also it never climbed as high during the Great Recession. Minnesota's unemployment rate has also tumbled from above 7% at Gov. Mark Dayton's first election to 3.7% now.
The thing is that Walker has had a Republican-controlled Assembly, a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled Supreme Court. Walker has been able to do whatever he wanted without restraint.
Furthermore, the job numbers show that the rate of job numbers dropped drastically when Walker was elected and able to get his first budget and his first policies in place.
It's time and beyond that Walker's handlers inform him that the people want a grown up for their president, not a little boy living in an imaginary place.