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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Want Secession? Get Ready To Pay Your Share Of The National Debt

With all the crazy talk about states seceding from the USA, I wondered how much a state the size of Wisconsin would owe to the federal government for it’s share of the national debt if indeed the state decided to pull out. Even though a secessionist state would no longer be responsible for future U.S. debt, its current and unpaid share of the debt including it's share of Social Security would still be an outstanding liability.

I first looked at some numbers from the U.S. Senate Republican’s Budget Committee where they have a built-in calculator to measure individual’s share of the national debt based upon date of birth and long-term debt projections. According to their calculator, a person born Jan.1, 1955 owes a lifetime (as of today) share of $132,408. Born Jan.1, 1980 owes $428,423 and born in 2000 owes $940,396. With moving targets like that, it obviously could get fairly complicated figuring the exact amount how much the entire state owes.

A recent Harvard Study pegged an individual’s share at $106,000. That number seems realistic, but it includes projected debt of which a seceding state would no longer be subjected to.

The Debt Clock Web page puts the average figure at $55,278 for every man, woman and child in the USA based on the country's current real-time debt. That one makes it easy for this posting.

So it’s pretty simple.
$55,278 X 5.72M population of Wisconsin = $316,762,160,000.

That’s $317 billion. That’s the amount without including interest, Social Security or other outstanding debts and its' equal to about five state budgets. But remember, paying off debt is not the same as funding a state budget.

$317B is also about half the amount needed to pay off Greece’s total debt. But Greece's population is nearly double that of Wisconsin so the debt load per capita would be practically identical.

Think about that one. Wisconsin's debt would be equal to Greece's and with no chance of growing ourselves out of the debt. Wisconsin would go bankrupt to pay it's bill.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Is Scott Walker Running Scared From The Party's Secession Position?

JS online Excerpt:
To secede or not to secede.

That will be the question for Wisconsin Republicans at next month's convention.

Earlier this month, the party's Resolutions Committee voted in favor of a proposal that says the state party "supports legislation that upholds Wisconsin's right, under extreme circumstances, to secede."

This is where extremist Governor Scott Walker proves his mettle with the Tea Party. But so far, it looks like he's running scared.

Gov. Scott Walker, the leader of the state party, distanced himself from the resolution last week.

"I don't think that one aligns with where most Republican officials are in the state of Wisconsin — certainly not with me," Walker said at a press event on Friday.

Less than four years ago, Scott Walker boasted that he was the original Tea Party in Wisconsin. He was swept into power on the shoulders of the radical tea party craze in 2010 and even wrote a farcical book titled "Unintimidated," about how he courageously stood up against "union bosses," a favorite tea party target. But now Walker is refusing to align himself with one of the Tea Party's top issues - state sovereignty and the right of secession? That's odd.

Yeah I know it's a big election year and Walker is also laying the groundwork for a possible presidential run in 2016, but Walker has built himself up a tea party facade of standing against D.C., Big Government and against some imaginary political machine. In the eyes of the confederate base of the Tea Party, seceding from the United States Of America is the last and final resolution to everything that defines them and their cause.

Also, if there's one issue that helps draw a clear contrast between Tea Party candidates and non-tea party candidates other than the TP's phony fiscal crisis of convenience - secession rights is it! Literally, they are indescribable and lost without it.

Despite that, my hunch ...and it's only a hunch, is the Wisconsin Republican Party will NOT add the revised secession resolution to their official platform during their state convention. Even if my hunch is correct, it still doesn't absolve anyone of their stated position on the issue.

So, why is Walker running away from it? Perhaps drawing that contrast is precisely what Walker doesn't want to do with a affable challenger like Mary Burke. That wouldn't be surprising. On top of backing away from the tea party on the secession issue, he won't commit to anything on fracking or the Kenosha casino either. Yet his party stooges demand that Burke holds full tilt press conferences on all her plans and positions.

So what's going on here? I mean, Walker is Mister Unintimidated and all that jazz. Right? Or he's just another indecisive political hack in a long line of indecisive political hacks. It's one or the other.


Cog Dis - The Crazy Is Concentrated

Politicususa - Tea Party Extremists Pushing Wisconsin Republican Party To Support Secession

Wis Dems - Tea Party Extremists Cannibalize Wisconsin Republicans

JS Online - State GOP gets to vote on secession at convention

TPM - Wisconsin Republicans To Vote On Right To Secede

Friday, April 11, 2014

Master of Dependency And Deception Only a Matter of Degrees

This is pretty typical of Gov. Scott Walker.

There have been recent reports that Walker is considering the UW's new Flexible Option program for his own path to a college degree. As it goes, Walker himself was a supporter of the new government funded UW program. It received $2 million for start-up costs from the state government.

But, it does seem a little strange in this case that it happens to be Scott Walker, mister pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps "we measure true compassion by helping people no longer require the assistance of the government," who is turning to a government program himself to access the system for acquiring a college degree.

For Walker, it appears there was no other way before and so it is 24 years after quitting college and the timely creation of a new government program that he is only now considering an advanced degree.

And why not? Because I think anyone, including Gov. Walker, getting government help to finish their college education 10, 20 or 30 years later great news. It reminds me of the fictional story, The life Of Julia." I say go for it.

But, it doesn't end there for Scott Walker. The Flex Option program it turns out, is geared to college degrees in fields for jobs available today and those expected in the years to come. That is a problem for the governor.

Chippewa.Com Excerpt:
Walker, who is widely considered to be a 2016 Republican presidential contender, didn’t give a timeline for working toward his degree or offer a specific major he hopes to pursue, saying it would likely be related to one of the areas he previously studied, such as political science.

“Right now, the flex option as we currently have it is really focused on the key industries: engineering, some related to health care, and others out there. As it expands, I’d certainly be interested in doing it,” Walker said. “Right now, it doesn’t have the areas I’ve specifically studied.”

Apparently, Walker hasn't been paying much attention to his own workforce development program. It's no longer about earning a degree in the pursuit of your own happiness. It's about getting training and earning degrees for a guaranteed placement into somebody else's idea of happiness - the state's workforce. Obviously, earning a degree for the purpose of entering the state's private sector workforce isn't one of Scott Walker's top priorities. And ...

Chippewa.Com Excerpt:
He said pursuing a degree wouldn’t be about meeting any requirements — such as being governor -

So, it's not about earning a degree to update his skill set for his current job either.

Obviously, there's a different reason for his "special" degree and get this ...he's going to wait out for the program to expand to cover his degree in a field that, according to the state's current workforce expectations, is not in demand and not part of the program.

Finally, Walker said pursuing a degree, "would be ultimately to send a message encouraging others. I think it’s a good thing to encourage others to do."

But which part? The one about pursuing a college degree to satisfy the state's happiness or encouraging others to wait out and depend on government expansions, policies and programs - to pursue your own?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Reminder: Janesville Forum ‘Voter Suppression in Wisconsin’

Voter Suppression in Wisconsin’

Analiese Eicher, Program and Development Manager of One Wisconsin Now (see more below).

Rep. Debra Kolste, 44th Assembly District

Wednesday, April 9
6 PM-6:30 PM cheese & cracker reception (nonalcoholic potluck)
6:30 PM- 7:45 PM, speakers & discussion

**Basics Food Cooperative
1711 Lodge Dr.
Janesville, Wisconsin

(**This is an independent event not affiliated with Basics)

Analiese Eicher is the Program and Development Manager at partner organizations One Wisconsin Now and One Wisconsin Institute where she primarily works on two programs: fighting the trillion dollar student loan debt crisis; and protecting the right to vote. Ms. Eicher is a nationally recognized expert on voter suppression efforts in Wisconsin and is involved in first of its kind research and groundbreaking polling on the issue of student loan debt and its effects on Wisconsin and the nation's economy.’

Ms. Eicher lives in Sun Prairie and is a Janesville native.

Directions: from Madison route 90 until 1st Janesville exit, south on Route 26 past route 14, look for Toys R Us on the right, right on Lodge Drive, on right across from Toys R Us.

The Community Room is to the left when you come in.

RockCountyProgressives. org, also on Facebook

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Video: Elizabeth Warren Has a Few Words For Paul Ryan and Wall Street

Wow. Elizabeth Warren has got it all together. No need to rehash her remarks. Just watch it:

Monday, April 07, 2014

Today's the Last Day To Vote In March Badness

Sorry for the late notice but this is the last chance to vote before ProgressNow crowns the new champion on Tuesday. Gov. Scott Walker has reached the final round so he will at the minimum finish second. Go to this link and vote for him.

Let's help Scott Walker win this tournament!!

Was Journal Times Editorial On AFP An Endorsement Or Alarm?

I know its title, "Americans For Prosperity involvement in local races isn’t bad" sure sounds like an approval for Koch's political army to inject itself into local elections, but after reading it twice I'm convinced its author was looking for whatever paddle or fuel they could find that can spark greater voter interest in their community.

The editorial starts out with a genuine complaint about low voter turn-out in Racine County in Tuesday’s election. Only 13,193 people bothered to cast a ballot out of 111,593 registered voters and that at just under 12 percent they write, is pretty pathetic.

Yes, that is pathetic.

But the last paragraph was the most telling ...

Journal Times Excerpt:
But the bottom line is, residents who make it to the polls and vote are ultimately the ones who determine how our government is run. If groups like Americans for Prosperity can help create more awareness for the issues and turn out more voters, then more power to them or any other group trying, as long as they are willing to disclose who they are.

Again, that does sound like a concession to the Koch Brothers. But in truth, any group can come into any community and operate a get-out-the-vote program. Of course that's not only what Americans For Prosperity does. But at least according to my last recollection, we're still a free country to do so.

My concern here would be how the Racine Journal Times has handled any initiatives, political or other, orchestrated by locals in their part of Wisconsin in the past. Have they promoted those just the same?

In Janesville for instance, if a small band of local residents or the local labor or teachers union would get involved in elections or in the issues, the Janesville Gazette and their army of anonymous trolls would make every effort to smash mouth and squash them in the newspaper as partisans, union thugs or worse. The Gazette was and still is in full control of the narrative.

But see, here's the problem. Those people the Gazette attacked were local residents, local taxpayers with homes or renters raising families donating to local causes and supporting local businesses. They were not outsiders. But that never mattered to the hardcore partisans running the Gazette printing presses. Any local movement to organize or express a "different" opinion from the establishment was and is demonized as negative, power-grabbing or political.

Now, I realize Janesville isn't Racine and Racine isn't Janesville, but people will be people and I'm sure the same political dynamics are at play in both communities. Despite all the hay we make over money in politics and how it distorts views and outcomes, it still comes down to the voter.


So if the Journal Times editorial on American For Prosperity wasn't meant to be an alarm, it sure sounded like one to me.

If you liked that one, you might like to read this:

RNR - While You Were Away

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Walker Signs Crony Class Kickback Bill In Janesville

This is one of the bills (SB449) Gov. Walker's local donor club, Forward Janesville, and their media tools at the Janesville Gazette campaigned for over the past few years. The Gazette, for their part, published at least six maybe seven promotional articles dedicated to its passage with at least two articles demonizing and labeling opponents of the dubious bill as anti-jobs and anti-business.

I of course have written several times of my opposition here about this "tax transfer" charade. But the bill passed unanimously 100-0 or whatever in the state's legislature. bravo

This is a bill that in the end sets up procedural gimmicks to allow profitable businesses for no other reason than being a crony of another business that qualified for tax credits but did not file enough profits to claim the credits, to stake a collectivist claim from a dedicated pot of unclaimed tax revenue. You read that right.

In this case, the dedicated pot is a 3-year $15 million slush fund. It's like saying, "there's free money on the table ...somebody please come and get it!"

Except, that "somebody" is not just anybody. It's only for a few select members of the Big Club.

Outside of the fact that the bill's intention is to reward an entity that created zero new jobs, one of the strangest things about the "free market small government conservatives" promoting the bill including Walker who signed it, is that the bill under the guise of job creation, requires a larger (not smaller) role for government and abstracts of collectivism to coerce businesses and the free market to act or behave in a conforming way. But ...that's IF and only if the credit indeed worked and played a role in creating jobs, which of course it does not.

Most folks would call sponsors of this bill "statists" for the perceived government meddling in the free markets. But in truth, the bill pretends government is acting to create jobs and simply maintains a status quo to allow special people (crony collectivists) to double-dip into the state treasury for free money. Yet, they're called job creators. Go figure.

Walker signed this bill at the Forward Janesville office in Janesville soon after he returned from participating in the Las Vegas Sheldon Adelson Primary.

You can read the local propaganda version here.