Walker’s policies making Wisconsin poorer

If Gov. Walker is trying to turn Wisconsin into a red state, he’s doing a pretty crappy job of it. As everyone knows by now (Republicans know it too, but rather than acknowledge it they’d prefer to stick their fingers in their ears and warble some of Toby Keith’s more stirring anthems to binge drinking), red states tend to suckle at the government teat far more vigorously than do blue states – in that they pay less to the federal government in tax money than they receive in socialistic largesse.

Of course, Wisconsin has traditionally been on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to getting its fair share of tax money back from the federal government, garnering between 80 and 90 cents for each federal tax dollar it paid out from 1981 to 2005, for example. So it’s a bit of a mystery why Walker keeps turning down cash from the feds.

The latest brilliant move is Walker’s decision to opt out of federal Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, preferring what the AP described as “a hybrid approach that involves tightening income eligibility for Medicaid, lifting a cap on a program that covers childless adults and forcing more people to buy insurance through a government-run marketplace known as an exchange.”

The immediate reaction? Well, one Wisconsin State Journal story (appropriately headlined “Analyst: Walker’s policy ‘crazy’”) concluded the plan would result in more people going without health insurance.

But the biggest head-scratcher is why Walker is once again turning federal dollars away, as he did two years ago with the Madison-to-Milwaukee high-speed rail line.

Dude, you create jobs like crystal meth builds tooth enamel. What possible reason could you have for turning down more federal money?

Slowly but surely, Walker’s anti-Keynesian approach to the economy is losing its luster, vindicating some of the same fringe voices on the left who were mocked as dangerously out of touch just two snows ago. So far, when it comes to job creation, we’ve been outliers – and not in a good way. Not only do we lag behind most states in the union in job growth, we’re also trailing our next-door neighbors. And if you’re behind Illinois in anything other than the number of male residents sitting in Door County bars with Bluetooths permanently fused to their heads drinking endlessly spawning buckets of Corona in an effort to obliterate all recent memories of antiquing and early dawn beachcombing, that’s truly shameful.


Those who think Walker is slowly trying to turn Wisconsin into Mississippi might want to think again. As a red state in good standing, Mississippi has traditionally been near the top of the list in terms of federal dollars received per tax dollar paid to the evil socialist central government in Washington.

But it may be that Walker is doing his best to fashion a true libertarian utopia. Perhaps his next step should be to build a fort out of his couch cushions and declare a new independent fiefdom for himself and his Ayn Rand Fathead.

He can be governor there for life. Of course, if he continues on his current trajectory, his days as Wisconsin’s lord and viceroy could be numbered.

Follow Tom on Twitter @LeftBizBrain. Tiny bite-sized morsels of bonus snark.

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