Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scott Walker and the Candy Store Generation

Today is election day in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker and four state senators are facing a recall vote. The reason? After being elected in 2010, an election which saw the governorship and both houses of the Wisconsin legislature pass from the Democrats to Republicans, Walker and his allies in the legislature dared to propose significant changes.
Here's what I wrote about this situation in my (now in the late editing stages) book The Candy Store Generation.
Still, those who think the massive debt is ruining this country had success at the ballot box in 2010, suggesting that the electorate is changing. Not only did they elect a Congress with greater fiscal conservativeness, they did so at the State level. Many state legislators and governors were elected on platforms of greater fiscal responsibilities. We see movement in some states toward this end. Wisconsin and Ohio are the first two to see sweeping changes toward smaller governments.
The Wisconsin situation is perhaps a harbinger of what we can expect on the national level. 2010 resulted in a Republican governor and Republican legislature. The state budget was in awful shape, and the new governor and legislature believed drastic action was needed. They took that action, and Democratic members of the legislature left the state to prevent there from being a quorum, hoping that would keep the Republicans from taking that drastic action. The summer of 2011 saw this play out on television.
Then the protesters took center stage in the Wisconsin media drama. We should all be able to remember their occupation of the State capitol. They didn't like what the Republicans were doing, and they said so. They were able to gain enough signatures on petitions to force a recall election of governor Scott Walker. I write this ten days before that election will take place. The polls show Walker surviving the recall election, but not by much. By the time this book is published we'll know for sure.
What is happening in Wisconsin is, I think, push back against the drastic actions that are needed to bring budgets into alignment with the amount of money that can reasonably be raise through taxes and fees. The fact that Walker looks to be likely to remain in office is a good thing in the battles over the budgets. But the fact that the recall election is even taking place shows how there will be pushback against any reduction in spending that will directly affect people's pocketbooks.
I'll watch some television tonight and see what I'll have to be adding to the book. I won't delete any of what I wrote, as shown in the post, but I'll add the results. I wonder if The Candy Store Generation will be successful in pushing back against the hard medicine of righting our financial affairs. Latest polls suggest the race tightening, but that Walker is most likely to survive the recall. However, at least one of the four Republican senators is in trouble. I understand the Republicans had a one seat majority, so this would result in a divided legislature. I need to check on that some more.

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