Thursday, February 18, 2010

But What Would You Have Done Without It?

Yesterday, people from all over the State of Wisconsin sent messages to Scott Walker by email, Twitter and Facebook. The simple question was, how would you have filled your budgetary holes if it wasn't for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus)? It seemed like an appropriate question, given the fact that yesterday was the year anniversary of the signing of the act by President Obama. It was also appropriate to ask this question of Scott Walker because he has been on all sides of the stimulus issue (often at the same time).

Even though Walker originally said "no thanks" to the return on Milwaukee County taxpayer's federal tax investment, his meandering has been all over the map since. The height of his hypocrisy on this issue came when he actually proposed a budget for 2010 the relied heavily on the federal stimulus that he not only condemned but tried to obstruct the County Board from pursuing funds from it. The two most obvious areas that stand out to me are the stimulus funds that helped postpone a transit system disaster and the recovery bonds that finance an entire centerpiece of Walker's proposed budget. This is to say nothing about all of the stimulus funding directed toward education, law enforcement, and so many other programs and services that are critical to Milwaukee County.

Walker's response to the simple question was mostly to complain that so many Wisconsinites asked him it. Perhaps he is willing to avoid it when members of the public ask, but if the media would just force the issue, it seems like a critical detail for the public to know.

Scott Walker, how would you have filled the holes in your budget without the federal stimulus?

Now read: "Walker Recycles Brown Bag Gimmick".

On a related note, here is a good visual presentation of how the federal stimulus has helped to dramatically reverse the meltdown that came at the height of the Great Bush Recession. We may not be where we would like, but we are certainly much better off than we were just a year ago. That didn't happen by accident and all signs are trending in the right direction. You can't honestly ignore the positive and extensive impact of the Recovery Act. Although if you are Scott Walker, you may be able to simply ignore it.

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