Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frugality, Justice, Moderation, and Temperance -- nah, just Frugality (but not even that)

Governor cites state constitution, omits key parts of what makes government tick

A quick word on another line from the State of the State address delivered by Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday night. Walker touted a provision from our state's constitution (stating it twice to emphasize his point), implying that a strict, conservative approach to governance was the only way our state's founders had intended to rule:
Our heritage in Wisconsin is also built on fiscal restraint. One of the most important parts of our state constitution affirms that "frugality in government leads to freedom and prosperity for our people." That is worth repeating: "frugality in government leads to freedom and prosperity for our people." I believe our founders had it right.
There are two problems from that statement. First, Walker omits other important aspects of that constitutional provision, which seem to run counter to the kind of governor that he is:
The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
Emphases added.

It seems almost purposeful that Walker would leave out those OTHER values, especially those that I bolded: justice, moderation, and temperance.

But perhaps more damning than that even is Walker's insistence that he's "frugal." By what standard is he going by? If you're to measure him on spending, Walker definitely fails the "frugality" test: his budget increased spending by half a billion dollars from the previous biennium, an increase in spending by one percent. If you go by budget deficits, Walker fails there, too: his budget creates a GAAP deficit of $3 billion, a fact his administration admitted to just a few days ago, but which Walker failed to mention during his address on Wednesday.

In citing the state constitution, Walker attempted to make himself appear fiscally sound and in-line with Wisconsin's values. But in truth, the governor is neither of those things, running a government that disregards the very provision of the state constitution he himself cited.

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