The GOP Circus is coming to town

By Urban Media News

The circus is coming to Milwaukee this weekend. No, not the beloved Ringling Brothers circus, this time its the Republican state convention that will take over downtown Milwaukee for two days.

The clown car of Republican leaders ascending on the city includes “innercity” expert Rep. Paul Ryan, absentee Senator Ron Johnson, a band of delegates with aspirations of secession; and of course, jobs failure expert Governor Scott Walker.

It’s peculiar that the state GOP chose Milwaukee as the location to reaffirm their extreme ideology that has only done harm to the city and its residents.

Since taking power in 2010, Republicans have under-appreciated Milwaukee’s value to the rest of the state and ignored the very real issues communities in the area face. Violence, infrastructure problems, and even extreme poverty have been shrugged off by the Republican party in pursuit for an extreme and divisive agenda that favors those at the top and large special interests.

Milwaukee is the largest economic center in the state, and although state Republicans talk big on job creation the city continues to suffer economically.

Metro area unemployment is still over seven percent and the city itself has a rate that exceeds six percent.

Not to mention what the jobs crisis has done to communities of color. According to a 2012 UWM study, more than half of working age African-American males are unemployed – not for lack of effort, but because of the lack of quality family sustaining jobs.

The result has been abject poverty in the city, which is exemplified by more than 80% of children in Milwaukee Public Schools who qualify for free or reduced school lunch.

Republicans seem more concerned with using Milwaukee as a prop than helping solve the city’s problems.

In the last four years, they’ve attacked voting rights twice, stomped out any effort to raise wages for workers, and failed miserably at bringing good paying jobs to the area.

Even fiscal policy has ignored everyday, hardworking Milwaukeeans. Scott Walker’s top down, trickle down tax policy offers the majority of tax cuts to households making over $100,000 a year; meanwhile the median household income in the city is only $32,000 a year.

Walker’s mean-spirited politics know no bounds when it comes to Milwaukee.

In 2012, he used more than $25 million in settlement funds intended to assist homeowners affected by the foreclosure crisis to offset the $143 million budget deficit created by his Republican Party’s multi-billion dollar tax giveaway.

His raid of the settlement was a slap in the face to Milwaukee residence ravaged by the predatory and discriminatory lending practices of several banking institutions.

Instead of investing in workers and the city, state Republicans issued draconian cuts to education and worker training programs at the expense of workers and families.

The last four years have been rough for the city, but Scott Walker, the party’s standard bearer, has a poor history with the city of Milwaukee dating back to his time as Milwaukee County Executive.

Walker’s scandal plagued tenure as County Executive included gross mismanagement of the Milwaukee Health Complex, multiple attempts to privatize the County Zoo and sell Mitchell International Airport, transit system failure, and the loss of 30,000 jobs in 2009 alone.

Walker left Milwaukee in worse shape than he found it; his inattention to the needs of the city led to infrastructure problems that still persist today.

Walker and Republicans obviously only view Milwaukee as a political prop.

When juxtaposed with Mary Burke’s plan to invest in the city, and it’s workers, their lackluster efforts over the last few years do not even hold a candle to her serious efforts to turn the city back into an economic powerhouse.

Milwaukee deserves better than the political games that have been played over the last four years, and so does the rest of the state.