Yesterday, I wrote that there would be devastating consequences to Scott Walker’s recall victory in Wisconsin. One of them, I said, is that he and the GOP would see it as a mandate, as proof that the American people are content with their draconian measures of union busting and of destroying the public sector.
It didn’t take long. Just three days after Walker was declared the victor, presumed GOP Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, hopped on Walker’s coat tails by declaring that the American people got the “message of Wisconsin,” only Romney went even further than Walker by publicly stating that firefighters and police should be targets of government cutbacks.
In response to a speech made earlier in the day, where President Obama urged Congress to pass legislation that would prevent layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police, adding that “the private sector is doing fine,”
The media is calling that a gaffe and Romney replied,
“For the president of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a president who’s out of touch.”
The private sector is doing just fine. 4.2 million private sector jobs were lost under the Bush recession, and since Obama took office, every one of those jobs has been regained. That’s not to say that all is rosy in the American job market. It’s the public sector that is suffering and virtually all of that blame can be placed directly at the feet of the GOP.
You can’t, as is the goal of the Republican party’s mentor, Grover Norquist, shrink the government to the size that it can be drowned in a bathtub without sacrificing the livelihoods of a lot of people. In this case, it was 600,000 public sector jobs, or as we say in the real world, 600,000 people lost their livelihoods. As a society, we lost revenue from 600,000 taxpayers. As their purchase power dropped, so did their ability to create jobs through consumerism, the number one creator of jobs in this country.
Thanks to the GOP Congress, Scott Walker and all the Tea Party governors, the government is smaller, which makes a pithy enough talking point to fit on a bumper, and because most voters don’t bother to look beyond the talking point, they’re happy to place the blame for the side effects on the sitting President. It’s what they call in GOP political circles, a twofer.
Romney boldly went on to say,
“And his answer for economic vitality, by the way, was, of course, pushing aside the private sector, which he said is doing fine,” Romney continued. “Instead, he wants to add more to government. He wants another stimulus. He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policeman, more teachers.”
“Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did! It’s time for us to cut back on government!”
Here’s the video:
Even Scott Walker hasn’t gone that far, at least not publicly. While he was happy to make scapegoats of the people who educate our children, he tread lightly on the men and women who maintain safety and order, the police and firefighters. He even received endorsements from Milwaukee’s firefighter and police organizations.
According to polls, voters in Wisconsin feel that Walker hasn’t gone far enough with police and firefighters. The two groups were exempt from the pension and benefit cuts that the teachers suffered, but 57% of Wisconsin voters think they shouldn’t have been.
The sad reality for emergency responders is that people generally don’t feel they’re necessary until they are. That makes their elimination an easy sell. The wealthy certainly won’t suffer. They’ll hire people to guard their homes and put out fires, but as usual, the rest of us will.