Monday, January 23, 2012

The Balanced Budget Lie

“Our balanced budget makes tough choices while providing a path to recovery and prosperity for our state and our people...Through honest budgeting, we are showing the way forward.”
Governor Scott Walker
June 26, 2011

"We balanced the budget without raising taxes..."
Senator Van Wanggaard
December 5, 2011

"We passed important reforms that allowed us to balance the state budget.."
State Representative Robin Vos
December 27, 2011

If you have the chance to engage one of the dwindling Walker supporters about why they like Scott Walker and if they opt to speak to you rather than threaten to kill you, follow you to your car, throw liquid on you or bloody your fingers trying to take your cell phone recording them act like animals...they will tell you the reason they support Scott Walker is because he "balanced the budget without raising taxes."

Why do they say that? Because Scott Walker and his henchmen keep saying it.

Over and over and over...they ALL say it. Wanggaard, Vos, Suder and idiot brothers Fitzgerald: WE BALANCED THE BUDGET WITHOUT RAISING TAXES.

Is it true? Of course it isn't. The Siren and many, many others have blown up the raising taxes lie - not that any Walker supporters believe it. They can't. They see their state on fire, the protests, the recalls - it must all be for something. If it turned out to be a lie, what do they have left?

What they have left is that Walker balanced the budget. He slayed a $3 billion deficit and he did it without accounting tricks.

It is perhaps the biggest lie of all.

This morning - finally - the Journal Sentinel began to wade into the balanced budget lie that bloggers (and even Politifact) have been talking about for months.

Scott Walker ran for Governor on a promise that he would balance Wisconsin's budget (which by the way is a state law - not a lofty goal) and he would do it without the accounting tricks used by Jim Doyle and Tommy Thompson in the past.

Candidate Walker vilified Jim Doyle in 2006 for a budget which hid a $2.1 deficit and in 2009 for a budget that got a healthy - but one time - bump from Federal Stimulus dollars. He said he would do it differently and apply generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). With a brown bag lunch in hand and a promise of honesty - Wisconsinites came out and voted for the guy.

As soon as economists got a good look at Walker's 2011 budget, they pointed out that Walker's budget used the exact same tricks - refinancing debt and raiding funds. But sadly, in disaster politics - a technique Madison legislators have perfected - so many extreme bills were forced through no one had a chance to really notice.

While health care, voting rights, public workers and progressive advocates were running around with their hair  on fire - in commentary after commentary and town hall after town hall, Wisconsin Republicans were calmly repeating the great lie over and over again to their supporters: WE BALANCED THE BUDGET WITHOUT RAISING TAXES.

They memorized it like the stations of the cross and repeated it without reservation...or research.

So a few weeks ago, a letter written by Administration Secretary, Mike Huebsch to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, surfaced and revealed in his own words that under GAAP guidelines, Wisconsin does indeed have budget deficit. An estimated $3 billion deficit.

Why did Huesch reveal such a damaging bit of information? Because Scott Walker wants to weasel out of complying with Obamacare and continue kicking poor people off of health care - 53,000 people.

The only states that can receive an exception from HHS are those that have a budget deficit and happy to take advantage of a loophole to fuck over more people in Wisconsin, Huebsch confirmed what we have known all along: