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Former City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Blog


Not Constructive Criticism

December 15, 2010 2:10 PM

Lots of people make a good living building things. Construction careers are about going from one project to another. Carpenters, brick-layers, plumbers, electricians, dry-wallers - all depend on a steady stream of work to support their families, put food on the table, send their kids to college. It's hard work, but it's also a good life filled with pride for a career of tangible accomplishments.

So, it was more than a little shocking to hear Governor-Elect Scott Walker shrug off the 5,000 or so family-supporting construction jobs that would have been created by the $810 million in federal support for high speed rail that he sent to other states last week. Turns out it wasn't those kinds of jobs Walker was talking about when he promised to create 250,000 jobs over four years.

Here's what he said in his own words.

"The jobs I want are jobs that are sustainable…I don't just want jobs that are created in the short-term based upon government subsidy. I want jobs that are long-term and sustainable."

To that answer, a reporter asked Walker, "People would counter that by saying that people need jobs now and these are 5,000 jobs now - how do you respond to that?"

"Those are jobs that would have come - and it wouldn't be as high as that - or jobs that in many cases wouldn't come for years. We want sustainable jobs. We're going to find alternative ways to create many more jobs than that," Walker said.

So, wait a minute. Walker said that he wanted the federal money switched to road-building. Wouldn't those have been exactly the kind of "unsustainable," "short-term" jobs created by a "government subsidy"? Why is all that ok when these workers are building roads but not okay when they're building rail?

In Dane County the unemployment rate for members of some trades is about one in four. Instead of giving them hope for a job next year, their new governor is giving them a pink slip for their entire way of life.




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