Monday, September 15, 2014

Why we should hold Walker to his 250,000 jobs pledge

Campaign promises will fail to mean anything if Walker's "good enough" attitude is acceptable

In 2010, then-candidate for governor Scott Walker made a lofty jobs pledge.

Walker said he would enact reforms that would create at least 250,000 jobs in his first term -- but with a little more than three months left until that time expires, the governor is about 150,000 jobs short of his pledge by most measures.

That hasn’t deterred Gov. Walker from taking pride in what little progress has been made, however. Dubbing it the “Wisconsin Comeback,” Walker has said in recent months that his pledge of 250,000 jobs was more or less a goal worth shooting for, if just to aim for high numbers.

That’s a huge departure from his promise in 2010, when he made it clear that anything less than 250,000 jobs would be unacceptable.

“To me, 250,000 is a minimum,” Walker said then. “It's just the base” of jobs he said he would create.

Contrast that to his remarks in 2013:

“My goal wasn't so much to hit a magic number,” he said last year.

That’s an obvious backtrack on his pledge to hit a very real magic number he laid out in 2010. And that matters.

Why should we hold Walker to his pledge? We did, after all, reach 100,000 jobs, and shouldn’t that be good enough?

It’s important to hold Walker, or any politician for that matter, to the pledges they make during their campaigns. Obviously some leeway can be given due to unforeseen circumstances, but when someone says definitively that they’re going to do something (and what’s more, says it’s a standard that they themselves want to be held to), they should be taken at their word and held accountable.

Walker won his election in major part due to the pledge he made on jobs. People expected him to meet that pledge, and that’s why they gave him their votes.

He failed to meet his promise, and it was, in fact, a pledge too lofty for him to have made in the first place.

If we don’t hold him accountable, what’s to stop him or any other politician from making these obscene promises again? Why shouldn't he just pledge 500,000 jobs this time around? And if he made such a pledge, and only created another 100,000 jobs in his second term (should he win one), should that be good enough for Wisconsin?

If you support Gov. Walker’s re-election bid, that’s fine -- politicians shouldn’t be supported for just one issue. But we shouldn’t pretend or try to reshape Walker’s jobs pledge into anything more than it is: a broken promise that he never should have made in the first place.

Walker’s record on jobs is simply a failure. The comeback he touts is a slowdown, and his plan to create jobs is flawed. It’s time for a change in Wisconsin.

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