Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Governor Scott Walker's convenient, selective blindness when it comes to unemployment

Gov. Walker's Convenient, Selective Blindness
"My top three priorities are jobs, jobs, and jobs."

I was struck by how much I heard about jobs and how little about the jobless in Scott Walker's inaugural address Monday. I thought I must have missed something -- after all, how can anyone take over as governor in the middle of a major recession and not talk about the people who lost their jobs? -- but Jessica Vanegeren at the Capital Times noticed the same thing.
... he made no mention of "unemployment" or the "unemployed." Walker did refer obliquely to citizens "who are hurting," but his rhetoric focused more directly on how state government can warm the state's purportedly chilly business climate.
So, yes, he did say that "our citizens are hurting." But the general tone of his speech seemed to suggest that they were hurting as much from the burden of excessive taxation and government regulation as anything.

What about being jobless or laid-off? I did a keyword search of the text of his speech. Here are the results:
Number of times jobs mentioned: 17
Number of times jobless mentioned: 0
Number of times joblessness mentioned: 0
Number of times unemployed mentioned: 0
Number of times unemployment mentioned: 0
Number of times layoffs mentioned: 0
Number of times laid-off mentioned: 0
It's almost as if Scott Walker can't see the unemployed. Which is not surprising on the part of someone who so casually threw away 4,000 good jobs when he turned down the federal high speed rail grant. Even assuming he actually believed his own political rhetoric about the train (which seems doubtful, because he once supported the concept), it was strange how little he agonized in public about those jobs he sent to other states. But it makes sense if he just can't see the anguish of families whose breadwinners are without work.

It's hard to feel someone's pain (or help them) if you can't even see their suffering or talk about it. How convenient

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