The States Must Unite

The November jobs report shows that the country exceeded expectations by creating 203,000 jobs.  The stock market continues to set record highs and private industry is sitting on $1.6 Trillion dollars.


The economy is clearly coming back from our low in 2009, but we could be doing far better.  The people of the United States need to open their eyes and realize that we have been taken over by corporatists who only care about their own bottom line.


Wisconsin now ranks number one in the country for new unemployment filings.  We rank (according to the most generous polls) 34th in job creation.  Scott Walker pledged to create 250,000 jobs and 10,000 new businesses in his first term, or he “doesn’t deserve re-election.”  Three years into Walker’s term, his administration has only overseen the creation of 88,000 jobs and 4400 businesses.  Despite claims that he is “focused like a laser on job creation,” Walker has merely attempted to lure businesses from surrounding states.  Much like his budget, he is only moving numbers around and not solving any underlying problems.  If a business moves to Wisconsin from Illinois, it may be great for Wisconsin, but a community in Illinois is now left holding the bill.  We wouldn’t know that from Walker though.  His Twitter feed explodes every time we steal another 10 jobs from surrounding states.  Even with this “smoke and mirror” strategy, Walker has not pulled Wisconsin back up to pre-recession levels.  We lost 150,000 jobs when the Bush Recession desecrated this country, but Walker has only overseen a growth totaling 88,000.


Furthermore, Walker has rejected the federal money to expand Badgercare and neglected to create a state-run insurance exchange.  As a result, we are insuring less people and paying more to do so.  The Affordable Care Act allocates money to each state to expand their medicaid programs.  Walker’s rejection did not save the tax payers money, it simply sent our tax dollars to other states.  Walker’s rejection of the Badgercare money will cost the state $1.8 billion in 2022.  The expansion of Badgercare would have created 10,000 jobs, as would the rail project.


Digging deeper into these decisions, we find that Wisconsinites are not only losing their tax money, but are also paying more individually. Looking at the plans on the insurance exchange in the Madison area, a 30 year old non-smoker would qualify for quality insurance ranging in price from 160.00 - 350.00 per month.  That does not include any government subsidies which he/she may be eligible to receive.  The same individual, living in Minneapolis would be paying between $102.00 and $217.00 per month, before subsidies.  


Governor Dayton of Minnesota has worked with the federal government to take full advantage of the Affordable Care Act.  He has created an environment that fosters the cheapest insurance plans in the country, and he is just across the river from us.


Competition is a good thing, per the basis of the insurance exchanges, but it has to be used correctly.  States should be competing for the best education, health and safety services, highest wages, and happiest citizens.  Sadly, governors like Scott Walker are simply trying to cut everything possible (except for corporate profits) in an effort to draw in existing businesses rather than creating an environment for new business to be born.


The states and the federal government should be working together to create a prosperous economy that we all enjoy.  Today, they are competing for lower wages, less regulation, and lower corporate tax rates.  Under the ACA, states can use their own system, if they prove that it is more affordable and covers at least as many people as the federal law.  If Scott Walker truly cared about providing Wisconsin with better quality healthcare at a more affordable rate, he has the freedom to do so.  The fact that he doesn’t do so exposes what is truly important to him...politics.


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