I was intrigued for several reasons by the recent comments from Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke. Most surprising was her courage in finally taking a stance on any topic related to Wisconsin politics. However, it was her comments about education, and her trust in mother government, that got my attention.
Burke, who doesn’t have children, insisted that the government has the responsibility to do things that are best not left up to parents or individuals. Unfortunately, she feels that education qualifies as one of those tasks. Yes, the entitled millionaire feels that public schools are far better suited for educating one's children versus heavy parental involvement.
This is an expanded liberal talking point that has been espoused for quite some time. You may remember back in April when Melissa Harris of MSNBC discussed the idea that it takes a community to raise a child. Together, the agenda is to stress that individuals are less qualified to decide the manner in which children are raised versus the government.
The concept of regionalism draws a perfect illustration of these ideas that expand beyond the topic of education. Regionalism is rooted in the principles of politics and money. In fact, liberal Milwaukee is a great place to examine these beliefs versus the surrounding conservative communities in southeastern Wisconsin. I do not support regionalism, and I’ll explain why when it comes to politics and money.
Much like every urban center in the United States, Milwaukee has done a ruthlessly efficient job of eliminating almost all conservative politicians from the democratic process. Without any voices of fiscal sanity, budget deficits have soared and the government has been able to spend like a high roller in Las Vegas. As cities continue to overspend, the seemingly limitless taxpayer is milked to non existence. Thus, middle class home owners flee to the suburbs. As a result, leaders like Tom Barrett try to find ways to persuade residents to view the five county region as one large geographic area, as opposed to two distinct cultural and political ideologies.
Conservatives in Milwaukee long ago decided to leave rather than deal with failing schools, soaring budget deficits, dwindling family values, high crime, few like-minded politicians and rapidly rising property taxes. As Detroit has already discovered, the end game of this exodus to the suburbs is not pleasant for those left behind. These political failures have led to a need for more revenue sources to fund bloated and inefficient government. What follows is the predictable agenda of a region versus a city.
I wonder how far a family has to move away from an urban center before they are allowed to no longer support a system of failure and self-defeatism based on liberal politics. How far away does a family have to move before their tax dollars help their current community and not enable their former one?
The need for cities to generate additional revenue leads to cries of racism and images of suffering children. I would remind Mayor Barrett that the parents of these children voted for exactly what they are now experiencing. When you systematically remove half of the political equation, you’re left with unchallenged motives that inevitably lead to corruption and inefficiency.
I would suggest to Mayor Barrett that if he wants to gain economic support from the suburbs, then he will need to yield some of the same political influence that he currently enjoys. He will need to embrace fiscal sanity, family values, diminished influence of entitlements and an overhaul of the education system.
Of course, we all know that isn’t going to happen. Instead, Mayor Barrett is coming to the suburbs under some skewed sense of regional obligation. Predictably, because he refuses to relinquish some of his heavy-fisted political power, he is getting rejected.
This idea bleeds over into the concept that government knows what’s best for you and your family. It takes a community to raise a child. By pushing these talking points, it expands the power of government beyond parental or city issues. It attempts to expand to a wide area requiring funding and support from everyone involved in a region.
This isn’t to imply that I believe the city has nothing to offer, quite the contrary. It has an economic base and a massive infrastructure that benefits all in a region. Revenue is collected all day, through sales taxes and the gas tax, to help fund these items that benefit all involved. Of the many issues that benefits all by working together, fresh water for landlocked counties is the probably the most important and most relevant.
I understand the importance fresh water will have on this regional conflict moving forward. This actually enhances my point. When it comes to accessing water from Lake Michigan, each side gives something, and each side receives something. In this case, Milwaukee would give water and receive badly needed revenue. Of course, Milwaukee will then in turn use that money to help offset past obligations with no recognition that they have serious spending problems. It’s a vicious cycle that liberal politicians neither have the stomach, nor the desire, to control.
Sadly, Milwaukee is loaded with residents that blame others for their own failures. Through government enablement, this system rewards people who make poor choices. Hence, these people look to government for solutions to their problems. In contrast, the suburbs have a system set up that rewards people for smart choices. One side is looking for the government to help, and the other is looking for the government to get out of the way. Predictably, when less government is involved in one’s life, freedom blossoms, and the quality of life improves.
No, a community isn’t needed to raise a child. Attentive parenting and a lack of government influence are the keys to raising responsible and successful children. Regionalism isn’t a solution to the plight of the inner city. All of the money in the world isn’t going to fix the moral bankruptcy, high crime, failing education and irresponsible spending. These improvements will come with the recognition that "Government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem."
Until Milwaukee finds a mirror and begins to assess blame, their efforts to get other communities in the region to pay for their failures will fall on deaf ears. Of course, an argument could be made that by doing this, government influence will be lessened and personal freedom will be gained. These two realizations are the enemy of liberal leaders bent on dependence and blame instead of independence and freedom.
John Mumper is married with two young daughters. He was born in Wisconsin and grew up on various types of farms throughout the state. John was educated at UW-Whitewater with degrees in Political Science and History and has traveled extensively throughout the world.
Today, he works closely with various types and sizes of manufacturers and building products suppliers as an outside salesman. In his spare time, he enjoys the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, politics and brewing his own powerful beers.