Archive for June, 2012

The Courage of Scott Walker

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

In March of last year I authored the piece below discussing the Wisconsin recall and how important it was. It is just as applicable today as it was then, and I am pleased that the voters of Wisconsin recognize the importance of Scott Walkers reforms and rewarded his political courage.

This was not just a minor win, but instead a major victory in what is frequently considered a blue state. ‪This is an unmistakable signal sent by the people of Wisconsin that the Obama administration’s agenda has failed, and bold, conservative reformers like Scott Walker are what this country needs.

Please read the piece below on the courage of Governor Scott Walker that was originally published on March 7, 2011 in The Daily Caller.

Courage: The Scott Walker story

By Fred V. Malek

On October 28th, just days before the November general elections I wrote about four gubernatorial candidates to watch as unconventional politicians. Those included New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, Oregon’s Chris Dudley and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.  Dudley, a terrific man lost but hopefully will be back to fight again.  The other three won and are already showing results.  I wrote how Scott Walker “demonstrated how to balance a budget consistently without raising taxes.” And he is showing that right now as Governor of Wisconsin.

This nation is faced with frightening deficits and unfunded liabilities.  Federal spending is double what it was ten years ago, and this year’s deficit is projected at $1.6 trillion.  States add another $130 billion of shortfalls this year, and almost all states have large unfunded pension and health care liabilities.

I for one am thankful that governors like Scott Walker are showing how to deal with this looming crisis.

Wisconsin itself is facing a $3.6 billion budget shortfall over the next two years and Governor Walker has proposed real solutions that would decrease the state’s structural deficit by 90 percent. As part of Walker’s plan to tackle Wisconsin’s looming budget crisis, he has made the courageous and crucial decision – like Chris Christie in New Jersey – to bring public employees’ benefit packages down to a more comparable level with those in the private sector.

Robert Costrell writes in the Wall Street Journal that Milwaukee teachers receive 74.2 cents on the dollar in health and retirement benefits. An employee in the private sector receives just 24.3 cents on the dollar. In some cases, the benefits package is equal to half of the total employment package. Costrell found that “the average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools.”

The reason for these nice gold-plated benefits packages are that in the past politicians never had the courage to stand up to unions and insist that benefits be tied to market realities.  Quite simply it was too easy to kick that political can down the road and let the next Governor or the next generation of taxpayers deal with the mess.  That is not only radically irresponsible; it is a recipe for our country’s ruin.

Charles Krauthammer writes in the Washington Post that “in the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It’s the perfect cozy setup.”

In light of this, Scott Walker has decided to tackle his state’s budget deficit not by raising taxes on hard working Wisconsonites in the midst of an economic downturn but by making desperately needed changes to the state’s benefit and entitlement system. The rising cost of retirement packages and insurance has been identified as a threat to not only states like Wisconsin, but also the United States as a whole.

The response to Scott Walker’s budget from Wisconsin Democrats has been to flee the state and shut down the Senate, halting all floor debate and discussion – one of the hallmarks of our American democracy. In another courageous step, I am pleased to say the The Republican Governor’s Association has wisely decided to support Scott.  For years, the RGA has been a hot bed of ideas and action for practical, conservative governance.  While it has showcased some of the great laboratories of our American democracy, its main function was to get Republican governors elected – and it’s done that quite well over the years.  In an unprecedented step, after seeing millions of union dollars and thousands of outsiders pour into Wisconsin to fight Governor Walker’s good governance, The Republican Governors Association decided that is was time to show the country and the union bosses that we have Scott Walker’s back by launching a an advertising campaign in support of his efforts on TV and online.  This is one of the most important fights of our time and it will impact the lives for generations of Wisconsinites and American to come.  Our leaders must show courage and conviction to take on the tough fights and make the right decisions – and when they do, we must show them our strong and unwavering support.

 

From The Sun Gazette: Governor, University Laud Maleks’ Philanthropic Efforts in Health-Care Arena

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2012 10:00 am

Gov. McDonnell was on hand May 29 as Marymount University celebrated the formal renaming of its School of Health Professions in honor of Fred and Marlene Malek.

“There’s going to be an explosion in the need for people trained in health professions – this school is going to do its part in graduating nurses and other people in the applied science who will go on to do great things,” the governor said at the ceremony.

McDonnell noted that both Virginia and the nation are facing a shortage of health-care professionals, and the gap between the need and the ability to meet it is expected to grow in the future.

The generosity of the Maleks, residents of McLean, is an example of their “giving generously back to bless countless generations of new young Americans who will walk through these halls and learn,” said the governor, who long has been a friend and political ally of the couple.

The Malek family has a lengthy association with Marymount – Marlene Malek is a 1979 graduate of its nursing school and a member of the university’s board of trustees – and the 600-student School of Health Professions was renamed “Malek School of Health Professions” to honor their financial support and ongoing commitment to the university.

“The Maleks have given us a name that represents commitment, compassion, leadership and integrity,” said Dr. Jason Craig, an associate professor of physical therapy at the university.

Marymount president Matthew Shank noted that the Malek School becomes the first of the university’s four schools to receive the name of a benefactor.

“Having a name creates an important distinction,” Shank said. “The recognition and respect engendered by the Malek name now belong, by association, to Marymount.”

Marlene Malek is well-known among health-care philanthropists. She is president of the nonprofit Friends of Cancer Research, served on the board of the Duke University Cancer Center and is a member of the Cancer Leadership Council at the Mayo Clinic.

Additionally, she is a trustee of the M.D. Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Houston, and is a member of C-Change, formerly known as the National Dialogue on Cancer.

The endowment created by the Maleks also funds an annual Malek Lecture on health, along with a professorship.

 

Gov. McDonnell, Marlene Malek, Fred Malek, Matthew Shank and Lynne Shank were among those on hand during ceremonies honoring the Maleks for their work in support of the university's health-care facilities and initiatives. (Marymount photo)