“I will make it my personal mission to give you an F and get you expelled from the University of Wisconsin,” stated one of my professors as he outlined his policy on plagiarism and cheating. His rationale behind this logic is that in the real world, taking someone else’s ideas as your own would not be tolerated, and it can have much more severe consequences than just a failing grade. In the real world, consequences include locking one in jail and tossing away the key.
Take the smartphone industry for example. In 2012, Apple decided to sue Samsung for patent infringement. After two years of fighting in the courts, Apple won the case, and as a result Samsung had to pay Apple $929 million to make up for their cheating. All of this goes to show that cheating is not worth it, and that there are real consequences to stealing someone’s work whether it is patent infringement or plagiarizing.
Without a doubt, cheating can get you in a lot of trouble. It can get you kicked out of school or even get you in some serious legal bind. In the real world, all of us are held by these standards.
Despite this, some in politics seem to be immune to the consequences of cheating. The most recent example of this can be found in the upcoming governor’s race. To muster support in her corner, gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke recently released her “Invest for Success” jobs plan in which she promised new, unique solutions to Wisconsin’s economic woes. Despite her positive intentions, the jobs plan quickly turned on her when Andrew Kaczynski published a Buzzfeed article that outlined blatant plagiarism in Burke’s jobs plan. When looking at Mary Burke’s “Invest for Success” jobs plan, one can easily see that it copies word for word various jobs plans used in previous Democrat campaigns. Here is a portion of Burke’s jobs plan that Kaczynski pointed out seems to be plagiarized:
“And in the short-term, small-and medium-sized businesses have been hiring new employees at a faster rate than large companies since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009.”
Next, here is a section from a similar jobs plan that Kaczynski said that Burke’s plan was copied from. This text is from a jobs plan that was published in 2012 by John Gregg, a former Democratic candidate for governor in Indiana:
“At the same time, small-and medium-sized businesses have been hiring new employees at a faster rate than large companies since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009.”
Now, I am not a genius, but it is pretty obvious to me that Burke cheated while putting together her jobs plan.
So the question is: do we hold our politicians to the same standards that we hold our students? If we say that it is fine for Burke to get away with this cheating, it must be okay for me to cheat on my exams. It would be so much easier to get all of the answers from my friends than to actually put effort into my classes and get a good grade that way.
Burke’s response to this obvious plagiarism was to fire one of her campaign consultants, Eric Schnurer. Burke said she had nothing to do with the plagiarism, and that she did not even know that sections of her plan were copied. Despite this claim, Burke’s excuse is equally disturbing. If Burke cannot manage the people running her campaigns, how can she ever hope to manage an entire state government?
If Wisconsin chooses to hold their politicians to the same standards that they do with their students, they will re-elect Gov. Scott Walker. Not only has Walker not plagiarized his jobs plan, but he also has an incredible record as far as the economy is concerned. He created more than 100,000 jobs in Wisconsin, cut taxes, balanced the state budget and even managed to throw a tuition freeze into the mix.
Looking at the facts, the choice is obvious. You can choose someone who cheated and does not have many, if any, unique ideas for success, or you can vote for someone who has executed a unique and effective jobs plan. As for me, I will be voting for Walker.
Zachary Walters ([email protected]) is the communications director of the College Republicans.