Mary Burke: I’m a “fiscal conservative”

According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Mary Burke called herself a “fiscal conservative” during a meeting on Tuesday with Milwaukee business leaders.

While I understand that calling herself a “fiscal conservative” will win her some votes among moderates and independents, it’s certainly not going to win her many fans among her base, and I’m disappointed that the candidate most likely to end up as the Democratic standard-bearer against Gov. Scott Walker is proud to call herself a “fiscal conservative,” because when I think of fiscal conservatives I don’t think of Democrats who’ll stand up for the middle class – I think of Democrats like Chris Abele, who’s proven he’s certainly no champion of the largely middle class public employees who work for Milwaukee County.

What’s more, when I think of “fiscal conservatives,” I think of Scott Walker and Glenn Grothmann, and if that’s the kind of company Mary Burke wants to be associated with as fellow fiscal conservatives, then I think I’ve officially entered the Twilight Zone.


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11 thoughts on “Mary Burke: I’m a “fiscal conservative”

  1. Did I not see and hear that Mary Burke is for increasing the minimum wage? Does any Scott Walker Wisconsin Republican take that stand?

    If there was a Republican “conservative” in the Wisconsin legislature, this state would not be at the bottom of the totem pole in economic opportunity, with the only job growth related to selling out decades of environmental, labor and public worker initiatives.

    A “fiscal conservative” doesn’t pull the economic rug out from under the middle class and professional entrepreneurs to cater to international corporations and out of state interests. Because you don’t have to be a Keynesian to know that has proven to be economic disaster. The only “fiscal conservatives” left in this state that I can see are Democrats.

  2. The fiscal conservative label once referred to anti-subsidy, balanced budgets, building up surpluses for downturns, careful analysis of the true costs of policy shifts, pro-maker and anti-rentier. There are barely any of those Republicans left standing and Walker is certainly not one of them. If Burke is all these things, then great. Progressives are the only proponents remaining of true fiscal conservatism anyway. But she’d better just state what she believes point by point instead of employing a label utterly corrupted by radicals, fundamentalists, and those bought and paid for by special interests.

    1. Fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility are not the same thing. Politically in the United States the words mean something very different. It means shifting the tax burden to the poor, it means privatization, it means lower investment in services in general while reducing the regulatory steps taken by the government to control financial activities. I applaud fiscal responsibility but I get very concerned about the use of political code words that speak to a Bill Clinton/Chris Abele style of politics.

    2. Good description. Most (D)s are actually quite fiscally conservative in that sense. At least by European standards. I consider myself a fiscal “Realist” in that government taxing/spending should not be a one-size-fits-all solution; certain times may require aggressive spending and lower taxes, while at others, we would benefit from a more trim government with the top end of the progressive tax structure tweeked further upwards. Or any permutation of the two.

  3. Being a fiscal conservative can also mean taxing in order to pay for what you want government to provide for. As opposed to being a Walker, borrowing billions, and kicking the can down the road.

    Russ Feingold was a Fiscal Conservative who demanded cuts to waste and the military, and not to borrow from the Social Security surplus. I’m nowhere near as concerned with this Burke statement as others in the past.

  4. Don’t worry sir there is no such thing as a democrat who is fiscally conservative they are all big government tax and spend liberals with no respect to the middle class who fund all f their entitlement projects.

  5. As a former cost and a tax accountant, a CFO, and a Credit Union President-Manager, I define myself as a lifelong “fiscal conservative.” But I am also a lifelong Democrat who has voted the straight Democratic ticket for sixty years except for one Republican candidate on one occasion many years ago. I consider myself as more of a progressive than a “blue dog.”

    I believe Republicans have given “fiscal conservative” a false definition and we Dems have fallen for it.
    The definition should encompass being fiscally prudent, but prioritizing spending based upon human needs above all other considerations. If that involves debt, so be it. It does not define a political party or person who is in debt as being a spendthrift or exclude being fiscally conservative.

    From what I know about Mary Burke, I believe she is indeed a fiscal conservative in a good sense, with human values, of what that term means.

    A Republican of today who calls himself or herself a “fiscal conservative” is more of a modern-day “Scrooge” with all that characterization implies for my definition.

    1. I agree with Duane. Anyone with a check book (in the black) is a fiscal conservative.

  6. I will only post the words of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio who also called himself a ‘fiscal conservative.’

    “There is no contradiction between good fiscal management and an activist government, a government that seeks to address inequality. The only way to achieve my progressive goals is by being fiscally responsible.”

  7. I appreciate the different perspectives shared here, and I suppose I shouldn’t have been so quick to associate the phrase “fiscal conservative” with Republicans like Scott Walker.

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