Cutting the Great Outdoors of Wisconsin, Along With Everything Else!


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the massive cuts to education and programs for the poor by the new Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. In that article, I mentioned that Gov. Rauner seemed to be parroting the budget methods of Governor Brownback in Kansas and Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, both of whose state economies have been floundering under their respective austerity programs.

Well, it seems that in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has gone even farther in his attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class by proposing massive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, while attempting to wrest control of  various agencies from the public domain and capturing them in the Executive branch of government.

“The DNR is full of scientists who grew up hunting, fishing, boating, or otherwise recreating in Wisconsin and then found a way to turn this into a living. It just so happens that the work they do benefits those of us who love the state’s great outdoors. Perhaps some other lucky state will get the benefits of their knowledge? We can hope so. We won’t know for some time what these cuts mean to the small businesses that are kept alive by people being able to hunt, fish, or recreate in the areas where projects took place. Estimates put the direct cuts to DNR positions at 66. Their knowledge and the research lost, however, are irreplaceable. ” Crooks and Liars

Gov. Walker is cutting 66 different positions and programs at the Wisconsin DNR in an attempt to balance his budgets without having to raise the taxes on the wealthy and on corporations that he cut when taking office.  You can find a partial listing of these program and position cuts here. While the cuts are devastating, Mr. Walker did not stop there.

” Of course, these cuts don’t even BEGIN to make up for the giant budget hole Walker’s dug for himself. And also of course, he wasn’t finished yet. The bigger prize was wresting control from the good people who, in a non-partisan manner, have tried to preserve the environment for future generations by stripping the citizen-governed Natural Resources Board of its authority. It’s now a powerless “advisory panel”, something Tommy Thompson tried to do but was stopped because back then the Republicans were not yet a wholly owned subsidiary of energy companies and other major donors. A few even seemed to understand that you couldn’t continue proud hunting, fishing and other outdoor hobbies without things to hunt or fish!” Crooks and Liars

Cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations and prevent the University of Wisconsin system from raising tuition to make up the shortfall from the cuts, all while increasing money to voucher and charter school programs.  I wonder who benefits the most from that plan?

If Walker’s economic vision had been successful in adding jobs and cutting deficits, his austerity program might be something worth crowing about.  However, his programs seem intent on cutting any and all programs he needs to, just to make sure he can keep cutting taxes on the wealthy and on corporations.

However, the result of the Walker “austerity for everyone else” program is Wisconsin is near the bottom in job creation.

If these austerity programs had an equal impact on all citizens, they might be more acceptable to the vast majority of citizens who are negatively impacted by them. Shouldn’t the wealthy and corporations be required to pay more when ordinary citizens pay with the loss of their jobs and loss of benefits due to the various cuts by Gov. Walker?  Wouldn’t that be equitable?

In light of how poorly Wisconsin’s economy has been doing under Gov. Walker, I can’t understand why our Governor here in Illinois, Bruce Rauner, would want to emulate those programs?

By the way, how is Wisconsin’s economy doing when compared to its neighbor, Minnesota?

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161 thoughts on “Cutting the Great Outdoors of Wisconsin, Along With Everything Else!”

  1. I have a degree from a Community College and I am a Classical Liberal so what does that make me since there are labels flying around the blog

  2. Most of the “liberal elitists” making this entirely predictable point have worthless degrees, if that, from community colleges. Incurious little minds incapable of imagining success without the “proper,” state-ratified, media-approved credentials. It’s just not a very elitist point to make but then we’re not really operating with a very elite “elite.”

  3. Frankly, the lack of a college diploma from an elitist university is going to be a net positive for many. That he dropped out to go to WORK and never had the opportunity or desire to return to the hallowed halls of liberal university institution will resonate. WORK being the operative word.

    Not everyone is fortunate enough to get a coddled education. Many of those out in the hinterlands and in Fly Over Country, have had to face the reality that you need to work to make a living. There is nothing shameful in that reality.

    I would rather have a politician who mucked out horse stables, laid bricks, clerked at a Sears and Roebuck than someone who stepped right from the cloistered halls of a university into a Rose Law firm type of environment. A man or woman who knows the value of WORK and has had to face the difficult choice of ….bread or gasoline at the end of the work week.

    Don’t think that hitting on Walker because he didn’t get a college diploma is a winning strategy. It will backfire on those who think that they are going to score points in this manner. It will really only anger and annoy those of us who are working and paying taxes. Elitism and snobbery are two very unattractive traits.

  4. Of course I mean write him off. Autocorrect is messed up. I wish there was a way to delete and/or edit a post after it was made. Sorry.

  5. What is elitist is that the fact that Walker didn’t finish college is the go-to talking point for attacking him. To the pointed headed liberal elitist that means he is not “smart” enough to be President. The right him off as a dunce. Just as they did with Reagan. The only difference is that Scott is not amiable.

    They will learn that as he adds to his throne of skulls.

  6. MikeA, Walker is only 34 credits short of a diploma @ Marquette. So he was “exposed” to a liberal arts education for 3 years. Your complaint seems much more boilerplate Dem, than your usually more individualistic thoughts.

  7. What’s “elitist” about the critique of Walker? This gives Walker’s pitiful critics far too much credit. They’ve bungled it every step of the way and are falling back on tired old Koch bros/American Legislative Exchange (oooh nooooo, not the American Legislative Exchange) retreads. And hysteria about “cutting the great outdoors of Wisconsin, AND EVERYTHING ELSE.” Run for your lives!!!!

  8. trooperyork:

    Like it or not (and I do not), the 2016 election will feature Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

  9. The thing that Walker does is win elections. The elitist condescension that will be displayed by his bitter opponents is a feature not a bug. The enmity of the main stream media is a given for any “real” Republican and not a Rhino who will be praised to the sky and then savaged in the general election as happened to McCain and Romney. So who is going to beat him for the nomination? Jeb Bush? Not in this lifetime.

    He will just be another skull to be tossed on to the pile.

  10. Nick:

    Your expectations are not, of course, my concern. However, I do not and have never equated a college degree with an individual’s level of intelligence. I admittedly have a traditionalist view of the idea of a liberal education. Its principal purpose is to expose a person to the world beyond the parochial. Harry Truman had been through two world wars, one of which he fought in, and the Great Depression, as well as many years of public service, before he became president. He was a voracious reader and his understanding of the world extended far beyond the confines of Missouri. Walker is basically a Wisconsin kid who became a county executive and then a governor. His recipe for Wisconsin comes from the ALEC cookbook as far as I can tell, and Wisconsin’s economic health has declined under his administration to date. I have to assume that anyone who’s elected as governor of a state is at least reasonably intelligent, but Walker strikes me as a person of narrow scope and narrow interests. The Joshua Inglett affair two years ago convinced me that he also has a petty and vindictive streak, and his recent comments on evolution and the President’s religious faith are simply inane. I do not believe that he can attract broad national support. Nor should he.

  11. This is either a really uninformed or purposely misleading post. A tiny bit of fact-checking turns out to be quite informative.

    1. If Walker started by sacking these 26 DNR employees, productivity wouldn’t take much of a hit.These guys don’t seem all that “outdoorsy” to me. At least I hope they’re staying inside.

    2. The cuts turn out to be cuts in the state’s contributions to private charitable organizations. Their “programs” aren’t being eliminated at all. It’s incumbent on anyone who claims these cuts are “devastating” to explain exactly why the current level of funding is the bare minimum necessary for these organizations, and why other funding sources can’t or won’t make up the difference. To cite one of the examples at the link, why is it the job of taxpayers to pay for ATV safety training? People who can afford to buy ATVs ought to be able to pay for their own kids’ safety training.

  12. Yeah, think of all the precious natural resources pissed away on those thousands of super clever “Walker is the same as Hitler” posters, to say nothing of the overtime for police and janitorial services. But woe betide us all, we’re “cutting the great outdoors of Wisconsin,” if Walker eliminates some redundancy in the “Spare the Air” program. Ehrmahgehrd. Please Jesus when will the oppression end?

    And BTW, this are the same guys who raided a small animal shelter and killed a baby deer in the process. The baby deer was named “Giggles.”
    What about Giggles, you supposedly hunting, fishing, boating, and recreating bureaucrats? Was it deer season? Was it baby deer season for a minute? Did you have a license to whack a deer? Was it fun to discharge your gun on the job? For once? Giggles sends his regards, bitches.

  13. Peter Jennings didn’t have a high school diploma and he was quite intelligent. Zuckerburg, Gates, and many very successful people have achieved their success managing huge corporations sans diploma. I expect better from you, Mike A.

  14. MikeA, I have said here many times, IMO, Harry Truman was the best president in my lifetime. I’m not a big fan of Walker but his not having a diploma has nothing to do w/ it. Your elitism is showing.

  15. AMartel, We went through a wasteful recall and insane demonstrations for a couple years in Wisconsin over “some bureaucrats losing” some benefits. Wisconsin needed some serious house cleaning.

  16. Sorry, dramatic chipmunk, but cutting surplus government is NOT “cutting the great outdoors of Wisconsin.”

  17. How many people actually work for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and what important functions do they serve? No, I don’t count raiding animal shelters and killing baby deer named “Giggles,” generating revenue and ill will, and otherwise bungling about as unwelcome liasons between the huddled masses and the natural world as “important functions.” What percentage of the DNR workforce is actually impacted and how does it affect programs? Otherwise, this is all just abstract and unsympathetic weeping over some bureaucrats losing their jobs.

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