The big Wisconsin recall elections were held yesterday. Democrats needed to take 3 of the 6 Republican seats on the auction block to seize control of the state Senate, but they only got two.
Republican state senators Roberta Darling, Luther Olsen, Rob Cowles, and Sheila Harsdorf retained their seats, while Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper lost theirs.
This is an unmitigated disaster for union bosses, and it might get worst next week, when two of the fleebagger Democrats come up for recall elections. This election was supposed to be a massive repudiation of Governor Scott Walker and his labor reforms. If the Democrats had gotten their third seat, no matter how narrow the margin of victory, that’s all you’d be hearing this morning.
Instead, you have the hilarious spectacle of lefty blogs congratulating themselves for picking up two seats (a gain they may very well lose next week) and coming so very close to tipping the balance of power in the state Senate.
This effort cost both sides a total of $33 million dollars, a good $25 million of which came from outside the state. The Associated Press notes this sum is pretty close to the amount plowed into the 2010 governor’s race. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says only $19.3 million was spent on the full legislative election last year, which included 115 races. Union members should be delighted that their compulsory dues were funneled into such an expensive losing effort. In fact, the financial damage will get even worse if Democrats decide to flee the state again, because they’ll need to rent out two more Illinois hotel rooms.
What else could have been accomplished with $33 million, besides plowing it into a futile political contest prompted by cash-hungry union bosses, whose real beef with the Walker reforms is that it cuts into their cash flow from union dues? Never mind how many teachers could have been hired, or how much work could be done to improve schools. What good might individuals have done, both for themselves and for the economy, with that money by spending or investing it, instead of blowing it on a struggle to seize or retain political power?
The more powerful politicians become, along with groups like public unions that profit directly from political influence, the more money gets siphoned out of the free market. Why does anyone find it surprising this leads to economic decline?
Governor Walker reported on the success of his policies in a recent op-ed:
When we took office on Jan. 3, our state was facing a fiscal and economic crisis. Despite a billion-dollar tax increase the year before, we inherited a $3.6 billion deficit. Meanwhile, even with more than a billion dollars in federal stimulus, Wisconsin had lost more than 150,000 jobs. We had to take immediate action to get our state on track and people back to work.
We enacted pro-job reforms and are now beginning to see results. After two years of job loss, we’ve seen six consecutive months of growth. During 2011, more than 39,000 private-sector jobs have been created, and we already gained back more than 25% of what we lost over the past two years.
In June alone, Wisconsin added 9,500 net new jobs. In contrast, states such as Illinois saw a net job loss of 7,200. Still, we need to continue working on ways to add more jobs in Wisconsin.
One of the reasons we’ve been able to outpace the nation is because job creators now have confidence that we have made the tough decisions to balance our budget and promote growth. As a result, our state jumped 17 spots in a national survey of business-friendly states. Today, 88% of our state’s employers think Wisconsin is headed in the right direction (up from 10% last year).
That’s what the Left is spending a fortune trying to overturn and reverse. Fortunately for Wisconsin, their effort has been a big-bucks failure thus far. Combined with the failure to unseat Justice David Prosser, this is not a narrative about unions slowly regaining the power they used to bankrupt the state of Wisconsin. It’s the narrative of a purple state remaining purple. Purple turns out to be a very expensive color.