Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has announced that $25.6 million in federal aid from the national foreclosure settlement will not be going to any homeowners. Instead, Walker said he will be taking that money and using in Wisconsin's general fund to cover budget shortfalls.
"Wisconsin is set to receive $140 million, $31.6 million of which comes directly to the state government. And Walker is planning to use $25.6 million of that money to help balance his state's budget," according to Think Progess.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called the move a "bait-and-switch" scheme, similar to the one used by banks to push the sub-prime home loans that caused the housing bubble to burst.
The national foreclosure settlement is designed to provide payments of up to $2,000 to homeowners who were foreclosed on due to robo-signing, and other illegal practices by their lenders.
There is a discretionary portion of the $140 million settlement headed for Wisconsin that Walker believes should be taken by the state to cover a budget shortfall.
Some have argued that $2,000 would not make much of a difference to those who were the victims of improper foreclosures. However, foreclosure victims might disagree.
A $2,000 payment is enough to help with moving expenses, an apartment rental, or serve as just a little piece of restitution, for a personal tragedy that should never have been allowed to happen.
Walker's budget shortfalls came about after he implemented substantial tax cuts for the wealthy in Wisconsin. Now he wants to use federal money slated for foreclosure victims to pay for them?
It's no wonder Walker is the subject of a recall election.
Walker was caught misleading the public with his war on labor unions in Wisconsin. Last year, after months of protests and demonstrations at the State Capital, Walker publicly admitted that his union busting efforts were a ruse for his balanced budget bill.
"We need to make big, fundamental, permanent structural changes," Walker said recently at the Goldwater Institute. "It's why we did what we did in Wisconsin." He added, that his "compromising with unions was "bogus," according to Recall Scott Walker.
The Walker agenda has been focused on helping the few, instead of the many. And his main stream of attack has been that of a bully trying to squash the rights of those who he perceives as having a weaker voice than those who can donate millions to his past, present and future campaigns.
Crushing the voice of the poor and middle class has become the mantra of the conservative movement. However, if there is any fire left in the belly of democracy, the bullies may be the ones on the unemployment lines next November. The last time anyone looked, foreclosure victims in Wisconsin still had the right to vote.
Sources and more info:
Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Walker, Van Hollen: Chunk of mortgage settlement going to state budget
Daily Kos: Was it After Your Tax Cuts to the Rich