Is MJS Editorial Board in the Tank for Barrett?


In their Sunday edition, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board gave positive marks to Tom Barrett's 67 jobs plan proposal while taking "civil" aim at the plan proposed by Scott Walker. In addition to taking pot shots at Walker's aides, the editorial board started from the premise that tax cuts for the wealthy do not spur economic growth. They also presupposed that tax cuts are likely to blow up the state budget despite Walker's best efforts to cut government spending. <p>

Rabbit Trails

Barrett introduced a 67 page business proposal, most of which involved more spending (investments) and more government involvement (creation of councils and boards). Although Walker's business proposal was smaller, one of the bloggers on his campaign website increased the font to gigantic proportions to make it one page longer than Barrett's. The blogger wrote, "It's the best of both worlds: good, substantive ideas for people who are into that type of thing, but also lots and lots of pages!!!"

The idea was to poke fun at Barrett's campaign for making his business proposal so long. The only reason the editorial board mentioned the gimmick was to draw attention to what they called "Walker's lack of details". It was an unnecessary jab precisely because a concise business plan should not have to be the size of a book. If size were important, then Obamacare should have been a national healthcare wonder, but the majority of Americans still want the law repealed.

If aides were seriously that important, then perhaps was also relevant to mention that one of Barrett's aides was arrested for domestic violence trying to choke his girlfriend to death. But there is really no point since it has nothing to do with his jobs plan, right? Well, one wouldn't think so.

The Difference Between Theory and Practice

It's important to note that the editorial board, during the length of their piece, neglected to discuss Barrett's 6 year record of failed job creation. A recent census report showed that Milwaukee has the 4th worst poverty rate in the country. And it is likely that a 12% unemployment rate, which is far above the national average, played a role. We believe that it's both important and relevant to consider a city's unemployment and poverty rates when discussing a candidate's ability to create jobs. After all, what good is a detailed 67 page jobs plan when the candidate delivering it has poverty rates comparable to both Detroit and Cleveland?

A Matter of Ideology

Walker's plan did not appeal to the editorial board, we were told, because "tax breaks for the wealthy" are less likely to spur economic growth than tax breaks for the middle and lower classes. They stated that the middle and lower classes were more likely to spend their money than the wealthy.

And although we can understand their reasoning, it is overly-simplistic and factually incorrect. 75% of what we consider "wealthy" individuals are actually small businesses, since small businesses file their tax returns as individuals. Giving money back to small businesses that create jobs for the middle and lower classes is a wiser investment, but to be clear, Walker's tax cuts don't just apply to the wealthy. They, instead, are broad-spectrum tax cuts that aim to remove bumps on the economic road to recovery.

And while they applaud Barrett's 20% tax cut for construction projects in targeted areas, they ironically assume that diffuse tax cuts for businesses is to be feared. If lower taxes spur economic prosperity for some sectors of the economy, then wouldn't they spur growth for all sectors of the economy?


The editorial board was critical of Walker's proposal because they "feared" his tax cuts would "leave an even bigger hole" in the state budget. However, history has shown that in each instance where the capital gains tax was decreased, the government took in more revenue to fill budget holes. And in the 80s, when the capital gains tax was increased, government revenue actually went down.

The editorial board's critique revealed more about their ideology than it did about Walker's plan to create jobs. Based upon the paper's history endorsing liberal candidates, we believe their recent editorial is priming the pump for an expected endorsement of Tom Barrett. Only time will decide if we are right.

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