Walker Says Wisconsin's Broke, But the Facts Say Otherwise

The Institute for One Wisconsin, a non-partisan organization, released a report (pdf) last week that says that "despite claims from Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin is not 'broke.'" Their research found that the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen in the past twenty years, and though the state is overall quite wealthy, the bulk of that wealth has shifted to the richest people of the state, while Wisconsin's tax structure "is built around the middle class."

How does this shift in wealth make the state look as though it was broke? One Wisconsin stated that "this discrepancy has led to tax revenues failing to keep pace with Wisconsin's GDP, an over tax-burdened middle class, and budget shortfalls, instead of surpluses." While tax cuts for the wealthiest of the country and state have been extended, the tax burden has now been handed over to the middle class of the state, creating a disparity in people's falling incomes and rising taxes in the middle class.

The Institute for One Wisconsin is the research arm of One Wisconsin Now, a statewide progressive advocacy organization. "It is common sense and fair that people benefiting the most within the economy should pay an amount in taxes proportional to that benefit and that clearly is not happening in Wisconsin," said Scot Ross, Institute for One Wisconsin's Executive Director. "Our research indicates Gov. Walker's agenda of tax breaks for big business and the wealthy, raising taxes on the poor, and slashing funding for our public schools and other life bloods of the middle class will likely not solve the problems of Wisconsin's overburdened middle class and exacerbate the gap between the wealthy and the middle class."

Click here (pdf) to read the full report.


I think that the conclusions in this report are ones that could most likely be extended to every state in the Union that is currently having "revenue issues". When the tax codes have been waited so far in favor of the wealthiest it leads to the underlying infrastructure of the society deteriorating, class discrepancies increasing at accelerating rates and a move to making what were rather broad-based democracies to become very strained oligarchies. And such a recipe is not an enviable one (look at places such as Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. where there is a great deal of wealth concentrated in a few hands and where the bulk of the people live from day-to-day and hand-to-mouth). I am hoping that the events in Wisconsin prove to be a watershed in the current history of the US ... which will perhaps make countries such as Australia think again about following the current US lead too closely.