Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Politics

Assembly Democrats Want to Continue Virtually

I agree with Vos on this one.

Assembly Democrats are demanding legislators be allowed to attend floor sessions and other meetings remotely as Republicans signal they will require lawmakers to conduct much of their business in person during the upcoming legislative session, even as the coronavirus pandemic persists into 2021.

 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, indicated on Tuesday that the Assembly may no longer allow remote accommodations, representing a rollback of COVID-19 accommodations allowed during much of the pandemic.

 

“People all across Wisconsin safely go to work every day and members of the Assembly are capable of doing so as well,” he said in a statement. “The Assembly will convene safely as other legislatures across the country have done during the pandemic. Members and staff are being asked to follow CDC guidelines, practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash their hands frequently.”

 

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, and other Democratic members told Vos on Tuesday they want the chamber to continue current Assembly accommodations into the next session, such as remote-work options for staff and the ability for lawmakers to join floor sessions and committee hearings and sessions virtually.

First, Vos is right. People all over the state are going to work every day. They are doing so safely. We pay these legislators a full time wage and we, as citizens, have a reasonable expectation for them to put on pants and go to work. Perhaps they should lead by example for the rest of the state.

 

Second, there is value in doing this in person. Many of us have shifted to a more virtual work style through 2020. There are some good sides like saving on clothes/commuting expenses, save time between meetings, can squeeze more work into the day with that time savings, etc, but we also lose a lot without conducting business in person. Those hallway chats can be productive. Eating lunch together or helping a colleague dig their car out of the snow develops relationships. The infamous “grab a drink after work” builds rapport. Being able to read someone’s body language helps facilitate understanding. Humans are natural social animals and conducting complex negotiations successfully requires all of the senses to do it successfully. By being virtual, the Assembly is robbed of the social dynamic and people retreat into their virtual castles of dogma. The isolation of a virtual environment promotes distrust, linear thinking, and fear. Working with people on a screen is not the same as doing it in person. They become avatars instead of people.

These people are making massive decisions that impact the lives of millions. It is not asking too much for them to go to work to conduct the business of the realm.

Dr. Ron Remmel Announces 2022 Run Against Congressman Scott Fitzgerald

From the email and for your edification/entertainment.

12/29/2020

Dear Friends, or as I shall call you, Bloggers:

I am Ronald S. Remmel, Ph.D., and I live in West Bend WI (see attached resume).

Today I am starting my run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. representative from the 5th Congressional District (or whatever it becomes after redistricting).

Why so early?

* Tom Palzewicz, the previous outstanding Democratic candidate, probably won’t run again???

* Scott Fitzgerald (R) won the election, and will start work in Washington on Jan. 3.

* I am better educatged than Fitzgerald, with a B.S. from Caltech, a Ph.D. from Princeton, and professorships in medical neurophysiology at the Univ. of Ark. for Med. Sci., and biomedical engineering at Boston Univ.

* I have successfully manufactured medical electronics (eye movement monitors) for 25 years, and have sold them profitably to 5 continents, including mainland China.

* Fitzgerald (R) had been the WI Senate Majority leader, and had sued and opposed Gov. Evers’ pandemic policies at every turn. Fitzgerald even refused to call the State Legislature into session to vote upon the kind Governor’s proposals!!! Meanwhile, thousands of Wisconsinites died and hundreds of thousands got sick.

Scott Fitzgerald is not a nice person.

* Things got so bad here in Wisconsin that, according to my calculations (see attached paper):

Wisconsin was the first state to approach herd immunity!

* Trump is now virtually gone, but lots of little alt-right Trumpies are still running around.

* Science describes how the world works. Our students are woefully behind much of the rest of the world in education. We need to emphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and biomedicine to prevent another devastating pandemic.

* We need to develop cutting-edge technology right here in Wisconsin such as AI (artificial intelligence), self-driving vehicles, quantum computers, and customized medical treatments based upon gene sequencing.

* With my experiences in physics, medicine, biomedical engineering, and world-wide business, I am the best candidate to bring state-of-the-art education and technology to Wisconsin–not stonewall Fitzgerald.

———————————————–

I plan to head off Alzheimer’s disease as I travel all around learning EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. Well not quite–the work of Congress is divided up into committees. I might be good on fusion research, or Mars, or epidemiology committees, but I am totally unqualified to be on the pork-barrel, or the lobbyist, or the penny-get-rich-quick-stock committees.

But I do know lots about fraud and scams because I wrote the book, “The Art of the Scam” (Amazon Kindle). Maybe I should be on the Federal Trade Commission or even supervise the FBI!

I have never to my knowledge told a lie in my adult life (but my friends will surely say, you forgot what you promised). But I won’t air all my dirty linen in public, either.

I WILL make mistakes, but my mother taught me to say, “I apologize; I was wrong.”

My jokes will be funnier than Ronald Reagan’s!

If elected, I have promised to take my girl friend Lorrie Meller to Manhattan on a $5,000 clothes buying spree (Sorry, I don’t have $100K like Sarah Palin spent when she was chosen VP). Then Lorrie and I can attend parties at the WH With Lorrie more stylish than Nancy Pelosi–ha, ha!

But I fantasize…

Two years of hard work to get elected. I welcome your support!

Prof Ron For Wisconsin

—————————-

Rules for this Blog:

Democracy thrives on the free exchange of ideas. If I am to effectively represent you in Congress, I need to hear from all of you. This Blog will help me to do so.

There is no such thing as a “Republican pothole,” or a “Democratic pothole,” only a pothole. Nearly all of the serious problems in America are nonpartisan.

IT WAS ABSOLUTE APPALLING TO ME THAT THE PANDEMIC BECAME PARTISAN.

There are not just good ideas and bad ideas, but sometimes only various poor ideas, like solutions to global warming. I welcome all of your contributions to this Blog–from the right and from the left–and let the other Bloggers critique them.

Actually, I have been carrying on my Email Blog for over a year, with hundreds of valuable contributions, even from 2 Canadians!

——————-

No religious comments. The Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free practice thereof.”

—————————

No conspiracy theories. Support arguments with facts.

—————————

No personal insults such as, “Dr. Remmel, you’re an IDIOT!” That may very well be 100% correct, but try rephrasing it to say, “I disagree with you for the following reasons…”

Massive Property Tax Increase in Milwaukee

And they voted for it.

Across Milwaukee’s 15 aldermanic districts, the average assessment increased 9.14% from 2019, according to the Assessor’s Office.

 

Milwaukee residents also voted overwhelmingly in April in support of additional spending by Milwaukee Public Schools, and taxpayers are seeing the bill for the first time.

 

The school district can now exceed its state-imposed revenue limits by $87 million a year beginning in the 2023-24 school year, but it is ramping up to that sum by starting with $57 million in the 2020-21 school year.

 

The extra spending approved in the April referendum meant the school portion of city residents’ property tax bills increased by $1.60, from $9.58 to $11.18, for each $1,000 of home value — or about $240 a year on a home assessed at the median sale price of around $150,000.

IRS Plans 50% Increase in Small Business Audits Next Year

Welcome to Biden's America. Right after liberal states and municipalities hammered small businesses with lockdowns and restrictions, the IRS is going to audit the hell out of them.

The Internal Revenue Service is planning to ramp up audits of smaller businesses and their investors by about 50% next year, following years of persistently low examination rates, an agency official said Tuesday.

 

The result could be a surge in audits of companies ranging from mom-and-pop retail stores and technology startups to investment funds that have historically faced only infrequent checks thanks to the time and effort required at the IRS.

 

“The IRS is focusing our efforts to increase compliance activity in this area of not only partnerships, but also investor returns related to pass-throughs,” De Lon Harris, the IRS deputy commissioner of examination for small businesses, said at an American Institute of Certified Public Accountants event. For 2021 “we are planning for 50% more than we had in the previous year.”

Evers fights for more government with COVID-19 bill

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I dig into Evers' COVID bill a little. Here's a part:

Gov. Tony Evers is urging the Republican leadership of the Legislature to pass his self-styled “compromise” bill addressing the ongoing health concern precipitated by COVID-19. Setting aside, for a moment, that Evers’ bill is not a compromise (hint: compromise bills are rarely announced by only one side) and that Evers has actually taken the Legislature to court over the legality of bills passed in a socalled “lame duck” session, let us examine the priorities of the governor during the ongoing health concern.

 

Evers’ bill consists of 17 provisions. Seven of the provisions are designed to expand government and/or reduce the government’s accountability to the people. Eight of them would make waste, corruption, and graft easier with taxpayer money. And two of them are regulatory overreaches that will wreak havoc on citizens and the economy.

Republicans Consider Election Law Changes

I agree with the first one and disagree with the second one.

State Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, told the "UPFRONT" program that changing what constitutes an "indefinitely confined" voter will be at the top of the list. "UPFRONT" is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Bernier said "indefinitely confined" was supposed to apply to voters who are "frail elderly or developmentally disabled." Instead, she said, it was used by a wide variety of voters during the pandemic, including two state lawmakers. Indefinitely confined voters are not required to show a photo ID.

"That is just horrible, that is just wrong," she said. "That is not what that provision was for, and we will have to go back and fix it."

Bernier said she also will bring back up a change allowing in-person, absentee voters to feed their ballot directly into the tabulator. That change has been "sitting in the Legislature for quite some time" and it would help local clerks count absentee ballots faster.

"That would reduce an extraordinary amount of absentee ballots, and the question about the envelopes and where they've been, and whether they are accurate. That would reduce the number greatly," she said.

It is clear that the Democrats actively exploited the "indefinitely confined" loophole to allow people to evade the photo ID requirement. We need to close that loophole and use the "indefinitely confined" provision for its intended purpose.

I don't like the idea of counting in-person absentee ballots when they are submitted, but it's close for me. The problem they are trying to fix is two-fold. First, there is the issue of ballot security for absentee ballots. It is a risk to have thousands of completed ballots laying around for weeks before an election. If security is lax, those ballots could be altered or discarded before being counted. The second problem they are trying to fix is the issue simply the workload and confusion of counting all of those ballots on election day. By spreading it out, it makes the day run smoother.

The problem with counting them when they are submitted, however, is that election officials have a running tally of who is winning and losing prior to the election. This opens the door to election officials giving the heads up (illegal, yes) to candidates and parties. Then those candidates and parties can use that information to prepare target legal and illegal campaigns to sway the final results.

I would prefer to see the legislature focus on fixing the issue instead of creating a new one. Focus on ballot security for absentee ballots. Maybe digital safes where the combination is only given to local election officials on election day by state officials is a part of the plan. Video surveillance of ballot handling. Require 3rd party observation of ballot handling. RFID in the envelopes to track them. There are things we can do to better secure absentee ballots prior to election day. No system is perfect, but we can make it more secure.

The second problem of a rush of processing on election day seems like a non-issue. Almost all municipalities seem to be able to handle it with only a handful of corrupt and/or incompetent municipalities having issues. Focus on the problem children instead of punishing the whole class.

Trump Caves and Spends Our Kids’ Future on Pork

This is the swamp at its worst.

US President Donald Trump has belatedly signed into law a coronavirus relief and spending package bill, averting a partial government shutdown.

[...]

The relief package worth $900bn (£665bn) was approved by Congress after months of negotiation.

It is part of a $2.3tn spending package that includes $1.4tn for normal federal government spending.

Demographic Shift Toward Republicans

We are seeing a generational realignment.

They worry about the potential emergence of a mostly male and increasingly interracial working-class coalition for Republicans that will cut into the demographic advantages Democrats had long counted on. They speculate that the tremendous Democratic gains in the suburbs during the Trump years might fade when he leaves office. And they fret that their inability to make inroads in more rural areas could forestall anything but the most narrow Senate majority in the future.

“We just need to acknowledge that Trump’s poison was deeper in the bloodstream of the American electorate than we thought,” said Bradley Beychok, the president of American Bridge, which ran a $62 million ad campaign to hurt Trump among White working-class voters in three northern states that Biden won.

Upping the stakes further is the grim math of the midterm elections in 2022, when historical trends favor a Republican takeover of the House and continued Senate control, especially if they can hold the two Georgia seats in a runoff Jan. 5 that will again test the party’s reach among college-educated White and working-class Black voters. Democratic losses in the House combined with post-election retirements could reduce the party’s majority to a razor-thin seven-seat margin if the two outstanding contests are called for Republicans.

“We won back the House and the White House in the suburbs, but my sense is we are leasing that support — we don’t own it,” said Robby Mook, the manager of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign who led the House Majority PAC this cycle. “With Trump gone, that lease is up for renewal. If we don’t hold on to our gains in the suburbs or replace it by winning back working-class White voters, we will have a problem.”

“Experts” Make Another Dire Warning

Oh, SHUT. UP. We have heard these same "fears" from "experts" before every social event all year and they have proven to be wrong. Election... Independence Day... Memorial Day... Labor Day... Thanksgiving... and no spike after any of them. Meanwhile, states that are locked down the tightest (cough: California) are seeing massive spikes and states that are pretty much going about their business are doing fine (Florida). Locking down healthy people doesn't stop anything.

I think it's safe to say that the "experts" that the media keeps going to are not really experts at anything at all. Enjoy your Christmas, y'all, without guilt or shame.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hard-hit California eclipsed 2 million coronavirus cases on Christmas Eve as the U.S. headed into a holiday season of travel and family gatherings that threaten to fuel the deadly outbreak across the nation.

Despite warnings from public health experts to stay home, over 1.19 million travelers passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints Wednesday — down by about 40% from a year ago, but the highest one-day total since the crisis took hold in mid-March.

Airports also recorded around 1 million travelers on each of the five days between last Friday and Tuesday.

Some States Shedding Population

New York lost two Oshkoshes

Figures show there were 126,300 fewer New York residents in July, compared to one year earlier, signifying a drop of nearly 0.65 percent. Illinois trailed New York with a 0.63 percent population decline and Hawaii and West Virginia followed with 0.61 percent and 0.58 percent drops, respectively.

The Census Bureau released its estimates based on 2010's numbers — the numbers for 2020 will be released next year.

With the new numbers, New York could potentially lose one seat in the House of Representatives, dropping to 26, according to analysis conducted by The New York Times.

COVID Surge?

Do you believe this?

An alarming new red wave map shows that the vast majority of the United States is currently one huge COVID-19 hotspot - as the country recorded its second deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic with 3,400 deaths and President-elect Joe Biden warned the 'darkest days' are still ahead.

The map data, which is included in the latest community report from the White House COVID-19 Task Force, tracks areas of concern on a county level across the country based on recent cases and testing history.

It shows that every state currently has counties that fall into the 'sustained hotspot' category, which means the task force classifies them as communities that have a high number of cases and may be at an even higher risk of overwhelming their local hospitals.

Increasingly, I don't. With the clear lax behavior of people supposedly "in the know" and personal observation, I just don't buy the hype. Then you get stories like this:

According to the video, Jensen and Franson looked at 2,800 “death certificate data points” and found that 800 of them did not have COVID-19 listed as the underlying cause of death, but were still counted as COVID-19 deaths. That means, Jensen said, that those 800 people may have died with COVID-19, but not of COVID-19.

“That would mean that we’ve had the number inflated by 40%,” said Jensen, who explained that the “key diagnosis on a death certificate is the UCOD,” which stands for underlying cause of death.

In one case, a person who was ejected from a vehicle and died was “counted as a COVID death” because the virus was in his system, Franson claimed.

“I have other examples where COVID isn’t the underlying cause of death. We have a fall. Another example we have a fresh water drowning. We have dementia. We have a stroke and multi-organ failure,” she said.

The two lawmakers concluded their video, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook, by expressing support for an audit of the data.

We are in a pandemic of an aggressive virus, but the numbers being put out are massively misleading. We have also failed as a society to put those numbers into perspective. Everything in life is about weighing the consequences and making compromises. We have failed to do that with our response to COVID-19.

Dr. Birx Retires After Controversy

Good.

A top public health official on the White House coronavirus task force has said she will retire after it emerged she hosted a holiday gathering.

Dr Deborah Birx, who is 64, cited the criticism she had faced for a family get-together over Thanksgiving in Delaware in her decision to step aside.

"This experience has been a bit overwhelming," she said. "It's been very difficult on my family."

[...]

She had urged Americans in the days before Thanksgiving to restrict gatherings to "your immediate household".

But it emerged on Sunday she had travelled from Washington to one of her other properties, on Fenwick Island in Delaware, where she was joined by three generations of her family from two households.

While in Delaware, she did an interview with CBS in which she noted that some Americans had "made mistakes" over Thanksgiving by travelling and they "should assume they were infected".

We have seen hypocrisy from our politicians and public health officials throughout this pandemic. Now, people can be hypocritical about all sorts of things. I am, at times. We are human and it is easier to say than to do. But the pervasiveness of it during this pandemic tells us something... what?

Are the politicians and public health officials just flawed humans who screwed up? When they get the call from their family inviting them over, they just succumb to the natural human desire to be together?

Do the politicians and public health officials think that they are truly better than the rest of us? They believe that we are in a serious pandemic, but they can write their own personal guidelines based on their judgement of the risk factors. The rest of us are too stupid to do so. After all, they are the smart ones, right?

Do the politicians and public health officials actually believe that the pandemic is serious? In their hearts, do they believe that the pandemic is a big nothing-burger and they are just feeding into the hysteria because it advances their personal power or ideological goals?

I suspect it is a mixture of the three potential possibilities with a heavy emphasis of the latter two.

$29 Trillion in Federal Debt

I know that nobody cares anymore, but I'm glad that at least one person in Washington does.

“While I am glad a government shutdown was avoided and that financial relief will finally reach many who truly need it, the fact that this dysfunction has become routine is the reason we are currently $27.5 trillion in debt. This combined spending bill will drive our debt to over $29 trillion by the end of this fiscal year. I supported the CARES Act because we had to act quickly and massively to prevent an economic meltdown and to provide needed financial relief. I also helped craft and voted for a bill in September that would have provided more than $600 billion in targeted relief, but Democrats simply voted no.

“We do not have an unlimited checking account. We must spend federal dollars — money we are borrowing from future generations — more carefully and place limits on how much we are mortgaging our children’s future.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R) Wisconsin

Trump Asks Congress to Revise COVID Bill

Excellent. I'd rather they scrap the whole thing, but if there is going to be a relief bill, this would make it much better.

"I'm asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple," Trump said in a video released on Twitter. "I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items in this legislation or to send me a suitable bill."

Nass: Evers Fails to Compromise

I do agree that the Republicans need to try to keep the doors open to compromise, but stop waiting for it. Pass your ideas and let Evers decide if he's going to us his veto or not. But we're waiting to see Republicans do more than talk.

“Governor Evers has offered what he calls a compromise Covid-19 Recovery Bill. The only compromises in it would be on the part of Republicans giving up on everything we have asked be included. It contains none of the major proposals offered by Republicans to reopen public schools for in-person education, reopen state government facilities to state workers, or ending the abuses by public health bureaucrats in controlling every aspect of our daily lives.

It is time for Republicans to get off our knees and fight to advance the Covid-19 legislation our constituents are demanding of us. Governor Evers and his administration represent the interests of liberals in Dane County and the City of Milwaukee.

Stimulus Bill Packed with Pork and Pet Projects

Again... follow the money. This bill isn't about the $600 checks. That is just the fig leaf for an omnibus spending boondoggle to pay for a laundry list of pet projects for politicians.

A number of more obscure provisions have been tucked into the 5,000-plus page stimulus bill that Congress is expected to pass later Monday night.

The bill would green-light the creation of two new Smithsonians on the National Mall, could punish illegal streamers for up to 10 years and calls it a 'clear abuse' if China or any other country interferes with Tibet's process for recognizing its next Dalai Lama.

The package also decriminalizes unauthorized uses of Smokey Bear, gives tax breaks to racehorse owners and bans the U.S. Postal Service from handling e-cigarettes.

And here I am agreeing with AOC.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive New York Democrat, came out against the provision in a strongly worded Monday evening tweet.

'This is why Congress needs time to actually read this package before voting on it. Members of Congress have not read this bill. It’s over 5000 pages, arrived at 2pm today, and we are told to expect a vote on it in 2 hours,' Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, sharing The Hollywood Reporter's story about the bill including language that would make illegal streaming a felony.

'This isn’t governance. It’s hostage-taking,' Ocasio-Cortez said.

Make Wisconsin a destination state

I forgot to post this... here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

Elon Musk made big headlines when he announced that he would move Tesla’s headquarters from California to Texas, but he is actually a bit late to the trend. Over the past decade, over 10,000 companies have fled California for other states with Texas being the number one destination. Joining Tesla in just the last month, tech giants Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have announced that they are moving their headquarters to Texas. There is no reason why Wisconsin could not also be a destination state for businesses. It is a policy choice, and it will take some hard work.

Musk’s comments about his decision were as flamboyant as ever. Calling California “fascist” and “entitled,” he made his announcement with his customary flourish. But underneath the bombast is a calculated business decision to operate in a state that is a better climate for the business and his employees. It is the same business decision being made by thousands of companies.

The effects of coronavirus are enabling and accelerating the movement. When the pandemic forced employees to work from home, many companies and employees found that it worked well for both. Remote working is particularly sustainable in industries like technology and financial services. With employees able to work from anywhere, one of the challenges to moving a headquarters is removed. It is much easier for a business to launch into another state when they do not need to overcome the gravitational pull generated by employee density.

As companies are liberated from needing to worry as much about where employees live, they are free to look to locate in states that offer a better climate for the business and the top leadership. Texas is a destination because of the policy choices made by state leaders for decades. Texas has no personal income tax, no corporate income tax, a lower cost of living, a businessfriendly regulatory climate, world-class universities, and a vibrant, diverse place to live. There is no reason that Wisconsin could not become the Texas of the 2030s, but we will have to start making changes now.

Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature made Wisconsin significantly more attractive to businesses in the last decade. They did so by reducing the regulatory burden and slightly controlling taxes. They did not make the big systemic changes or spending cuts that will be needed to make Wisconsin a prime destination state. In order to become a business magnet, lawmakers will need to lower the cost of living and doing business by do things like eliminating the personal income tax, reducing or eliminating the corporate income tax, lowering fees and taxes across the board, and reducing the regulatory burden.

For comparison, the state of Texas spends about $4,361 per person. The state of Wisconsin spends about $8,785 per person. Local spending is a little closer, but Wisconsin still spends more. Texas spends $5,663 per person while Wisconsin spends $6,169 per person. All told, Wisconsin state and local governments spend $4,930 more per year per person than Texas. That is $19,720 per year in additional taxing and spending for a family of four. Wisconsin cannot reduce the cost of government and, subsequently, the cost of living if it does not reduce government spending.

One wonders where all of that spending is going. Both states have world-class public universities, but Texas state taxpayers spend less than 50% per capita on them. Both states have a good transportation infrastructure, but Wisconsin state taxpayers spend 13.8% more per capita. Wisconsin is spending almost 28% more on K-12 education for marginally better results, but the student demographics are drastically different.

Generally, as one goes through the state budget, Wisconsin spends much more on almost everything than other states. It is difficult to see any additional value for all of that additional spending. “Value” should be the word that dominates the upcoming state budget debate. If taxpayers are going to spend 10%, 25%, or 50% more on something than other states, then state politicians should be able to articulate how taxpayers are getting 10%, 25%, or 50% more value for the dollars spent. If they can’t, then the spending is just being wasted.

The upcoming budget session is another opportunity for Wisconsin policy-makers to make the choices that will determine if Wisconsin will ever be a destination state for businesses and workers. If they choose to keep increasing spending because it is the path of least resistance, then businesses and people will continue to relocate into other states and Wisconsin will miss this historic opportunity when businesses are going to be moving more than ever.

Evers Pushes Legislature to Pass Spending Bill in Lame Duck Session

I thought that Governor Evers considered legislation passed during a "lame duck" session to be unconstitutional.

Gov. Tony Evers is calling on Wisconsin's two Republican legislative leaders to act "expeditiously and without delay" on COVID-19 relief legislation the Democratic executive says amounts to a "compromise bill" among the trio.

The proposal, which includes measures to cover vaccinations under the SeniorCare program for elderly individuals, extend unemployment insurance call center hours and allow the Legislature's powerful budget committee to move money around to cover public health expenses, represents a collection of provisions Evers said lawmakers "have been able to find some agreement" on.

"Moving forward on these provisions results in a piece of legislation that responds to some of the needs of Wisconsinites," Evers wrote in a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and incoming Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu Monday. "Therefore, I believe we must forward with a bill based on the items we can agree on, and it is imperative that the Legislature do so expeditiously."

As it is, many of the provisions look like a rehash of his earlier bad ideas and some of them are new bad ideas. Here's a copy of the bill. Let's cherry-pick a couple:

Under the bill, requirements to administer various pupil assessments do not apply in the 2020-21 school year. The bill also prohibits the Department of Public Instruction from publishing a school and school district accountability report for the 2020-21 school year.

I guess we're just going to admit that education isn't really important and that our government schools gave up on it this year.

The bill allows the Department of Health Services to issue an order prohibiting the commencement of actions for eviction or foreclosure for any period before July 1, 2021.

Evers would force property owners to allow people to live for free for half a year, thus redistributing the economic damage and precipitating a wave of bankruptcies and (ironically) foreclosures. You'll notice that there isn't a provision to waive property taxes as property owners can't collect any income to pay it.

Current law allowed a state entity to waive any requirement that an individual appear in person during the public health emergency declared on March 12, 2020. The bill expands that provision so that a state entity may waive such in-person requirements through June 30, 2021, if enforcing the requirement would increase the public health risk.

This is the attempt to force a virtual-only election in April.


We do need the legislature to step up and pass specific legislation to address some of the impacts of the pandemic. There are needs. But let's get out of the idiotic motion of creating these massively expensive omnibus "compromises." Come up with an idea; write a bill; vote on it. Let each idea stand on its own merit and let each legislator vote their conscience.

 

 

Another Gargantuan Spending Spree

SMH.

Washington (CNN)Leaders in the House and Senate reached an agreement late Sunday on a $900 billion pandemic relief bill that includes enhanced unemployment benefits and direct cash payments.

There were several changes made from a proposal put forward nearly two weeks ago by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Direct stimulus checks were brought in at the last minute. Direct aid to states and liability protections for companies were left out.
If the new bill passes, it will be the second-largest federal stimulus package after the $2 trillion CARES Act that Congress approved in March.
As far as I can tell, nobody likes or appreciates this. Fiscal hawks (me) thinks it spends too much money that we don't have. Liberals think it doesn't go nearly far enough and want to pass something even larger when Biden assumes office. People are laughing at the $600 check because it's what rich people think poor people think is a lot of money (stole that from somewhere). Businesses dislike the extra unemployment payments because it's hard to find workers right now.
Sometimes politicians like to glibly say that the fact that nobody is happy is the sign of a compromise bill, but in this case, nobody is happy because it's a bad bill.
So why pass it?
Follow the money. Look at all of those billions of dollars flowing into the pockets of businesses, schools, unions, welfare programs, etc. Who decides who gets all of that money? How much will flow into the pockets of politically-connected people and interest groups?
This is bad governance designed to allow politicians to pretend that they are good at their jobs. They are not. I hope Trump vetoes this.

 

Archives

Categories

Pin It on Pinterest