By Meghashyam Mali - 06/16/12 10:15 AM EDT
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hit President Obama on private sector growth, saying that the administration defined economic success by “how many people are dependent on government.”
Walker, fresh off his victory in Wisconsin’s contentious recall election, delivered the Republicans weekly address, touting his own economic policies as a recipe for the nation.
"That doesn't mean we want to throw folks off of unemployment, instead we want people no longer dependent on government, because they have a job,” he said.
The Obama administration has been forced to play defense on the economy this month after a sluggish May jobs report showed unemployment rising and after the president remarked that the private sector was doing “fine.” While the administration clarified his remarks, rival Mitt Romney’s campaign quickly jumped on them to paint the White House as out-of-touch.
“In Wisconsin, we faced one of the biggest budget deficits ever when I first took office last year,” said Walker in the GOP address. “During the three years prior to my tenure my state lost more than 100,000 jobs and the unemployment rate was above nine percent.
“Today, Wisconsin has a budget surplus. For the first time in our history, we're able to put money into our state's rainy day fund for two years in a row. Since taking office, Wisconsin has gained more than 41,000 private sector jobs and the unemployment rate is below 7 percent for the first time since 2008,” he added.
Walker’s reforms were not without controversy. He made a push to strip public workers unions of their collective bargaining rights a centerpiece of his agenda, which sparked mass protests and a recall election to oust him from office.
The recall effort failed however, a devastating setback to union groups and Democrats in the key swing state ahead of November’s vote.
Walker said in his address that "bold leadership" was needed “to get our fiscal house on track and to get our economy back in order.”
"More big government is not the answer as the president contends, instead we need to confront the powerful special interests in Washington and put the hard working taxpayers back in charge of our government,” he added. “We need to think more about the next generation than we do about the next election.”