Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems

Over at Right Wisconsin, Collin Roth reports on Rep. Gwen Moore’s ardent defense of the Export-Import Bank, whose survival, she argues, is important to maintaining the Wisconsin economy through services rendered to billion dollar mega-corporations. Mr. Roth quickly connected Rep. Moore’s rich history of collecting fat checks from business titans, financing her practically inevitable re-election bids through investment and real estate bankers.

The most notable take away in this story, in light of yesterday’s excoriation of Mary Burke’s inherent liberal collectivist streak, is the reminder that Democrats thrive on big money from rich people while denouncing rich people who have big money because, they argue, it was earned on the backs of hard-working Americans who aren’t getting a fair shake.

Rep. Moore’s defense of the Ex-Im Bank (that’s what the cool kids call it) hinges on the assertion that it is a job generator, and must be saved to maintain jobs and keep the economy humming. Its mission (I think, and email me if I’m wrong) is to finance transactions with other countries when American companies are not or will not. The idea is that the domestic companies aren’t willing to accept the risk of a bad deal. But the market helps correct for bad ideas. When the government’s spending the money, there’s no concern for efficiency or strategic business thinking.

I’d like to know what Mary Burke thinks of the bank. As a state governor, her input is of little import pragmatically or politically, but it would help describe her vision of government’s role in business. Earlier I noted her preposterous jobs plan, which would dole out grants to people with business ideas who can’t get funding elsewhere. This kind of thinking drips of the leftist notion that progress is not possible without the intervention of government — and, like the Ex-Im Bank, precludes market forces from making important determinations of an enterprise’s viability.

We’ve known her perceived business experience is just a facade for a while now, but the hard numbers are creeping in. The Walker Campaign’s recent ad piles on Ms. Burke’s Commerce Department for a terrible $12.5 million land purchase processed through the Kenosha Area Business Alliance from a federal grant. In response, the Burke campaign launched a fundraising email blitz signed by Communications Director Joe Zepecki, which called the ad “another negative, misleading attack.” I certainly understand the political theater of partisan fundraising emails to win donations, but the response — and this email is all I can gather that the campaign has put forward to respond to the Walker Campaign’s accusation, other than Ms. Burke’s brief  and informal statement at a campaign stop on Tuesday — does nothing to address the land purchase.

Economic development corporations and business alliances play an important role for businesses of all sizes, funneling resources and connections to entrepreneurs, job-hunters, and existing organizations. They can be helpful in lobbying the state to direct financial resources into promising opportunities. In this case, it’s possible KABA biffed on the prospect and sold the state a false bill of goods. Either way, Ms. Burke is on the hook for it, and her decision here sullies the picture of tremendous business acumen that she, the Democrat Party of Wisconsin, and her campaign are portraying.

At a campaign stop in Mazomanie yesterday, the Fond du Lac Reporter reports, Ms. Burke defended the deal on the grounds that, “You don’t often get a chance for a Fortune 500 company to locate a corporate headquarters in Wisconsin.” But the company didn’t move to Wisconsin.

This happened, in part, because federal money was being used. When someone else’s cash is on the line, decisions about economic viability can be easily clouded. Perhaps if a state grant would have been leveraged to lure the business to Wisconsin, Ms. Burke would have taken more time to apply her vast and infallible knowledge of business to the deal.

The Burke Campaign’s most recent ad declares, “You deserve a governor who puts you first.” For hard-working Wisconsin families, this means rewarding rugged tenacity with opportunity and eliminating the barriers to prosperity. For Democrats like Mary Burke,  it means allocating resources to half-witted ideas, either out of ignorance or for political points.

The ad’s insinuation is that Governor Walker doesn’t have the best interest of working Wisconsin families in mind when he leads the charge on policy. That narrative came out when he started his reform agenda just days after his inauguration. But even after the doom and gloom shoveled by Democrats like Ed Schultz on the front steps of the Capitol in Madison, the governor’s reforms are working.

His agenda was never to pat downtrodden Wisconsinites on the head and whisper “there, there.” It is to empower the middle class and abolish government institutions that reject fiscal responsibility. He understand the government’s role, not as cultural Resident Advisor, but as the mechanism to make possible the avenues of prosperity where it wouldn’t otherwise exist, not to make that prosperity itself (to paraphrase William F. Buckley). Ms. Burke, on the other hand, is subject to enforcing the leftist and collectivist culture of meddling in everyone’s financial and emotional status.

Ms. Burke’s business-history veneer has always been thin. Now it’s cracking. Only if she is elected will the state see what’s behind it: a far-left agenda coordinated by the state Democrat party to undo the reforms Gov. Walker has brought to the table. That narrative doesn’t play well in electoral politics, so she relies on Bumper Sticker Platitudes like “putting YOU first” without getting into the details. Even her history at Trek has been questionable; flimsy when details do come to light.

She is just like every other Democrat and liberal and socialist progressive today. Having their beliefs and talking points squarely rejected by voters, they can’t run on what they believe, which is economic regression for the sake of social equality. So they picked Mary Burke, the nice-sounding-on-paper former executive of a Wisconsin company who could be told what to do by the people in power. The campaign’s narrative has been one of unity, of synthesizing the input of the best people to make the best decisions.

Sometimes good decisions are relative, as is the case with Rep. Moore’s placation of corporate interests by supporting the Export-Import Bank, but in her experience in government, Ms. Burke has no track record of making well-informed decisions. The yarn about “working for you” is a farce.

About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.