Recall ricochet accelerates conservative agenda

The reality of unintended consequences has kicked in hard during then pre-recall sessions in the polarized Wisconsin legislature.
Knowing there is a possibility that Gov. Scott Walker could lose a recall election in early 2012 or their one-vote margin in the state senate, Republican legislators are rushing through some of their favorite pieces of socially conservative policy. That agenda includes Voter ID, the “your house as your castle” doctrine and the legal concealed carry of guns.
The Republicans know full well that those issues are not the ones that got them elected. They won outright control of both houses of the legislature and the governorship on the promise to create 250,000 jobs over the next four years and the vow to balance the state budget without funny money.
They have accomplished the latter, but are struggling for answers on job creation. In their second special session on job creation, they can’t find a compromise on a venture capital bill.
Nearly every economist shares the view that young companies create most of the new jobs and add competitiveness and dynamism to the economy. Yet no bill has passed, even after Gov. Walker took the lead on one version of the bill.
The same can be said of health care reform at the state level for small business. High health costs are the biggest drag on hiring at small firms, and the GOP has barely touched the issue. They did make HSA contributions deductible to match federal tax policy, which helps a little.
The Democrats and unions mounting the recall campaigns are going to do what they think they have to do to reverse the union depleting bills passed under Walker. But they must wince some as they see the ricochet effect in the current legislature – bills passing that might have been deferred if the possibility of recall defeats weren’t foremost in GOP minds.

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