Category Archives: Politics

Baldwin’s Blueprint for Success

Ha.

Instead, Baldwin, D-Madison, says her resounding re-election victory last fall is a blueprint for other Democrats to win the pivotal swing state of Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential race.

Let’s see… be a gay woman running in a pale blue state in an off-year, wave election. Got it.

Beto Draws Massive Crowds in Wisconsin

Bwhahahaha

Beto O’Rourke said Friday during a visit to Wisconsin that before deciding whether he will join the increasingly crowded field of Democrats running for president in 2020, he wants to meet with voters in the “most honest, raw, real way possible.”

The former Texas congressman met with about 20 students at Milwaukee Area Technical College before heading to UW-Madison for a similar event on campus that attracted more than 200 students and faculty.

“I came here with not much of an agenda other than to listen to you,” he told students at Madison, before speaking against President Donald Trump’s border wall and immigration policies as well as urging action to combat climate change.

I also love the “I came here to listen” line before launching into the normal lefty rhetoric. Beto must be so awesome that he can talk and listen at the same time.

On WISN @ 1705

I’ll be on the Mark Belling show this afternoon on AM1130 at 1705 with guest host Dave Michaels to discuss my story about West Bend teachers pushing their liberal ideology on kids.

Tune in!

Rep. Grothman Voted Against Funding Deal

I’m with Glenn. This is a bad deal. My rep, Congressman Sensenbrenner, also voted “no.”

“Due to the short amount of time we had to read the bill, it would be impossible to know all of the provisions within it. New, bad provisions seem to be uncovered every hour. I can confidently say, knowing what I already do, I cannot, in good conscience, vote for such a bill. I am aware that this bill is a compromise and I can’t expect all I want, but this is ridiculous.

While most public attention will focus on immigration provisions, that is actually a small section of the bill. One of my main concerns is that this bill spends too much money. America just exceeded $22 trillion in debt and we are borrowing about 22 percent of our budget. President Trump tried to bring some fiscal discipline to Congress, but they decided to spend 19 percent more than what the President proposed in this bill and overall two percent more than last year.

Since we must secure our border, one would hope this portion of the bill would make up for the spending described above. Actually, it makes things worse. According to President Trump’s border patrol expert, we need a minimum of $8 billion to build a wall that will make a meaningful, positive impact. The Democrats initially proposed $1.6 billion for wall funding and actually reduced that amount in the final draft of this bill to just under $1.4 billion. There are also provisions allowing local units of government along the border to drag out the process of building a wall.

Worst of all, gang members and criminals can stay in the U.S. if they find a child, any child, to accompany them. How immoral. I voted no because this is not a compromise, it’s a surrender.”

States Consider Colluding Against Corporate Handouts

Interesting.

This, as the End Corporate Welfare Act is circulating in several states, including New York. The bill would essentially call a cease-fire on awarding tax incentives to certain companies by creating an interstate compact of states that agree to end the practice.

New York’s bill is being sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Kim and state Sen. Julia Salazar, who have criticized the state’s deal with Amazon for months. “We are definitely glad our organizing has paid off,” says Michael Carter, a spokesman for Salazar. “This is not the first [corporate welfare] deal and it certainly won’t be last. But maybe now companies will think twice about pursuing one of these deals in the state of New York.”

A similar version to New York’s bill is also making its way through the Arizona and Illinois legislatures, while lawmakers in other states, including Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey, are considering introducing such legislation.

From a philosophical standpoint, I get it. It is frustrating that some businesses shop their stuff around looking for the best corporate handout. The problem is that it will never work. With 50 states and hundreds of cities, it only takes one to cave to break the cartel. Plus, with business increasingly global, there is no way that we can prevent other nations from incenting businesses to locate there.

Amazon Changes Mind About New York

Wow. Wisconsin should take note. Big, global businesses can locate anywhere. *cough* Foxconn *cough*

New York (CNN Business)Amazon is ditching its plans to build a new headquarters in New York after facing backlash from members of the community.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Jodi Seth, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement.

In the statement, Amazon noted that “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

Amazon selected New York City and Northern Virginia in November to split duty as its second headquarters (nicknamed HQ2) after a year-long search. Each city was expected to have more than 25,000 workers over time.

At least Queens won’t be gentrified with all of those good jobs and better standard of living.

 

Pushing Liberalism in West Bend High Schools

At West Bend High School, there is a required, one semester class called “U.S. Government and Law.” The course overview says:

In this course, students will experience how the wheels of government and justice work at the local, state, and federal level. Student activities and hands-on experiences will be emphasized to demonstrate how “We the People” are affected by and function within our government and law. Students electing to take Advanced Placement U.S. History have the option of taking this course in grades 10,11, or 12.

Good, right? I would argue that part of the reason for public education is to equip people to be active participants in our civic society, so this kind of education is good. One semester seems entirely inadequate, but at least it will provide kids with a rudimentary understanding of the levels of government, how legislation works, how the legal system works, etc., right?

Wrong. With one precious semester to teach kids about their government, the teachers at West Bend High Schools are using it as an opportunity to advocate liberalism to the impressionable teenagers under their care.

Here is a description from Esquire, of all places, of what happens in class:

The class recently took a political-opinion poll that places students on a forty-four-point spectrum from Conservative Reactionary (22C) to Liberal Radical (22L). About two thirds of the class were moderate to liberal, falling between 1L and 22L. Ryan says a few kids landed at the extremes: one “conservative radical,” a boy, and three “liberal extremists,” all girls.

[…]

Mr. Inkmann then has the students sing two songs written by another West Bend teacher. “The Liberal Song” is set to the tune of “Ode to Joy.” Mr. Inkmann offers to sing first before everyone joins in. “If I were a liberal, liberal, life would be so very great,” the lyrics read, “knowing that in liberal land this other man could marry me.” The students flip through their political-spectrum packets to follow along. One kid snaps his fingers, rocking out. “The Conservative Song,” set to the tune of “Beer Barrel Polka,” includes lines like “I hate social programs, they really make me want to puke / I would rather use the money for a two-ton nuke” and “Welfare is not good, before we had it, people tried / And I hope the biggest criminals are electrified!”

Yes, you’re reading that right. Here are the songs written by the other teacher:

You can see the difference in the language. The liberal song is positive and uses words and phrases like “loved,” “happy,” “pro-choice,” “protest in a big parade,” “end pollution,” etc. The conservative song is negative and uses words like, “hate,” “women should stay home, pro-create, cook,” “hate gay marriage,” want to puke,” etc. This is a liberal’s caricature of conservatism. It’s a straw man that the teachers then spend the rest of class tearing down. It is not even close to an accurate description of modern conservative philosophy.

This is not isolated. I’m told that in Mr. Kieser’s class, the teacher who wrote the lyrics, it is much the same. The first few weeks of the semester have been spent having kids identify their stances on political issues and then the teacher will spend oodles of time “explaining” to the kids how the liberal positions are the better positions – without outright saying it, of course. The message to the kids is clear, however, if you hold conservative views, you are a violent heartless bigot.

This is not a rogue teacher. This is part of the planned course of study.

There are two outrages here. First, the obvious outrage that the lefty teachers are abusing their positions of authority to push their lefty views on kids. Second, they are wasting educational time on this junk instead of using it to teach the kids about their government and legal system.

It would be easy to fill four years of civics classes with just the mechanics of government and law – without even getting into political philosophies. And yet West Bend is choosing to fill class time with this and leave the kids ignorant about everything except the basics of our government and legal systems. Curriculum is about choices and the West Bend schools are choosing to advance liberalism with the scarce classroom time allotted to them.

Evers Promises Another Spending Increase

Boy, they sure are adding up. So far, Evers hasn’t met a spending increase he doesn’t like.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said he will “fully fund” a tuition freeze for University of Wisconsin students in his first budget.

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers first froze tuition for in-state undergraduate students in 2013. They continued the freeze in every budget since.

Speaking at the annual Superior Days gathering in Madison, Evers hinted that he would propose a tuition freeze of his own.

“We will be releasing our budget soon and we will be funding the tuition freeze,” Evers said. “We will be sure that all the campuses across the state are thriving.”

State should refund tax surplus to the middle class

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

The state of Wisconsin has a problem. Thanks to the manufacturing renaissance, economic boom, and record employment fostered by the Republican policies of the previous eight years, tax revenue has been cascading into Madison at record levels. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, this will leave an estimated budget surplus of over $600 million in state government coffers at the end of the current fiscal year.

In a perfect world, the government would do one, or both, of two things with a budget surplus. They would either give the money back to the taxpayers who paid it or pay down some of the state’s outstanding debt. What they should never do is use surplus money as an excuse to spend more.

It is worth pausing for a moment to consider what surplus tax revenue really is. Every tax dollar that is taken from a citizen by the government is a dollar that cannot be used by that citizen for anything else. It cannot be used to pay for the citizen’s food, child care, health care, education, clothing, or housing. It also cannot be used to start a business, support a charity, or saved for retirement. Politicians should treat each tax dollar as sacred because every dollar represents an opportunity seized from a citizen with the coercive power of government.

The Republicans in the Legislature are on the right track with their handling of the surplus. The Republicans are working to pass a middle-class tax cut that would simply give the tax surplus back to the taxpayers by increasing the standard deduction for the income tax for families who earn up to $155,000 and individuals who earn up to $127,000.

It is not a perfect plan because it does not refund the surplus to all of the taxpayers who actually paid the tax. By excluding higher income Wisconsinites from the tax cut, the Republicans’ bill still panders to the vanity of politicians seeking reelection by redistributing tax dollars to a favored subset of the populace — in this case, the middle-class taxpayers. But the Republican tax cut is still elegant in its simplicity and clarity of purpose. It is also far superior to the governor’s plan.

Gov. Tony Evers opposes the Republicans’ plan and has proposed a tax increase in its stead. While the state’s coffers are overflowing with the hard-earned money of Wisconsin’s taxpayers, Governor Evers is proposing a redistributionist scheme whereby he would increase taxes to pay for more welfare and a more restricted income tax cut.

In Evers’ plan, he would jack up taxes on Wisconsin’s manufacturers by capping the manufacturers’ tax credit. Then he would use that money to expand Wisconsin’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which redistributes tax dollars to many people who did not pay income taxes, and provide a modest graduated income tax cut to families who earn less than $150,000 or individuals who earn less than $100,000.

Evers’ plan still leaves about $375 million unfunded, which means it would have to come out of the state budget. Given that Evers has announced plans to support spending increases in every major area of state government, one would presume that he would have to find another tax to increase to pay for the $375 million.

Noticeably, Governor Evers does not factor the surplus into his plan at all. His plan is a straight redistributionist scheme that raises taxes on one group of Wisconsinites to give it to another group of Wisconsinites. Presumably, Evers wants to just spend the surplus on some other spending boondoggle. In other words, Evers has made it clear that he wants to spend every extra dollar sent to Madison and then hike taxes even further to spend more. Fortunately, Wisconsin’s voters elected a Republican Legislature to check Evers’ tax and- spending ways.

The Republicans in the Legislature should pass their middle-class tax cut and surplus refund and put it on Evers’ desk to sign forthwith. Then the taxpayers will see whether our new governor prioritizes his tax and spending increases over refunding the tax surplus to middle class Wisconsinites.

National Debt hits $22,000,000,000,000

That’s $67,547 for every man, woman, and child in our nation. Debt like this will crash our nation like it has every other nation that spends itself into oblivion.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The national debt has passed a new milestone, topping $22 trillion for the first time.

The Treasury Department’s daily statement showed Tuesay that total outstanding public debt stands at $22.01 trillion. It stood at $19.95 trillion when President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017.

The debt figure has been rising at a faster pace following passage of Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut in December 2017 and action by Congress last year to increase spending on domestic and military programs.

California Abandons High Speed Rail

But, but… GREEN NEW DEAL!

McConnell to Call Vote for Green New Deal

Fantastic.

McConnell told reporters after a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus that he has “great interest” in the plan, which would spell an end for coal, a key economic driver in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, while promising new jobs for out-of-work miners and other workers.

“We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,” McConnell said.

McConnell did not say when the vote would happen. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the vote has not been scheduled.

Bill Introduced to Add Jailers to Protective Status

Hmmm

WEST BEND — County officials are so concerned about a possible new state mandate that they will consider passing an advisory resolution when they meet Wednesday night.

The “new mandate” idea, being circulated at the state capital, would create an option for county jail staff to become protective status employees in the

Wisconsin Retirement System. The proposal at the state level is called Assembly Bill 5 and Senate Bill 5. Waukesha County officials are also working to let local state lawmakers know of their concern. The Washington County advisory resolution calls for the completion of an actuarial study before the bill becomes law to ensure that creating the opt-in for county jail staff would not negatively impact county taxpayers or current WRS enrollees.

Here’s the deal… the Wisconsin Retirement System classifies some government jobs as “protective occupations.” The classification is intended to give government employees who are responsible for public safety an option to retire earlier than other government employees. It generally includes police and firefighters. That option to retire early comes at additional cost to the taxpayers. After all, if a police officer is retiring at 55, the taxpayers have to pay her retirement while also paying for her replacement to fill the job. It is an expensive perk, but one that we have chosen to extend in recognition of the importance and physical demands of the job.

The bill referenced in the article is being sponsored by Republicans and would add jailers to the list of protective occupations and allow them to retire early – at taxpayers’ expense. Fortunately, I don’t see any of my representatives sponsoring the bill, but there are some traditionally conservative legislators on the list.

This bill is bad for two reasons. First, it will be expensive. Second, there is a pervasive shortage of jailers in the state. Allowing a swath of them to retire early will only exacerbate the problem. While being a jailer is an honorable and necessary job, the taxpayers should not be finding an early retirement perk for it.

State should refund tax surplus to the middle class

My column for the Washington County Daily News is in print and online. Here’s a sample:

The state of Wisconsin has a problem. Thanks to the manufacturing renaissance, economic boom, and record employment fostered by the Republican policies of the previous eight years, tax revenue has been cascading into Madison at record levels. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, this will leave an estimated budget surplus of over $600 million in state government coffers at the end of the current fiscal year.

In a perfect world, the government would do one, or both, of two things with a budget surplus. They would either give the money back to the taxpayers who paid it or pay down some of the state’s outstanding debt. What they should never do is use surplus money as an excuse to spend more.

It is worth pausing for a moment to consider what surplus tax revenue really is. Every tax dollar that is taken from a citizen by the government is a dollar that cannot be used by that citizen for anything else. It cannot be used to pay for the citizen’s food, child care, health care, education, clothing, or housing. It also cannot be used to start a business, support a charity, or saved for retirement. Politicians should treat each tax dollar as sacred because every dollar represents an opportunity seized from a citizen with the coercive power of government.

The Republicans in the Legislature are on the right track with their handling of the surplus. The Republicans are working to pass a middle-class tax cut that would simply give the tax surplus back to the taxpayers by increasing the standard deduction for the income tax for families who earn up to $155,000 and individuals who earn up to $127,000.

Northam Calls Slaves “Indentured Servants”

It is entirely possible that this man is a blithering idiot. It is also entirely possible that he’s a raging bigot. Then again, those two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

The governor’s damage-limitation efforts risked making matters worse when he told the interviewer that 400 years has passed since the “first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores”.

CBS presenter Gayle King, who is African American, said: “Also known as slavery.”

According to Encyclopedia Virginia, which is produced in partnership with the Library of Virginia, the first Africans to arrive in Virginia were sold in exchange for food in August 1619 from the English ship White Lion.

Unlike indentured servants, who were typically released after paying off the debt of their voyage to America, black slaves were rarely freed.

After the interview aired on Monday, Mr Northam released a statement defending his word choice.

He said that during a recent speech he “referred to them in my remarks as enslaved”.

“A historian advised me that the use of indentured was more historically accurate. The fact is, I’m still learning and committed to getting it right.”

It’s really not that hard to get it right.

DPI Ordered to Release Open Records

This is the cultural norm in Wisconsin’s government education establishment. Delay, deflect, deny.

According to the lawsuit, WILL first requested three sets of ESSA-related records in August 2018, then sent a follow-up email the following month. A DPI employee said the request was in progress on Sept. 21, 2018.

WILL deputy counsel Thomas Kamenick followed up again on Nov. 12, and the request was partially fulfilled the following day. Portions of the request were denied for being “insufficiently specific” and “unreasonably burdensome,” and WILL send a narrowed request the following month, which DPI acknowledged on Dec. 13.

The most recent update from DPI, according to the lawsuit, was on Jan. 4, to notify WILL that the request was being worked on as a “priority,” but had been delayed due to the holidays and the election.

Klobuchar Launches Failed Presidential Run

Someone should have thought through the optics on this, but given her reputation as a screaming harpy, I doubt any of her staff wanted to cross her.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined the Democratic presidential field on Sunday and was welcomed to the competition with a tweet from President Donald Trump, who mocked her for talking about global warming in her speech while giving it in the snow.

‘By the end of her speech she looked like a Snowman(woman)!,’ he sniped about the woman running for the right to take him on in 2020.

Klobuchar made her announcement on a snow-filled day in Minneapolis, in a speech that countered the president’s policies on climate change and immigration along with knocking his divisive tone in politics.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar made her announcement on a snowy day at an outdoor event on Boom Island, a park that juts into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis

Study Says Transition to Renewable Energy Would be Swell

LOL

Moving away from fossil fuels could create thousands of jobs, improve public health, and increase overall economic activity by nearly $14 billion in Wisconsin, according to a new study.

[…]

The study, done at the request of La Crosse County, is hypothetical and doesn’t address technological challenges.

“The impetus for this whole study was just to figure out whether producing our energy in-state would be beneficial to the economy and people and the environment of Wisconsin,” said David Abel, a UW energy researcher and lead author of the study.

Ahhh, to be an academic…

Tax Cut Works Through Assembly

I like the policy and I like the political tactic.

MADISON – A panel of Republican lawmakers advanced a plan to cut income taxes for middle-class families that Gov. Tony Evers has said he would oppose because of the way it’s funded.

The $338 million plan would reduce an average married couple’s income taxes by about $300 and heads to the Assembly floor next week.

But Evers reiterated he wouldn’t support the plan less than two hours after it passed the Legislature’s finance committee 10-3 over the objection of Democratic members.

“Republicans proved today that they’re more interested in protecting handouts for millionaires than providing tax relief for middle-class families,” Evers’ spokeswoman Britt Cudaback said about the Republican plan. “Introducing a competing proposal that uses one-time funds and leaves taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in the future isn’t compromise, it’s just fiscally irresponsible.”

But Republican leaders of the finance committee said, “we are delivering a real, middle-class tax cut for Wisconsin families.”

On policy, this is a very simple concept. The State of Wisconsin has a surplus of tax revenue and this would give it back to the taxpayers who paid it. For example, if you overpay for a cup of coffee, you get the surplus back, right? We call it “change.” Evers opposes this simple concept because he doesn’t really want a tax cut. He wants to keep most or all of the surplus and redistribute it back to people he likes. It would be like if you overpaid for that cup of coffee and Barista Evers handed your change to the bum shooting up in the Starbucks’ bathroom. Evers’ policy is neither fair nor right.

On the political front, the Republicans are doing exactly the right thing. Push this tax cut through the legislature and put it on Evers’ desk. Then he will be forced to veto a middle-class tax cut as one of his first acts as governor or let it pass. Hopefully, his better Angels prevail and he gives the taxpayers change for overpaying the cost of government this year.

Evers To End Dark Store Valuation Methodology

Here’s something I can agree with.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A change to the way empty box stores are assessed could reduce your property taxes. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said his state budget proposal will include a provision to close what’s known as the dark store tax loophole.

The governor made the announcement today after speaking at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting in Madison. He hopes that it will help cities across the state increase their tax revenue to pay for projects.

Here’s my column on this from last year.