Tag Archives: Scott Walker

Election 2016: Scott Walker vs. “Government Dependence”

English: Scott Walker on February 18, 2011
Scott Walker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Announcing his presidential candidacy on July 13, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker touched on a familiar theme: “Helping adults who are able to work transition from government dependence to true independence,” he said, “will help more people live [the American Dream].”

I call the theme “familiar” because Google returns more than 5,000 results on Walker’s name and the phrase “government dependence.” He seems to have focused on it for many years. And on a quick read of his biography, I doff my cap to his stature as world-class expert on the topic.

Apart from some part-time sales work in college and a short stint at the Red Cross, Scott Walker seems to have spent his entire adult life as a “government dependent.”

He made his first run for political office in 1990 and was elected to Wisconsin’s state legislature in 1993. From there, he moved on to become chief executive of Milwaukee County, and after that (on his second try) governor of the state.

For 22 years, this political careerist has suckled continuously — not to say tenderly — at the taxpayers’ breast. When he gets up in the morning, the taxpayer buys his bacon and eggs and the hot water in his shower. When he goes to bed at night, the taxpayer pays for the pillow upon which Walker doth rest his weary head. In between, the taxpayer provides the chair which cradles his entitled posterior.

Now he’s asking  the taxpayer to move him into the big house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for four (or better yet, eight) years and pay him, per Wikipedia, “a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.”

After that he expects the taxpayer to provide him with, per the Former Presidents Act, a $200k+ annual pension, $20,000 per year for his spouse (if she relinquishes any political positions she holds), money for the “transition” from life as president to that of mere mortal, nearly $100k per year for personal staff, lifetime Secret Service protection, and exclusive use of a “presidential townhouse” when visiting Washington, DC.

OK, I say uncle: Scott Walker is indeed the world’s living authority on “government dependence.” Whether or not he makes the best poster boy for a platform of ending such dependence is another question entirely. I’m going to go out on a limb here and answer “probably not.”

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.





Note to Candidates: Count Contributions Carefully

Great presidential puzzle
Great presidential puzzle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The fallout continues from last week’s massacre at an historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. In an online manifesto of sorts, accused killer Dylann Roof credits an organization called the Council of Conservative Citizens with inspiring his racist agenda.

Now, it turns out, at least three Republican presidential candidates (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum) and one likely candidate (Scott Walker) have received campaign or PAC contributions from CCC’s president, Earl Holt III. All four are returning the contributions or donating similar sums to charities.

But there’s more to this story. Writing in the Washington Post, Will Greenberg and Tom Hamburger report that “[t]here is no evidence that the campaigns, including those of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, were aware of the group’s background.”

That’s probably not true. If it IS true, it makes those candidates look, well, incompetent.

The Council of Conservative Citizens, which “oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind … and to force the integration of the races,” has been been scandalously associated with the Republican Party since at least as far back as the 1980s.

Numerous Republicans, including US Representative (and later, to the shame of the Libertarian Party, its presidential nominee) Bob Barr, US Senator Trent Lott, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee, then lieutenant governor of Arkansas, have addressed the group’s events and been called out for doing so.

In 1999, Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson asked Republican CCC members to disassociate themselves from the organization.

And in two presidential campaigns, Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul, was dogged by associations with CCC, including a scheduled (but either missed or “disappeared”) appearance on its “Political Cesspool” radio show and contributions from CCC activist Virginia Abernethy.

CCC is not a new problem for the GOP. It’s been a problem for nearly 30 years. Presidential campaign staffers have been down this rabbit hole in previous election cycles.  Anyone running a serious campaign for the GOP’s presidential nomination knows — or SHOULD know — that CCC-linked money comes with scandal attached to it.

No, I’m not accusing these four candidates of being racists. But in politics, it matters who you hang out with and whose checks you cash. In the information age, a computerized contributor blacklist (“return checks from X”) just isn’t that complicated to implement … and only returning the money after you get caught doesn’t cut the mustard.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.




No, “Right to Work” Isn’t Libertarian

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the ...
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act on July 5, 1935. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (right) looks on. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 9, governor (and likely presidential candidate) Scott Walker signed legislation making Wisconsin America’s 25th “right to work” state. Anti-union conservatives rejoiced. They were joined by some self-described libertarians.

But “right to work” isn’t libertarian. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of libertarian. It abridges freedom of association and right to contract for both unions and employers.

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (the “Wagner Act”) was the first major government intrusion into American labor relations. It provided for elections in which workers could choose unions to represent them and negotiate contracts with employers.

Because Wagner was crafted by employers and big union bosses, its provisions were designed to empower employers and big union bosses, not workers. Its “closed shop” and “one union per workplace” rules benefited the workplace-focused AFL and CIO unions (which later merged) at the expense of unions which aimed to organize by craft or industry (like IWW). Its “no wildcat strikes” and “no sympathy strikes or boycotts” rules benefited employers who knew they could pass on higher union labor costs to consumers and were willing to do so in exchange for predictable labor costs.

Wagner was bad enough. But then came “Taft-Hartley,” the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947. Taft-Hartley leaves the Wagner framework in place, but allows states to adopt “right to work” laws which forbid “closed shops” (even if unions and employers both want exclusivity), while simultaneously requiring employers and unions to treat non-union workers as if they are union workers.

Under “right to work,” an employer can’t require an employee to join a union as a condition of employment … but if the employer has a contract with a union, he has to give that non-union worker the same pay, benefits and disciplinary protections as the contract specifies for union members.

Under “right to work,” a union can’t collect dues from non-members in workplaces it represents … but it’s required to represent those non-members in contract negotiations, disciplinary proceedings, etc. exactly as if they were dues-paying members.

The Wagner Act restricts freedom in labor relations. That’s why libertarians want it repealed.

Taft-Hartley, aka “right to work,” restricts freedom in labor relations even more in a ham-handed attempt to bust organized labor. That’s why libertarians want it repealed as well.

If legislation was subject to truth in advertising laws, “right to work” would be labeled “right to freeload on employers and unions.”

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.