Monday March 18, 2019

Forward with Education & Reason


Featured on the Green Bay Progressive Today!

john-belushi-as-blutoALTOONA, WI - I hear it or see it every day. Somebody says it at a meeting. Or posts it as a comment on an Internet message board or social media site. It’s imbedded in a question asked at some public forum. It is on a sign at a demonstration.

Democracy in America has been killed. It’s dead. It’s over.

I disagree for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that democracy is more verb than noun and verbs can’t be killed. Democracy lives as long as there are at least some among us who are doing it.

There’s no overlooking the fact that democracy is gravely ill in many respects, however. Democracy is dependent on many things, but none more important than the consent of the governed. What passes for consent of the governed nowadays is frightening when you consider what most Americans think of those doing the governing and further consider how elected officials demonstrate that they don’t care what the general public thinks.

The two major parties have very different ways of dealing with these troubling conditions. The Democrats run scared. There is a long list of things they believe but won’t say and things they would like to do but don’t. The Republicans run roughshod. Their answer for pretty much everything is more tax cuts primarily benefiting the rich and more government deregulation. Regardless of what the public wants, that’s what Republicans do. They are one-trick ponies, even though the trick has only made the rich vastly richer, the poor poorer, and the middle class disappear. For decades now it hasn’t produced the widespread prosperity they promise, yet they don’t try anything different. They double down on their one trick.

Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   

conference-roomMADISON - The state Senate approved and sent to the governor a bill on Wednesday that changes the longtime hiring process for 30,000 public sector jobs. The measure was backed by powerful business and conservative ideological groups that have spent millions of dollars since 2011 to help Republican lawmakers, who control the legislature, and GOP Gov. Scott Walker keep their jobs.

The measure, Assembly Bill 373, overhauls the state’s 110-year-old civil service hiring process by eliminating the requirement that job applicants take exams; shortening the process used by employees to appeal their discipline or dismissal by more than half; and prohibiting senior employees from avoiding termination by bumping less-senior workers from their jobs.

AB373, which was approved on a party line 19 to 14 vote in the Senate, was passed in October by the Assembly, and now goes to Walker, who supports it, for his signature.

Backers of the bill say the civil service process needed to be changed because it takes too long to hire and fire people. Opponents of the measure say the changes will hurt the quality of the state’s workforce by bringing political patronage and corruption back into the hiring of public employees.

The special interests behind the bill are generous backers of Republican legislators and Walker.

AB373 is backed by the state’s largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative ideological group created and funded bybillionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   

walker-wedcMADISON - State revenue numbers released today by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau show Wisconsin’s economy continues to under perform, with actual state revenues nearly $100 million below earlier projections.

“The nearly $100 million shortfall in revenue today shows the state’s economy is still lagging badly behind neighboring states like Minnesota which has a $1.9 billion surplus,” said State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). “Wisconsin families still continue to struggle under a GOP-controlled Legislature that has chosen to give over $2 billion in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy and cut public and higher education by $2 billion.”

Continuing to give more tax breaks to the wealthy in the hope they will invest here, rather than send more of their money offshore to tax havens, has not proven as beneficial to the Wisconsin economy as Gov. Scott Walker had hoped.

Investing in Wisconsin families by improving funding for education, making it possible for nearly 1 million state residents to refinance their student loans, and fixing ailing roads and highways would provide more proven ways to stimulate growth.

2015 saw the continuation of mass layoffs and outsourcing under the Walker administration while job growth and family income continue to remain sluggish.

dave-hansen“Instead of giving billions in tax dollars to corporations that send Wisconsin jobs overseas we should restore the $200 million cut to technical colleges that have limited their ability to train workers for new jobs and invest in our local roads and highways,” said Hansen.

The GOP’s ongoing failure to address the growing student loan crisis continues to drag down the state’s economy. A recent study by the Baird investment firm shows that people with student loans are less likely to participate in the economy: 63% said they were unable to buy a new car; 75% say it has hurt their ability to buy a home and 43% said they have put off starting a family.

“We cannot repair our economy without truly addressing the high cost of student loans," said Hansen.  "Passing refinancing will not just make it possible for thousands of Wisconsin residents to buy new cars and homes or start families, it is one of the single best things we could do to improve our struggling economy.”

Written by GBP Staff   
Page 297 of 319

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