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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In the Ideological Bubble

By Keith R. Schmitz

We have our once renowned parks system, transit system, mental health system and county courthouse crumbling and our county Executive Herbert Hoover Walker is telling the Obama administration thanks no thanks to the possible federal stimulus money.
The only federal economic stimuli Walker endorses are tax cuts, and he credited President-elect Barack Obama for recommending $300 billion in such cuts as part of a much larger stimulus plan.
"The last thing you want to do is put money in hands of government," if the goal is to pull the economy from recession, Walker said. This is intractability we can believe in.

The upside is that kids will get a history lesson about what burrowed us deeper into the Great Depression, which was the calcified notion that cutting taxes and a balanced budget would grow the economy. It's just that many of us don't want to experience it first hand.

It has been fashionable for conservatives to claim that FDR's policies prolonged the Depression. David Sirota in a recent column deftly shoots down that notion.

Apparently Walker thinks he is going to make it to Maple Bluff by appealing to that small -- but moneyed -- minority that still believes that doing nothing to stop the avalanche of the bad economy is the best policy. Just leave my income alone.

It will be interesting if the county board can do an end-around and does land a piece of the stimulus pie. If it doesn't, Milwaukee will sink further behind other big cities.

One reason why Milwaukee county and other local governments are on their knees is because state aid has been cut off thanks to the economy and the other worldly Grover Norquist philosophy of starve the beast, implimented by glossy eyed minions. In a democracy we are the government, so we must be the beast and we are being starved.

At first FDR bought into balancing budgets and cutting taxes to stimulate the economy. But in The Defining Moment, Jonathan Alter's book on FDR's first 100 days, the author points out that what benefited Franklin Roosevelt and the country was he had a flexibility of mind and was not tied to ideology, therefore he was open to a number of options. Scott Walker is not so encumbered.

If Walker wants to make history the first bit of wisdom is avoid repeating it.

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