Love him or hate him, Gov. Scott Walker has captured America’s attention with his bold plan to rein in Wisconsin’s deficit by tackling public employee pensions. In an interview with the Heritage Foundation, Walker discusses the importance of his budget bill, its national implications and whether or not he is considering a run for president in 2012.
Walker shares his optimistic view of where the country is going, and where he thinks it needs to go. “I think the people who work in the private sector outside of government – they get it,” he says. “The people of this state, the people of this country, they get it. And they understand that their main sacrifice is in order to protect jobs and keep people working.”
When asked if he is surprised that some are calling for him to run for president next year, Walker says that his current job will be keeping him busy for the foreseeable future, but doesn’t rule out the possibility: “For me, I’ve got my hands full balancing this budget and keeping it balanced for the next four years. So I’m focused on getting Wisconsin working again, we’ve got a great start in the first six weeks, but my eyes not going to get off what I was elected to do and that’s getting Wisconsin working again.”
The governor is insistent that collective bargaining rights are a real barrier to balancing Wisconsin’s budget. The unions, according to Walker, will stop at nothing to prevent fiscal reforms that would allow local governments to save money – even if that means accepting layoffs. Walker argues that, since public employees are required to pay union dues, taxpayer money winds up funding union efforts to increase government spending. “It’s a vicious cycle,” he says.