Will the Republicans save Wisconsin?

We can only hope so, but one-party rule is not encouraging.

By Jack E. Lohman

We may dread the day we converted our government to 100% Republicans, though they could surprise us. But I’d feel better if the D’s had some blocking power that forced political debate, rather than any one party running roughshod over the taxpayers.

So far it doesn’t look good. It looks like payback time, not politically, but payback to the Fat Cats that have funded the Republican elections for years. Let’s hope the Tea Party is willing and able to dampen the corruption.

Do we need tax breaks for businesses?

Yes, but there is a better way. Since business tax breaks are funded by personal taxes anyway, let the taxpayers instead fund a universal healthcare system that benefits Wisconsin business! At the same time that we extend health care to 100% of our population we remove much (or all) of that burden from business costs, and allow them to spend that money on providing Wisconsin jobs instead. And better compete with foreign product built with lower labor and health costs.

And since taxpayers pay these costs anyway, in product prices and job losses, this provides benefit to all employers that use Wisconsin workers and will attract new companies and jobs to the state. And increase our tax base in the process.

No complicated tax codes or costly oversight is required.

Let’s not construe this to mean tax breaks for the rich so we can benefit from fake “trickle-down” economics. There must first be demand, thus only “trickle up” will work.

Are public sector unions a problem?

Probably. If you believe the rhetoric, they are draining higher wages and better health care and better retirement packages than the private sector that pays the bill. Clearly this should be studied and put to rest, but I’d prefer that an outside consultant be hired do this study. A government analyst will be fraught with charges of bias or political manipulation.

It appears that Gov. Scott Walker may want to privatize government and replace the workers with lower-paid employees, however.

Do we have too many state employees?

Probably. But cutting them by 50% and adding back an equal number of private contractors just shifts the burden. It does not reduce costs and likely even increases them. A good business consultant could help assess where we might have too many employees or even too many or inefficient agencies.

Do we need tort reform?

Yes, but not the kind we’ve been hearing about. These are not criminal trials. We need simply to eliminate the 12-man jury of idiots and install a three-judge panel of experts. Use all retired panel members (doctors and nurses for medical suits, engineers for non-medical) and run it by the Government Accountability Board, not by politicians.

But it appears that Walker wants to gut the tort system, replacing willful negligence with criminal intent, all to appease his corporate contributors and diss the attornies.

Do we need whistle-blower protections?

Absolutely, in both the public and private sector. An employee should not be required to either play crooked or leave their career when fraud is being carried out.  With good protections employees will perform the costly oversight that otherwise would need to be funded by taxpayers.

Do we need privatization?

In some cases, perhaps, but the reverse could also be true. In North Dakota they have a state-owned bank, a public option, that keeps the private banks honest. And all with an unemployment rate of 3.8%. We need to also do this at the national level when the next bank failure takes place.

Resource:

Corporate America’s Plan to Loot Our Pensions Is the Latest Battle in Decades-Long Assault on the Middle Class

“The severe economic crisis, now in its fourth year, is being used to batter the remnants of the social welfare state. Having decimated aid to the poor over the last 30 years, especially in the United States, the economic and political elite are now intent on strangling middle-class benefits, namely state-provided pensions, health care and education.”

6 Responses to Will the Republicans save Wisconsin?

  1. Eugene Barufkin says:

    Jack,
    Have you noticed any real ideas to reduce taxes?
    Here’s a proposal I bet the R’s, have guns pointed at them to do nothing about.
    .
    To help reduce medical costs in ER’s – Reduce the volume of treated gun shot wounds. Wounds for most part not covered by insurance. To do this, strong gun controls are needed to keep guns off the streets.
    .
    OMG I just had a weird thought. – This may help reduce taxes, heavens to Betsy, not that!!!!!
    .
    The R’s say we need to be more personally responsible for our lives. But not when it comes down to the costs of private insurance covered medical care, public safety and judicial system costs caused by guns…..
    .
    Guns just keep costing taxpayers over & over & over again, forever.
    .
    Bottom line – Guns and no Medicare system to cover everyone, is costing our country dearly. These costs inflate product costs when trying to compete with the rest of the world, by about 15%.

  2. I’m not convinced that “no guns for everybody except the government” is the way to go, Eugene. If everybody had guns I doubt the tragedy in Tuscon would have happened. Though guns cause ER costs to rise, so do cars. I don’t think banning either is wise.

    And I do agree that the lack of Medicare-for-all is costing us dearly. Will we ever learn. Or better, will our politicians ever get off the insurance industry dole?

  3. Tony Oberbrunner says:

    Public sector unions are being used as whipping boys by the right who are continuing to foment class warfare among working people. A good article on the subject is linked below.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/158283/conservative-class-war-continued

  4. I’ve never believed that any one issue is 100% right or 100% wrong, Tony, and indeed unions have played a critical role in elevating the wage rates and life styles of many. But we’ve also paid a price for that, if not in increased prices then certainly in jobs lost to countries with wages that are sometimes 1/10th ours. But unions are far from the only “bad guys” in our economy crash, and they also are not 100% free of guilt. I’m sure there are cases where union leaders have pushed harder than they should have and driven jobs out of the state or country. But as well, there are CEOs who have done the same thing by demanding $15 million pay packages.

    As related to public service unions I’d guess that some have pushed harder (because they could!). And as that affects our entire state budget I think it is also fair to expect a review and a leveling where it is shown that this sector is unequal to the private sector. They will find cases where they are low and other cases where they are high, and I’d support a leveling (or budget shortfalls will displace workers it shouldn’t).

    Here’s an interesting article on the subject.

  5. Eugene Barufkin says:

    re the your comment & the article you cited –
    .
    Add to this dumb approach, another dumb approach, raising the Social Security retirement age.
    All this does is reduce the number of job slots because people will work longer. The current 67 should be moved back to 65.
    The dumb excuse is SS is going bankrupt. It is not and never will go bust if the $106,000 cap is removed. Thus leave the FICA deduction @ 4.2% and thus no one will be paying more until about the $160,000 level. (fyi – there is no cap for Medicare deductions)

    also posted to the original article.

  6. Yea, I agree on lifting the caps, but they won’t because those hit their wealthy contributors (and the people who it would have little effect on). As well, keeping geezers in the job market and forcing the youngsters onto unemployment insurance is indeed stupid, but they need those extra SS savings to fund pork barrel projects. That’s what happens when you have a bought-and-paid-for congress.

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