First, a quiz:
How much did Walker cut the Wisconsin budget?
A: The budget actually showed a slight increase.
It is widely acknowledged that Illinois is in serious financial trouble. Illinois recently increased its income tax by 50%. How much higher is the Illinois tax rate than Wisconsin's?
A: The top Illinois rate is 7.5%, according the the Dept. of Revenue, the top rate in Wisconsin is 7.75%
Illinois is more than twice as populous as Wisconsin. How much more does the state of Illinois spend than WI?
A: The Illinois budget for fiscal 2012 is $28.5 Billion. Half of Wisconsin's biennial budget is about $33 Billion, meaning that Wisconsin spends about $4.5 Billion MORE per year than a state with more than twice as many people.
Note also that Wisconsin has more state employees than Illinois.
A big part of Illinois' problems are centered around their underfunded pension system. Luckily, the Wisconsin Retirement system is one of the best run in the country, but still, we do not compare favorably with Illinois in regards to other parameters.
Regardless of who wins the recall election, the same problems will face Wisconsin. Wisconsin has long been among the top ten in taxation, and is a heavily regulated state to boot. This puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Our national debt at some $15.7 Trillion comes out to about $51,000 per man woman and child. Add about $7000 for Wisconsin state debt.
Cost of government (COG) in Wisconsin is about 62%. COG equals government spending at state, federal and local levels, plus costs of regulation. Ever since COG has exceeded 50%, our economy has been in the doldrums. Moreover, we have federal unfunded liabilities alone that amount to $120 Trillion. As the baby boomers retire, expect that these liabilities will come due, making our problems worse. This is simply unsustainable, and taxing the rich, even at the rate of 100% will not make it so.
For more than a decade, government employees have gotten raises while their private sector counterparts have had relatively stagnant income. To be sure, the adjustments made under Walker hurt public employees. However, it is unreasonable to expect that they will be immune to the effects of a stagnant economy, especially when government is a large factor in the economic downturn. As severe as the adjustments seem to some, they pale in comparison to the job that must be done if we are, as a nation and state, to remain prosperous and free. Voting for Tom Barrett will do nothing to change these realities.