What does the government class want? The answer is simple: more.
The takers will take everything except a hint. The theme for today's lesson, class -- in the words of the immortal Chip Diller -- is "Thank you for that tax increase. Please, sir, may I have another?"
It all starts with spending. Under Obama, federal spending will hit a record $3.8 trillion in the next fiscal year -- up 30 percent since 2008. Washington now lays claim to one of every four dollars of gross domestic product (GDP).
The Congressional Budget Office says interest on the record $1.5 trillion national debt will quadruple from a projected $209 billion this year to $916 billion annually by the end of the decade. That is money borrowed from the Chinese but to be repaid by our children unless we should go the way of Greece.
As Grover Norquist told me recently, "Raising taxes is what politicians do instead of governing, instead of making decisions."
Given the town hall meetings, the tea parties, the Republican victories in New Jersey, Virginia, and Scott Brown in Massachusetts, wouldn't you think the government takers would get the message? In Madison, you would be wrong.
Let's see what the coercive utopians are up to locally, shall we?
Thank you, sir: may we have another school tax increase
Fresh off a referendum in November 2008 that gives the district permission to permanently blow off state levy limits by $13 million, the teachers union-dominated school board wants more.
Somehow, Madison public schools have rung up a $30 million budget hole for the 2010-11 school year. Just a few months after approving a major expansion in services that it can't afford -- 4-year-old kindergarten. Now the teachers union wants an hour free of those troublesome students first thing every morning so they can conspire while on the payroll.
"Education is hurting but reform is off the table." reads the subhead over Ruth Coniff's essay in the current Isthmus (on newsstands everywhere). What is the liberal/progressive idea of school "reform?" Ruth prefers the term "revenue generating solutions" but an editor at Isthmus plunges a sharp quill into the dark heart of the matter to write the main headline:
"Raise taxes to save schools"
There you have the rallying cry of the liberal/progressives. Please, sir. May I have more taxes? Sweet music to the reactionaries at WEAC teachers union headquarters on Nob Hill. No to school choice, no to charter schools, no to merit pay, no to using test scores in teacher retention, no to anything but the same old same old only better funded. Please, sir, more taxes.
Yet, Coniff and fellow taxers and spenders are miffed that:
"Democrats are too concerned about holding onto their majority in the Capitol to propose the kinds of revenue-generating solutions that could that could antagonize voters in swing districts and cost the party seats."
Ya think? When even Democrats get the message, my Dear Ms. Coniff, that is what is called a "clue."
There's a surprise package waiting for more school districts around the state. The Doyle-Pocan-Miller budget ...
cut almost a billion dollars from aid to local school districts, and then back filled it with $789 million dollars in stimulus money ... (even though) the federal government has warned recipients about not spending the one-time money on on-going expenses in order to avoid a "funding cliff," as the MacIver Institute reports.
Thank you, sir: please raise my sales tax for the RTA
Does Progressive Dane support raising taxes to support local RTA commuter trains? Does Brett Hulsey hate cops?
A communique issued by Progressive Dane promises to "mobilize" (a favorite Lefty word) the cadres behind -- not just any old RTA but behind "an ambitious plan."
"While a significant step was taken when the RTA Board was formed, this is not the end of the process; there is still work to be done. Progressive Dane doesn't just support any old RTA, but rather an RTA that provides affordable, available and accessible multi-modal public transit with subsidies for elderly, disabled, and low-income residents."
"In order to achieve these worthy, but ambitious goals, we must let the RTA Board know that citizens support a fully functioning RTA. We should not let caution sabotage the RTA and prevent it from fully serving all residents of the RTA area. We should not let the naysayers, who ultimately oppose any regional transit, to dictate or delay the RTA plan. ... Our Vision for the RTA:
a. The RTA must include commuter rail.
b. The RTA should include bicycle and pedestrian paths that connect the commuter rail stations with existing paths.
c. The RTA should be affordable for all, with subsidies to elderly riders and low income riders.
d. The RTA should include reliable bus or transit routes for people outside of the commuter rail area and improved bus service in those areas underserved by Madison Metro (This includes: Verona, Southwest side of Madison, Fitchburg, Waunakee, Westport, Stoughton, Blooming Grove, Cottage Grove, McFarland, Monona, Dunn, North side of Madison).
"Not just any old RTA" but an "ambitious" RTA. Rhymes with expensive.
Please, sir: spend my taxes so John Nichols can scribble
Why not? What's left of the private sector must be collectivized under the control of the progressive elites.
Uncle Sam used our tax dollars to buy a car company in order to bail out the United Auto Workers (unions in the private sector now account for only 7 percent of the private sector workforce). So, why not bail out The Capital Times?
John Nichols [Who else?] of The Capital Times is at the forefront of a push that is getting major attention nationwide: calling on the government to subsidize journalism.
It's not enough that John won't share the First Amendment with Jim Pugh of WMC. He wants to dip into taxpayers pockets to finance his habit.
The solution, they say, is for government to increase its subsidy of journalism from the $400 million it now spends (in the form of public and community broadcasting) to something more like $30 billion.
Now we're talking real money. Well, why not? It worked for Stalin. Would Nancy Pelosi be editor in chief?
Please, sir: raise my county taxes by 7.9%
Consumer alert! Some candidates running as "fiscal conservatives" have been or will be, paradoxically, endorsed by the Democrat(ic) Party and The Kathleen -- the same Kathleen who raised taxes by 7.9 percent in the headwinds of a major recession.
These are the supervisors who voted YES to a 7.9% increase in county taxes:
AYES: 22 Bayrd, de Felice, DeSmidt, Duranczyk, Erickson, Hendrick, Hesselbein, Hulsey, Kostelic, Levin, Manning, Matano, Opitz, Rusk, Schmidt, Solberg, Stoebig, Stubbs, Vedder, Veldran, Wheeler, and McDonell.
These are the supervisors who voted NO:
NOES: 13 Bruskewitz, Downing, Ferrell, Gau, Hampton, Jensen, Miles, O'Loughlin, Richmond, Ripp, Salov, Schlicht, and Willett.
(Richmond voted no because the budget did not spend enough!) Beware of challengers with no voting record who are endorsed by The Kathleen, the Democrat(ic) party, Chairman Scott McDonell (who pushed his adherents to vote down a slate of proposed budget reductions). Please to ask them, exactly how are you fiscally conservative?
True story: My old man introduced Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, to his audience of Dane County Farmers Union members. The good senator reeled off a list of government initiatives he was sponsoring to help these very farmers. Father thanked the senator for his help in Washington then beseeched, "Now please stop. We can't afford any more help."
Blaska pere was no Chip Diller.