Set aside that Mary Burke is a phony partisan who bows at the altar of leftist politics and try to pretend that her platform is honest: It would be impossible to execute because, like all Democrat ideas, her platform wouldn’t work in the real world.
First, a primer on leftist ideas. They grow from partisan lawmakers trying to buy votes and are sold to voters as feel-good politics and nice-sounding platitudes. Sometimes Democrats invent arguments to suggest government planning and control impel economic growth. A prime example is the delusional assertion that an increased minimum wage will give more people more money to spend, and thus jumpstart the economic engine. (Read the dissection of that banality here.) Couched in terms such as “rich corporations” and paying a “fair” wage, the policy sounds nice, and the result is the aggressive Democrat machine ends up equating dissent with class warfare. Meanwhile, they’re really the ones pitting the poor against the rich.
Ms. Burke is a unique case study. Most of her jobs plan includes the same social-engineered, left wing tripe that’s been tried over and over since the Great October Socialist Revolution, including a distorted minimum wage, an equal pay law, and consolidating industries. Her approach to education is simply delusional. If there were a saving grace, it would be her desire to help entrepreneurs and embolden small business owners to expand their enterprises and thrive, but those initiatives are founded on the same leftist ideals that have crippled economies again and again.
Ultimately, it is Ms. Burke’s belief that if the government encourages businesses large and small often enough, the economy will be wildly successful. This freaks out the kookiest of Democrats who get heartburn at the mention of fiscal conservatism, who believe that a centrally planned and controlled economy is fair. It might play well with moderates who are sometimes paying attention. For everyone else who knows better, they know that Democrats and their policies are awful for business.
The language of the Burke Jobs Plan is intentionally benign in this regard, speaking of partnerships and incentives, because she believes that on their own businesses and their managers don’t know how to be successful. When the public sector beings noodling in the affairs of private enterprises, it opens the door to more planning, control, and regulations. It’s a central Democrat belief that government control is necessary for economic prosperity, that if enough variables are coerced and controlled, everyone benefits.
Trying to plan an economy is like trying to teach a monkey to drive a car. With enough bananas and voltage, you can probably teach the monkey to steer the car around orange cones in an empty parking lot, but you will never be able to teach him to drive in traffic. Just as the centrally-panned economy will never anticipate all the variables in a real world economy, the monkey — even full of planning bananas and stinging from control voltage — will crash once in traffic. He will never be able to cope with slower cars, faster cars, stoplights, flat tires, potholes, washed out roads, railroad crossings, wet pavement, or the uncountable things real world drivers face. He just doesn’t have the juice to do it. He never will.
The monkey/centrally planned economy will be overwhelmed by all the unforeseen things that happen in the real world and, at best, will wind up off the road in a ditch, and at worst get killed — or kill someone else. It’s the conservative view, broadly, that the marketplace has built into it methods of equalization, and the various degrees of government oversight create an inherent imbalance. It’s that view Ms. Burke will never take.
Even her desire to help grow small businesses comes from the Planet Yahoo School of Economics. From her jobs plan:
Establish a Small Business Capital Access Program to encourage banks and other lenders to lend more to new small businesses not covered by venture capital funding and angel tax credits. While small businesses are a key driver of new job creation, too many small and startup businesses cannot access the capital they need to expand in Wisconsin.
In the same vein, to encourage home ownership in Wisconsin, she might also consider incentive programs for banks to hand out mortgages to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. Call it Meddie Frac, or something.
An initiative like this one is fraught with peril. First, the heartless assertion: There’s probably a reason that the business owner can’t get access to capital, and it’s likely because the idea isn’t worth investing in. The hunt for investors or bank loans requires refined strategy and extensive analysis of the market. Even then, many new ideas are duds.
There was a glimmer of hope in her plan, where I thought, “I’m going to say I like at least one thing in her plan to make me sound like a moderate, even though it will probably tick off the billionaires who are paying me to write this.” She proposed expanding the Governor’s Business Plan Contest by doubling the prize money and creating new categories for women and minorities. “Ah,” said I, “What a lovely way to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit!” Then, as it happens with every Democrat idea, reality intervened to cripple the nice-sounding nonsense. Women and minorities are just as capable to compete with everyone else and Ms. Burke is bigoted for believing they need their own categories to succeed. This is a common liberal case of self-contradiction, but it allows them to feel really good about themselves.
The jobs plan reaches new heights of hilarity when she writes about making Wisconsin competitive in the global marketplace. In an omission equivalent to leaving Tom Hanks out of Cast Away, this section does not include the word union. In fact, “union” doesn’t appear anywhere in the document. Neither does “collective bargaining” or “workers rights” or any of the typical language to suggest, as Democrats always do, that a unionized labor force is essential to productivity in Wisconsin — as if Cast Away were about Wilson the Volleyball.
Democrats defend their support of unions as being good for the economy while protecting wages and improving productivity. Unions do none of these things. Democrats protect unions because unions deliver them votes. Ms. Burke does know better — she knows that they’re bad for business. Even her tepid support for them is phony.
This is quintessential liberalism. They propose policies that sound good and hopefully play well with the Democrat base and the moderates who are only half paying attention. Then the real world shows up and none of it works.
Despite the resume Ms. Burke and her campaign drag out to suggest she’ll bring a new and unique view as governor, it means nothing against the crippling reality that liberal ideas do not work in practice. She’s lying when she says she believes they do.
(Credit where credit is due; h/t to my dad for the car-driving monkey analogy).