Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Economic Development - Pacific Standard

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Economic Development

As Scott Walker eyes the White House, fiscal austerity gets its day in court.
Author:
Publish date:
Bascom Hall atop Bascom Hill at the heart of University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. (Photo: Public Domain)

Bascom Hall atop Bascom Hill at the heart of University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. (Photo: Public Domain)

The current governor of Wisconsin has presidential pedigree. I have no idea where Scott Walker stands on various foreign policy issues. However, I can evaluate his understanding of economic geography. Public higher education and state fiscal austerity:

Walker’s latest budget plan would cut state spending on the University of Wisconsin system by $300 million over two years and freeze tuition. In return, the system would gain at least partial independence from state laws and regulations.

Taking on the academy won't hurt Walker. It might endear him to swing voters. Reform the state university and rein in runaway tuition. Cut off the funding for radical professors studying nonsense.

On Scott Walker's side is the brain drain boondoggle. Taxpayers foot the bill for higher education only to see graduates leave for greener pastures (e.g. President Obama's Chicago). Wisconsin residents don't reap a return on their investment. Meanwhile, neighboring states boom on Wisconsin's dime and put the subsidized talent to work.

Steering the White House ship, Walker will find the friendly waters of starving scientific research and development. Who needs R&D given the congressional tax cuts? Unleashed, small businesses will innovate and create jobs. Got global warming? Scott Walker has a market solution.

In Walker World, higher education is cost without a benefit. Make learning cheaper. Deliver talent to industry as fast as possible. Workforce development is a drag.

Workforce development is economic development. Wisconsin grads with Minneapolis jobs are the better for it. Scott Walker would put a stop to that under the pretense of smaller government. He advocates that politicians should stand in the way of the free market of talent. He advocates against innovation.

Related