Sometimes it’s hard to figure ‘sconnies out. We elected two of the most diametrically opposite political personalities you can imagine, to U.S. Senate – a Tea Party Crypto-Conservative born-with-a-silver-spoon-in-his-wife’s- mouth Republican from one of the most conservative areas in the state; and a wildly liberal open lesbian Democrat with an undergrad degree from one of the most liberal east-coast colleges (Smith) and a UW Law degree from by far the most liberal county in the state.
I think it has more to do with the political wind blowing at the time of any given election, rather than the true “will of the people”, and I think it’s the same thing that gave us a Republican governor and legislature. It wasn’t that ‘sconnies loved Scott Walker; it was more of a “meh” about Tom Barrett.
I can’t think of an institution other than elected government where so many people who profess a distaste for the institution hold positions of power. Radio broadcasting failed as an industry when bankers, rather than broadcasters, started calling the shots. The auto industry has long known that you really need to have a “car person” running things – somebody who is really into automobiles. The beer industry is run by people who love beer; the sausage industry is run by people who love grinding meat. Yet now we seem to have a lot of people in positions of power in our state and national government who openly dislike government.
It was this anomaly - politicians who hate government - that resulted in the creation of WEDC, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. In July of 2011, Scott Walker and his government-hating pals over at WMC on East Wash and their political cronies (the ALEC crowd) decided to do away with the state government institution which was charged with, among other things, creating jobs. Out went the state Commerce Department and in came WEDC, a quasi-private outfit which was supposed to create the quarter-million jobs Walker promised in his campaign.
The failure has been spectacular.
WEDC was supposed to be the centerpiece, the showplace, the masterpiece of the job-creators: it would lead the state out of the recession, attract and encourage businesses to locate here or be created here, with the attendant jobs for ‘sconnies, and show exactly what can happen when the private sector takes charge of a once-government-run agency.
By any metric, our state’s performance in the area of attracting business, creating jobs, and emerging from the recession has been dismal, bordering on abysmal. The WEDC has been a laboratory experiment on exactly how NOT to run a business: cronyism, corruption, weak or nonexistent fiscal control, a revolving door for leadership positions; a dysfunctional human resources effort - as witness the brief tenure of WEDC’s latest PR-meister, John Gillespie, who lasted a month before somebody bothered to check his background and discovered he was a big tax cheat and apparently a huge unemployment cheat. (I thought business people HATED unemployment compensation.)
The paragraph above isn’t just my opinion. Every item I mention has been fct-checked and reported by the state’s responsible mass media, and confirmed by an audit. These bozos have pissed away tens of millions of dollars they have no way to track; doled out perks like Badgers sports tickets and the like to their pals; awarded money before contracts were signed….in other words, the agency is corrupt and out of control.
The job creators have no clothes.
A couple observations: government is NOT a business and should NOT be “run like a business”; and, those who hate government should not run for political office.
And ‘sconnies should learn not to elect people who claim their “business experience” will translate to helping government run more efficiently. WEDC has disproved that claim forever.