Taking on the government employees’ unions was a gutsy move for Wisconsin’s freshman governor, Scott Walker. Now facing recall, he’s caught in a swarm of controversy, his opponents as angry as bees near a kicked hive.
Nick Gillespie and Jim Epstein, in a Reason TV video segment called “3 Lies About the Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Recall,” look behind the hysterical denunciations and at the facts. All three of their points deserve consideration, but I’m most interested in the first, their debunking of the “lie” that “Gov. Walker Cut Spending.” Surprise, surprise — total spending in Wisconsin is going up:
Gov. Walker has cut the rate at which Wisconsin’s state budget is growing, but he hasn’t actually cut spending. In fact, the state’s biennial budget is scheduled to increase by about 3 percent on Walker’s watch, rising from $62.6 billion (2009-11) to $64.3 billion (2011-13).
We see the same disconnect at the federal level. A few Republicans present budgets that slow growth in spending, yet do not decrease spending in total. But, since we do see cuts here and there, to this program or that, Democrats take each minor cut as an occasion to scream and holler about how indecent and heartless “greedy Republicans” are for cutting spending.
And yet spending has gone up.
The complainers, by focusing on those few actual cuts, ignore the overall increases. They thus effectively demand that government spending increase always and everywhere.
While talk of Republican “cutters” must be taken with a grain of salt, it’s impossible to take their critics seriously at all.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.