Can we make this public-private thing work?

Yes, but we want business leaders as advisers and not managers… and no campaign contributors in the mix!

By Jack E. Lohman

Governor Scott Walker wants to replace the state’s Department of Commerce with a new public-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Perhaps it could work. Sometimes resetting to zero does make sense, but Scott is a giveaway artist and must be kept on a short leash. This could easily become a path for costly political cronyism and pork.

Walker could accomplish the same thing by giving corporations more say during the current public comment periods, but this is not likely to give him the control or friendships he seeks.

I’m sure he’d like to accomplish several other things in the process: (a) streamlining operations and reducing regulations, thus making Wisconsin more business friendly, (b) reset to a new and less-costly non-unionized staff, and (c) make it a politically-friendly department that can command new and greater campaign contributions.

Yet thereby lies a problem. I don’t want Walker’s political campaigns financed by anybody other than the taxpayers he works for. But he has not supported public funding of campaigns in the past, so we’ll see where his loyalties are in the future.

So how can he really bring jobs back to the state?

  1. Create an optional “compliant corporation” status that protects shareholders and investors of Wisconsin corporations. This will attract new companies and jobs to the state.
  2. For these new corporations, reduce to zero the taxes on those that manufacture product or provide services using Wisconsin employees, but not to those that outsource employment to other states or countries. (What can go wrong? Political favors that pass tax breaks to ALL corporations — i.e., contributors — and render those in Wisconsin just more of the same.)
  3. Implement a state-based single-payer healthcare system that removes healthcare from employer’s costs so they can spend that money on hiring people instead. The insurance industry won’t like this a bit, but it has to be done. And will only favor Wisconsin employers.
  4. Implement public funding of campaigns so political decisions are based on the needs of the state (and jobs) rather than those of the private corporate contributors.

Importantly, Walker must not get hung up on reducing personal income taxes for the high end, though many of his current campaign contributors will prefer just that. Yes, decrease spending, but there is NO credible evidence that feeding money back to the elites will increase jobs, as can be seen following the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

In fact, just the opposite occurred. Jobs decreased and the economy worsened. Far more investments are now being made in China and India, where wages are one-tenth ours and their economy is growing rather than shrinking.

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Obama Likely to Pursue Corporate-Tax Cut, Way to Pay for It
Dodging Repatriation Tax Lets U.S. Companies Bring Home Multinational Cash

5 Responses to Can we make this public-private thing work?

  1. Ken Van Doren says:

    On this we agree, creating a public-private partnership out of Commerce is a bad idea. Any time I hear the words “public-private partnership,” I instinctively reach for my wallet as I sense a picpocket who wants to empty it on behalf of special interests.

    Just about everything else you say is seriously flawed, either in your discernment of fact, or logical conclusions-again.

    If public private partnership is bad for commerce, why is it good for medicine? The same types of corruption are likely to be had, and as evidence, see the socalled Health Care Reform act. Cost of government now zeroes in on 70% of our economy, everything the government touches is filled with corruption and/or unintended consequences, and your proposals would in this regard be more of the same. Single payer-do you suppose those of us who have been critical of government will receive the same care as the “true believers? Such is not the history of leftist takeovers of government.

    You decry the cost of medicine, yet fail to acknowledge the numerous ways that governments have driven the costs up.

    You want a “homegrown” exemption for corporations, but few corporations of any size are both owned WI residents, and have employees and locations exclusively in WI. So what if your hoomegrown corporation is a subsidiary, or significantly owned by a non WI corporation? And if WI has tax treatmetn based solely on ownership, do you think it likely there would not be retaliation or other legal problems you do not anticipate? You would further complicate a tax code that is already overly complicated.

    You say no credible evidence supports “trickle down,” but ignore that capital tends to be invested where investors perceive the opportunities for greatest return. Could it be that due to regulation and taxes, that place is NOT WI??? Or possibly, not even the US?

    Also, you apparently are not aware of the incentives offfered to do business overseas. There is the Export Import Bank, and the commodity Credit Corp that offer lower-than-market-interest loans, and ther is a defacto insurance policy for those investing in other countries. China nationalizes their Ford and GM plants, and the taxpayer is on the hook-again-rather than shareholders.

    Also, you might look to the FED and its legal counterfeiting as a mechanism for the transfer of wealth to the wealthiest people, not only in this country, but the world. NOT true capitalism or a free market. As the financial services sector has doubled as a percentage of our economy, we have gutted our productive capacity. I wonder if there is a cause and effect there?

    Medicare works? First, they create a mountain of paperwork, then cut the rates paid below cost, and still this represents the largest unfunded liablity we will be faced with in the future, and you think it works???

    And to steal my wealth to fund candidates is immoral. Not only that, just because I fund them against my will is no guarantee that they will not continue to buy votes with tax dollars. So your simplistic panaceas will predictably fail, each and every one of them.

  2. Ken, your Libertarian roots are showing. Medicare-for-all will work, and is 95% private. And they PAY in three weeks rather than sometimes never with privates, or at least without a major fight. If you are going to argue against Medicare, get your facts straight. And in Sweden they have socialized medicine and are ranked 4th in the world on the international corruption index, compared with the US at 22nd with its privatized health care. Go figure.

    We will never agree on campaign finance reform. You prefer paying through the back door at 100 times the cost; I prefer public funding of campaigns at a cost of $5 per taxpayer per year.

  3. And Ken, below I have tried to respond to your disjointed rant on an item-by-item basis… please excuse my sarcasm, but it fits.

    You say… “On this we agree, creating a public-private partnership out of Commerce is a bad idea.”

    Incorrect. I have said it might work, or might not work, but in either case it should not be attempted with campaign contributors on the team.

    You say… “Just about everything else you say is seriously flawed, either in your discernment of fact, or logical conclusions-again.”

    Oh Ken, you are so smart. I should have checked with you before attempting an opinion.

    You say… “If public private partnership is bad for commerce, why is it good for medicine?”

    I didn’t say it was bad for commerce, you did. And for a Libertarian you *OPPOSE* making Commerce private???? Wow… What are you smoking today?

    And it has proven very successful for Medicare, and if you don’t believe that, try taking Medicare away from seniors. And just for the record, either you have communicated your knowledge of Medicare very poorly, or you simply have no knowledge of it (which is likely the case).

    You say… “The same types of corruption are likely to be had, and as evidence, see the so-called Health Care Reform act.”

    ObamaCare *IS* terrible and should be repealed by the Republicans. Then we have a chance for single-payer. But it IS BAD because of the $125 million in political bribes (a campaign finance system you support).

    You say… “Cost of government now zeroes in on 70% of our economy, everything the government touches is filled with corruption and/or unintended consequences, and your proposals would in this regard be more of the same. Single payer-do you suppose those of us who have been critical of government will receive the same care as the “true believers? Such is not the history of leftist takeovers of government.”

    Ken, that is an absolutely stupid conclusion. I have no comment.

    You say… “You decry the cost of medicine, yet fail to acknowledge the numerous ways that governments have driven the costs up.”

    You are obviously not knowledgeable of either Medicare or the numbers. The cost of private health care is about 30% higher than Medicare, and has more fraud and overutilization. Even the ‘private” Medicare Advantage system is 17% more costly that government-run Medicare.

    You say… “You want a “homegrown” exemption for corporations, but few corporations of any size are both owned [by] WI residents, and have employees and locations exclusively in WI. So what if your homegrown corporation is a subsidiary, or significantly owned by a non WI corporation? And if WI has tax treatment based solely on ownership, do you think it likely there would not be retaliation or other legal problems you do not anticipate? You would further complicate a tax code that is already overly complicated.”

    Whaaattt? Ken, what I suggest is *NO TAX CODE* for compliant corporations. How can that be complicated? And I said nothing about “ownership.” Why did you? WHO owns the shares has nothing to do with my version of a compliant corporation.

    You say… “You say no credible evidence supports “trickle down,” but ignore that capital tends to be invested where investors perceive the opportunities for greatest return. Could it be that due to regulation and taxes, that place is NOT WI??? Or possibly, not even the US?”

    What does one have to do with the other? Trickle down is the supposed process of cutting taxes for the wealthy so they can invest in US jobs. Not *where* those funds are invested (though whatever money we taxpayers DO give them, you can be assured that the booty will more likely be invested in China or India).

    You say… “Also, you apparently are not aware of the incentives offered to do business overseas. ”

    Yes, I *AM* aware of the subsidies given to companies that outsource to India. They are wrongheaded, but I can only assume we can thank our privatized campaign finance system for that.

    You say… “There is the Export Import Bank, and the commodity Credit Corp that offer lower-than-market-interest loans, and there is a defacto insurance policy for those investing in other countries. China nationalizes their Ford and GM plants, and the taxpayer is on the hook-again-rather than shareholders.”

    Oh. I’m assuming you are speaking of China’s taxpayers being on the hook.

    You say… “Also, you might look to the FED and its legal counterfeiting as a mechanism for the transfer of wealth to the wealthiest people, not only in this country, but the world. NOT true capitalism or a free market. As the financial services sector has doubled as a percentage of our economy, we have gutted our productive capacity. I wonder if there is a cause and effect there?”

    You really MUST understand the “cause and effect.” Politicians spend money because they are PAID TO SPEND MONEY by the Fat Cats that want in your pocket. Live with it; that’s the campaign finance system you support. As far as true capitalism or free market, ie, “unfettered”, I prefer a regulated free market. You way is what got us in the hole.

    You say… “Medicare works? First, they create a mountain of paperwork, then cut the rates paid below cost, and still this represents the largest unfunded liability we will be faced with in the future, and you think it works???”

    Your lack of Medicare knowledge is apparent. Medicare pays about a 5% profit, not below costs. Medicaid (for the poor) pays below costs. If Medicare paid below costs it would not have the support of 60% of physicians. That support would be ZERO.

    You say… “And to steal my wealth to fund candidates is immoral. Not only that, just because I fund them against my will is no guarantee that they will not continue to buy votes with tax dollars. So your simplistic panaceas will predictably fail, each and every one of them.”

    So we have a choice between the current system (private bribery) and public bribery. You prefer the former? Ken, with that kind of thinking it is no wonder the Libertarian party has garnered the support of 5% of the public. Keep it up.

    • Eugene Barufkin says:

      Jack you left out Walker’s ride down the road to wreck unions at flank speed.

      America needs unions if for no other reason than try to keep the special business interests honest. Business interests honest? Now there’s an oxymoron.

      And take a look at the the conundrum the whole lot of the right and their bent to destroy unions has created.

      America may be saved because workers in Mexico & China want to afford higher living standards. So what are they doing? They are unionizing. What’s the result? Labor costs are increasing and jobs are trickling back to the USA.

      What’s the conundrum? It’s ok for them to unionize, but not us.

  4. Yea, Eugene, Walker is anti-union and pro-business because that’s who funds his campaigns. Great system we have, huh?

    But unions must look at ALL politicians as their enemy for the same reason. They gave away the US economy to pad their own pockets. Like every other American, the union’s problem is the corrupt political system (though unions play that system too).

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