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Election 2016: Scott Walker vs. "Government Dependence"

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From flickr.com/photos/47422005@N04/16580007021/: Scott Walker - Caricature
Scott Walker - Caricature
(image by DonkeyHotey)
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Announcing his presidential candidacy on July 13, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker touched on a familiar theme: "Helping adults who are able to work transition from government dependence to true independence," he said, "will help more people live [the American Dream]."

I call the theme "familiar" because Google returns more than 5,000 results on Walker's name and the phrase "government dependence." He seems to have focused on it for many years. And on a quick read of his biography, I doff my cap to his stature as world-class expert on the topic.

Apart from some part-time sales work in college and a short stint at the Red Cross, Scott Walker seems to have spent his entire adult life as a "government dependent."

He made his first run for political office in 1990 and was elected to Wisconsin's state legislature in 1993. From there, he moved on to become chief executive of Milwaukee County, and after that (on his second try) governor of the state.

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For 22 years, this political careerist has suckled continuously -- not to say tenderly -- at the taxpayers' breast. When he gets up in the morning, the taxpayer buys his bacon and eggs and the hot water in his shower. When he goes to bed at night, the taxpayer pays for the pillow upon which Walker doth rest his weary head. In between, the taxpayer provides the chair which cradles his entitled posterior.

Now he's asking the taxpayer to move him into the big house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for four (or better yet, eight) years and pay him, per Wikipedia, "a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment."

After that he expects the taxpayer to provide him with, per the Former Presidents Act, a $200k+ annual pension, $20,000 per year for his spouse (if she relinquishes any political positions she holds), money for the "transition" from life as president to that of mere mortal, nearly $100k per year for personal staff, lifetime Secret Service protection, and exclusive use of a "presidential townhouse" when visiting Washington, DC.

OK, I say uncle: Scott Walker is indeed the world's living authority on "government dependence." Whether or not he makes the best poster boy for a platform of ending such dependence is another question entirely. I'm going to go out on a limb here and answer "probably not."

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Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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