Saturday, January 25, 2014

Poll finds Conservatives believe Rich, not Minimum Wage Employees, Work Harder!

If you've every worked a minimum wage job before, it's hard to forget how hard and unforgiving some of them were. Republicans would like to think we're all lying. The shocking "truth" for them is, white collar managers work even harder than back breaking laborers. From the Daily Kos:
A new Pew Research Center/USA Today poll echoes Quinnipiac in finding a fundamental difference in how Republicans and Democrats see economic inequality and poverty: Republicans actually believe that rich people are rich because they worked harder and poor people are poor because they didn't work hard enough:

Chris Christie: "The caricature of a third world despot," and the Dehumanization of Workers.

In a companion piece from Blogging Blue's great post on Chris Hedges' take on the demise of liberalism, I thought his description of conservative presidential wet dream Chris Christie was right on target. It's the rise of the bully.

Retaliatory politics isn't a unique feature of the Christie administration, we're also seeing it here in Wisconsin under Scott Walker and his one party band of Republicans thugs, who are not quite as abrasive but just as effective. Hedges wrote this:
truthdig: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been Wall Street’s anointed son for the presidency. He is backed by the most ruthless and corrupt figures in New Jersey politics … The brewing scandal over the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge is a window into how federal agencies and the security and surveillance apparatus would be routinely employed in a Christie presidency to punish anyone who challenged this tiny cabal’s grip on power.

Christie is the caricature of a Third World despot. He has a vicious temper, a propensity to bully and belittle those weaker than himself, an insatiable thirst for revenge against real or perceived enemies, and little respect for the law and, as recent events have made clear, for the truth. He is gripped by a bottomless hedonism that includes a demand for private jets, huge entourages, exclusive hotels and lavish meals. Wall Street and the security and surveillance apparatus want a real son of a bitch in power, someone with the moral compass of Al Capone, in order to ruthlessly silence and crush those of us who are working to overthrow the corporate state. 

…if Christie becomes president, see the vast forces of the security state surge into overdrive to stymie and reverse reform, gut our tepid financial and environmental regulations, further enrich the corporate elite who are pillaging the country, and savagely shut down all dissent. The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers and his tea party loyalists become a full-blown corporate fascism. Christie’s large public entourage always includes a videographer who captures the governor’s frequent public humiliation of those—public school teachers are his favorite targets for ridicule—who have the audacity to question his judgment. These exchanges are immediately edited and uploaded to YouTube. There are now more than 600. 
Here's a bonus:
Chris Hedges discusses the psychology of the super rich; their sense of entitlement, the dehumanization of workers, and mistaken belief that their wealth will insulate them from the coming storms
More at The Real News

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mike "Uncle Sugar" Huckabee thinks Liberal men control Women like Conservative men think they do.

If you were ever unclear about the subservient roll women must play under Republican rule, than watch this clip of Mike Huckabee "projecting" how he thinks liberal men treat women.

Huckabee has to create this false premise in order to attack birth control.
OurFuture: In a speech to the Republican National Committee: “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”
Huckabee is so wrong that at times he's saying just the opposite of what he intended. An early start on the war on women this midterm election season:

Funny story: in 2005, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee signed a law mandating Arkansas insurance plans provide contraception coverage, including church-affiliated organizations such as hospitals and universities.

By Design, Walker's talk of a Manufacturing Revival Blown out of Proportion.

Since Scott Walker wants us all to bank heavily on the return of manufacturing in the state, I thought this quick examination was a nice but unwelcome reality check:
Steve Rattner shares charts on U.S. manufacturing, showing why the country won’t return to manufacturing levels seen in the 1950s and ’60s.

Walker says to struggling Families who've seen wages decline, raising minimum wage "a misguided political stunt."

Perhaps WISGOP can wrap their tiny little brains around this Mary Burke position:
Burke said she believes Walker’s proposed tax cuts, which come in a re-election year, are “about politics.”
“I think it’s an approach that someone who’s been in politics their whole life takes,” Burke said.
Scott Walker's biggest liability is that he's a career politicians, whose made it very clear he doesn't understand business or wages.

Getting businesses to like you Scott is easy if you give them what they want, like the Wisconsin Grocers Association's need for low wages. But what they want is rooted in the myths and fictions that are a part of the Republican ideology. 

Incoherent messages like the following are backed by business because is saves them money, not because they make sense or contributes to a stronger economy:
“I think it is nothing more than a misguided political stunt,” Doing that will only lead to the elimination of entry-level jobs and cut pay for other workers, Walker said. 
Shear lunacy; a higher minimum wage would "eliminate" entry level jobs? Will we really say goodbye food service jobs, clerks, cleaning crews, seasonal hiring...? The list of minimum wages jobs goes on and on. America is a service economy now, or haven't career Republican politicians noticed?

Higher wages "a political stunt?" If Republicans took just a second longer to think about it, there's a chance they would realize how preposterous that idea is. Arguing against higher wages--which would only increase consumer spending, increase consumer demand and result in more job creation--ignores just how taxpayers are subsidizing businesses by paying for their food stamps and health care needs. 

Career politicians have never understood these concepts because as small business owners know, it takes awhile for these ideas to settle in as a fundamental way of doing business.   

Walker is a victim of his own hyperbolic media created image and non-existent successes; he believes it all:
“If you want to put a buzz saw on the economic recovery we've seen in this state, you just start piling on regulations like increasing the minimum wage,” Walker said. 
Democratic State Rep. Cory Mason said it best:
“If he really thinks that raising wages for people making minimum wage is a political stunt, then he shouldn't be governor.”  

Walker's Income and Property Tax Cuts Benefits Wealthy Again.

Here's what Scott Walker's irresponsible knee jerk budgeting looks like, according to the Wisconsin Budget Project:

A fairer tax cut would be on just the first tax bracket, since that would effect all incomes while helping the poor and middle class. But that's not Walker's or the Republican goal. It seems responsible household taking the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel poll online are catching on. 
Jon Peacock, the director of the budget project, opposes the tax cuts … said Walker could have restored the earned income tax credit that Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature cut in 2011 by $56.2 million over two years. Walker also ended annual inflationary increases for the homestead tax credit, which is a property tax break that shows up as a credit on income tax returns for low-income homeowners and renters. "People shouldn't be misled to think there's much in it for the bottom two-fifths of Wisconsin," Peacock said of Walker's latest plan. 

Andrew Reschovsky, who researches tax policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the proposed property tax cut would be of some help overall to renters, but it would also help state companies with Wisconsin parcels and well-to-do families with vacation homes, not just elderly homeowners struggling to pay their annual tax bills. "(Walker's) solution does not offer a lot of relief to those who really need it," he said.

Democratic lawmakers were more blunt. "It's more of the same," said Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), who sits on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. "It's, 'Let's give more money to the wealthy and hope it trickles down.' The problem is it doesn't work." He said the tax cuts were funded with past cuts to public schools, technical colleges and the University of Wisconsin System.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Walker State-of-the-State "Speech is so full of sh**..."-State Rep. Christine Sinicki.

Democratic Rep. Christine Sinicki said what I was screaming at the TV on her Facebook. Here's Lawrence O'Donnell to explain:

Walker’s rejection of Wind and Solar Energy resulting in bigger bills for you and me, now and in the Future. Other states will be lowery their bills.

Scott Walker is doing what he can to slow or stop green energy progress in the state.
jsonline: Renewable energy businesses that want to develop projects in Wisconsin are having success in other states … DVO, a Chilton-based company that is the state’s leading builder of waste-to-energy digesters, is actively pursuing projects in places like Serbia, Chile and Vietnam … Vermont and other states … less demand in Wisconsin after utilities increased the price they would pay to buy the electricity generated by the dairy farm digesters in the state.

Matt Neumann, son of former Republican Rep. Mark Neumann, of Sunvest Solar in Pewaukee, said his company has been actively installing solar projects around the country … Of more 212 projects the company has in the pipeline this year, just one is in Wisconsin, he said.
While other states have been moving quickly into solar, giving Americans the freedom to create their own energy and save money, Walker is trying to protect energy companies from losing their market monopolies. For example, in far off Arizona the power company wanted to charge solar customers and extra $100 a month to discourage the spread of solar panels. That didn't exactly work, but others are trying to do the same.
Nationwide, 80% of new solar installations last year came in states like New Jersey, California and Arizona that have given the go-ahead to third-party ownership.
It’s what Walker and the Republicans won’t allow to happen here:
Wisconsin needs to open the door to more solar through allowing third-party ownership of solar projects, which enable solar developers to own the panels and homeowners and businesses to lease the panels on their rooftops.
What’s the holdup?
Utilities have concerns about allowing too many solar projects, and the ripple effect on other customers if large businesses and other customers shift to generate their own power. Utilities have fixed costs that need to be paid for and policymakers need to be measured to assure that utility finances aren't upended by distributed generation, he said.
Walker is cutting taxes so you can spend more on your energy bills:
The state is falling behind its neighboring states, speakers at the conference said. Michigan built more wind power in 2012 than Wisconsin has built over the past 15 years … In Minnesota and Iowa, where utility costs are less expensive than Wisconsin, utilities are well on their way to hit 25% to 30% of their power from renewable sources.
It’s a market driven green energy movement, pure “economics, it’s cheaper:”
In Minnesota, Xcel Energy is moving to build more wind farms in a bid to meet the renewable energy standard as well as reduce its overall emissions, said Mike Bull of the Center for Energy and Environment in Minneapolis. In addition, the new wind farms are projected to reduce costs for customers over time because there is no fuel price that needs to be paid when the wind blows, Sullivan said. As a result, Xcel’s aggressive move to add wind power in 2013 represents an investment of more than $3.5 billion, said Michael Noble of Minnesota-based Fresh Energy.

“None of that was driven by mandates. None of that was driven by renewable energy standards, none of that was driven by state law,” he said. “That was all driven by economics: it’s cheaper.”

“We must always push the bar up a little higher to see how much we can do because this is a competitive world,” said Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center.
Oops, scratch Walker’s line about moving Wisconsin forward:
Schoenherr, of the Department of Administration, said the time isn't necessarily right to move forward … because utility sales are flat … time to consider it would be when the state is looking to add more power plants.

The state should move first to expand funding for renewable energy projects through the state Focus on Energy program – which has suspended funding for renewables twice in recent years, said Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point.

Not so Business Friendly Scott Walker could cost Employers up to $37 Million for his Refusal to expand Medicaid!!! But he's got his principles.

Despite the economic reality that corporate giveaways hurt the state, and widen the income gap, Scott Walker has also decided to cost businesses here up to $37 million in penalties for not expanding Medicaid from 100% to only 138%. 

Petty to the point it now hurts business, Walker has offered no excuses. Not only are taxpayers forking over cash to area hospitals for treating those not covered by ObamaCare and Badgercare, but businesses are on the hook for a Walker created penalty. Don't even bring up rejecting our federal tax dollars.  
Madison.comGov. Scott Walker's decision not to expand the state's Medicaid coverage could cost large Wisconsin employers about $37 million in tax penalties, according to a national analysis released Wednesday. Starting next year, employers with at least 50 full-time workers will face a tax penalty if their workers get subsidized coverage through the federal online exchanges. But companies won't face a penalty if those workers get subsidized coverage through Medicaid instead.
A report by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. estimated that of 31,000 uninsured Wisconsin adults working full-time who are between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about 12,000 work for large employers who'll be hit by the tax penalty. That works out to a penalty of about $2,000 to $3,000 per affected worker, for a total cost in Wisconsin of $25 million to $37 million, said Brian Haile, a vice president at Jackson Hewitt who conducted the analysis. "The only way for the state to remove that liability is to extend Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent," he said. 
The governor didn't seem to care. This tells me they've got a messaging problem. Walker’s opponent, Mary Burke, would be a fool not to beat this into the ground:
J.P. Wieske, a spokesman for the insurance commissioner's office, questioned the validity of the numbers in the report … "It's assumption after assumption off of national numbers. It's not a Wisconsin-based number."
Mary Burke even has Tammy Baldwin as a backup :
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, spokesman, John Kraus, said the latest report shows that Wisconsin is paying a price for Walker's decisions. "This report makes clear that the path Governor Walker has taken will increase costs for Wisconsin businesses at a time when we need them investing in economic growth and creating jobs for people looking for work in our struggling economy," he said in an email.

Mugging the Camera, Walker's State-of-the-State Droned On for 1 Hour 7 Minutes, stealing Paul Ryan's "Path" and renaming it "Blueprint" to Prosperity.

Not one word about the most ponderous, self aggrandizing state-of-the-state speech...ever? 1 hour and 7 minutes? Really, nothing?

Big surprise Scott Walker milked as much media face time as he could. And yet his laundry list of ludicrous seat-of-the-pants ideas stretched on and on for 1 hour and 7 minutes. With so much time, he purposely stayed clear of trying to form a concise coherent "Blueprint" people in the state could understand.

Nothing Scott Walker said in the state-of-the-state was new. He simply rolled standard platform theory into a jumble of long term tax cuts that will essentially putting the state behind the eight ball again during the next economic slowdown or recession.

For Republicans, that's a good thing. They'll force the next Democratic majority to rescue the state again, like Gov. Jim Doyle had to do, while roundly criticizing them for returning tax fairness to the equation. Isn't the news media getting tired of this yet?

Blueprint to Prosperity? Did Walker really steal from Paul Ryan's own "Path to Prosperity?" Oddly, weren't we already 3 years into this supposed "path?" Not working yet?

Note to Democrats: Walker's divide and conquer plan, turning neighbor against neighbor, succeeded in securing a very large percentage of his conservative base in Wisconsin. That base is defensive and protective of their candidate. No matter what Walker does, they'll vote for the guy.

My conservative friend in Milwaukee is a perfect example. He's so tired of defending Walker and bashing Obama, that he's decided to distance himself from politics altogether. Whatever happens now is off his radar, and not a factor in the upcoming election. I wonder how many other conservatives have taken this same low information hard line path?

And will someone please ask why, after over 3 years, Walker is still blaming Gov. Doyle for all of his problems, including the Great Recession?

And speaking of the Great Recession, Mary Burke wasn't even there when it hit. The GOP's got nothing. Come on, this is the easy stuff.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Republican writing law to exempt one wetland lot from DNR Regulation so developer can build and sell a house.

What we're now seeing is a conservative government of personalized legislation, churning out volumes of new regulation written specifically for individual Republican club members to change or exempt them from the rules everyone else has to live by.

Rep. Joel Kleefisch twice wrote child support legislation for just one millionaire deadbeat dad. Now we have a developer who wants to build a house on a parcel of wetland that would exempt that single lot from DNR oversight. Really. Who would have the balls to do this? Outgoing Republican Rep. Garey Bies: 
Special interest Favors Exhibit A
WSJ: Cliff Tebon has been waiting a long time to build a house on a small corner lot in Purves Lagoon, a subdivision he helped develop on the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal leading to Lake Michigan.

The neighborhood is “a little piece of utopia,” Tebon said. But since 1995, the state Department of Natural Resources has blocked construction on Tebon’s lot, saying development could, among other things, endanger water quality in nearby Sturgeon Bay.

A bill (written by Rep. Garey Bies) before the state Legislature would reverse that and give Tebon permission to fill in the wetland and build the house, which he plans to sellAssembly Bill 602 would allow whoever builds a house on that lot — and only that lot — to do so without permission from the DNR.
Who can argue with "logic" like this:
“I can’t see how this little postage-stamp piece of property is going to ruin the whole world,” said Bies, R-Sister Bay. “Right now, it’s an eyesore in a very nice residential area.”
Hey, it's not about the environment, it's about entitlement:
Tebon and Bies said the bill is about fairness.

The Slippery Slope:  Tony Depies, Sturgeon Bay city engineer, said he worries about the precedent the bill would set. “I’m very concerned about it, because are you going to start to apply exceptions for even larger wetlands?” Depies said. “It could be a very slippery slope.”

Walker blows revenue surpluses to get reelected.

There's something so wrong about Scott Walker’s use of the Obama recovery to secure his own reelection. Walker's "George W." plan, to return revenues that could have paid down our government debt, has been shown to be historically short sighted and an outright bad idea:  
jsonline: Walker said his plan would add perhaps $100 million to the $725 million shortfall projected for the next two-year budget by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Brilliant. Even when your average Wisconsinite is lucky enough to have a little extra money in their pocket, they instinctively want to pay off their outstanding bills and debts first. 
WSJ: Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, said in his conversations with about 200 constituents over the past week since the surplus was announced, he hasn’t heard anyone clamoring for more tax cuts.

“‘Don’t you see through these election year tricks? We just want you to balance the budget,’” Schultz said in summarizing what he’s heard from voters. “I’m looking for a serious plan to get rid of the structural deficit.”
It should be unsettling to know the governor didn't react in the same responsible way. 
Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) said he wanted to cut taxes this spring but that his goal also was "not to jeopardize the long-term fiscal health of the state. We need to sequester some of this revenue on a down payment on the structural deficit…”
Walker is basking in the revenue windfall of consumer spending and business profits due to the national economy recovery, which Obama supposedly has failed at miserably.   
"This (surplus) is in place because the economy has gotten substantially better," Walker said. "In addition to that, it's also because of good fiscal management...”
Yet, Walker’s “…overall plan would leave the state in worse financial shape in the long term.” 
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said some GOP lawmakers in his house want even more (tax cuts). Vos brushed aside the projected impact of the proposal on the next state budget.  
The mostly invisible Democratic Party has yet to formulate a single coherent message for Wisconsinites to chew over the surplus. This is an election year, right?

I’m concerned about restoring the cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit. Or restructuring a funding formula for the transportation department, or help the DNR hire more people to oversee the expanding sand mining industry in the state? There’s more:
Remember these estimates from Dec. 2011? Wisconsinsfuture
The fiscal bureau's recent estimates on the state budget don't account for a projected $93 million shortfall within the state's Medicaid health programs in the current budget or a projected $18.9 million shortfall in the welfare-to-work program, known as Wisconsin Works, or W-2.

Democrats Tuesday argued that Walker has too simplistic a view of the economy … The National Association of State Budget Officers expects almost all states to see at least some budget surplus this year.
So it wasn't what Walker did that gave the state a surplus. You think Walker’s thank you card praising Obama supposed "failed" stimulus will ever be sent?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dumb Ron Johnson wrong again in a Big Way.

Big failure? What else doesn't he know?

What is it about GOP Governors?

Republican governors reflect party bankruptcy, and disrespect of government:

N.J. Schools Superintendent Suspends 5 Principals for Speaking out against Gov. Chris Christie school Privatization Movement.

Republicans no longer care about local control.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker is determined to spread private voucher education statewide, killing public education and Common Core at the same time. Plus, in an action that neutralizes the elected office of the state superintendent, the GOP will oversee educational changes and remove local school board involvement altogether.

But the same thing is happening in N.J., where similar attempts to destroy public education are moving quickly forward, even while Chris Christie is getting all that attention.

Check out the following comment by Gov. Chris Christie about his education superintendent’s decision to bully and suspend indefinitely five principals for speaking out against privatization:
Edweek: During a public appearance Wednesday at a school in Beach Haven, Christie was asked whether he and Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf plan to renew (superintendent of schools) Cami Anderson's contract, given the level of criticism from the Newark community, about the job she's doing.
"Yes we do, and we're going to renew it because she's done a great job, and I don't care about the community criticism," Christie said. "We run the school district in Newark, not them."
Welcome to the Republican idea of democracy; an authoritarian, top down style of “representation,” a contradiction if there ever was one.

Is “I don’t care about the community criticism” clear enough?
Journalist Bob Braun today carries a report on the decision by Anderson to "indefinitely suspend" five of Newark's principals. Braun explains:
Four of the principals...tried to answer questions from local residents worried about what would happen to their children as Anderson moves toward a wholesale transfer of public school assets to the KIPP Schools, a charter organization that operates TEAM Academy Charter Schools. Questions Anderson wasn't answering. Ms. Anderson's action in suspending the four principals is the last straw in a chain of inept, and horribly out-of-touch decisions.

The four principals have a constitutional right to speak out. The Newark school district is not a military dictatorship, and Ms. Anderson is neither an army general nor a police chief. 
This little aside should send a chill:
Senator Ron Rice, who represents Newark in the NJ Senate, spoke about another incident in which the Newark Administration locked students in a school library to speak with them about the school closings and reorganization and would not allow parents access.  The parents were at the school for a PTA meeting. 

On a more positive note, new legislation to stop forced public school closings was introduced in both the NJ Senate and Assembly. 

Wrong Way Walker hurting state with Corporate Giveaways that widens income gap.

Oh no, not another story proving Scott Walker's economic "Open for Business" tax cut agenda doesn't work? Yes. 

In conjunction with my earlier post today from the MacIver Institute, Walker and his band of pirates are making things worse with right wing theories that research says just doesn't work. 

Wrong Way Walker has loaded up his State of the State speech with every bad move listed below:
WonkBlog: Juan Carlos Su├írez Serrato, an economist at Stanford University, and Owen Zidar, an economics doctoral candidate at the University of California-Berkeley (has) new research (that) suggests … that eliminating corporate taxes would help shareholders more than workers, likely making inequality worse.  

If corporate taxes were as important for location decisions … it is hard to see why California, with a state corporate tax rate of nearly 10 percent, is home to more than one out of nine establishments in the United States. 

We have developed a study to answer these questions and determine who benefits from cutting corporate taxes. This research analyzes every change in state corporate taxes since 1980 and measures the responsiveness of businesses to tax changes. We find that, across the country, most firms choose to pay higher taxes and locate where their productivity is highest, rather than chase tax incentives.

We also measure what happens to wages and firms’ profits after states cut corporate taxes, and find that firm shareholders benefit more than workers from state corporate tax cuts. Moreover, workers are left with the bill to pay these generous incentives to firms in the form of lower corporate taxes.

Across-the-board corporate tax cuts provide direct transfers to many companies that would be willing to locate here anyway. Eliminating corporate taxes may also exacerbate income inequality since shareholders are typically high-income individuals. 

Policymakers do not necessarily need to lower taxes to attract companies; they can do so through other means such as enhancing productivity.

There is good evidence that it would be in the nation’s interest to improve infrastructure and workforce skills. Building a foundation for future productivity growth through infrastructure investments, especially when it is cheap to do so, is quite attractive. It would be a smarter way to compete for businesses – and to help long-suffering workers. 

Walker takes fight to imagined "they want to control your lives" Liberal Enemy

Republicans have nothing left to defend their failed ideology except to create false premises and imagined enemies. Welcome to the alternate universe, the conservative bubble, an echo chamber of nonsense issues, platforms and liberal villains.

Below, Scott Walker not only doubles down on the false premise that liberals want to control everyone's life (no more incandescent light bulbs folks), but he's suffering from a bad case of projection (Walker's wants dictatorial one party rule):
jsonline: In an interview with Right Wing News ... Poverty: 

"the Left, they want you under their thumb. They want to control youThey want to control your lives. They want you to be dependent on the government. We should say we’re the ones, not only for the poor, but for young people coming out of college, for working class families, for immigrants, for others out there. We should say we are the ones who empower the American Dream. We’re the ones who say you can do and be anything you want, but it’s because we empower you with the ability and the platform to do that. The other side tells you they want to help you, but in the end they want to keep you limited in how far you can grow."
Walker's right, they are the party that likes to "say" things. Thanks for the speech Scott, but empty pep talks don't accomplish anything in the real world, and condescends to adults living out the nightmare of long term unemployment and poverty created by business interests.

So Republicans "are the ones who empower" us? Anyone feel empowered working for lower wages, longer hours, fewer benefits, unaffordable health care, growing job insecurity, and a growing wealth gap that keeps us all from the American dream?

Walker's Business and Jobs failure explained by conservative MacIver Institute.

There's a reason why Scott Walker and his band of Republican pirates have failed to create jobs and attract businesses; corporate welfare doesn't work.

That's the shocking conclusion of a new report found in the most unlikely place: The MacIver Institute.

It's almost laughable the way Walker is getting played by big business. Of course corporate contributors are happy with the direction Walker has taken the state, reflected in the business survey's Scotty is all too happy to mention repeatedly. They get tax cuts and lawsuit protections with no accountability or job creation.

Despite trying to save face with reminders that lower taxes for everyone is the answer to all our problems, the MacIver Institute can't hide the fact that this study blasts the Walker administrations strategy, which has been a huge jobs and business failure from the start. Now we know why.

Give credit to the Democrats, who have been saying this all along:
Matt Mitchell, a Senior Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, looked to see if government incentives were all they cracked up to be. He discovered that states with more incentives per capita actually have slower real economic growth.

"If local subsidies worked as advertised, we'd expect to see greater economic growth in those states that give away more subsidies. But simple analysis of [Louise] Story's data suggests that, if anything, there is a negative relationship between per capita subsidies and economic growth," Mitchell wrote for Mercatus Center.

...per capita subsidies were negatively associated with state economic growth and often the relationship was statistically significant ... Only businesses that qualify for the tax credit are rewarded, which may give them an advantage over other firms in the market. Credits also pit state against state in a competition for businesses. The State of Washington's legislature recently approved $9 billion in tax credits for Boeing, and the company still considered moving to a state with a better business climate. 

Experts argue that offering these massive incentives are actually an admission of failure. A state with a great business climate should be able to attract business without the need for extra incentives.

A PEW study argues that such incentives could also drive other firms out of the market because of higher costs. "An incentive might prompt the opening of a new meatpacking plant, driving up the price of local livestock. The new plant might be able to pay the higher prices whereas older plants without the incentive cannot," the study reads.
I know, it's all just common sense stuff Republicans have been denying for decades:
Government incentives, however, change the environment between producers and consumers. Instead of providing a product or service that consumers demand, businesses will provide whatever they are incentivized to provide. In short, a company will expend resources to gain a government incentive, rather than produce what the consumer actually wants. This is known as "rent seeking."  

Subsidies are another form of government incentives that can actually hurt economic growth. They artificially inflate the price of many items, but typically spread it over the entire country.
And guess what party is based on picking winners and losers? Hint; not the Democrats:
While it may seem like a good idea to provide incentives to businesses in a state, the data shows that it is anything but. The government picks winners and losers, creates an unstable economy, and businesses will eventually make whatever gets them the best incentive from the government.
MacIver's opposition to taxes in general ignores the maintenance and replacement costs of our surrounding infrastructure:
It is simple. Low (or non-existent) taxes that are more equitable across the board and fewer "winners and losers" incentives will lead to greater prosperity within a state. After all, the best economic development program is to not need one.

Thank Republicans for Internet Toll Roads!!!

It’s important to establish right away who will be at fault for skyrocketing internet bills: the Republicans.

What’s the point of GOP cut taxes when those cuts are gobbled up by higher cable bills? You can thank Republican inaction on net neutrality and their irrational hatred for the FCC! Hey, you gotta love the “free market,” right?

Could it be Americans really aren't fed up with skyrocketing cable bills after all?
PC Mag: The easiest route would be for Congress to pass a law addressing this issue. But since it is split down party lines, and this Congress is not exactly known for getting a whole lot done, that also seems rather unlikely. Republicans dislike the FCC rules, while Democrats are in favor of them.
Has anyone seen a shortage of online innovation, or a stifling of entrepreneurial freedom with our current internet business model? Of course not, but that’s not stopping Republicans from fabricating a list of excuses written by corporate interests:
The GOP argues that net neutrality rules will stifle competition, with broadband providers hesitant to try out new technologies lest they run afoul of the FCC's rules. The market will regulate bad behavior, as ISPs won't do anything to drive customers away, the argument goes.
We saw how that exact business model worked on Wall Street just before the Great Recession. Republicans said banks would never risk hurting their costumer’s with risky schemes. This is the basic argument for the free market. So, how’d that work out?
Democrats want to Save Americans Money, Keep the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive: Democrats, however, say that the rules simply provide recourse to consumers who believe their ISPs are treating their customers unfairly.
Cable providers could slow down smaller business access, and speed up big business interests. Providers could limit or slow down Netflix, or charge you more for access to the service. So who’s costing you more money? Is paying a toll on the internet your idea of freedom?

So higher internet bills are on the way. Who will you blame for your higher cable bills that may have priced you out of the marketplace? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Madison Hero, Danny Conners, puts legalizing Pot over the third coming of God.

On a PBS's Market to Market report on legalizing pot, Madison's own Danny Conners put us on the map with this memorable comment:

7 Day Work Week for Republican Legislators?

I liked this letter to the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal a lot:
Republican lawmakers should do as they say -- Mary Maronek

Republicans Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend and Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, have introduced legislation to go to a seven-day workweek.

They should set an example for Wisconsin workers by working seven days a week for a year, without using time for campaigning or fundraising, and report back how successful they found this opportunity to "boost production." They need to walk their talk.

Republicans, the party so closely tied to guns, hunting and promoting the great outdoors, exposed as city folk fakes.

Another phony marketing image exposed.

And who can forget the United Sportsmen’s debacle, where a Koch front group of political lobbyists tried to sell themselves off as hunting and fishing enthusiast? Since when is the Republican Party of elites, big money, big corporate donors, billionaires, the NRA, and Wall Street wimps concerned about hunting?

Exposed: What else could explain the jaw dropping disconnect between Wisconsin’s hunting tradition and the clueless recommendation by Scott Walker’s deer czar from Texas; register deer kills via the internet; smart phones and home computers.
Hunters Outraged:
WSJ: Wisconsin deer hunters have for decades hauled their kills to roadside taverns or gas stations to be counted, hanging around after the work was done to slug beers, swap stories and show off their trophies … the state Department of Natural Resources proposes moving to online and telephone reporting as soon as this fall.

Gov. Scott Walker’s deer adviser, Texas researcher James Kroll, proposed the switch as a way to tally kills faster, save money and make registration more convenient for hunters. But tavern and convenience store owners who for 70 years have relied on registration to draw in hunters worry about the loss of business, and DNR officials warn they could lose detailed biological data on the state’s herd and tissue samples used to test for chronic wasting disease.
Republican legislators see hunters as just voting guys with guns, who should be their lifelong friends because of a concealed carry law, which had nothing to do with hunting.
“It affects the culture. It affects the local economy,” said Lee Fahrney, a deer hunter and spokesman for the Conservation Congress, a group of sportsmen that advises the DNR on policy. “It just affects the whole social underpinnings of the annual deer hunt.” Currently, there are 626 places hunters can go to register their kills, including DNR-run stations, taverns and convenience stores. DNR workers staff 100 or so stations during the popular nine-day November gun hunt to collect age and gender data from deer, and tissue samples for chronic wasting disease testing. The agency uses data from that hunt and others to tally kills, track buck mortality and gender ratios, and assess deer health and antler characteristics. The new rules would eliminate in-person registration across all deer seasons in an effort to maximize savings.
The $182,000 Hunting tradition to costly for state?
Wanda Dogs, who has been registering deer for 15 years at Dog House Tavern in Elroy, predicted the switch would hurt business. “Deer hunting’s a national holiday around here,” she said. “Lot of money you could stand to lose. It helps the whole community, not only our station, but it helps everybody when you have these hunters about. They run to the stores, they run to get gas.”
The incredible insult:
The DNR report suggested business owners could still attract hunters by offering them the use of a computer to complete online registration.
Goodbye Tradition:
“Sometimes when you pull into a registration station and you see a crowd around a vehicle you can bet there is something special,” Stan Brownell, a Sparta deer hunter and Conservation Congress executive council member, wrote in an email to Fahrney. “Maybe a neighbor or someone you know hunts in the same area and they get something special and you see that and hopes arise for future deer hunts for your kids.”

The board’s chairman, Preston Cole, said, “There’s a whole culture that has evolved around showing up around the deer-check station.”

Dumb Ron Johnson's allegations the Poor commit Fraud another Big Lie.

Dumb Ron Johnson has always had to construct a "false premise" around every program he didn't like, in order to sell his arguments to the public. To justify attacking the poor in our new post-Great Recession economy, Johnson had to portray them as crooks, the "takers" we hear so much about from the likes of Paul Ryan.

Lie: Johnson likes to manipulate that unique conservative thought process that assumes the undeserving poor are getting something for nothing. And reverse class envy, where the well off are jealous of the scraps doled out to the poor, is the easiest hot button issue to exploit. Johnson's panicky guy routine is the perfect delivery system too. Here's Politifact with another correction:
Johnson said: "The average rate of fraud" in the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps programs "is 20 to 25 percent."

Improper payment rates are in the 20 to 25 percent range in the tax credit program -- but are 10 percent or less in the other three programs. So, even the average among the four programs would be far less than what Johnson claimed.

More importantly, those are error rates; there are no figures on the rate of fraud, which is believed to be a small component of errors. Johnson’s remark to the group was grossly misleading.  
 For a claim that is false and ridiculous, we give Johnson a Pants on Fire.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

State GOP to Roll Back Labor Law Progress by a Century.

(Note: I wish Democrats were this proactively rabid with their own agenda.)

Well, what do you know, state Republicans hope to roll back the last 100 years of labor progress.

Double-Whammy 1: In conjunction with State Sen. Glenn Grothman’s employee overtime bill that allows for a 7 day work week without time off, Rep. Joel Kleefisch would like to take that overtime money and replace with the promise of vacation time.

Double-Whammy 2: This all fits nicely in with the GOP’s two fold plan to block raising the minimum wage by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit on the federal level, while reducing it at the state level. It's true, Republicans increased taxes, a platform no-no, on the poor by reducing the EITC. See here and hereWSJ:
“Why not give (private) employers and employees in the state of Wisconsin another way to be successful?” said Rep. Joel Kleefisch. Private employers could provide more time off rather than overtime pay if their employees agree to it.
“If they agree to it?” Of course employers will suggest…I mean “pressure” employees to take the comp time. And as we all know, employers pretty much dictate vacation times too:
…while forbidding such agreements to be used as a condition of employment, Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor said an inherent “power imbalance” between workers and employers would make the measure susceptible to abuse. “It’s just going to be made very clear to (workers), if you want this job, this is how we do it,” she said.

The powerful right wing lobbyist at the National Federation of Independent Business supports Kleefisch’s bizarre comp-time legislation, so you know this in no way benefits employees.