Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Opinion

Walker needs to get specific

It’s important that we listen to Gov. Scott Walker as he traverses the nation seeking the Republican presidential nomination, just so no one can say they got caught off guard should he become our 45th president.

Walker’s opponents say he misled the state by not mentioning the specifics of Act 10 while running for governor in 2010, then springing the public union-busting measure weeks after being sworn in. Walker counters that he clearly said he would give local governments the necessary tools to reign in employee wages and fringe benefits, and so what followed shouldn’t have been a surprise.

This time, however, Walker is entering an arena where if successful the decisions he makes will literally have life and death implications.

For example, in launching his campaign last week, The New York Times reported that Walker said there would be “absolutely no daylight” between the United States and Israel if he was president, and that he would “stop the aggression of Russia into sovereign nations.” As for Iran, he said, “we need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day 1, put in place crippling economic sanctions and convince our allies to do the same.”

That’s tough talk. Does that mean hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would in effect become a key framer of Walker’s foreign policy? Is Walker willing to attack Iran? Russia? If elected, Walker may want to consult the last Republican president about the ramifications of launching an invasion.

We also know that Walker wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He hasn’t clearly laid out his alternative, but he did say, “healthy or sick ... I will fight for you.” That apparently means he wouldn’t revert to the pre-Obamacare days when insurance companies strived to cover the healthiest people and dropped the less profitable.

Walker deserves points for cutting taxes in Wisconsin, but he would face a much greater task trying to do the same in Washington. Consider that in fiscal year 2014, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion, which included $485 billion in borrowing.

Of that $3.5 trillion, Social Security cost $851 billion. Medicare, Medicaid and related programs cost another $836 billion. Defense cost another $615 billion, other safety net programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit totaled about $370 billion, and interest on our (now) $18.3 trillion national debt totaled $229 billion.

That totals about $2.9 trillion, and that doesn’t even touch spending for transportation, schools, agriculture, etc. Voters are thirsting for details and answers, not cliches and negative campaigning.

The two-year state budget Walker just signed failed to address the fact transportation spending is exceeding revenues, a problem that left unaddressed will only get worse and require more borrowing.

If Gov. Walker left the state before addressing this matter, why should we expect President Walker would confront the same problem at the national level?

— Don Huebscher, editor


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