When our liberal you-know-whats cry salty tears over Governor Walker's "war on the middle class," their concern is usually expressed in terms of unionized public sector employees and not so much the Joe Lunch Buckets in the private sector.
My thesis was reconfirmed last week when I crossed rhetorical swords with Peg Lautenschlager, the former Democratic state attorney general who was speaking from Fond du Lac, on Wisconsin Public Radio's Week in Review program.
The news of the week was that most state employees would see no pay increase this or next year. Certainly, not happy news but, at least, with national unemployment at 9%, the governor had avoided layoffs.
Peg, now in private practice, represents WSEU, the state employees union, among other clients. So she was in her element. This is my transcription of Peg's comments (she is referring to a cartoon I described in which a state worker lamented that he had to contribute to his pension):
We're just creating a class of working poor ... where the guy in next barstool says "what's a pension?" and I think that's wrong ... In the United States of America older people ought to be able to retire after working hard with dignity and grace -- not just if they've been a hedge fund person. ... It seems are some who are offering a solution -- what we're going to do is cut back where everybody is going to suffer equally. On other side we're saying maybe we should even things out a bit and make sure everybody has the resources to retire when they're 67. I'm on the side of evening things out.
Peg tends to run on a bit, so she had more to say:
How low can you go in accepting cutbacks for workers? Here at Merc Marine we now have people working $10 an hour and no benefits. The numbers look nice for the governor but ... it's very hard to work at that kind of wage with a family other than to go into debt with health care costs or whatever it happens to be. ...That is why some of these unions are saying when workers are working they ought to be able to expect a middle class or lower middle class wage and expect some benefits so they can take off when they have a sick child, get health care and that sort of thing. At some point you draw the line on how many concessions you make ...
Our radio host, the lovely Joy Cardin, then switched the topic to the proposed Gogebic Taconite iron mine in northern Wisconsin. Now watch how Peg pirouetted toward concern for sky and water first and people's livelihoods second. You can hear me moaning in the background as Peg speaks:
The big issue here -- I understand there are a number of jobs to be had if they do this -- but if they do this we're going to go someplace environmentally where we can't come back. That's where we need to figure out the balance and what can and can't be done. While on one hand we are looking at a part of state with very, very high unemployment and jobs are needed, we need to look at how long those jobs will be there, what kinds of jobs are they going to be, will they sustain the people working in them and their family, and what costs [are] going to come -- costs that are irreversible, in terms of the environment. A discussion needs to be had.
My translation: Jobs? Yes, but! Yes, but! Yes, but "what kinds of jobs?"
Is there a dispute? The jobs will pay 60,000 a year? Is that family supporting enough? With benefits. The jobs are supposed to last 25-30 years. As for the environment, no chemicals will be used, the visual scar to the landscape will be mostly visible from the air and will, in any case, be remediated. Are the jobs boom or bust? Probably. Better than bust and bust.
Hey, those government workers at the DNR got to have something to regulate!
Instead, the jobs our Progressive you-know-whats want to preserve are tourism jobs, the kind of jobs our Prog acquaintances damn as not being family-supporting!
The idea that we cannot have industry and a healthy environment is Luddite. And I don't know of anything that is irreversible except death itself.
Take the Blaska quiz: What two trades are represented on the Wisconsin State Seal?
That's right: a DNR water quality specialist (l) and a state prison guard!
Bonus question: What is "Pendarvis"?
Herman "Raising" Cain
It is quite possible that I may have missed something or that details have not been released. But it sounds like what Herman Cain did was to invite some ladies to his pad for some maybe-nookie a good 15 years ago. They said no and away Herman went. That's harassment? Was it Herman Cain who advised a reluctant female, "You better put some ice on that." (Hint: No.)
There was a time when employers just paid off frivolous claims rather than litigate them. That was always a mistake.
County wheel tax
Libs are proposing a $10 to $20 per vehicle wheel tax for Dane County. It's just not going to happen. County board elections are this spring, is why. Another why is that Joe Parisi does not want to create a brand new tax in his first budget. That, and the supporters of this perennial stink bomb are a rogue's gallery of Far Leftists: Madame Brenda, squatter Z! Haukeness, the foul-mouthed Tim Bjerke, Dace Zeps, T.J. Mertz, Basford, Ben Manski, "Mad" Andy Heidt, Bill ("no pledge") Keys, victims rights specialist Brian Solomon and, of course, Progressive Dane.
Problem is, libs on the board can expect the organized Left to sit on their hands this April if they don't go for it. Said Stoughton pest (and former Supe) Buzz Davis, "We expect them to act like progressives not Walker budget cutters!" Those Koch Brothers are everywhere!Speaking of the County Board, we'll find out this month just how tin-eared it is. Chairman Scott McDonell wants a 32% pay hike, to $37,000 from $28,000. To pay for it, he would scuttle a loyal 20+ year veteran, non-partisan civil servant: Tim Saterfield, one of just three County Board staffers. I can tell you, Tim is no Republican but he may not be Prog enough to suit the chairman and his Number 2, John Hendrick, who
Bottom line: Scottie McD wants the paycheck. Who says government can't be a gravy train? Not Buzz Davis!
Matt Rothschild, behave yourself!