Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wisconsin's $2.2 Billion Deficit

State faces $2.2 billion deficit heading into 2015-17 budget cycle

So surprising this article surfaces just after the election. All we've heard over the past few months is how Wisconsin has been moving forward and Scott Walker had saved the Wisconsin economy.

Somehow, in the past few weeks, the media has discovered billions in deficits. How convenient for Scott Walker.

It was actually estimated at $1.8 billion back in September. Nary a peep was heard from the media (or the Democrats, for that matter) questioning Walker about this during the campaign.

Can anyone (other than the MacIver Institute or the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute) name something positive Scott Walker has done for Wisconsin during his time in office?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Most Dangerous Cities In America

9. Milwaukee, Wis.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,364
> Population: 600,805
> 2013 murders: 104 (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 29.0% (29th highest)
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 81.8% (tied-73rd lowest)
Violent crime in Milwaukee has been on the rise in recent years, with the number of reported incidents rising from 1,045 per 100,000 residents in 2010 to 1,364 per 100,000 residents in 2013. However, an increase in the number of reported crimes may not mean that Milwaukee has gotten more dangerous. A 2012 report by the Journal Sentinel, a local Wisconsin newspaper, found that police in Milwaukee had misreported thousands of crimes in prior years, which led to lower crime rates. Further, while Milwaukee reported a large number of violent crimes, its property crime rate was comparatively low, ranking just 83rd among cities with at least 100,000 residents.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

More Skills Gap Crap

The Milwaukee Business Journal entered the "skills gap" discussion with 5 things employers and job seekers need to do to bridge skills gap.

Why the media continues to push this manufactured drivel is beyond me. There is no skills gap.

The money-quote that captures the ridiculousness of this:
The reason companies are taking longer to hire is that they are getting more specific about the talent that they are looking for and a "great employee is game changing," and potential hires need to focus on "bringing greatness into the workplace," said Jamie Fall, vice president for workforce and talent sustainability for a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit called the HR Policy Foundation.
So, Milwaukee can't find welders (the oft repeated example) because not enough "game-changing" and "great" employees are out there? Whatever that ever means.

Sure, most employers want smart, responsible and talented employees. But the main reason they aren't filling these jobs is because of the pay. You can't employ a great, game-changing employee for a minimum wage.

All jobs require some on-the-job training. The idea that an employee walks into the door knowing everything is pure fantasy.

This isn't a worker or a training problem, it's a pay problem.


This anemic-pay epidemic also explains our current record-level income inequality. When people only have enough to get by, they don't consume enough to consistently grow the economy. Our media has been a compliant messenger in the skills gap mythology and, thus, enablers of increasing income inequality. 

The story goes: 
The Haves want nothing more than to employee the Have Nots. Its just the Have Nots aren't pulling their weight. They just can't quite get it done. 
Maybe if the public sector paid more for training, maybe if the public sector did more to educate potential workers, maybe if the public sector gave subsidies to private companies...
Got that? You're stupid and unskilled...and its the government's job to fix things, or at least shovel money at it.

All hail the free market!

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

From the Milwaukee Business Journal:

Another Walker term generates 'euphoric' response from business community (Nov 4)

Fewer Milwaukee-area employers believe economy will improve in next six months: Marquette-ISM Report (Oct 31)

How can both of these simultaneously be possible?

If employers don't see economic improvement on the horizon, why is the business community so "euphoric" over Scott Walker's reelection?

Another term of crony capitalism is on the way.

Americans Voters Defy Reason

Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections. 
Consider, right now in America, corporate profits are at record highs, the country's adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is below 6%, U.S. gross national product growth is the best of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. 
The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gasoline prices are falling, there's no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money. America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden. 
So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason. 
When you are done with Obama, could you send him our way? 
Richard Brunt
Victoria, British Columbia

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Journal Sentinel's Fake Reality

Leave it to the Journal Sentinel to add in their usual big bowl of wrong following Tuesday's election.

Since Walker and the Republicans were victorious, it's up to the Democrats to "reach out and find common ground."

Yes, because the Democrats have been so unwilling to cooperate up until now? This false equivalency bullshit is so tired.

The idea that Democrats haven't been trying, forever, to negotiate on policy with the Republicans is ridiculous.

The Journal rants:
Pouting and stomping their feet doesn't work and will only drive them farther from state voters. That's a lesson they should have learned during the Act 10 days of protest when state senators fled for Illinois to delay a vote on the measure that effectively killed public sector unions in Wisconsin. Fist-shaking and name-calling wasn't effective then and isn't going to be very effective in the months ahead.
Has the Journal been paying attention to Republican politics for the last 40 years? The Republicans have been the party of pouting, stomping their feet, fist-shaking and name-calling.

The Democrats' claims against the Republicans for fraud, lying, deception, favoritism, cronyism, etc. have all been true.

The Republicans have manufactured a false reality for their constituents and the media has been a willing accessory.

The Journal continues:
Walker won, and not just because he ran a better campaign than Burke. At least 52% of voters like the governor and like his message better than they liked Burke's. They like balanced budgets. They like a healthier economy. And they think Walker and his fellow Republicans can deliver on those issues better than the Democrats can.
A balanced budget? A healthier economy? Republicans deliver [on these issues] better than the Democrats?


These claims are all demonstrably false! How can the Journal write such easily disproven drivel?

The Journal then attempts more revisionism:
Some of Walker's opponents argue that he has demonized public sector employees and teachers. He did not, although some of his supporters have.
So, it wasn't Scott Walker claiming unions [not Wall Street] destroyed the economy and teachers [not CEOs] are overpaid?

They continue with a 'Democrats are meanies' meme, "Many of Walker's opponents have demonized the governor and his supporters, comparing him to past dictators, for example, or charging that he is a puppet of the evil Koch brothers and big mining companies."

I guess the Journal would just like to ignore the fact that both of these claims are true. It seems their form of journalism has a real problem with calling it like it is.

Until Republicans and the Journal Sentinel can come to grips with reality, it looks like we will be faced with a continual string of false equivalencies and manufactured narratives.

Best Chicken Wings In America

Points East Pub

Milwaukee, WI

Getting your wings at this Milwaukee joint takes time… mainly because each batch is prepped to order, and, instead of taking a dip in the fryer, they’re fired up on a grill. Luckily, the place is old-school gritty/charming enough that you won’t care. Order at the bar, snag a few beers, and kick back in the cozy neighborhood joint. In 30 or so minutes, the cook himself will deliver some of the best wings in the Midwest, grill-charred and loaded with flavor thanks to a secret dry-rub that manages to penetrate every fiber of the meat. If the Packers are playing, your wait’s going to be considerably longer. Thank heavens for good company. And Leinenkugel. [source]

Democrats Punished Again (And Again) For Republican Policies

Merely 7 years after the Republicans handed the country to Barack Obama with deficits percolating, housing collapsing, unemployment rising, scandals and fraud running rampant, and retirement accounts disappearing...they're back.

Tuesday's election was supposedly an indictment, a referendum, on the performance of Barack Obama (and, by proxy, Democrats, in general).

Voters decided - thanks to gerrymandering, voter suppression, and our embarrassing turnout (Wisconsin 57%?!) - that the party (Republicans) that has obstructed every piece of legislation Obama proposed, was responsible for the Great Recession and income inequality rivaling the Great Depression, and whose policies have blatantly favored the top 1% for the past half-century, these people should be guiding us again.

Democrats were given an economy that was tanking. We can thank the Republicans' deregulation and tax cuts for that. The Republicans then proceeded to refuse to negotiate, bargain or capitulate on any and all legislative proposals. They opposed every effort of the Democrats to keep us out of another Great Depression and to get the economy up and moving again.

Yet, despite the calamitous circumstances left in their collective lap, and no cooperation from Republicans, Democrats did pass infrastructure, health care and other important policies which steadily improved the economy.

Lets take a closer look at the Democrats' and Obama's "terrible" record.

For the first time since 2008, the unemployment rate is below 6%.

For the first time in 14 years, we have created over 200,000 job per month for nine months in a row.

Since 2009, the deficit has been reduced by two-thirds under Barack Obama.

Republicans give lip-service to restraining government spending. Barack Obama has the lowest annualized percent growth in federal spending since 1980, the lowest of all presidents during the period.

Stocks had plummeted and took many Americans' retirement accounts down, too. Obama's stock market gains rank among the best of any president.

Due to the Republicans lying about everything and the media's complacency in the face of such deception, the "blame the Democrats and Obama" construction was allowed to gather steam. Yet, nearly all of the Republicans' accusations and claims are false.

Barack Obama and the Democrats have been far from perfect. But further improvement would have been made by doing more of what they did do, not less. More infrastructure spending, universal health care, etc.

We already know what Republican policies do to an economy. Since the 1980s, we have seen the destructive results (again and again) from their policies.

Republicans (repeatedly) drive the American economy into the ditch. And, time after time, voters punish Democrats for not getting the car out of the ditch quickly enough (even in the face of Republican obstructionism). Wake up, people! This needs to stop!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mapping The New Deal

The Living New Deal Project at UC Berkeley has released an awesome interactive map showing every New Deal project in the country. Since the New Deal spanned from Alaska to Puerto Rico and Panama, you need a very wide view to take it all in:

Today, with interest rates at record lows and no inflation in sight, you might think the government would be undertaking a comparable surge of investment projects. Instead, after a brief-but-significant boost in 2010 associated with the federal stimulus bill, government investment has been falling:

Weekend Reading

As Divider-In-Chief, Gov. Scott Walker Is A Roaring Success
Everything You Think You Know About The News Is Probably Wrong
Around the world, people have a pretty good sense of the life expectancy of their country’s inhabitants. 
When it comes to most other social statistics, they have no idea. 
That’s the conclusion to be drawn from a study of public perception in 14 countries by Ipsos MORI, a UK-based market research firm. Ipsos polled over 11,000 residents in total about a range of social factors—from immigration to teen pregnancy to religious demographics. Here is the overall “Index of Ignorance,” from least to most informed: 
1. Italy
2. US
3. South Korea
4. Poland
5. Hungary
6. France
7. Canada
8. Belgium
9. Australia
10. Great Britain
11. Spain
12. Japan
13. Germany
14. Sweden
Southwest Airlines Transforms Air Service In Milwaukee

The Blame The Teachers Game: Has Any One Heard Of The South
Tax Foundation Ranks Wisconsin's Tax Climate 43rd In U.S.

Increase Wisconsin's Minimum Wage
Is The Affordable Care Act Working?
State Moving Forward On Hill Farms Land Sale, Redevelopment
Hill Farms Redevelopment Called Potential 'Backroom Deal'
The 10 Most Expensive State Programs
Car Dealers Are Awful. It's Time To Kill The Dumb Law That Keep Them In Business
7 Mental Biases That Could Impact How You Invest
Are 401(K) Plans Setting Up Millennials For Pain?
Economists Say We Should Tax The Rich At 90 Percent
10 Facts You May Not Know About The Federal Budget

All The Wealth The Middle Class Accumulated After 1940 Is Gone

Exploding Wealth Inequality In United States
Obama Is A Republican

Monday, October 27, 2014

Walker & Republicans, Stop Lying! A $1.8 Billion Deficit Isn't Budget-Saving!

Another conservative hack was given space in the Journal-Sentinel to espouse more complete right-wing fabrications. David Fladeboe, of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans For Prosperity, referred to Scott Walker's Act 10 as "budget-saving."

A $1.8 billion deficit, for those of us familiar with arithmetic, would not be considered budget-saving.

Fladeboe blathers on, "In no universe real or otherwise were powerful labor bosses and their unions ever going to make meaningful concessions that benefited hard-working teachers and public safety workers, let alone Wisconsin taxpayers."

I don't remember the Republicans calling teachers "hard-working" during the past two election cycles. "Overpaid," I believe, was their favorite adjective for teachers back then. And, public safety workers were exempted from Act 10 -- meaning -- they can still bargain for higher wages.

Fladeboe obviously has no idea what he is talking about. He's simply repeating the misguided Republican talking-point about thuggish and greedy unions, completely unaware of the fact that, over the past decade, union members have paid more for health care and pensions, gone without raises, and taken furlough days. Again, for those of us familiar with arithmetic, these would be considered "meaningful concessions."

And the idea that public sector workers are to blame for budget deficits turns reality on its head. It was all those deregulated, tax-avoiders connected to Wall Street (whom the Republicans adore and subsidize) that drove our economy into the ditch.

[I haven't seen the counter-point to these blatant right-wing falsities in the Journal. Timeliness is of the essence in these matters. Especially during election season.]

Here again we have the right-wing lying, attempting to rewrite history, and claiming their policies are working. The Democrats, the Unions, Liberals, etc. - everything is their fault. The Republicans promised jobs and budget surpluses. Neither of those promises has materialized, but they still keep on claiming and writing about how all their policies are working. And our media, for the most part, seems to be letting them get away with it. But that doesn't change the fact - the Republicans and their henchmen are lying to us.

For Further Reading:
Wisconsin's budget deficit was created by Scott Walker's irresponsible policies
Scott Walker's budget implodes. $1.8 BILLION in Wis deficits

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Special Alert: You're Not Saving Money At Walmart!

Walmart prices, overall, are no better than most other shopping options. Just as 'Dollar' Stores Aren't Actually The Cheapest Stores. It sounds good (hey, I'm going to save money) and we hear it so often, it's taken for granted. Though, most of the time, it is not true.

Undoubtedly some items may have better prices at Walmart, but even though they left your pocket with a few more pennies when you left their store, Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance, so you're paying for Walmart even when you're not shopping at the store.

As Forbes reported:
“The study estimated the cost to Wisconsin’s taxpayers of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, which often force workers to rely on various public assistance programs,” reads the report, available in full here
“It found that a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.”
In a study by Jon Hotchkiss, he found, "On the grocery items I compared, Walmart was cheaper some of the time. However, they were more expensive other times. Moreover, several times when they were cheaper, it was just by a penny or two."

Walmart is the worst grocer according to Consumer Reports.

Costco pay its workers much better and actually provides them with health insurance.

So Walmart's low-price mantra is more pomp than circumstance. They also cost communities money in the form of health care, food stamps and numerous other subsidies. And, if you must shop at a mega-mart, you'd be better off - for yourself and your community - to shop at Costco.

For Further Reading:
Wal-Mart Low Prices Myths

Scott Walker Made The WRONG Decision On Medicaid Expansion

Today, again, we have a great example of what's wrong with the Republicans, their distorted reality, and the mix of the two in prescribing ill-conceived and inequitable public policy.

Scott Walker made the right decision on Medicaid expansion, opines Brett Healy of the John MacIver Institute (a right-wing group of hacks similar to the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute).

As usual, Healy and his closed-minded ilk are all wrong.

The facts are in: states that went along with the Medicaid expansion have controlled costs better and insured more citizens. States that rejected Medicaid expansion have lost billions. Even the states that rejected Medicaid expansion have seen many of their constituents sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

As the Star Tribune reported:
The state's Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, covers about 782,000 people, most of them children. Costing state taxpayers about $4.6 billion, it is the second most-expensive item in the current two-year budget, accounting for 15 percent of total spending, behind only aid to schools. 
Walker took a unique approach to the Medicaid issue, breaking from other Republican governors in states like Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan, who accepted the Medicaid money. 
Walker lowered Medicaid eligibility from those earning 200 percent of poverty to just 100 percent. The federal money would have paid for coverage for those earning up to 138 percent of poverty. 
Instead, nearly 63,000 people lost Medicaid because he installed tighter income requirements — those earning less than $11,670 for an individual and $23,850 for a family of four qualified. If he had accepted the federal money, individuals earning up to $15,421 and families of four making up to $31,721 would have qualified.
By refusing Medicaid Expansion, the White House estimates 120,000 Wisconsinites will go without coverage.

The 20 states choosing not to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study.

After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion, and Virginia, which will lose $2.8 billion.
Wisconsin will lose $1.848 billion, according to the study.

The Census Bureau found, "New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that among the eleven major metropolitan areas with uninsured rates higher than the national average, seven of them are in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act."

"Harvard and CUNY researchers say death toll from 25-state ‘opt-out’ may be as high as 17,100 annually; hundreds of thousands more will be harmed by depression, untreated diabetes, and skipping mammograms and pap smears," said the Physicians for a National Health Program.

Bill Moyers informed, "The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute released a study showing that the 24 states that have refused to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act will miss out on $423 billion in federal health care dollars through 2022."

Here again, with regard to public policy, the Republicans are marching around the country misrepresenting reality and harming millions of Americans in the process. The same people they keep claiming their policies are helping. When will American voters learn - Republicans don't have your best interest at heart.

For Further Reading:
States forgo billions by opting out of Medicaid expansion
GOP States Give Up $423 Billion By Rejecting Medicaid Expansion
Rejection of Medicaid expansion costing Kansas, Missouri hospitals billionsStates Are Turning Down an Insane Amount of Free Money by Refusing to Expand MedicaidThe 23 States That Have Declined Medicaid Expansion Are Spending $152 Billion For Nothing

What Would Elections Be Like If Everyone Voted?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Best American Riverfront: Milwaukee

Vote for Best American Riverfront

The RiverWalk in Milwaukee extends along the Milwaukee River from Riverwest all the way to the lakefront. Part of the revitalization of downtown, the area is home to some of the city's best outdoor dining at the restaurants and breweries that line either side of the river. The RiverSculpture! outdoor art gallery along the RiverWalk features a collection of temporary and permanent installations from national, regional and local sculptors.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekend Reading

Paul Ryan Declares War Against Math
The Remarkable Impact Of The Deep Tunnel
Corporate Deadbeats: How Companies Get Rich Off Taxes
Return Of The Bums On Welfare
Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages, And Skill Mismatches: Evidence For The U.S.
Rep. Paul Ryan's Whopper About Competitive Districts
Why Public Investment Really Is A Free Lunch
Unlike Walmart, Costco Has No Plans To Cut Employee Health Benefits
The Koch Brothers' War On Transit
Wisconsin Supreme Court Vs John Doe

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Get Your Jobs Here!

'Hiring event' looks to fill 1,000 job openings at 75 companies.

Which would fill 1.4% of Walker's dubious claim of 70,000 job openings in Wisconsin.

Hopefully the participating companies are ready to pay a living-wage to attract workers to the open positions. 

Welding Job Fair Fails To Spark Interest 
There is such a skills mismatch. Some Wisconsin companies just can't find welders. MATC was nice enough to organize a job fair to facilitate those looking for work connecting with the companies that supposedly need them. Too bad the companies, crying about Wisconsin not having skilled workers to fill positions, also seem to not have the time to show up.
If companies are unwilling to pay an honest-day's-pay, they can't realistically expect someone to do an honest-day's-work.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fact-checking The First Debate

The Journal Sentinel summarized the first debate between Mary Burke and Scott Walker in, Mary Burke pounces on Scott Walker's comments on state's 'work problem'.

"We don't have a jobs problem in this state. We have a work problem," Walker said during a discussion about raising the minimum wage.

During an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker explained that he is seeking to boost workers in two areas. First, he pointed to employers who need trained workers for higher-skilled jobs like welding. 
"We have jobs, we don't just have enough people with the skill sets to fill those jobs," he said. 
Walker also said he wants to help others acquire the basic skills needed to hold down any job. Walker has proposed requiring drug tests for working-age recipients of public benefits.
This is yet another of the many Republican talking-points that continue to live on even though there isn't a shred of evidence supporting it. In writing about the job training myth, Marc Levine detailed, "As Gordon Lafer, one of the country's foremost researchers on job training, puts it: "Whatever the problem, it seems job training is the answer. The only trouble is, it doesn't work, and the government knows it. . . . Indeed, in studying more than 40 years of job training policy, I have not seen one program that, on average, enabled its participants to earn their way out of poverty."

As I previously wrote in Myth Busting: Job Training, "Most of the new jobs being created require an associate's degree or less. 85 percent of the population in the U.S. have at least a high school degree. Over 27 percent have a bachelor's. The percentage of high school and college graduates has increased since 2000. We have neither an unskilled nor an uneducated workforce. Education as a corrective to the employment problem seems minimally significant." The idea that there are not enough Wisconsin citizens with the needed-skills is ludicrous.

As Catherine Rampell, of The New York Times, reported, "What’s especially odd about these survey responses is that if employers are having trouble finding qualified workers, they should be bidding up wages to attract the few qualified workers who are out there. But that’s not what the data show."

There is no training or skills crisis. We have a class warfare and living-wage crisis.

The Journal falls down, again, and fails to correct these falsities. Instead of practicing journalism and helping the reader to see the truth between competing narratives, they just spread the taking-points for Republicans.

They then go on to insinuate that Mary Burke is a meanie, "For their part, Republicans noted after the debate that Burke appeared ungracious when the candidates were asked to name something that they admired in the other." [This "meanie" issue is actually about a quarter of the entire article.]

I don't admire anything about Scott Walker either. He's a self-absorbed, closed-minded, partisan, hack. No matter where he has gone, controversy and deficits have followed. Does this make me ungracious? Oh well. The simple fact that one is in a debate doesn't also mean that person has earned respect. And, in dissecting the career of Scott Walker, it is awfully difficult to find something to hang your hat on. In preparing for the debate, was Mary Burke supposed to focus on what would make Scott Walker look his best?

Hopefully Wisconsin can move toward a debate of ideas and facts rather than boogeymen and mythology.

For Further Reading:
The Skills Crisis & Job Training
Skills Shortage Sham
For Scott Walker, Jobs Service Is Not Job Number One
Melissa Harris-Perry Takes Scott Walker To Task For Dishonest Ad On Reproductive Rights

Whatever It Takes To Save American Lives, Except...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Corporate Profits and Taxes

The Lt. Governor Nobody Wanted

The Lt. Governor Nobody Wanted [excerpt]
When the results of the 2010 Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor came in, most GOP insiders were shocked at the results. Few expected Rebecca Kleefisch to win. The smart money was on Brett Davis, who was backed by much of the Republican establishment, including members of Scott Walker’s inner circle. But Kleefisch not only won, she crushed Davis, with 46 percent of the vote to his 26 percent; three other candidates split the rest of the vote. 
That left Walker with a problem he didn’t want. His top aide Keith Gilkes had declared that “we are not touching anything to do with Kleefisch,” calling her “radioactive,” in emails to then-Milwaukee County Executive Walker’s staff members (included in documents released from the John Doe investigation of Walker). Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch dismissed Kleefisch as “fluff” and after she skipped one political forum, wrote “I hope she keeps missing them. And topples over on her high heels.” Said another Walker staffer, “I cannot see how anyone can take this woman seriously.” 
One Republican who worked on the Kleefisch campaign described her as a very weak candidate who was “not very smart… she would try to memorize facts.” 
Yet this is the person just a heartbeat away from the governor. Walker, who wants to run for president, has refused to promise he’d finish a four-term for governor, should he win reelection, so it’s possible Kleefisch could one day be called on to succeed him.
For Further Reading:
Fisching For Answers
Give Reality Back To Taxpayers

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blasts From The (Deceptive) Past: Scott Walker Edition

Governor Scott Walker Caught In Political Plagiarism
So confusing was the dog and pony show Walker created to take credit for someone else’s work, the media actually found themselves confused. Was Walker announcing 125 jobs in addition to the 125 the media knew the Doyle Administration had already created?
Scott Walker, college drop-out or kicked-out?
I wish I could say definitely why he never graduated – it is a closely guarded secret. I believe the general line of thinking – that Scott Walker was caught cheating.
Scott Walker’s History Exposes a Dark, Illegal Past Behind The Choir Boy Face
Walker attended Marquette from 1986 to 1990, but never attained a degree. His sophomore year, Walker ran for president of the Associated Students of Marquette University (ASMU, the former title for Marquette Student Government). He was accused of violating campaign guidelines on multiple occasions. 
The Tribune reported then that he was found guilty of illegal campaigning two weeks before his candidacy became official. Later, a Walker campaign worker was seen placing brochures under doors at the YMCA. Door-to-door campaigning was strictly prohibited.

Walker initially denied this but later admitted to the violation, which resulted in lost campaign privileges at the YMCA.
Walker Campaign's “Wisconsin Comeback” plagiarizes Gov. Brownback's popular phony Kansas Comeback!!!
Scott Walker plagiarized Gov. Sam Brownback's Kansas Comeback campaign.
For Further Reading:
Mary Burke Plagiarism "Scandal" Is Total Bunk

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Most Segregated and Polarized Place in America

Milwaukee: The Most Segregated and Polarized Place in America
The most politically polarized place in the U.S. might not be in Washington, D.C., or the halls of Congress, but in Milwaukee. It’s already the most segregated city in the country in terms of race and poverty -- more than Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit or Los Angeles. Now, it’s become one of the most politically divided places as well.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Walker Getting Desperate

It's understandable why the Walker campaign is grasping at straws and manufacturing gotcha moments. But why is the media running with it? (As usual, Journal Sentinel, I'm looking at you.)

Of course I'm referring to the latest dust-up - Wisconsin Republicans complaining because Mary Burke's job growth plan is similar/identical to other Democrats' plans.

If we dig into the Scott Walker playbook we'll see that major parts of it were written by ALEC, the Koch brothers, the Heritage Foundations, etc. And, similar language and prescriptions were used by numerous Republicans in the State and around the country.

The fact that Mary Burke wants the same things as other Democrats ... what is so strange/nefarious about that? Best practices that grow jobs in one part of the State or the country usually will have the same results elsewhere.

The Walker campaign is obviously feeling the pressure from Mary Burke. Walker's desperation and lack of any positive accomplishments of his own are leading his campaign to invent scandals.

The only real scandals are the broken promises of Scott Walker and how truly horrible he has been for Wisconsin.

For Further Reading:
Wisconsin's private-sector job growth ranks 33rd in U.S., quarterly report shows

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wisconsin Voter Suppression

Walker says ID law won't disenfranchise voters
To vote under the law, people must show poll workers their driver's licenses, state ID cards, passports, limited types of student IDs, military IDs, naturalization certificates or IDs issued by a tribe based in Wisconsin.
There the Republicans go again ... solving problems that aren't there.

There is no voter identification/fraud issue in America. There has only been a handful of hucksters across the country who've perpetrated voting illegalities over the past decade. That's millions of votes with only a few bad apples. (And the majority of those bad apples were actually voting Republican.)

The demographics of the country are turning to the Democrats. The Republican "ideas" just aren't appealing to many voters. The only way the Republicans can win elections is through gerrymandering and voter suppression (one must have an ID, even if you've been voting at the same location for decades).

Even more curious, how many jobs does Scott Walker believe this policy will create? 

For a guy who isn't even going to create half of the jobs he promised, focusing on an issue that has nothing to do with job creation seems odd. 

But when your interest is not for the State or its citizens (or for democracy), when all the Republicans actually care about is winning elections and maintaining power, their policies are simply a means to an end for outcomes in their favor.

Hence, the Walker administration has loosened regulations on business, funneled public dollars to corporate buddies, weakened Labor, reduced education spending, increased regulations on the poor, and created obstructions for voters. Using public office to further personal political aspirations and to enrich dutiful donors. Crony capitalism at its finest. Great for Republican's moneyed-friends, but terrible for citizens.

With such low voter-turnout in so many of our elections (is this the miracle democracy we keep trying to spread across the globe?), we should be trying to encourage more participation, not less. 

Gov. Scott Walker Wants Drug Testing For Public Aid Recipients

Gov. Scott Walker wants drug testing for public aid recipients
Few details were included on the new proposals, but advocates for the needy said the drug testing proposal for jobless and food stamp benefits would violate federal law — a complication that killed a similar proposal promoted by Republican lawmakers in 2011. Walker himself acknowledged the potential for conflict but said the move was still right for the state.
Since Scott Walker wants all those receiving public aid to be drug tested, I assume we will be testing the Brewers, the Bucks, Harley Davidson, the developers whom have received public aid for their private construction projects, and the numerous other private entities awarded public aid?

Or (in typical Republican fashion) does this only apply to the poor?

Give Taxpayers Better Deal On Milwaukee Bucks Arena

Give taxpayers a better deal on Milwaukee Bucks arena
To break the logjam, here's a hybrid solution that does not require tax gimmicks or out-sized estimates of the public benefits of having a sports franchise: Let taxpayers be investors with a chance to gain, rather than be donors with a guaranteed financial loss. Offer them the opportunity to earn the same rate of return on their tax dollars as the private investors earn on their investment as the value of the franchise rises over time. Their share of the gains could easily be remitted back to the taxing authority and used for needed public purposes and/or tax cuts. 
The current NBA business model separates the franchise investment from the arena investment. The franchise is an appreciating asset, as demonstrated by the recent huge increases in franchise sale prices. In contrast, the arena is a depreciating fixed asset, as demonstrated by the claimed worthlessness of the BMO Harris Bradley Center after only 26 years. Under the taxpayer-as-investor proposal, the taxpayers would share in any future capital gains in proportion to their investment in the total value of the enterprise.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor's Fair Share

On Labor Day, What About Labor’s Fair Share?
  • According to the Economic Policy Institute, productivity went up about 25 percent from 2000 to 2012. How much did compensation increase? Only about 7 percent. 
  • From 1979 to 2010 the top 1 percent of households saw their after-tax income grow by about 202 percent.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Scott Walker Roundup

Scott Walker Does About-Face On Outsourcing As Campaign Issue
Scott Walker Aide Archer Lands New State Job With Big Raise
Companies That Outsourced Jobs Donated Primarily To Walker Campaign
WEDC Award Recipients Outsources Wisconsin Jobs To Foreign Countries
Scott Walker Received Money From Companies That Outsource Jobs
Is Walker Guilty - Or The Law Meaningless?
The Unelectable Whiteness Of Scott Walker
Lessons For Other States From Kansas' Massive Tax Cuts
The Failure Of State Economic Development Agencies
Wisconsin and Wyoming Tally Fiscal Cost of Rejecting Health Reform’s Medicaid Expansion

Holiday Reading

Truths & Myths About The Rise Of Part-Time Jobs
What Science Says About Marijuana
The Health Benefits Of Trees
Corporations Used To Pay Almost One-Third Of Federal Taxes. Now It's One-Tenth.

Charts To Email Your Right-Wing Brother In-Law

How Your City's Public Transit Stacks Up
State's Job Growth Defies Predictions After Tax Increases