Monday, July 22, 2024

The Clear Contrast Between Tim Michels and Tony Evers


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By Craig Anderson & Sulamita Barbiyeru

Wisconsin voters have a choice on November 8th to bring their state in fundamentally different directions with Tim Michels and Governor Tony Evers. Both candidates present different visions that will alter the course of the state for the next four years. Evers presents a faux-moderate image in his reelection campaign, contrasting with his stridently left-wing policies during his time in office. Michels offers a ‘Bob the Builder’ appeal that creates a spirit of optimism in Wisconsin’s economic, educational, and public safety future. That is why examining the failures of the Evers administration is not the end of hope for Wisconsin.

On COVID-19, Evers’ record does not match his reelection campaign’s messaging. The governor initially stated he would not lock down the state on March 20th, 2020. Regardless, he reversed course merely four days later when he declared the inaccurately-named “Safer at Home” order, which forcibly closed businessesincreased rates of depressionparticularly in youth, and shot up unemployment under threat of jail time. Though Evers scheduled the order to last for a month, he extended the painful shutdown another month. The Wisconsin legislature filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court against the unjust order on April 21st, 2020. Fortunately, three weeks later, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked the stay-home extension, “ruling that the administration overstepped its authority when it extended the mandate for another month without consulting legislators.”

In the 2022 gubernatorial campaign, Evers seeks to whitewash his record with promotional videos arguing he helped small businesses stay open and prevent layoffs. However, he shut them down to begin with. If Evers had his way, Wisconsin would have suffered under a lockdown even longer. Thanks to the Wisconsin legislature, citizens did not have to endure the indefinite ordeal of a bleak and closed society. Wisconsin’s high unemployment rate of 14.1% in April 2020 lies at the feet of Evers and his draconian COVID policies. Unemployment only dropped once the Court lifted the restrictions. Evers knows his orders were unpopular and wants to take credit for the recovery despite desiring to implement the opposite. As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Voters are unlikely to be fooled by this deception, as they know who locked them in their homes and took away their livelihoods.

Despite the rebuke of the Court on his other COVID mandates, Evers went on to unilaterally enact a mask order that went into effect on August 1st, 2020. Evers demands obedience and respect from institutions when they work in his favor but blasts them when they challenge his policies. Such bluster is typical of liberal politicians who incessantly rave about “our democracy,” by which they mean organizations and rulings that consolidate their rule, even when against popular opinion. Ironically, but not unexpectedly, the Evers campaign runs Google search ads on “defending Wisconsin democracy” despite enacting sweeping mask orders without the legislature’s consent.

On October 3rd, 2020, Evers went further by restricting the size of gatherings to “25% of the room or building’s capacity,” undermining the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of the right to assembly. After all, the Bill of Rights does not restrict the size of demonstrations. Additionally, limiting gatherings so tightly browbeats small businesses into submission, as many narrowly make it by, not to mention “65% [of new businesses] fail during [their] first ten years.” Naturally, restricting regular economic activity forebodes productivity and job losses. And, a moment of utter hypocrisy, while small businesses were already suffering low foot traffic, exceptions for gatherings of Black Lives Matter protests were allowed – almost encouraged. The economic devastation wrought by such orders does not feature in Evers’ campaign materials because the decrees have long been unpopular. Instead, the pain from these measures goes silent as Evers claims he saved jobs, despite kicking employers and employees alike when they were down.

Under the neoliberal mindset, the appearance of legitimacy outweighs lawful governance. If one order fails, the political class uses the same methodology for a similar issue, as shown by the initial COVID order’s replacement by the mask mandate. Where the left consolidates control, checks and balances go ignored. Though contradictory, both Evers’ messaging on “democracy” and COVID mandates are popular with the Democrat voter base. The establishment’s strongest backers promulgate this thinking with their willingness to run roughshod over the rule of law to get their way. Even when not publicly admitted, their fervent backing of such COVID orders exemplifies their disdain for the rule of law for standing athwart their agenda.

As a distraction from harmful COVID policies, Evers hopes to mobilize a cadre of affluent liberals by using abortion as a wedge issue. The governor castigates Michels’ pro-life commitments as “radical,” but in reality, Evers is the candidate with extreme positions on abortion. After all, Evers states on his website he “will continue to take any action necessary to protect access to reproductive services, including abortion” (emphasis highlighted). Evers is even endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, which supports abortion in the 3rd-trimester of pregnancy through the “Women’s Health Protection Act.”  This is after the twenty-two-week age of viability for the unborn. Evers is out of touch with most Americans, as 71% agree abortion should be illegal in the third trimester. As a result, Evers’ campaign spends ad dollars on pointing the finger at Michels because even a hint of examination of the former’s record shows his position is more extreme than the average voter. Since abortion is a motivating issue for Democrats, the ad campaigns almost certainly aim to boost left-wing turnout.

While Evers misleadingly claims to support lower taxes, his 2021-2023 budget proposal would have raised the tax burden by $1.6 billion on Wisconsinites through “capping the … Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit.” With the Midwest increasingly facing a hollowed-out manufacturing sector due to adversaries like China and US politicians who enable them, restricting a tool like this is shortsighted. Wisconsin House Speaker Robin Vos notes this credit is “an effective tool in attracting and retaining businesses in [the] state.” Instead, Evers tricks voters by insisting he supports low taxes in his advertisements. Having already proposed a tax hike, cutting one rate to increase another is not the work of a true believer in limited taxation or increasing opportunities for the middle class.

On the other hand, a Tim Michels victory would lead Wisconsin out of the devastation caused by Evers’ policies. As the owner of Wisconsin’s largest construction company, Michels understands how to foster a positive economic environment where the economy can flourish. Michels is the businessman, veteran, and outsider Wisconsin has been waiting for. He is not a politician and is action-oriented. He grew the Michels Corporation from a few hundred employees to more than 8,000 employees. Earlier this year, Michels made the largest donation ever to MCW to fund research for life-saving treatment after it saved his daughter from a rare brain cancer. Rest assured, Michels is not running his campaign from his basement; he is boots on the ground and has got to go to work.

He will cut “corporate and individual income taxes to attract and retain more talent in Wisconsin.” In fact, most recently, Michels has called for supporting a 5% flat income tax. The effort will also enable businesses to invest more of their earnings in their workers, production, and services as less money is yanked out of their wallets by the state. Wisconsin has a $4.3 billion surplus. It is clear that we are taxed way too much. There is no reason that, as taxpayers, that money should not return to us. While Evers is bound to keep the surplus money, Michels plans to return it to the people it belongs to. 

As an Army Ranger serving for 12 years, including as the commander of the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Michels is a born leader who will stand up against left-wing soft-on-crime policies. Ensuring public safety is an issue on the ballot this election, without it, we have no foundation for a civil society. Michels recognizes that fixing the broken public safety system goes hand in hand with economic prosperity. When business owners are forced to redirect financial resources to repairs and damages caused by lootings and burnings, owners struggle to develop their businesses. During the Kenosha civil unrest, Evers was quick to pull the social justice card, yet slow to send help costing $50 million in damages to the community. Throughout the riot, there was no leadership for local law enforcement to look up to. Law enforcement coincidently asked the Evers administration to refrain from further remarks regarding the protests because they were so out of touch with the reality of the situation. Wisconsin can rest easy knowing that no city will ever burn again when Michels is governor. 

Among the public safety initiatives, Michels has proposed, firing the current Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, is an action he will take on day one. Chisholm was the Milwaukee DA who released felon Darrell Brooks on $1,000 bail. Holding weak prosecutors and judges accountable is the tough-on-crime attitude of Michels that resonates with voters. It is a winning issue because these are terrifying daily issues Wisconsinites experience. He understands that soft-on-crime policies result in increased crime, violence, and homelessness across the country witnessed in liberal hubs such as Portland, OR.

 Furthermore, being the outside-the-box thinker he is, Michels would get tough on “defund the police” by imposing a 1.5x state aid penalty for communities pursuing those actions. Insofar as defund the police efforts persist, morale of law enforcement officers consequentially decline, and resignations and retirements increase. Now, more than ever, police departments across the country are struggling to recruit and retain officers. Soon enough, there will be no one to call when facing a life-threatening emergency. Endorsed by the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association, Michels has promised to always stand with law enforcement and first responders.

Solution-oriented, Michels proposes workforce and education reform that incentivizes students to pursue education, and invest in training for, high-demand fields such as healthcare, engineering, and technology. While Wisconsin faces an exodus of young adults attracted by low-tax states, Michels aims to attract students to remain in the state after graduation. Cutting taxes and building a robust technical college system is a win-win. This will help turn Wisconsin into a bright and competitive spot, all while reversing the negative trend of jobs flowing out of state and overseas. 

After the Biden administration announced its student loan forgiveness plan, the conversation of high costs coupled with low return on investment for higher education soared. Michels understands that everyone’s path to success in the workforce looks different. Not all families and aspiring students desire a four-year university experience, particularly when most colleges and universities have become liberal hubs for social justice indoctrination. Some prefer the technical college route to develop in the trades and crafts. That is why Michels promotes career technical education and expanding apprenticeships. Currently, the UW system refuses to accept dual credits in related coursework because of lost revenue. Michels is determined to change that.

Thus the choice remains yours, Wisconsinites! Driven by forward thinking and an adventurous spirit, it’s your opportunity to redirect the state’s course to a path worth exploring. Will we continue to stand by the sidelines while Evers issues unlawful orders and vetoes solutions to real-world problems? Or will we take a chance on an outsider, a veteran, and a builder? With the election just days away, contemplate the future you want to build before going to the ballot box on November 8th. It is time we buckle down, and get to work – all hands on deck Wisconsin!


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