Burke bets on failure

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Just a few years ago, publicly funded interests in Wisconsin were fighting over the scraps that remained after eight years of Jim Doyle’s miserable, reckless financial management. Now, a governor and a gubernatorial hopeful are arguing over what to do with a $1 billion surplus.

Mary Burke’s position on the matter shows her hand, and it looks like she’s betting against the economy.

Ms. Burke’s taken the politically risky stand of opposing tax cuts, at least for the time being, in favor of saving the money and paying down debt.

With that in mind, imagine a scenario: the economy continues to truck along with modest growth. The state’s surplus comes in as projected, with maybe even a little extra driven by even mediocre economic growth.

That scenario would leave Ms. Burke paddling on sand. But she’s betting on scenario two:

The economy turns south, ironically in large measure because of President Obama’s policies on deficit spending, quantitative easing, and healthcare. Of course Wisconsin isn’t insulated, so our state’s tax collections dry up. A deficit emerges and explodes.

Ms. Burke looks like Nostradamus, and all of a sudden the master of fiscal management, Gov. Walker, ran us into a ditch with reckless spending and excessive tax cuts.

Mary Burke is betting on economic collapse, the ultimate irony and maybe part of the reason she gave Mr. Obama the cold shoulder during his recent visit.

All her chips are in. Only time will let us know if the bet pays off.

About the writer: Chris Rochester is editor in chief of Morning Martini. He’s a communication specialist with experience in the private sector and on various campaigns. He's the communications director for the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy. Commentary here is strictly his own.