The test-and-punish model marks a cultural shift away from the War on Poverty, and that should be a red flag for...
In his speech today to the state's biggest business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Governor Scott Walker got a big round of applause when he announced his plan to make 75,878 people go through mandatory job training in order to receive food stamps.
Another applause line: Walker's announcement that the state won't accept $65 million in federal dollars to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor.
During the speech to business lobbyists, the Governor's office tweeted out the Power Point detailing Walker's modest proposal: "From Dependence to Independence -- Entitlement Reform in WI. See the Power Point I presented today."
The power point presentation should have been called "How Food and Medical Care Make the Poor Lazy."
Walker's proposals are a particularly cruel joke given his abysmal job-creation record. Wisconsin ranks at the bottom of the region for job growth. And siphoning millions into job-training for nonexistent jobs won't make those numbers budge. Neither will turning away Federal funds to expand Medicaid. That measure, in addition to leaving poor people without health care, will cost the state jobs in the health care sector.
Hard to see how this is a winning proposal.
But the business lobbyists ate it up.
Melanie Conklin, a staffer for Democratic assembly leader Peter Barca, tweeted as Walker joked to the WMC crowd that repealing collective bargaining rights for public employees "caused a little ruckus a couple years ago, if I remember."
High on his victory in the recall election, and having redistricted the state legislature into Republican hands through gerrymandering, Walker is ready to roll forward with his "bold" rightwing ideology unimpeded by the consequences for Wisconsinites.
According to Conklin, Walker asked his audience: How many kids have dreamed they'd grow up to be dependent on government?
Well, Walker, for one.
The Wisconsin governor has drawn his salary and good, taxpayer-funded health insurance from the government throughout his entire adult life.
Given the results Wisconsinites have seen so far, we should cash out his benefits and make him work for food.
If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "Republican Jobs Nonsense".
Follow Ruth Conniff @rconniff on Twitter.