Friday June 23, 2017

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Blue Jean Nation 'Wisconsin’s Economy: An about-face in 4 steps' PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 14:02

skilledworkersFor many, it’s hard to find work that enables you to make ends meet. Change is possible, but it will require us to understand growth and prosperity gush up, they do not trickle down.


ALTOONA, WI - When it comes to Wisconsin’s economy, those in power go to great lengths to direct everyone’s gaze at moderating unemployment in the state. They don’t want to acknowledge or discuss that while it’s possible to find work, for many it’s extremely hard to find work that enables you to make ends meet and stay in the middle class. Persistent stagnation and rising inequality are big parts of the full story of Wisconsin’s economy.

For years now, Wisconsin has depended on an economic development strategy devoted to empowering a few thousand of the wealthiest among us in hopes that some of what they have will trickle down to everyone else. Not much has trickled. At the heart of these feed-the-rich policies are tax breaks targeted to the wealthy and taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses with few strings attached.

Wisconsin needs to do an about-face. Instead of seeking to empower a few thousand people and then pray they work some magic for the rest of the population, the state should focus on empowering all of the more than 5 million people who live here. This turnabout can be accomplished in four steps.

The first step is to substantially boost wages. That means raising the wage floor and turning the minimum wage into a living wage. The federal minimum wage has been boosted more than 20 different times, and every increase was greeted by claims it would be a jobs killer. Jobs didn’t disappear. In fact, new ones materialized. The national economy grew steadily through every minimum wage increase. And states that increased their own minimum wages have seen faster job growth than those that didn’t. Makes perfect sense, actually. Put more money in workers’ pockets and they don’t pad their net worth with it or stash it in tax havens in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands, they spend it. And that stimulates the economy.

Step two is to restructure Wisconsin’s tax system. When you add up all  the state and local taxes we pay, the wealthiest 1% pay the lowest overall tax rate. That’s gotta change. There’s no need for new taxes, but there is a pressing need to make sure everyone pays the ones we already have. Requiring those in the top 1% to pay their fair share is key to doing something about economic inequality and empowering 5 million people who currently pay a bigger portion of their incomes in taxes.

The third step is to make education and job training as affordable for our kids and grandkids as it was for their parents and grandparents. Debt-free education and training has to be the state’s goal. A high school diploma alone is no longer a sure pathway to the American Dream. Wisconsin needs to clear a path that does not leave young people buried under a mountain of debt.

Step four is equipping every last person living in Wisconsin with indispensable 21st Century tools such as high-speed Internet and access to mobile phone service. Fully participating in the global economy and 21st Century American life is not possible without these tools. Wisconsin is lagging badly in this regard, and failing to catch up is a recipe for further economic stagnation and greater inequality.

An about-face is possible, and it can be done in four steps. But it will require a fundamental change of economic philosophy. Sustainable growth and prosperity gush up, they do not trickle down.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 May 2017 14:21
 
Russ Feingold "Our Government May Have No Legitimacy" PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Russ Feingold   
Saturday, 06 May 2017 08:47

russ-gbLEGIT PAC standing up to demand a new Voting Rights Act for the 21st century.


MADISON - Without the right to vote, a democracy has no legitimacy and cannot exist.

Across the United States right now, this vital right is under attack. And it’s undermining our government’s legitimacy as we speak.

When millions of people are denied the right to vote, it means elections don’t reflect the true will of the people. And that means the candidates that win don’t have legitimate authority to govern.

That’s a big problem for all of us. To combat this legitimacy crisis, today we’re standing up to demand a new Voting Rights Act for the 21st century. Will you lend your name?

Sign on today. Demand a new 21st Century Voting Rights Act to combat the legitimacy crisis in our government.

It’s crucially important that we fight for the rights of those who are being denied the ability to vote. It is unfair and unjust.

But we aren’t just fighting for their sake. This is a matter of preserving and restoring the legitimacy of our entire government.

Just as the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 addressed many of the worst voter suppression tactics of its day, like poll taxes and literacy tests, so must the new 21st Century Voting Rights Act address modern abuses like gerrymandering and racially motivated voter ID laws and felon disenfranchisement.

Show your support for a new 21st Century Voting Rights Act today. Add your name.

Legitimate democracy comes from the people. For every citizen prevented from casting a ballot, our democracy takes a hit. But just as with all good things in a democracy, this one won’t change unless the people demand it.

Thank you for showing your support today,

Russ Feingold

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 May 2017 09:10
 
Health Care Fight Just Getting Started PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig   
Saturday, 06 May 2017 08:23

2017-05-05People from all over Wisconsin are joining with Citizen Action to kill this disastrous bill in the Senate.


MILWAUKEE - Thursday Donald Trump and Paul Ryan forced through the House by the thinnest of margins their morally reprehensible health care bill.

But as long as we keep fighting the battle is far from over. The solution, as it always is in America, is more democracy.

The House would have passed this bill months ago if it was not for the unprecedented outpouring of democratic engagement from citizens like you. If we keep it up, we can kill this disastrous bill in the Senate.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is leading the fight. We had 4 major rallies across the state during the vote on Thursday and had a big rapid response rally Friday in front of Senator Ron Johnson’s Milwaukee office.

People from all over Wisconsin are joining with Citizen Action in unprecedented numbers.

We need to keep on fighting until we have established health care as a fundamental right in America.

We can continue to organize a powerful opposition if we have the resources.

*****

Make an express donation to fund this effort by clicking here.

 
Shilling On U.S. House AHCA Vote PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District   
Friday, 05 May 2017 16:59

elderlyLA CROSSE, WI - Congressional Republicans voted Thursday to increase health care premiums, limit coverage and enact an age tax on older Americans.

Republican efforts to shift costs onto vulnerable families while giving massive tax breaks to the wealthy demonstrates a clear moral divide. The AHCA is a boon for insurance executives, drug companies and the wealthy at the expense of Wisconsin families and seniors.

shilling-speaksI am shocked that Gov. Scott Walker and Legislative Republicans would support this dangerous plan that will impact thousands of families and seniors in our state. Wisconsin families suffering from serious illnesses, individuals with preexisting conditions and older adults living on a fixed income will lose coverage through no fault of their own. The human cost of this bill is tragic.

I want to thank Congressman Ron Kind (WI-3) for his steadfast opposition to the AHCA and his vote against this dangerous proposal. I encourage individuals who want to express their opposition to the AHCA to call Sen. Ron Johnson at (202) 224-5323 and Sen. Tammy Baldwin at (202) 224-5653.

In scoring the AHCA, the Congressional Budget Office reported 24 million Americans will lose their health care coverage by 2026. It is estimated that at least 311,000 Wisconsin residents will lose their health care coverage under the Republican plan. Thousands more will face increased costs and reduced coverage of vital health services.

****

Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released this statement Thursday following the vote.

 
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