Scott Walker has it right…

It’s time to put GAB to work!


By Jack E. Lohman

Scott Walker, Milwaukee County’s executive, is correct. Taking federal bailout money will only encourage wasteful political spending.

But what else would you expect? Special interests and the politicians they feed are going for the gold, and he knows it. He’s been there.

While new money must be spent wisely, Wisconsin politicians have never been accused of having the trait. To suddenly drop tons of money on those whose campaigns are funded by special interests — expecting them to spend it in the best interest of the public that doesn’t give them money — is wishful thinking. Pure fantasy.

Independent oversight is needed, and the Government Accountability Board (GAB) should appoint a panel of retired economists and business leaders to sort it all out. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and even our politicians should want this one done correctly.

What we have today that we didn’t have in 1929, is globalization. Today’s solution cannot be the same, and going further into debt makes sense only if the jobs created are local and permanent.

Who’s originally to blame? How did all of this happen? The economy, stock market crash, unemployment, foreclosures, etc?

There is but one answer: the politicians who sought re-election and were willing to eliminate regulations to get the cash needed for their campaigns.

The contributors wanted a free-for-all market, and the politicians gave it to them. It is said that total freedom works only when total honesty exists at all levels. But in life it doesn’t, so reasonable regulation and laws are needed and our politicians sold us out.

Live with it, or fix it.


  • Walker should not be surprised. He was in the state legislature and had the opportunity to clean up the political system but chose not to. He’s now seeing the results of his inaction, and he will again when he runs for governor.
  • We must make it possible for politicians to get elected without taking money from special interests that want taxpayer assets in return.
  • If the government needs money, what better way to get it than by increasing the interest paid on government bonds?
  • If Obama wanted to send the right message, he’d have cancelled his expensive party in DC. Just take the oath and move on.
  • 10 Responses to Scott Walker has it right…

    1. Keith Schmitz says:

      We can only hope Jack that Obama does what FDR did and set up the administrative apparatus to closely and publicly provide the oversight we need.

    2. I agree Keith, though part of the money is going to the state and we haven’t a very good track record at wisely spending money. For example, our politicians have pretty much kept the road builders in fine garb, and creating new jobs that are permanent will be critical. Rebuilding the Oconomowoc interchange at $25M, tearing down the Hoan bridge and rebuilding it, and expanding I94 to Chicago, will improve the lives of a few but not be what I’d call a wise use of limited funds.

    3. Anonymous says:

      You actually agree with Scott Walker? Hell has frozen over. What Walker is doing is setting up his run for governor. That’s it. Why else would he turn down the stimulus money for the only county in the state that really needs it?

      According to the article: “Walker sparked a heated debate at local and state levels this week when he said he will not ask for stimulus money for county projects because he opposes increased deficit spending and favors tax cuts. State Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, called Walker’s refusal self-serving. “To not even apply is just a huge mistake,” Richards said. “That’s something that’s going to cost us jobs that will go somewhere else. We have so many systems in critical need of help, and to just refuse is shortsighted. It’s putting (public relations) over people.”

      Exactly. Like most Republicans, sticking to ideology and forgetting he’s a public servant will have a devastating effect on Milwaukee county.

      Scott’s answer is to not take on the responsibility of spending the money wisely, to provide the needed oversight, because it’s too much work and he hates government. It’s this short sighted governing style that eats away at public confidence in our elected officials. Throwing their arms up in the air and declaring lawmakers hopeless is a guilty pleasure of small government conservatives, and the reason we have the current economic disaster.

    4. I’ll let Scott speak for himself, which he has done HERE. But I do not support taking money without first establishing non-conflicted oversight, which we can do through the GAB. Our politicians will spend the money where they get the best campaign contributions, not where it would most benefit the public. If they weren’t taking private cash on the side I’d have more confidence in them.

      And I know Walker is going to make another run for Governor, but I think his failure to pass campaign reform when he had the chance is going to kill his chances.

    5. Renee says:

      I think it’s ridiculous to flat out refuse to take stimulus money when it’s OUR money in the first place and more importantly, we don’t even know yet WHAT THE MONEY IS FOR!!!

      What if it’s money that would put 10,000 Milwaukeeans back to work? What if it pays for treatment instead of prison programs? What if the money is money for small business development? Or a teen pregnancy prevention program that actually works? Or a jobs training program that could get Milwaukee’s workforce up to speed so companies want to set up shop in Milwaukee? Perhaps a homeowner’s loan program that would actually keep people in their homes?

      The concept that ALL government programs and ALL government grants are bad is where Walker’s statement is flawed.

      Milwaukee’s people have real problems, they are hurting financially more than even in our history. African American men have a 60% jobless rate!!! It’s time someone in Washington take notice and to blanketly say that ALL government grants are bad and should be rejected before we even know what they are is both irresponsible and typical of the Walker administration.

    6. Well, again, Renee, I’m not saying don’t take it. I’m saying don’t give it to the politicians to fritter away on special interest giveaways. That’s why my suggestion of having the GAB properly disperse it so it benefits the taxpayers, maybe even the programs you support. But I don’t want to see it going the same way as the first $350 billion, which so far has gone to frivolous banking and credit industry spending (including $15 billion in executive bonuses and shareholder dividends. I’d reference you to

    7. John says:

      Walker is a sly one. With the limitations listed below, Walker is basically turning down the Federal money to help Milwaukee County.

      • No local match is required by the federal government;

      • No long-term commitments mandated by the federal government;

      • No future operating or maintenance expenses

      Think about it; having no match by local officials lets them off the hook when it comes to oversight. Can you say “no money down mortgage?”

      And with no maintenance expenses, that would exclude BUILDING ANYTHING, like roads, schools…etc.

      Walker, like most Republicans, don’t like the prospect of oversight and actually working for their salaries. If they can’t turn it over to the private sector, they pull out the old “government is to big” rhetoric.

      Jack, I thought you were on to their game plan. Guess not.

    8. John, your distrust of politicians is merited. We need the bailout money to go to useful expenditures to create useful jobs, but that and “politician” is mutually exclusive. They do not have have the motivation to direct the cash. The effort must be turned over to a nonpartisan board appointed by the GAB.

      If politicians are smart, they will want it to succeed as well. Anything less will cost them their jobs. But politicians have never been accused of being smart.

    9. John says:

      Jack, you’re always so level headed. The idea of oversight is a good one, but Walker’s motives are not. That’s the point I was making. Also, take into account Walker’s history, which I have done at my blog. I hope you have a chance to check it out, and consider the character make-up of this carnival barker.

    10. I agree with your assessment of Walker, John, and others should read your blog article too. But if given the choice of taking federal money or not, I say yes do. But we need our own unbiased oversight; not that of the Feds and not by Walker.

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