Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

Wisconsin Club for Growth (who are they?) has entered the fray.  They are running an ad portraying Joanne Kloppenberg as anti business because in her job as an assistant attorney general for the State of Wisconsin she prosecuted cases where businesses and farmers were the defendants and she was successful.  That makes me think that the state had a good case.  So, one is left to ponder what exactly Club for Growth is looking for, my guess is that they are looking for an activist who would overturn pesky laws regulating air, water, and soil pollution.  That we need to deregulate things like worker safety.  They are looking for a judge that will allow them to accomplish what they have been unable to accomplish legislatively.  And to think that Justice Prosser has been running away from the idea that he is in the hip pocket of the Governor.  Club for growth has basically said that justice Prosser will be that reliable vote for the Governor and business as the court goes about the business of overturning all laws that may affect business.  Open for Business indeed.  I want to open a factory and discharge my water into a class one trout stream, with justice Prosser's help I may be able to make that a reality.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It Was Never About the Money

The fallout from Thursday's vote was that the Democrats returned.  Remember when we had to get the whole bill done right away.  It was so important that there be quorum.  The next scheduled Senate session is April 7.  Tell me again Governor what we were trying to get done.  I guess that it was really all about breaking the unions.

Fox News

I was traveling today (actually skiing) and had an opportunity to watch Fox's coverage of the protest in Madison and they were talking to Sen Hopper and he repeated the big lie to a national audience.  That is that the Senate was prepared to debate the bill but the Democrats left.  This is not true.  The Democrats left to stop the vote on the bill, there was no debate, there wasn't going to be any debate, just a vote that was going to be 19-14.  Now that is the truth.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Bastards

That was my reaction to what the Republican Majority did in Wisconsin tonight.  I don't care what you feel about the collective bargaining provisions or the other anti-union provisions everyone should be mad about the process.  These Republicans have been running roughshod over the Democratic Process.  First it was not giving the Democrats the correct time for an assembly hearing.  Then it was adjourning an assembly session but going back in session as soon as the Democrats left so that they could have an immediate vote on the budget repair bill.  Now they have stooped to a new low.  Sending the bill to conference committee to be divided up so that the Senate could vote on it.  The whole thing to 10 minutes and passed 18-1.  Only one person thought that what they were doing was shameful.  As a consequence the Capitol was re-occupied.  I made my first trip there and it was awesome, people are really angry about the process.  We understand that the votes are there to do whatever he wants, but we want a debate, we want to be able to add amendments, and we are opposed to balancing the budget on the people who can least afford it.  Shame on the Senators, shame on the Governor, and shame on the members of the conference committee.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whose Overpaid?

There has been a lot of discussion about how teachers and State employees are over paid, but why stop there.  I'm sure if we thought about it there a lot people who we would consider overpaid.  I never see this issue discussed.  For example a PhD scientist likely working for the Government has as much education as medical doctor but earn substantially less.  What about CEO salary or bankers, or stock brokers.  I know that we are paying for talent here,  there has never been a group of people who either by design or through gross negligence could have destroyed the world economy.

The Pending War in Libya

I was having a discussion about going to war in Libya, before tonight's news broke, with a liberal.  His belief was that we should not only do the no fly zone but also take out ground targets.  I had to remind him that killing people was an act of war and that the rebels are only unified because of a common enemy.  When they win we would have Afghanistan.  So, I said we should stay out.  He asked what I thought would happen.  I said that we would get a toe hold in the country through supplying humanitarian aid delivered by the US military.  Then the mission will creep forward until we are at war in the country.

I was on my way home and they announced that President Obama had pledged $15 million in humanitarian aid.  We'll have to watch how this unfolds.

If you are for intervention you should be pushing for the neighboring countries to do it without our help.

Shared Sacrifice

OK, I have finally reached the breaking point on state of Wisconsin employee salary and benefits.  I was reading Saturday's Wisconsin State Journal where it was reported that average salaries are projected to increase 3.8%.  An intrepid reporter could look back over the last 20 years and look at the average increase in private sector wages versus the increase in State employee salaries.  But, you know what it would show that with the exception of the last 2 years (we got 0% the private sector took big hits) the private sector wage increases have far outstripped the public sector wage increases.  Sure, you can make it look a little better by looking at benefits but the reality is that in the stuff that you can spend State workers have been losing ground for years.  What doesn't seem to be getting much press is the fact that we have already taken an effective 3% cut with the furloughs and that all powerful union that the public is afraid of couldn't stop it or get employees unemployment or make the government follow the labor law.  We are considered salaried except in weeks where we take a furlough day, labor law does not allow for your employment classification to change within a pay period.  Now we are willing to do our part again and take an effective 8% pay cut.  Don't get me wrong I'm thankful to have a job.  I work for the State because in my field there are not many jobs in this State.

The war on State workers is somewhat misguided.  There is very truly a belief that the budget can be balanced on the backs of the workers.  No it can't!  We could volunteer our time for a year and the budget wouldn't come into balance.  The solution is to decide what we need in this State and quit giving away the store to the real haves.  Then we need to figure out how to fund that, it might mean increases in taxes for the real haves but we keep hearing about shared sacrifice.  Right now the sacrifices are being felt by the State workers, the Governor has proposed taking more from the working poor but he has given more tax breaks for the "job creators" (a group of people who over the last 10 years have seen substantial tax reductions without creating anything except personal wealth).