Saturday, May 9, 2015

Walker's Wisconsin number One in Destroying the Middle Class.

I ran across this little shocker:

I didn't expect to see Wisconsin in the list:
1. Wisconsin: -5.7%

The clear winner (or loser) in the race to the bottom has been Wisconsin, losing 5.7% of its middle class households since 2000. Average median income has dropped by roughly $9,000 annually, and costs of living have gone up as well. There have also been many political battles that have not worked in the middle class’s favor. Governor Scott Walker gutted many of the state’s unions — which has a big effect on the middle class — and all signs seem to indicate that he will aim to implement similar policies. Like Ohio, Wisconsin’s makeup was particularly vulnerable to a recession, and the proof is in the numbers.
The other leading killers of the middle class?
2. Ohio: -5.2%      3. North Dakota: -5.1%       4. Vermont: -5%        5. Nevada: -5%

Friday, May 8, 2015

Really, Walker delivers non-answer for successful Auto Industry Rescue that saved 3 million jobs!

We still have three huge automakers that provide 3 million jobs to Americans, and Scott Walker isn't sure that’s a good thing or not?
Scott Walker dodged a question about the federal loans that rescued the U.S. auto industry. "That's a hypothetical question from the past," according to accounts from multiplelocal reporters. "I think what we're going to talk about is the future."

His refusal to give a direct answer is another example of handle-with-care messaging. It also suggests that Walker has shifted his tone on a potentially hot-button issue.
That’s an unforgivable media pass in my opinion. Anyone who’s watched Scott Walker over the years knows a non-answer is very bad news, and yes, he opposed the bailout. 

Since GM had no plan to reopen the Janesville plant, Walker believed no one should benefit. Hate to surprise out-of-state Walker supporters, but he’s a petty vindictive double high authoritarian, and that’s not my opinion, that’s the professional conclusion from someone who would know.

In a off moment, one Walker will never let happen again, Rachel Maddow dug a whole lot deeper than most reporters on the auto bailout:

Note: The managed bankruptcy Walker, Ryan and Romney were talking about would have dissolved the automakers, since it became obvious no one would step in and take the risk. They would have been sold for parts. Walker's position was the "do nothing" position most Republicans wanted to take. But here's the happy and profitable end result:
The government ended its $80 billion bailout of the U.S. auto industry on December 18, 2014. That's when the Treasury Department sold its last remaining shares of Ally Financial (formerly GMAC) for $19.6 billion. By selling when the stock market was high, Treasury made a $2.4 billion profit on its $17.2 billion initial investment in GM's former financing arm. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew: “And while the goal was always to stabilize the economy, and not to make a profit, it is important to recognize the return we have earned for taxpayers.”
This is the part Walker would never have agreed to, since he's a devout anti-environmental Republican. Ironically, conservatives blamed the bankruptcies on car makers not becoming more energy efficient (they fought against it for years):  
The federal government took advantage of the take-over, setting new auto efficiency standard to force the companies to become more competitive against Japanese and German firms. Congress first explored whether a planned bankruptcy reorganization without a bailout was the best alternative for the companies, but realized that would take too long to implement. 

Republicans want to ban junk food for needy, but defend to death junk food for school lunches.

No wonder conservative voters pick one or two easy issues to focus on, generalities like “freedom and liberty” and “cut taxes.”  If they tried to make sense out of the party’s actual direction and basic principles, they’d go crazy, maybe even vote Democratic.

While cookie cutter republicans across the country push their one size fits all nutritional food stamp check list they say protects against wasting taxpayer money on junk food, they’re gleefully doing just the opposite with school lunches, pushing taxpayer spending on whatever mush they want to dish out to our kids. The Northwestern:
(Rep. Glenn) Grothman, who serves on the House Education and Workforce Committee, got the chance to solicit feedback about federal nutrition guidelines and funding for school lunches.

“I think the people here believe — and I agree with them — that we shouldn't have those rules,” he said. “We should just be able to give the money to the state or give the money to the schools, and they would know what to give the children for lunch. We don’t have to pay a bunch of high-priced people, complete with paperwork, in Washington to micromanage what you’re having for lunch.”
Let's not beat around the bush; the Republican food stamp guidelines are more about reinforcing stereotypes of the poor than any real concern for the cost or nutrition.

Personal NOTE: The banned food makes up over half of my own weekly dinner offerings. And when I was struggling early on in my youth, the banned items made up almost all of the items. But foods are better now. All the things I buy to make our families meals have at least one ingredient banned by republicans. 

So why can't you buy food cheaply in quantity, choose to eat healthy pizzas, try to make decent spaghetti sauce (spices are banned), enjoy different flavored canned beans, what’s wrong with this picture. And what about potatoes? Heck, I eat one daily for breakfast mixed with other vegetables…they’re called home fries for gods sake.

This was a list put together by politicians who haven’t cooked or shopped a day in their lives. 

U.S. economy and jobs grow, while jobless Wisconsin struggles, downsizes, plundered.

We've missed this train folks:

Chairman Walker botched WEDC reforms again, expects to be President? Conservative voters must like throwing out money as welfare handouts for business.

And Scott Walker wants to run the country? Take another look at the guy who created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation back in 2011, took control as chairman, and followed through with his promise to deal with businesses personally.

Walker couldn't resist breaking state law for business handouts:
Gov. Scott Walker Friday abruptly dropped his proposed merger of the state's top two
jobs agencies after an audit found that one of them had again failed to follow state law and its own policies in awarding taxpayer funded incentives to state companies. The nonpartisan legislative audit contradicts the repeated assertions of state officials that they had strengthened the weak financial controls at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and represented a surprise reversal for the Republican governor and all but certain White House candidate.
Walker’s mismanagement over something he never had the talent to control in the first place, should tell voters nationally the level of incompetence we've personally witnessed here in Wisconsin. 
Walker desperately tried to keep his presidential ambitions alive:
"After hearing concerns from legislators, stakeholders, and the (Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority) and WEDC boards, we asked legislators to remove the proposed agency mergers from the state budget and we asked the bill authors to not move forward with the proposed separate legislation. Given the issues raised at the recent joint WEDC/WHEDA board meeting, it is not the appropriate time to pursue these proposals."
Walker got caught red handed breaking our state law. It only highlights his usual contempt for regulation he personally doesn't like:
The audit found some companies receiving state help were not required to submit records to verify job creation; contracts with companies did not always include requirements contained in state law; WEDC didn't verify the accuracy of information submitted by companies on jobs created; and the agency waived fees for five companies even though WEDC policies at the time didn't allow that.
Pretty careless for the WEDC board chairman:
Walker seeks to sell himself as a potential White House candidate by pointing to his economic record.
Check out this laughable statement from Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, who still thinks he can sell that old “guardians of taxpayer money” nonsense:
Republicans were committed to striving "to ensure that all of our state agencies provide the highest possible level of service to Wisconsin's taxpayers."
I thought this one attempt to deceive the public was worth noting, since it created the appearance of accountability:
In 2014, WEDC decreased its balance of past due loans by $4.2 million by amending 13 loan contracts to defer loan repayments, writing off nine loans, and forgiving two more. 
It could have been worse, and Democrats said so early on. Walker wanted to take oversight out completely. But as I recall, those warnings were considered partisan and sour grapes from the liberal minority:
Gov. Scott Walker and lawmakers would no longer sit on the board of the state's flagship jobs agency Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca a WEDC board member, expressed skepticism about taking elected officials off the board. "It flies in the face of reason that an agency that has had a history of serious issues would move to have less accountability to taxpayers." 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Myth: Obama's Welfare Nation causing Low Labor Participation Rate

Hanging out at the Conservative Tribune online I found out why the labor participation rate is so low; retiring baby boomers. Look at the graph and years of high participation, it's pretty obvious.(the image was already blurry)

The story itself never made that claim, but instead whined about the participation rate and blamed Obama, saying he was successfully turning the U.S. into a welfare nation.

I'm posting this because I thought it was funny, and because of the blatantly juvenile way they went after Obama:
The U.S. workforce now has the fewest number of laborers since 1978. For the first time ever the number of Americans 16 and older who can work but don’t has exceeded 93 million.

Obama’s plans to turn the greatest nation into a welfare nation appear to be working.

The participation rate in the economy has dropped from 62.8 percent to 62.7 percent, a 37-year low. The BLS determines the number of workforce-able people as those who are 16 years and older. 

But what about all of the millions who can work but don’t? The BLS claims that the largest factor is the aging baby boomer generation (H/T “The baby boomers’ exit from the prime-aged workforce and their movement into older age groups will lower the overall labor force participation rate, leading to a slowdown in the growth of the labor force,” explained the BLS.
Here's the next line, and the lunacy that is the right wing...
But then, none of this should really surprise anyone. Obama has been increasingly encouraging illegals and able-bodied-but-lazy Americans to join the welfare state and let the U.S. government care for their needs while they sit on the couch and watch reruns. And vote Democrat.

Share this if you think Obama is intentionally ruining our great nation by encouraging Americans to depend on government handouts instead of their own God-given ability to provide for themselves.

Nanny State Republican Rep. Edming says we're all immigrants now....take a citizenship test or you don't graduate.

They call themselves constitutional conservatives. They say they're like regular people and elected politicians, but they're really the most misguide Neanderthal’s America has ever seen. They repeat “freedom and liberty” like its some kind of incantation that will solve every problem.   

To me, constitutional conservatives represent a sick kind of nationalism. It's a Bizarro World version of the constitution. They're also the first ones looking to change it, or devise a way to get around the original intent.

These flag waving phony’s now want to require a civics test to graduate high school, basically the same list of questions immigrants take to become citizens. Really, that’s what 12 years of school is boiled down too?  

Here's WPR's story featuring State Rep. "Jimmy Boy" Edming, the author of another copy cat law making the rounds in other red states:

Republicans could stop cutting education spending and expand our nations history courses. Oh, look who cut spending that cut these important civics and history exams, the Republicans:
Unfortunately, in 2013 the U.S. Department of Education suspended national exams in civics and history for 12th-graders as a result of budget cuts, making it harder to assess whether students are making progress -- and easier for schools to walk away from these subjects. The National Assessment of Educational Progress lost $6.8 million to national budget cuts under “sequestration.”
So they caused the problem they now say the want to fix?

To be perfectly honest, my own two sons have already been through some incredible classes, so I'm not sure where Rep. "Jimmy boy" is getting the impression history is getting short changed. Maybe, just maybe, by 12th grade, some kids have forgotten a few of the smaller they focus on a career!!!

The citizenship test requirement idea comes at the same time another Republican wants to pass a law that makes it easier for parents to opt their children out of school testing. Would I kid you? 
The Hill: Too many Americans don't understand the principles of a free society based on freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The Department of Education's Nation's Report Card, revealed on April 21, 2015, findings showing students' failure to grasp basic concepts of civics and social studies ... only 18 percent of eighth-graders reached the proficient level, with little improvement since 2010. Without change, leaders of tomorrow — today's students — will undertake leadership obligations in Congress, state legislatures, city councils, school boards and other important venues without the knowledge necessary to perpetuate the constitutional freedoms that have developed over two centuries. 
Right now we're being guided by the worst of the constitutional conservatives, like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas...I could go on and on. 

Is this what we want, dictatorial leaders demanding a state sanctioned Christian faith, guns, positive patriotic history lessons, flag pins, control over our bodies, and free market corporate "people" buying our elections? 
Various states are passing laws requiring graduating seniors to pass the immigrant citizenship test as a condition of graduation, and many states are requiring more civic learning. All states should adopt basic civics requirements for graduation.  
Take the test

Obama's Economy forcing 6,000 retailers to Close? Right wing off on another tangent.

My conservative friend really, really, really, really hates President Obama. I can’t imagine why.

So today he sent me the following ridiculous article about 6,000 stores closing nationwide, proving Obama economy sucks.

The stores listed aren't closing because of Obama, and many aren't closing because Americans don’t have enough discretionary money, although that’s true in general terms. Maybe the stores and the "times" have something to do with it?

My friend was quick to blame Obama, but what about all those austere governors and legislatures? Don't they have control of their own economic engines? And yet, they like to take credit for low unemployment and job creation. What about store closings?

Here’s the snarky “unbiased” way the article started:
You’ll never hear the Obama administration pass on an opportunity to gloat about the miracles they think they’ve managed to pull off over the past seven years to get America’s economy back on track. The only problem with that is, it’s not remotely trueIf you want a real indication of how President Barack Obama’s economy is fairing, just look to a recent report that shows a coming “retail apocalypse,” with major retailers across the country planning on shutting the doors to thousands of stores due to a sharp decline in discretionary consumer spending.
And who’s against raising the minimum wage? Who’s destroying unions, passing right-to-work-for-less, repealing prevailing wage laws, and forcing people to work for nothing just to get food stamps? They don't get the consequences of their ideology.

And this conservative site is whining about “declining discretionary consumer spending.” Yikes.

Here’s where I’ll step in with the real reason the following stores are closing:
Some of the major retailers who plan on closing at least 10 stores over the next year or so include:

Radio Shack: Dated and no longer relevant today. I love the stores, I just don’t use them anymore, now that I gave up my cassette and reel to reel tape decks.

Office Depot/Office Max: They merged, and are closing stores all over because many stores are too close to each other.

Dollar Tree/Family Dollar: Expanded in a ridiculous way, especially during the years coming out of the recession. Still fun, but not as relevant anymore.

Walgreens: Expanded in a ridiculous way, threatened to move overseas, and internet orders for drugs is picking up.

Barnes & Noble: Seriously, with Kindle’s, e-books, and tablets, do you really have to ask.

Macy’s, Sears and JCPenney: Sears has been having trouble for years, and has improved. Macy’s and JCPenney are “Mall” stores, and we all know how malls are doing.
Speaking of malls, the article treats them like they’re still magical places to hang out.
Most malls around the country sport a Sears store along with a Macy’s or JCPenney and experts are advising not to be surprised to see the doors of many of those stores shuttered over the next year or so. “It’s getting ugly out there.”
Oh, and before ObamaCare, insurance rates were really low? 
So what else is the problem? For one, Americans are maxing out their credit cards far too early into the year and some of that can be blamed on higher health insurance costs (thanks, Obama) and rising taxes (thanks, Obama). (H/T WND).

Wisconsin Supreme Court Republicans Destroyed Integrity, Credibility with Chief Justice ouster, name calling and choking.

So, maybe our activist conservative state supreme court isn't just something dreamed up by Democrats? Getting major notice, our completely dysfunctional and discredited court. And this is just a sample:
New Yorker: The discredit to the court caused by the toothless recusal rule is now unmistakable, as it faces the most controversial legal matter in the state since the
budget-repair/collective-bargaining case. It is about what is known as the second John Doe investigation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, immediately stayed that part of the order and, last September, a unanimous panel of three judges overturned the ruling. Frank Easterbrook, a conservative who is one of the country’s most respected judges, wrote the opinion. Calling the lower court’s decision “imprudent” and “unnecessary,” he said that “the policy against federal interference in state litigation is especially strong when the state proceedings are criminal in nature.”

He also emphasized, “No opinion issued by the Supreme Court, or by any court of appeals, establishes (‘clearly’ or otherwise) that the First Amendment forbids regulation of coordination between campaign committees and issue-advocacy groups—let alone that the First Amendment forbids even an inquiry into that topic.” The U.S. Supreme Court is now considering whether to weigh in.

All of the Wisconsin justices look a lot like politicians, in particular the conservatives, who came to the bench with the support of powerful and aggressive political groups. Those justices’ integrity is compromised, as plainly as if they had personally solicited every dollar that helped elect them—and that helped drag the standing of their court so low.

Don’t Blame Walker, blame God.

Scott Walker, God's leader.

Scott Walker is just God’s conduit. Everything Walker has done, from destroying unions, stripping education and the environment? That's God working through Walker's leadership.

And that thing about not worshiping false idols? Nah, he wants your worship through prayer:
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker told a heavily — if not exclusively — Christian crowd gathered at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee Thursday to … pray for their leaders in government and business regardless of party or position. "Always pray for our leaders so that God's will, will be followed rather than their own," he said.
So this budget mess is God's fault? The ultimate passing of the buck.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Walker's Wisconsin raises big questions about "crazy Republican math!"

Finally, at least one Republican candidate for president may have to answer for his own failed economic policy, Scott Walker. Here's a sample of that coverage:
Bloomberg BusinessWisconsin’s projected tax collections … a blow as the potential Republican presidential candidate presents his state as a laboratory for limited government … a more robust forecast could've softened unpopular trims to primary and secondary education as well as the University of Wisconsin.

The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau: “If there is any additional revenue in the current year, it will likely be offset by reduced growth rates.”

Outside Wisconsin, the second-term governor presents his state as a model for the fiscal philosophy favored by his party’s core voters and top donors.

Democrats blamed Walker’s policies for the budget challenges: “With his complete failure to grow our economy, a deeply unpopular budget, and plummeting approval numbers, I get why the governor would rather be in any other state but Wisconsin,” Senator Jon Erpenbach said in a statement. Without changes, the state faces shortfall that may reach $2.2 billion in two years starting in July, according to Walker’s analysts. Tax cuts supported by Walker and Medicaid spending contributed to the deficit.
While republican talk about halting or getting rid of laws that don't work, they're not talking about their failed policies. Democrats have a logical and better idea:
Journal SentinelDemocrats ... on the Joint Finance Committee say the state should avoid the proposed education cuts by accept federal money to offset state health care spending, halting the phase-in of tax breaks for manufacturers, and not expanding state money for voucher programs for private K-12 schools.
But that kind of flexibility isn't possible. Republicans are on ideological autopilot:  
Legislative leaders said they wouldn't delay the phase-in of previous tax cuts or stop expansion of private taxpayer-funded voucher schools to undo more of the $300 million in proposed cuts to the University of Wisconsin System over two years. "For those of us who have been crossing our fingers and going to church on Sunday, it didn't work," Vos said of the flat tax projections. "We'll figure a way to make it all work out in the end."  Bob Lang, the veteran head of the fiscal bureau, said that tax revenue for this fiscal year is running behind projections by about 0.4 percentage points, or about $60 million. 
Here's coverage from WISC and WKOW:

Always a blistering critique from PoliticusUSA, and Sarah Jones:
PoliticusUSA: Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) promised Wisconsinites that he could jump start the economy with tax cuts for big business, even though this Republican economic model was partially responsible for the recession from which the state — and indeed the nation — was suffering. Just days ago, the Republican Governor trolled President Obama, claiming the country needed Walker’s “pro-growth economic policies”. Enter crazy Republican math, stage right. Things are not adding up for Walker’s budget.

The state’s GDP growth and personal income growth have trailed the national rate. Republicans have tried to blame Democrats for the economic failure of their policies by saying they were in charge “for many years”, but PolitiFact threw water on that false notion.

Sane people who can add would be thinking maybe we won’t roll out our additional tax cuts to manufacturing and farm businesses that started in 2011, especially because it turns out that the tax credits are going to cost “at least $275 million in additional lost tax collections over the next biennium, or more than double what was originally estimated.”

Walker pushes Tax Cut = Higher Revenues Myth, the reason for Budget Shortfall.

Here's what I consider the most logical and factually accurate coverage of the tax cut myth:
Tax Increase in Green and Balance
Correlating Tax Increases and Decreases with Revenue: By conveniently pointing to places where tax cuts were enacted at or around the time of a recovery or boom, tax cut advocates argue that tax cuts increase revenue. The problem with this is that the revenue increases following the Bush and Reagan tax cuts are dwarfed by the revenue increase following Bill Clinton’s tax increase on the wealthiest Americans.  

In fact, as a percentage of GDP, post-Reagan & Bush tax cut revenue falls below the 1965-2005 average. In other words, revenue increased because the economy was recovering/growing, and the tax cuts have little (probably nothing) to do with growth in GDP ... if anything, these tax cuts actually lowered revenue increased from what they would have been otherwise.  So the real question to ask is this: how much revenue did these tax cuts cost us?  See Historical Tax Rates.
Here's one of my favorite graphs, highlighting what my wife has been telling me for years about her own business. It's funny no one ever mentions it:
These lack of correlation between lower taxes and increased economic growth flies in the face of the assumptions of many. But upon a closer look, it’s easy to understand why higher taxes can actually encourage more investment in the economy.
Tax revenues happen for a number of reasons, reasons a graph in the Wall Street Journal purposefully avoided. I didn't picture it here for space and because I have better graphs that take into consideration many other factors, like these:
Reagan Tax Cuts: The Facts: Many Reagan apologists claim that these tax cuts created the robust economy that followed. However this ignores ignores the effects of the Federal Reserve’s lowering of interest rates. Reagan also increased military spending and ran up the federal deficit (the combined effect of tax cuts and increased spending). In other words, Reagan did exactly what Republican pundits who praise him are currently criticizing Obama for. Reagan advocates claim his tax cuts bolstered the economy while ignoring the lowered interest rates and increased deficit spending (kind of like an ongoing stimulus package).

Program to help drunk drivers defunded, shuffled off to DHS for "evaluation."

Pretrial drunk driving diversion grants, used to help get people treatment instead of costly stays in jail, is getting purposely shuffle off to another department to get defunded and then lost forever. Kind of flies in the face of republican efforts to get tough on drunk drivers by making the first offense a felony.

With little effort to hide their intentions, Rep. John Nygren let the cat out-of-the-bag with this:
"We're sending it to DHS. DHS will evaluate the effectiveness of this program. And if it's program seems to be effective, it will be funded."
Sen. Chris Taylor tried to lay a little guilt trip on them, for any deaths caused by their action, but then we are talking about a party of raging psychopaths:
"Somebody is gonna to be killed by one of these drivers who could have got treatment in this program if we don't do this and fund it." 
Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann:

Scott Walker and the Republicans still not used to Recycling, make cuts to program.

Why would Scott Walker vehemently oppose recycling? It cuts down on the landfills, saves the environment and creates jobs. Crazy? And it's not like we're not used to doing it yet.

But Walker's at it again. With the help of republican legislators, they want to destabilize the recycling program by cutting its budget the first year, but then restore it the second. Huh?
The recycling program cut that Republican committee members voted through reduces funding for local governments from $20 million to $16 million in the first year of Walker's budget. The funding would be restored in the second year.
It's a downward slide:
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck
It's not the first time Walker has cut recycling grants. The state used to spend about $30 million a year on the program before Walker was elected.
Fiscally clueless, Loudenbeck made this argument, like it actually made sense:
"I think what we are really trying to do is make the decisions that are going to put us in a good position for the beginning of the budget next year," said Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, who was among those who supported the measure.
Forcing recycling businesses to make cuts, then later, restore them when the funding returns seems...oddly stupid?

Madison Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor couldn't resist asking the obvious question:
"Who's saying 'recycle less'? I have never heard that argument. Ever."
Here's WPR's Shawn Johnson:

Big Government Republicans turning Dane County Red, by first taking control of their water quality.

Scott Walker Republicans aren't just calling all the shots statewide from Madison's Capitol, like they once whined Democrats did, they're now quickly taking control of liberal Dane County, possibly turning it to deep red.

In another big government republican power grab, the DNR will now over-develop Dane County at the expense of their water quality standards.
Republicans approved a newly introduced proposal to prevent Dane County from making decisions about its own water quality standards … require(ing) the Department of Natural Resources to handle water quality management decisions that cover issues like wastewater and sewage treatment, while banning the department from working with Dane County.
Just to be clear, according to republican Sen. Marklein, businesses have been suffering costly delays just to protect clean drinking water and the pristine lakes that make this a destination city:
Sen. Howard Marklein, whose district does not include Dane County, said the move was about speeding up decisions that affect economic development. "In the economic development business, the unknown costs a lot of money. Waiting months and months and months for a decision is expensive," he said.
Business complaints from who? Well, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants Marklein didn't know:
Marklein (R-Spring Green), said he put forward the measure at the behest of developers but claimed he couldn't recall their names. "I don't even remember who they were," he said. "We had a couple meetings with a couple people."
Now that's what I call good government. 

Yes, republicans are only doing this to Dane County because liberals are destroying the business climate here, unlike the rest of the state?
Fourth Economy, which refers to the newest phase of economic investment nationwide that combines agrarian, industrial and technology, announced it selected Dane County for its Economy Community Index for Mega-Sized Counties for 2015. The report highlights “communities ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth.” Dane County was ranked #2 in the top ten.

Dane County is among the strongest counties in the U.S. in terms of increasing jobs in information technology and related sectors during the five years ending in 2012, according to a report published this month ... Identified as one of the ten best places to live in the United States for three consecutive years in a row by Money Magazine (2007-09). In addition, ranked us among the top 20 places to launch a business in the United States (2009). 

Home to the fastest growing population of any county in Wisconsin … consistently rank among the top communities for work and play.
If the Name Fits - Big Government Republicans - Wear it...: 
The move caught Dane County lawmakers like Middleton Sen. Jon Erpenbach by surprise. Democrats bristled at the idea of Republicans writing a separate set of rules that target the most liberal county in Wisconsin while leaving the rest of the state alone.

"I know you don't like Madison, but this is no way to show it," Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) told Republicans on the committee."For the big government legislators out there who say state government's too damn big, this is why."
Here's coverage from WKOW and WPR:

Walker's Budget shortfall: Tax Cut Madness, Dwindling Revenues, and now bizarre State Fire Sale - Everything must go!!!

Gee, revenues came up short. Who could have foreseen that happening?

Democrats, that's who. And who didn't believe the Democrats? Republicans and their Borg-like believers who laughed at the whiny Democratic tax and spender election losers.

After all, Scott Walker sounded so sure of himself and his supply side corporate welfare state. Businesses did promise more jobs if they just had more money via tax cuts...suckers. No avalanche of jobs folks. Funny how republican politicians keep falling for that.

Magical Budgeting: Tax Cuts = Revenue Increases. That how they say it fantasy land.

Scott Walker's twisted spin on the bad news? He wants credit for seeing the huge budget deficit coming, prompting his fire sale cuts to everything that makes us Wisconsin. He's a courageous leader with big and bold ideas. And that previous bad budget republicans couldn't stop bragging about in the 2014 elections? Heck, that made all of the big and bold cuts today possible. Are they good or what?

Here's the tweet history:

Come on conservative voters, don't tell me you'll let these guys talk to you like this:
The Joint Finance co-chairs stressed today the revenue projections remain on target compared to what LFB announced in January. They also stressed the $2 billion in tax cuts Republicans have pushed through in recent years.
Weirder still, who knew budgets weren't for paying bills, but showing priorities? Like WEDC's lost loans and payouts to outsourcing companies? Getting rid of the state university and parks the taxpayers built? It's all about "priorities:"
"Budgeting is about priorities ... and continue to protect Wisconsin taxpayers," said Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Republican presidential hopefuls now forced to argue saving Medicare $400 million in two years was a disaster?

A reminder that Obama's Medicare reform plan, part of the Affordable Care Act, did not cut the program as republicans warned. More than that, it's saved money and ushered in a better, less costly way to provide health care. The Hill: 
ObamaCare program saves Medicare $400 million.

An independent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services on 
Going broke or starting to save half billion?
Monday finds that the pilot program saved Medicare more than $384 million across 2012 and 2013.

The pilot program, called Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations, is part of an effort to shift Medicare to paying for quality instead of quantity of care. Under the program, groups of doctors agree to accept lump payments under Medicare instead of individual payments for each service they provide, as in the traditional Medicare payment system.

The idea is to discourage unnecessary tests and procedures and better coordinate care. If the groups of doctors, known as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), end up keeping costs below the target, they get to keep some of the leftover money, providing an incentive to keep costs down.

The Best case against Guns.

Sadly it took an Australian to "Hulk Smash" EVERY ridiculous argument about guns and the 2nd Amendment. Down Under's gun ban is working out quite well.
Australian comedian Jim Jefferies was the victim of a home invasion once. He was tied up and beaten, and his girlfriend was threatened with rape. So you might think he'd sympathize with the idea that Americans want guns to protect their families. Quite the opposite — he does an excellent job of summing up why so many foreigners are baffled by America's gun culture:

Scott Walker denounces Clinton making lots of money in private sector. Income control the next target for Big Government Republicans?

I've never understood the level of anger and envy republicans like Scott Walker have when liberals, progressive and Democrats making lots of money. It's as if only conservatives have the formula for success and deserve bigger incomes.

Walker joins the ranks of other conservatives who have denounced the minimum wage, all the while claiming their goal is to give everyone a chance to make lots of money.

Mitt Romney made millions closing down companies and off shoring jobs. I guess he should have been president. But Bill Clinton, a former president, making money doing what he does best, speaking? Outrageous?

Will a "stand with Walker" supporter please tell me why Clinton's speaking fee is a problem for our conservative nanny state busybodies?

Over the top wage envy is clearly a problem for conservatives:

Death Star Wisconsin's Sith Lord Scott Walker?

Nice try for the younger republican voter....

It's really impossible to be hip republican:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sociopathic Republicans want to require "work" for Health Care, say "People should prove they are worth the investment."

The public’s eye’s glaze over when republican politicians talk about turning federal dollars into “block grants.” Republicans are counting on it. Block grants cut the federal strings that protect programs from restrictive rules and complicated nanny state requirements.

Below is an example of a nanny state republican road block. As it turns out, republican controlled states are revealing their extreme nanny state objectives, rolling out incredibly invasive, many times unconstitutional rules and regulations directed at our social safety nets. It's also a simpler way to cover up for their inability to increase job growth slowed by supply side voodoo economics.  

Digging deeper, here's how they use repetition and a common theme to create the illusion of fraud:

Using "voter fraud" as the template for everything else, here's the GOP standard talking point: "When it comes to "voter fraud," we've got a solution that would save money and return “confidence” and “integrity” to the system." Sounds familiar, doesn't it. That's because it now oddly applies to everything republicans want to do.

Substitute “voter fraud” in the previous sentence with “food stamps” or “unemployment.” See? This whole smoke screen became clear to me after republicans said the same thing about requiring a photo ID when using food stamps. Repetition that plays on the known conservative fear someone is getting something they're not.

Believe it or Not: A Work requirement for Medicaid? Using the same twisted logic, republicans nationally are hoping to provide health care for only those they feel have worked for it. Forget all those years of employment or possible job creation as a business owner, what have you done for us lately. According to Politico
In nearly a dozen Republican-dominated states, either the governor or conservative legislators are seeking to add work requirements to Obamacare Medicaid expansion, much like an earlier generation pushed for welfare to work.

The move presents a politically acceptable way for conservative states to accept the billions of federal dollars available under Obamacare. The Health and Human Services Department has rejected all requests by states to tie Medicaid to work.

Most potential Medicaid recipients already work – about 57 percent, according to a 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation study. Of those who don’t work, about a third said they were taking care of a home or family member, 20 percent were looking for work, and 17 percent were mentally ill or disabled. That‘s not much lower than the national labor force participation rate of nearly 63 percent as of February 2015. 
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah put it this way:
Despotic leaders use kids at props!
“I wanted to be able to say, ‘If you want the taxpayers to fund your health care, then you need to go out and be involved in a work program, no ifs, ands or buts.’ I've been accused by the Obama administration: ‘Well, you’re trying to turn this health care program into a work program.’ And I've said, ‘You’re right.’”

But the administration and its allies counter adding job requirements, time limits or other conditions subverts the health law’s goal of providing affordable and accessible care to the people who need it. It’s wrong to subsidize health insurance for middle-class people in exchanges while picking and choosing who among the poor deserves Medicaid assistance.
But the most grotesque way of looking at human suffering came from the most unlikely source:
Rev. Donnie Copeland, a pastor and rookie state lawmaker, who defeated an incumbent last year on an anti-Medicaid message. “We give them some money, that’ll get them by for the day. But it’s really not helping them long-term.” Medicaid is the same, in his view. "People should prove they are worth the investment."