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Blue Jean Nation "Trotting out the whipping boy" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Tuesday, 24 January 2017 11:06

walkerWalker’s golden shower economics haven’t been the answer, which leaves him in need of a whipping boy, a scapegoat, someone to bear the blame for his administration’s failings. This time it's food stamp recipients.


ALTOONA, WI - For as long as there have been politicians, there have been whipping boys. Politicians need someone to punish for their own shortcomings.

No one is better with the whip than Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He is highly skilled in the use of divide-and-conquer tactics, a master at pitting one group of struggling and vulnerable people against another.  It’s his favorite play, the governor’s political equivalent of Vince Lombardi’s Power Sweep or USC’s famed “Student Body Right.”

Walker turns to this page in his playbook repeatedly, whenever he’s feeling the least bit threatened politically. He just did it again, proposing stricter work requirements for those receiving food stamps in Wisconsin.

He is counting on Democrats to rush to the defense of food stamp recipients. He wants them to accuse him of beating up on the poor. He needs them to. They surely will oblige, which is critical to the successful execution of the governor’s play.

Once they do what they always do, Walker can paint the Democrats as the party of handouts, the party devoted to taking from those who work and giving to those who don’t. And he can pit those who are having a hard time making ends meet but don’t qualify for food stamps against those who rely on them to eat.

Most importantly, he can divert attention from the dismal failure of his feed-the-rich economic policies. With Walker at the helm, Wisconsin is leading the nation in shrinkage of the middle class. The state is dead last in new business start-ups and entrepreneurial activity.

When Walker does what he always does and the Democrats respond how they always respond, the questions that most need asking don’t get asked. The debate that is most needed is never had.

Wisconsin should be debating how to create an economy where if you work you won’t be poor and won’t go hungry. It is undeniable that we don’t have such an economy today. We should be aspiring to an economy where food stamps and other forms of welfare become unnecessary.

We should be talking about the fact that government spends more on corporate welfare than it does on social welfare that makes up the proverbial safety net. We should be discussing how to create an economy anchored in a free and fair market for everyone, not crony capitalism for a favored few. We should be demanding that Walker’s corporate welfare office be shut down.

We should be acknowledging that demand and not supply is the primary driver of economic growth and that feeding the rich in hopes of stoking supply has been a miserable failure, never producing more than a trickle for the masses and causing the grotesque economic inequality and the slow but steady extermination of the middle class we are experiencing today.

Wisconsin is a shadow of its former self economically. Walker’s golden shower economics haven’t been the answer, which leaves him in need of a whipping boy, a scapegoat, someone to bear the blame for his administration’s failings. That’s where food stamp recipients come in handy to him, so long as the Democrats play into his hands and do their part to help him isolate and stigmatize them.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2017 11:19
 
Audits Raise Cautions about Pension Fund Management PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Monday, 23 January 2017 14:10

union-members-at-capitolThe Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee scheduled a public hearing on the Wisconsin Retirement System pension fund after recent audits revealed it's performance fell to 9th among ten comparable state pension plans.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2017 17:58
Read more...
 
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign "Un-rig the Budget!" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Saturday, 21 January 2017 10:09

health_care_dayWisconsin’s budget has been rigged in favor of the well-heeled who manipulate the system, so we need to work in coalition with other pro-democracy groups to make a difference.


MADISON - One thing we take seriously around here is the need to work in coalition with other pro-democracy groups in Wisconsin.

So I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple months working with the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and with Citizen Action and lots of other good groups to show how Wisconsin’s budget has been rigged in favor of the well-heeled who manipulate the system—and to show what we could do for the people of Wisconsin if we un-rigged it just a little bit by simply closing two big loopholes.

Here’s what we came up with:

A Wisconsin Budget for All: How We Can Invest to Help Wisconsin Communities Thrive

On Wednesday, we held press conferences in Madison and Milwaukee to unveil this exciting proposal. In the Assembly Parlor of the State Capitol, there were several good speeches. One of the best was from Bishop Froiland, whose inspiring remarks you can read here:

We can fund what we need to fund

In the upcoming elections here in Wisconsin, the only statewide race that is being contested is the one for Superintendent of Public Instruction. There’s no one running against Annette Ziegler for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in part because Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce backs Ziegler, and WMC has made it clear over the last few years that it’s willing to spend whatever it takes to keep business-friendly justices on the bench. (Those justices should have the initials “WMC” embroidered onto their black robes!)

Anyway, here are the biggest donors in the superintendent race:

Top contributors to candidates for state school superintendent

If you know me at all, you know I believe in marching for our rights. So just in case you’re marching this weekend, I wanted to leave with you with a stanza of poetry from Andrea Hernandez Holm:

We make sense of the universe
When we march.
The pounding of our feet reverberates,
Returns to the life force
In all that surrounds us.

All the best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 January 2017 15:59
 
Blue Jean Nation "Why not repeal and replace?" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 16:10

handsoff-medicareRepublicans simply say “repeal and replace”, but simple solutions don’t work. One well established and widely supported federal health care system is available as a model for all, Medicare.


ALTOONA, WI - Republicans have simple answers to every question, simple solutions to every problem. Simple solutions that don’t work.

Health care is no exception. Republicans simply say “repeal and replace.” They’re talking about the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare.

They’ve got the repeal part down. Since the law was approved in 2010, Congressional Republicans have voted more than 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It’s the replace part that has them stumped. They offered no alternative in the past, and haven’t yet figured out what to put in its place.

It should be noted that all those votes were taken to repeal the law when GOP lawmakers weren’t actually in a position to make it happen. They were merely posturing. Now they are in control of both houses of Congress and will be working with a Republican president who says he’s committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare. There’s nothing standing in their way anymore. Except for the politically uncomfortable fact that only about a quarter of Americans want to see the law repealed. And that pesky business of coming up with something to replace it with.

If the new Congress and the new inhabitants of the White House are bound and determined to repeal and replace Obamacare, then do it right. Do it in a way that makes health care more accessible and affordable. Do it in a way that makes the health care system less bureaucratic and brings down administrative overhead costs. Here’s how. Repeal the law, then roll the existing Medicare and Medicaid programs into one and call it Americare. Make every American eligible for it. No one would be forced to enroll. If you want to continue to buy private insurance, you should be free to do so. But Americare would be there for everyone who wants it.

Two federal programs and their accompanying bureaucracies as well as the federal infrastructure devoted to administering the Affordable Care Act and its insurance exchanges would be brought under a single roof, making the federal health care system more streamlined and efficient. Medicare provides a sturdy foundation upon which to build Americare. Medicare is well established and widely supported by the seniors it serves, so popular that one of the signs most commonly seen at Tea Party rallies carried the message “Keep Government Out of My Medicare” or some variation on that theme.

Any program that has earned that kind of loyalty from Tea Partyers and is so highly valued by the nation’s elderly should be made available to Americans of all ages. All Americans should be allowed to benefit from the fact that Medicare does a far better job of controlling costs and is much more administratively efficient than the rest of the U.S. health care system.

Our country is ranked at or near the bottom in the developed world in the efficiency and effectiveness of health care. We spend more and get less. We can do better. Way better.

Out with Obamacare. In with Americare.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 January 2017 20:43
 
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