The Journal Sentinel will co-host a primary debate on Friday for the Democrats vying to run in the recall against Gov. Scott Walker. Here are a few questions I would like to see asked at that debate.
All of you and many others have stated that collective bargaining is a fundamental right. If you believe that is true, why haven't the vast majority of working adults in the state ever had that "right"?
Follow-up: What do you believe is the source of fundamental rights?
Upon taking office, Walker faced a projected $3.2 billion budget deficit, and he fixed it without raising taxes and fees. He accomplished this largely by requiring most public employees to pay more toward their pension and health care and by allowing school districts to replace union-run employee health care plans with more cost-effective plans from outside bidders. If you had been governor, what would you have done to fix the $3.2 billion deficit? Be specific.
Follow-up: Repeat the question until the candidate answers it.
For Tom Barrett: You saved Milwaukee $25 million in health care costs by using Walker's reforms. If you hadn't used the reforms, how would you have balanced the city's budget?
For Kathleen Falk: You have claimed that as Dane County executive in 2009 and 2010, you negotiated with public-employee unions to save $10 million in salary and health care costs. Yet in exchange, employees were given 112 hours of paid personal leave, an increase of 50 hours to the amount they can bank for sick leave, three extra vacation days for senior employees and the removal of a cap on county pension contributions. Given that the cost of these givebacks appears to be not only very high but virtually impossible to calculate, can you call this a savings?
The following are some of the tactics employed against Walker over the past 18 months: lawmakers leaving the state to block a vote; teachers claiming to be sick and walking off the job to protest; demonstrators banging drums and chanting in the Capitol to disrupt normal business; Assembly members using a bullhorn on the chamber's floor to disrupt business; an impostor making a private phone call to Walker and broadcasting the ensuing conversation to the world; and demonstrators disrupting numerous Walker appearances including one at a Special Olympics event. Do you condemn any of these tactics? Which ones?
Follow-up: What would your reaction be if Republicans used some of these tactics to achieve their political ends?
All of you have stated that Walker has "destroyed" or "devastated" education in Wisconsin. How is education destroyed by requiring educators to more toward their pension and health care? How is education devastated by allowing school districts to shop around for more cost-effective health care plans?
Jack Bruss of Elm Grove is a retired chemical engineer who is married with three children. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Doe anyone really think that the Democratic candidates for Governor will be asked ANY of the questions put forth by Mr. Bruss?
No. All the good citizens of Wisconsin can expect out of this group will be the usual Walker-bashing. Not one of them will be able to offer ANY solutions or alternatives (other than taking us back to the days of tax-and-spend Diamond Jim Doyle - and running the state back into the ground fiscally) as to what they would do to help the state of Wisconsin continue on the road to prosperity that Walker has laid the groundwork for.
Thanks again, Mr. Bruss, for allowing me to share your column with my readers. The upcoming election in June would be a slam-dunk for Governor Walker if any of the Democratic candidates were asked these questions - because they have no answers.