Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Smackdown: Wisconsin

**If you are here to read about Swim/Bike/Run then I suggest you view posts other than this one.**

It has been awhile since I have gone off on one of my political tangents.  Quite frankly, I really am just too tired from all the training and I have been trying to not get myself all worked up over politics.  Well, this morning I was in the car on my way to an appointment and heard this little diddy from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  It was in response to Obama's recent pro-labor union statements (source):

Today President Obama again weighed in against Governor Walker’s proposal to balance the state’s budget deficit by having state government workers contribute a modest amount toward their own pensions and pay 12.6 percent toward their healthcare premiums. 
In response to the President’s comments, the Governor’s Press Secretary Cullen Werwie issued the following statement: 
I’m sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I’m sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts. 
Furthermore, I’m sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.  
I’m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn’t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another.

Did I read this wrong or did Scott Walker just backhand slap Obama across the face? Awesome!  Scott Walker needs to paint his face blue and have his staff start calling him William Wallace!

I have been following what has been going on in Wisconsin very closely.  I am upset by the Dem. Senators who have fled the state and are refusing to do their jobs.  I am upset by the teachers who are getting fake sick notes to skip work to protest and then claiming it is all about the children.  I am upset by all the special interest groups (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and all the usual suspects) showing up to support an issue that does not concern them.  I am upset that most of the media is referring to the Collective Bargaining as a "right" - it is not a "right" it is an "agreement" - when one side no longer agrees than it no longer needs to exist.  I am upset that those who work in the private sector have been making cuts and financial sacrifices for the last few years of this recession but these Wisconsin public sector employees feel they do not have to make any sacrifices at all.  I am upset that of the 50 states in this country public sector employees earn more in yearly salary than private sector employees in all but 9 states.

This is unsustainable.  Budgets need to be balanced.  Excessive, reckless spending needs to stop.  The bill is due and difficult decisions need to be made.  If it continues to be ignored then Wisconsin may be our version of Greece (not Egypt NYT) and once the dominoes begin to fall many other states will get knocked over too.

I for one, whole-heartedly support Gov. Scott Walker and pray that he continues to hold the line because I am afraid of what the outcome for Wisconsin and our nation will be if he fails.

Now let's move from Careless State spending to Reckless Federal Spending!

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today on the wasteful spending at the federal level.  Here are a couple of the low highlights (Source):

The study found 33 areas with "overlap and fragmentation" in the federal government. Among them, it found: 
-- Fifty-six programs across 20 agencies dealing with financial literacy. 
-- More than 2,100 data centers -- up from 432 a little more than a decade ago -- across 24 federal agencies. GAO estimated the government could save up to $200 billion over the next decade by consolidating them. 
-- Twenty programs across seven agencies dealing with homelessness. The report found $2.9 billion spent on the programs in 2009. "Congress is often to blame" for fragmentation, GAO wrote in this section, explaining that the duplicative programs in multiple agencies cause access problems for potential participants.

-- Eighty-two "distinct" teacher-quality programs across 10 agencies. Many of them have "duplicate sub-goals," GAO said. Nine of them address teacher quality in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. 
-- Fifteen agencies administering 30 food-related laws. "Some of the oversight doesn't make any sense," the report stated bluntly. 
-- Eighty economic development programs. 
In some cases, the programs in question struggled to account for what they did. Take, for instance, domestic food assistance initiatives. According to GAO, 18 such programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services -- with GAO estimating $62.5 billion spent on them.
Duplicity, Lack of oversight, and rudderless programs - sadly this pretty much sums up the Federal Government!

This falls abuse falls squarely on the shoulders of our elected officials.  They keep saying we are broke, we are broke.  Of course we are with this lack of oversight on our spending.  We are borrowing trillions of dollars from the Chinese and they got to be sitting back laughing at the stupidity of our elected officials.  Notice the majority of the numbers in the article above are Billions and Trillions?  Just ridiculous.  We need to hold our elected officials accountable through our votes.  This is unacceptable and in my mind criminal.

Hope you enjoyed my gloom and doom post of the day!  As always please comment if you disagree or add to the post if you agree.  Or email me if you do not want to have a debate in a public forum.   But if you do be prepared to be slapped across the face like Walker did to Obama!

Thanks for Reading,



  1. You know I usually go "huh?!?!" and scratch my head when you make post like this, BUT I knew or understood at least 65-70% of this post, go ahead, shed a tear and admit how proud you are of me.

  2. This one made me crazy yesterday. I thought you'd like to rage on it, too.

  3. Chad, I read something the other day that stated it costs New York over $200K to fire an under/non-performing teacher because of the strength of the union?

  4. oh my freaking gosh.


    I love that I never know what you'll be blogging about.

    sharkopotomus [whatever], politics, tri's, P's fake bike races, shoes you should buy for your wife . . . .

    love it.

  5. First off, I am standing up and applauding right now! The fact that the Democrats ran and hid to avoid this issues makes it very clear they have lost their spines. “Doing it for the children”? Like hell! Please, let me know what good it is doing the kids! The governor is not trying to make them pay for all their insurance, just a part of it.
    Let me see, all of you pay X% of your med issuance or y% of you lose your jobs. To me that would not be a hard decision! As far as Obama goes, let me see, we are in the middle of two wars (yes, the war is Iraq is still going on—soldiers are still being killed over there, it is still a war!), the economy is still hurting plus everything else going on and he is focusing on a state issue? Glad he has priorities!

  6. Last week while on vacation I tried to impartially explain this to my children over dinner. The old ladies at the table next to mine were trying to listen to me and were getting all hot and bothered. Afterwards I asked my wife if she understood why the fogies got upset. She said that it was very obvious as to which side I was for and which president I was against. Oh well.

    In all seriousness, this is a big deal. My state is leading the charge down the wrong way but this is unsustainable ecomonically. I could go on and on but I'll stop for now.

  7. Very few of you want to touch this one huh? Got about a gazillion hits since this post went up. Haven't lost any followers so must have some people in agreement?

  8. I've been waiting for you to bring this up!

    The whole issue in WI makes me sick. I argued this topic with friends of mine who are both teachers. I love them, I myself don't think I would have the patience to teach, but they flat out said they are entitled to more as public employees because they work with children. And since my husband and I worked for a money machine, focused on dollar signs we should suck up the cuts/layoffs that come our way. I almost lost my mind.

  9. It is all Palin's fault!!!! ;)

    I really hope the WI governor holds his line. I am very anti-union. I think the unions were needed way back when when workers were getting taken advantage of, but now, there are so many workers' rights laws out there that it just unneccesary. Aren't all of the Asian car companies non-union? They seem to be creating quality products cheaper and anti-union. Logic says the same could be done here.

    Do you know about the MTA here in NYC? Its SO corrupt. Its basically these 10+ fat cat union A-Holes who make waaaaaay too much money and keep upping the transportation costs! Its way cheaper for me just to drive into NYC now than it is to take the train, and by cheaper, i mean by 75% cheaper!

    Unions have to go IMO.

  10. I am sure unions did some good (note lower case g), but by attempting to artificially impose conditions, when it is darn near impossible to foresee all possible permutations of artificial conditions, they did more harm than good.

    It would be a milestone day if Governor Walker, President Obama, and all of America would study and understand the ramifications of this simple lesson:

    the art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the long term effects of any act or policy, consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. (from Henry Hazlitt, philosopher and economist published circa 1940).

    And the one way to ensure a stable economy for many years is if Pres Obama, Governor Walker, the US Congress and us, the American public, strengthened our commitment to that lesson by once again backing our currency with precious metals.

  11. Jeff not sure why you would lose any followers over this, unless said follower was an elected politician on the take and/or completely beholden to special interest groups (which is all of them).

    These issues are all about greed and entitlement which I think we can agree has nothing to do with political ideology.

  12. because the fact is both parties always find a way to enable this type of behavior within the context of the party line.

  13. Two years ago my company gave every single employee a 5% pay cut. Not much I could do about it except choose to work somewhere else.

  14. you had me at SMACKDOWN WISCONSIN:)
    great post love it

  15. I have started to follow this closely and am still on the fence. We have the same issue coming through in Ohio which hits close to home with my sister, who is a teacher.

    Yet what resonates most with me both with this state issue and on the federal level is your 2 sentences, "Budgets need to be balanced. Excessive, reckless spending needs to stop." Period.

  16. Awesome post and great responses.....

    Now, from the perspective of a teacher.... 23 years......

    Molly's friends who feel they are entitled to "more" because they work with kids are clearly wrong.

    The problems with education are many. Too many to even start in on.

    Parental support or the lack there of. The insurance situation here in Missouri with schools is terrible in many situations. Many teachers have to pay large amounts for their health insurance.

    Salary concerns? I have in 23 years. My brother has worked around 11 or 12 at a local factory. A great company which I won't mention.... he out earned me last year by over $30,000.

    Wow--I need to blog on this!Jeff, you made a bunch of great points and there were several good responses. There are obviously some problems to address....

    Great blog and great post.

  17. YES YES YES YES Like Meg Ryan YES!

    Seriously, you rock, and I couldn't agree more.

    "Budgets need to be balanced. Excessive, reckless spending needs to stop." YES YES YES (more Meg Ryan YES)

    I really don't think they (at least many of them) get it - it is so scary!

  18. Jeff Irvin for President 2012.

    You will be the fastest president to occupy the white house since slick willy.

  19. Thanks for posting. I agree completely!

    Saw this yesterday... a bit more gloom if you're interested... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IelJNgPoX-Q

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