So Walker misjudges budget effect?

Not a good start, but why are partisans so incredibly dense?

By Jack E. Lohman

I consider myself a pro-business Republican, though not a very good one lately. But let’s (all of us) not be so incredibly stupid about this political game, and that goes to D’s and R’s alike. We are ALL Wisconsin taxpayers and our democracy is dangerously at stake. Let’s stop its demise… NOW!

Let’s also not roll over to Scott Walker because of political ideology, or because we are anti-union or whatever. Understand that Walker and Paul Ryan are NOT working for YOU, they are working for the Fat Cats that fund their elections. Same is true of Pelosi, Reid and Obama. If you don’t like it let’s fix it… but let’s not remain gullible wusses.

When Walker was asked directly by congress, he admitted that his anti-union budget saved NO Wisconsin budget dollars. But it sure sent a message, didn’t it? Wow, now here’s a guy fighting for us!

Not!

These politicians are not just “ideologically” motivated; they are financially motivated and very much in tune with their funders. Unions send their cash to the D’s and business sends theirs to the R’s.

Not voters and not taxpayers. Cash funders of political campaigns!

Our politicians are playing games with us, and we gullible partisans are falling for it. They created a major problem and now have us diverted while they “fix” it. And as long as we fight the partisan fight, we will lose.

I don’t have a problem with private enterprise

I love it, in fact. I was CEO of a private company for 25 years. But I started it from scratch and did NOT acquire it from the state on a no-bid contract and without a thorough cost analysis (both of which are enabled by Governor Walker’s new budget law). Nor did I receive cash from David Koch, Walker’s 4th largest contributor and the probable buyer of the energy plants.

Okay, if we have determined that we’re okay with private energy ownership of an inelastic public service, soon to become a monopoly that the public cannot opt out of, let’s first determine if privatization is the least costly to the taxpayers. And THEN let’s put it out on COMPETITIVE BID! Preferably to corporations that have NOT sent cash to our governor, but those may be hard to find!!! And let’s remember that WE Energies pays its CEO $8 million per year and passes that cost onto its users (who are locked into their service), thus “private” has its problems too.

Incredibly, the Right is as much in denial as the Left. When I owned a business, before retirement, I would not permit an employee to take cash on the side and give away company assets in return, but that is exactly what the politicians do. And we fall all over them in awe. Where are our friggin’ heads?

Only public funding of campaigns will get them passing laws in the best interest of the public. And maybe some of those laws will be anti-union and others anti-corporate, like tax loopholes. But they will be working for *US* and not *THEM*, and more inclined to make a sincere, cost-effective decision.

10 Responses to So Walker misjudges budget effect?

  1. Eugene Barufkin says:

    For those who don’t quite believe Jack, read this in JS.
    Walker road plan driving him crazy
    By Steve Hinkier April 16, 2011

    Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget has more than enough pain to go around. Schools get hit with more than $800 million in cuts over the next two years. Recycling programs are not funded. Health care for seniors and the poor are slashed. Local road aids are cut. Some transit systems may not survive the proposed reductions. State revenue sharing is going down, putting more pressure at the local level to cover the costs of cuts to state aids – and without raising property taxes.

    It’s called austerity.

    Unless you happen to be a road builder.

    Then this budget is called a bonanza.

    While other programs are cut, highway expansion projects totaling more than $400 million get the green light. Highway expansion raids the general fund of more than $140 million, crushing any arguments that “highway users pay for the costs of roads.” In fact, the general fund and property taxes will pay about half of roadway costs in the future. So-called user fees are soon to be eclipsed by decidedly nonuser fees.

    When you look at the increase in highway spending, it is also important to pay attention to where the money goes. Local road aids are cut, meaning that even though there is more money going for major highway expansion, there is less money for local units of government to fix those bone-jarring potholes that crop up every spring. Maintenance dollars for highways are down as well.

    Walker has said that the highway expansion is needed for our economic recovery. The governor is putting a lot of faith – and capital – in having superhighways be the cornerstone of the state’s economic recovery. After all, he could have put the money in building better communities with better schools as a basis of economic development.

    All of this seems bizarre when you consider that we are driving less than ever. We are in the fifth year of a steady decline in miles driven by each Wisconsin resident. The numbers of miles driven will likely decline even more as the cost of gas continues to climb above $4 a gallon. In fact, it is because we are driving less that the governor is proposing to raid the general fund for highways.

    As people drive fewer miles with more fuel-efficient vehicles, they use less gas and the amount collected in gas taxes decreases. So in order to expand highways, non-transportation fund dollars need to be raised. This is why Walker is pushing transit aids out of the transportation fund and is raiding everything from general fund dollars to the environmental fund to pay for bigger roads.

    But if people are driving less, why expand highways?

    Transportation experts point out the truck traffic on highways is on the increase. If that’s the case, then fees on trucks should be assessed at a level consistent with the cost of building and maintaining the highways they need. Heavy trucks cause disproportionate damage to highways and bridges. School systems shouldn’t have to pay for the costs of building and maintaining the highways that trucks need. Up to a third of heavy truck traffic contributes nothing to the state’s economy as it simply passes through Wisconsin on the way from or to destinations out of state.

    Highways are an important component of maintaining a healthy economy in Wisconsin. But so are communities where people live, work and play. The next generation of leaders will be able to choose where they live. They will certainly want to have good schools for their kids. They will want clean air and water. They will want good local roads to drive to and from work and many will want good transit options.

    Walker’s budget fails to deliver on the most important part of our state’s economy and instead cuts essential services to fund a highway expansion scheme.

    Steve Hiniker is executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.

  2. Thanks Eugene, I hadn’t seen that article. But gee, for only $146,879 in campaign contributions the road builders get an additional $400 million??? Wow, Walker comes cheaper than I expected.

    • Eugene Barufkin says:

      Jack, you did not add Walker contributions from the International Union Of Operating Engineers and their members.
      Also not tallied are contributions from staff & family of the road building companies.
      and the road equipment manufactures sales business,
      staff & families.
      – I’m sure the road builder contributions are near 500,000 $$$$’s.

  3. Hank says:

    Can any conservative point to any example where privatiztion has actually succeded? Paying a middleman to do what is necessary for no obvious reason is a waste of money and effort. There is simply no proof that public employees are less efficient than private ones, and even if they were, going public without a middleman is still cheaper.

    The whole privatization myth is based on the horror stories from hell-holes like Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, etc. The reality is that government gets things done while private business doesn’t even know where to start. Socialism keeps us healthy and happy. A middleman does not.

    • Eugene Barufkin says:

      Hank,
      – You must be kidding. Any good conservative can always prove the success of privatization by the increase of money flow to their favorite candidates and party.
      – One of many great successes is the privatization of the Arizona State prisons and the correlation of increased campaign funds to Jan Brewer and the legislators that supported legislation to increase the number of prisoners by rounding up illegals.
      – Come on Hank, open your eyes & get with the program.

  4. I generally prefer public on “inelastic” services (fire, police, health care) and private on “elastic” services and products (plumbing, toasters, etc). I would love to see us with a system like Sweden’s with only healthcare and education under public rule.

  5. Hank says:

    Other than the mere allegation that superhighways will lead to recovery, Walker has not even claimed what those benefits will be. So at this point we can’t even argue the cost / benefit ratio. How is driving from Chicago to St. Paul an hour earlier going to benefit Wisconsin?

  6. In my mind superhighways lead to only one thing… more campaign contributions from the road builders passed to the governor.

  7. Eugnene Barufkin says:

    More superhighways also encourage more petroleum using vehicle mileage, more profits for big oil and less use of rail transportation.

%d bloggers like this: