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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back to the (Dystopian) Future: Scott Walker's CV Explains a Lot

Is Scott Walker's latest stunt in Wisconsin just an attempt at revenge for his own mediocre academic career?  Let's take a look at the facts.

Been busy days out here in Wisconsin, what with all the turmoil wrought by "Boy Wonder" Scott Walker's genius pre-emptory activation of the armed forces.  Clearly the man missed his calling as an FBI hostage negotiator.

As of the time of this writing, the basic facts of the matter remain as they have for nearly a week now:  Scott Walker has called for, and the public employees unions have agreed to, major financial concessions.  Which raises the question as to why there remains so much upset a week into the farrago.  I mean, if this were really about saving $ and ¢, why would Walker have bothered to call in the national guard, starting the meter running on their active-duty pay1 when unions have caved on the only issue?  Why does Walker still refuse even to negotiate non-financial issues?

Well, the answer, of course, is that the budget is NOT the only issue--or even the main issue.  Clearly, if the budget were the real issue Walker would have been content with the union concessions.  Clearly, if the budget were the real issue Walker wouldn't have thrown away $117.2 million in revenue.2  Not when the amount that he sought (and succeeded) in hi-jacking from union workers is only about $27.9 million annually3.  That's less than half of the amount he's feely pissed away in corp tax handouts, and Walker seems willing to throw away $147k in national guard costs daily1 on top of it.

No, the real issue here is caudillo Walker's blind insistance that the public employees unions surrender their constitutional rights to freedom of association and contracting.  You know, that pinko commie shit guys like Thomas Jefferson and George Mason were trying to slip through the backdoor in the so-called Bill of Rights.4 

But why, oh why would such an intellectual giant and economic genius as Scott Walker feel compelled to behave this way?  Simple:  Because Scott Walker is far from an intellectual giant or an economic genius.  In fact, a quick perusal of his CV will demonstrate that Scott Walker is far from even adequate in either of these respects.  Two salient facts:

1.  Scott Walker's "professional" career was in sales--not economics, not accounting, not finance.  Well, no surprises there.

2.  Scott Walker failed even to graduate from school.  A mediocre "C-ish" student, he dropped out without a degree.

So that's the picture we've got here:  A college dropout who couldn't acheive a GP of better than a 2.59 is demanding that the state teacher's union surrender their constitutional rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, all in the name of a "fiscal responsibility" plan that is on balance about $30.7 million WORSE annually than doing nothing.  Oh yeah, and he's willing to gin up about $147,000 in national guard deployment costs PER DAY1 in order to enforce it. 

Sounds almost like the plot to a bad 1980's teen comedy:  Scott Walker goes 'Back to the Future'--and it's payback time for some very unhappy teachers . . . .

1  My guess is that Scott Walker is forcing us to pay about $147k per day in order to surrender our civil rights.  Not being privvy to inside information such as the exact # of Wisconsin Army National Guard personnel who have been made active, or precisely how many of which grade are deployed at specific locations at any given time, the public is only left to guess.  But it sure ain't free, so this is only one rough estimate to start the discussion.  Details here.  I am more than happy to entertain other informed guesses.

2  Yeah, it's true.  $117.2 million is the net cost through 2013 associated with only 3 of the Boy Wonder's pet corporate giveaways:  $55.2 million YE 2012 and $62.0 million YE 2013.  See page 11 of the report of the Wisconsin Legislative Bureau ("WLB")  here.  The WLB is a non-partisan body of economists tasked with the estimation of financial impact of legislation, similar to the Congressional Budget Office's role on the federal level.

3 See the WLB's estimate of $27,891,400 for fiscal 2012 on page 2 and detailed discussion on begining on page 29 of the WLB report here.

4  Just how, pray tell, could the right to collectively bargain through a union be qualitatively different than the right of individual entrepreneur to contract on behalf of his wholly owned business?  Do individual employees somehow have LESS right to determine the disposition and compensation of their OWN personal labor than an entrepreur does to contract for his business?  Is that the new Tea Party line of talk--that the state is entirely able to disregard the God-given civil liberties the Founding Fathers fought and died for?

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