Friday, February 26, 2016

From The Pinnacle To The Pit

For Further Reading:
Grammy Winning Band Ghost

Mitchell Park Domes

It's time to re-imagine the Mitchell Park Domes
If we can spend $250 million in public funds on a basketball arena whose owners will charge us dearly to enter, surely we can invest a much smaller amount in a green wonderland that’s truly public.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Republican Public Policy Does It Again (And It's Not Good)

Poverty across Wisconsin reaches highest level in 30 years

Just a short list of the many Scott Walker failures:
  • Slow job growth
  • Budget deficits alongside giveaways and tax breaks for cronies
  • Costing Wisconsin millions by refusing to expand health care under the Affordable Care Act; leading to less people having health care
  • Increasing poverty
Scott Walker burst onto the scene and into the governor's mansion primarily on his self-proclaimed know-how for creating 250,000 new jobs. Wisconsin ranks 38th in private-sector job growth in 2015. So, we'll check that off as a failure on job creation.

Budget deficits were estimated at $1.5 to $2.2 billion when Walker first entered the governor's office. (The $3.6 billion estimate was from the Walker camp.) Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis shows Wisconsin is back in the red for 2015-17, at $1.8 billion, which could grow to $2.2 billion. Wisconsin’s per-capita state debt has grown 2.9 percent during his tenure as governor, compared with a 0.34 percent decline nationwide over the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Looks like we're treading water here. But, Walker did come in claiming he was going to move hell and high water; I guess we'll have to check this off as a failure, too.

Walker's health care decision means that state taxpayers are paying more to cover fewer people in the BadgerCare Plus health plan. The decision to reject that federal money is estimated to have a net cost to the state of more than $100 million in the current two-year budget. The federal money would have allowed the state to cover an estimated 84,700 more people through BadgerCare. Failure ... check.

And now, due to the tax cuts and slow job growth, poverty is on the rise. Is that another failure? It sure is ... check.

Deregulation, tax cuts, supple-side economics, anti-unionism, anti-science, anti-environmentalism, privatized healthcare and underfunded education - the Republican policy playbook - are not the policy prescriptions for success. Republican legislation has proven this again and again.

For Further Reading:
Budget woes complicate Gov. Scott Walker's White House ambitions
Wisconsin Is About To Make It Easier For Debt Collectors To Go After Consumers
Scott Walker Approves Obscure Tax Break For Furniture Company, Quickly Collects Large Campaign Donation

Monday, February 15, 2016

Here's To The Debtors

Plan to use Milwaukee County debtors for arena subsidy back
"I think it's pretty sneaky," said Rep. Christine Sinicki, who supported the Bucks proposal last summer but is leaning toward opposing this latest bill. 
"They got the Bucks bill through by taking (the debt collection) out. Now suddenly they're bringing it back," she said.

The controversy over the debt plan has added overtones for the April election in which Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, a supporter of the proposal, faces state Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), an opponent.

Larson and other critics of the debt plan have said it amounts to funding an arena for the Bucks' billionaire owners in part by taking more money from people who often aren't able to pay their current debts. They're also worried about the effect it could have on county offices linked to these debts. Currently, most of this debt is the responsibility of County Treasurer David Cullen and Clerk of Courts John Barrett, who both oppose the legislation.
Abele has said that blocking the debt plan amounts to penalizing people who are paying their property taxes or court fines to help those who aren't. 
Under the bill, Abele could act without county board approval to pass most county debts over for collection to the state Department of Revenue, which has additional collections tools.
Abele is such a tool.

"Blocking the debt plan amounts to penalizing people who are paying their property taxes or court fines to help those who aren't."


What about all the taxpayers (the majority) that don't want their tax dollars going to billionaire, team owners?

Any politician that signs off on his constituents being on the hook for a new athletic arena is penalizing his constituents.

Debtors need to pay their bills. But if you're a billionaire, just find a compliant politician to push your costs off onto his/her constituents.

Scott Walker Is A Colossal Embarrassment

Gov. Scott Walker issues executive order to block power plan
In an executive order Monday, Governor Scott Walker prohibited state agencies, departments, boards, commissions, or any of their agents from developing or promoting the development of a state plan to comply with the 111(d) Rule until the expiration of the stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wouldn't it be terrible if Wisconsin, a state known for its beautiful environment, was at the forefront of the green economy and a leader regarding climate change?

Such action, being proactive about the environment, might actually reverse the abysmal effects Walker has had on Wisconsin's economy.

More jobs, a cleaner environment, who wants that? Not Scott Walker.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

11 Countries with Universal Healthcare and Free College

11 Countries with Universal Healthcare and Free College

Country, Population ("Best Countries" Ranking):

Sri Lanka - 20 million (41)
Brazil - 200 million (20)
Argentina - 41 million (40)
Luxembourg - 543,000 (14)
Spain - 46 million (16)
Germany - 80 million (1)
Greece - 11 million (26)
Finland - 5 million
Sweden - 9 million (5)
Denmark - 5 million (10)
Norway - 5 million

Total - 422,543,000

United States, 319 million (4)

There are those who comment that the United States can't afford free health care and education, it can't happen, and it's impossible.

They are wrong. 

Health care, education and infrastructure can take precedence over bombs, tax cuts and deregulation.

Deunionization In Wisconsin And Metro Milwaukee

Something tells me the decline in unionization has contributed to Wisconsin's terrible economic performance. I do know the accelerated decline in unionization and the terrible economy in Wisconsin are both the result of know-nothing Scott Walker.

For Further Reading:

7 States Doing Worse Than The Rest

For Further Reading:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Large Tax Cuts Haven't Spurred Job Growth

For Further Reading:

Under Sanders, Income & Jobs Would Soar

Under Sanders, income and jobs would soar, economist says
If Sanders became president -- and was able to push his plan through Congress -- median household income would be $82,200 by 2026, far higher than the $59,300 projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

In addition, poverty would plummet to a record low 6%, as opposed to the CBO's forecast of 13.9%. The U.S. economy would grow by 5.3% per year, instead of 2.1%, and the nation's $1.3 trillion deficit would turn into a large surplus by Sanders' second term... 
"Like the New Deal of the 1930s, Senator Sanders' program is designed to do more than merely increase economic activity," Friedman writes. It will "promote a more just prosperity, broadly-based with a narrowing of economy inequality." ... 
Friedman, however, argues that Sanders' plan would be more stimulative because it is pouring money into the economy, as opposed to cutting taxes. Several of Sanders' proposals -- such as spending $1 trillion on infrastructure -- will happen in the first few years of his administration.