Wednesday, March 16, 2011

About That Rail Line

It was pretty disappointing, last December, to see Walker turn that rail funding down. The governor promised to save us money and create jobs, and had turned down money and killed jobs.

Well, now, it's obvious that he didn't save us a dime. From the Biztimes:

[Walker's] proposed 2011-2013 budget allocates $60 million for making the improvements to the train tracks that would have been paid for with the federal gift of $810 million for high-speed rail.

Put another way, if Mr. Walker had taken a different track, we could have had a regional rail connection that form the first link in connecting the Twin Cities to Madison to Milwaukee to Chicago and points east for about $600,000 a year. Instead, we are sent a bill by Mr. Walker for $60 million.

That $60 million could have paid for the operating costs of the system for the next 100 years.

Full link here.

Let this be a lesson to us: blind ideology is expensive. In this case, it's blind conservative ideology. When we elected Walker, in my heart of hearts, I had hoped that he'd be a pragmatic, down-to-earth conservative that watched our money carefully. I figured the left would have some disagreements with him over social issues. Maybe we'd get a conceal-and-carry law passed, and, like Minnesota, nothing would really change. Maybe the status quo on gay marriage would stick in place for another couple of years.

Instead, we get actions like this. I don't even know how to characterize it. I can't put a phrase to it, I can't make a metaphor that works. Our governor eliminated good jobs that were sure to be created, and cost us $60 million dollars we were sure to have. How do you wrap that up in a soundbyte?

Remember this: every day he spends in office carries the potential to cost our state more money. When you find articles like this, forward them to your friends who claim to be fiscal conservatives. This is the kind of thing that should bring us together in taking our state back. Fiscal conservatives, sadly, sat on the sidelines during the Bush years, and watched the deficit loom large over us. There was no criticizing of unfunded programs like Medicare Part D from the right. We all know that we need to watch our spending, and spend our tax dollars on things that help our state move forward.

Getting Scott Walker out of office is an important step in that piece. To his friends and family, he might seem like a nice guy. Unfortunately for the rest of us, his strict adherence to blind dogmatism leaves him ill-equipped to handle our state's budget. In the same way that we reject his fanaticism, we must renounce our own, and come together with basic solutions that help bring us all up together. When we stay humble and focused, we will carry the day.

I'm hoping that I can keep motivated. I'm pretty sure I'll keep getting upset by things like today's article, but I know that my friends, family, and the simplicity of everyday life will help to keep me grounded. I said this the other day: I get tired. I'm sure all of us do. But that's just what they are expecting will happen. We need to keep ourselves sharp, be acutely aware of the facts, and be ready to act when the time comes. Tell your friends who haven't gone yet: pledge to recall Scott Walker at Remind them to vote for Kloppenberg for WI Supreme Court on April 5th. We will take Wisconsin back if we simply continue to put one foot in front of the other, and march forward together. Our vigilance is key. Wisconsin will be ours.