Monday, May 28, 2012

The Problem with Wisconsin Cities

A lot has been made about the sorry state of Milwaukee by the Pro-Walker forces.  The seem to delight in this telling of how Milwaukee is going to fail.  I say then what?  You have the state's largest city in ruins, how exactly is that good for the state or the economy?  The reasons for Milwaukee's and by extension Madison's problems are relate to the party in charge and the fact that a lot of the workers live outside of the city.  You have Governors and legislators who dislike these cities and cut how much tax money is kicked back to them.  This leaves the city with no choice but to raise property taxes, but the people with the money have left for other communities.  But, these are the same people who need better roads, so we tax the residents of the city to pay for this, which drives more people out of town.  This spirals out of control causing the city to decline to the delight of Republicans who seem to only represent the burbs which are full of people who work in the city and won't pay for anything.  Just what are we going to do with the empty shells of cities in the state?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Regulate the Banks

I've been thinking about the need to bring back real banking/ investment regulation and have come to the conclusion that we should do something.  I would go along with the libertarians that the marketplace will regulate the banks.  No these are mega institutions that have the ability to destroy the economy which affects people who did not have any dealings with the banks.  So government has to step in to protect us from these predators.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Paul Ryan Guest Editorial

Paul Ryan wrote a guest editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal today about college debt since this is graduation day at the UW.  He says that the reason that college tuition has gone up so fast is because of the easy money that can be gotten from the federal loan program.  Aside from the sheer irony of this coming from a man whose college education was paid for by the taxpayer (working students included) this is crazy.  Doesn't the congressman think that if the State of Wisconsin reduces funding of the UW by more than $100 million dollars, tuition would increase?  Apparently not, according to Paul Ryan they are increasing tuition because they can.  The theory goes that if college becomes unaffordable the students will just borrow from the federal government.  This is nonsense.  The schools are passing along the reductions in revenues from State and Federal sources.  The schools could offset this by going to corporations and suggest that they place more research with them instead of hiring people (could be a problem for graduating students).  The schools could also offset this by reducing salaries and benefits.  This is certainly something that the Republican party is for.  They believe that unless you are a wealthy conservative you should be thankful to have a job.  If you are a public employee that feel that you should be working for free.  What a concept.  If this continues public education in this country will be destroyed which will make for a lot of ditch diggers but not too many engineers and scientists.  Now we just need to get rid of the minimum wage and create a bunch of menial jobs.  I fail to see how this will allow the country to compete in the 21st century.  The United States became a great nation because of the affordability of college education.  We are going to witness a decline into a society that operates much like an aristocracy with a privileged class and a serf class .

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gay Marriage is a Federal Issue

Marriage in general is a federal issue.  Everyone including the President seems to think that you can kick the issue of gay marriage to the States.  This is not right.  if the Federal Government had nothing to do with marriage inter-racial couples wouldn't be allowed to be married in many states today.  The biggest problem with leaving it to the states is say that someone is married in Massachusetts but they want to move to doubly illegal gay marriage state North Carolina they would lose marriage benefits conferred by the state and subsequently by the federal government.  This infringes on ones ability to move about the country and become productive working citizens.  This is the same reason that inter-racial marriage is recognized, not because it is a man and a woman.

More on the Bully

Now the right wing is equating the President pushing a girl in the seventh grade as the same as attacking, holding down, and cutting someones hair.  The differences are so numerous to be ridiculous.  For one the president wrote about the incident and what he learned from it.  Mitt didn't remember beating this classmate up and he gave a forced apology.  The other was in Mitt's case this was assault and given that he was 18 at the time should have been turned over to the authorities.

Now you also have the family saying that they have no knowledge of the incident.  Before you folks on the right think that this was made up consider that Lauber left school after that year.  Why was that?  No one is talking there.  Was it a lack of money?  Was it a bad fit?  Did he not have any friends?  Was he being harassed?  There is an appearance of running away.  Could be that Mitt and his buddies' behavior had something to do with him leaving school.  I know that if I were a parent paying private school costs I would have very little tolerance for this and would pull my kid out. 

It sounds like Romney was the arrogant rich kid who got away with everything.  I do not think that these are qualities that the country needs in a President, especially when we have so many kids who commit suicide or get revenge after being tormented in school.  I don't think that a President Romney would be able to relate to problems that many Americans went through in school. 

As for Cranbrook, hopefully they are doing a better job protecting all of their students today than they did 40 years ago.  Their literature and recruiters certainly act that way.

Mitt Romney the Bully

Mitt Romney participated in a few pranks in high school as did many of us and the right has the view that these things don't matter to becoming President.  The difference is that Mitt did was assault in the case of the hair cut incident and classic bullying in the rest of his pranks.  This and the fact that years later (after all of the studies on the effects of bullying) he still laughs them off are what disqualifies him to be President.  This bulllying behavior has long lasting effects on the victims and in this case on all of the perpetrators except one, Mitt Romney.  The only thing about this that might qualify him to be President is that he was able to lead a bunch of people to help him hold this kid down and give him a haircut.  That is really a sad comentary.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Rematch

That was the headline.  Is anyone else wondering how this will play out when the number of people who voted for Scott Walker who ran against a Lafollette/ Teddy Roosevelt Republican got almost as many votes as all of the Democrats combined?  Assuming most of the Republicans stayed home because they knew Walker would easily win, where were the Democrats?  Some Republicans might of voted because of fear that the Democrats would have crossed over.  This is baseless, the Democrats needed to select a strong candidate.  There was simply no reason to vote in the Republican primary if you were a Democrat.  In normal times I would have voted for a Republican who quotes Fighting Bob and Roosevelt but these aren't normal times.  So in the end Barrett wins convincingly.  This is like saying there was a mistake we need a do over.  This is a candidate who the last time ran a bad campaign.  He didn't lose to Walker because of the wave election he lost because he was a bad campaigner.  He did a poor job articulating what he wanted to do.  He did a poor job exposing Scott Walkers record to the rest of the State.  I always hear from people that the Gov. didn't campaign on this stuff.  The truth is that he at one time or another mentioned everything that was contained in Act 10 and for the most part it was reported.  You just had to pay attention.  Plus there was his record of dealing with his employees in Milwaukee County.  His record was known.  Maybe the Barrett supporters feel that he can run a lackluster campaign and get away with it because everyone now knows about the Governor.  Barrett's challenge this time will be fighting off distortions and half truths about his record as Mayor of Milwaukee.  These are charges that can't be defended in a 30 second commercial but they play well to the public and they will be heard in saturation on radio and TV.  He has his work cut out and based on the number of voters who went to the polls yesterday he'll need to inspire people to come out and vote because for sure the Governor's supporters will vote.

The Shrinking Job Market

The Wisconsin State Journal today ran an editorial cartoon of Uncle Sam holding up a way too small t-shirt (US workforce) that just came out of the Obamanomics drier with the caption I don't understand why it keeps shrinking.  This is supposed to be Obama's fault when the US workforce of jobs that pay a living wage has been in decline for more than 30 years.  The President is actually trying to put policies in place that would possibly encourage companies to quit creating jobs overseas but has been stifled by a do nothing congress.  Now along comes the job creator Mitt Romney.  This is a man who made a career out of buying companies, running them into the ground, filing for chapter 11, and then shipping the jobs to lower wage countries as part of restructuring.  I would think that a Mitt Romney Presidentcy will make that t-shirt a lot smaller. 

The only thing that will bring jobs back to this country is if we make it too expensive to manufacture products out of this country.  That would mean renegotiating trade treaties that have helped to destroy the economy.  That would mean raising taxes on products produced abroad.  That would mean ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs out.  Most corporations would say that if they had to manufacture here the products would cost too much.  This is a red herring.  A lot of products already cost too much.  All one has to do is look at the record profits and the salaries of the top executives to know that there is enough money available.  For example Apple has said to manufacture the i-phone in the US would add $30-60 dollars to the cost of each phone which they would have to pass on to the consumer.  Keep in mind that this is a company that had $100 billion dollars in cash on hand.  They could keep the price the same but then they would have a lower profit.  This is the side of the equation that no one wants to talk about.  How much profit should a company make, how much should the executives (who have been lowering wages and benefits of workers) make?  No the workforce and their buying power are shrinking but it is not entirely Obama's fault, it is the fault of policies enacted over the last 30 years and decisions made by corporations.  I'm afraid that if we keep going in this direction we (the workers) will not be able to purchase the products that are for sale, then the boards of directors and politicians might notice. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Just Heard

Just heard that someone at a Mitt Romney rally asked what Mitt would do if elected President to try President Obama for treason.  Mitt's reaction was a non-reaction and when pressed he did not denounce this comment.  First to try someone for treason you need to have a charge.  The teaparty likes to say that it is increasing the debt.  No it is not.  You need to prove that you actively aided our enemies.  Ok so where are we on this one.  We killed Bin laden, we overthrew the government of Libya, we have launched countless predator drone strikes in foreign countries, and we have gone to war with pirates.  Now some of these could be considered treason because I don't believe that congress authorized such actions.  Except if we are going to go there what about Iraq, Grenada, Lebanon, Iran,...  None of those President have been brought up on charges.  If you look at as damage to the US economy (which isn't right but we'll go with it) then Presidents Bush and Hoover should have been tried because they presided over the greatest destruction of wealth in this country.  After that probably Ford and Carter.  Obama is way down the list.  He currently has positive job numbers, inflation is low.  Sure the debt is high.  We could solve that problem by ending welfare and put millions on the street so that things look like the 1930's.  Same thing with the unemployed.  Then try Bush for bailing out the banks off budget to the tune of 7.7 trillion.  Then try Bush for running a war off budget ($3 trillion, he wasn't the first to do this (Johnson, Nixon) but the resulting collapse of the economy is the same).  Obama, and I think that a majority would rather millions were not on the streets.  That creates an unstable society.  So, what Mitt should we try the President for?