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Old 02-21-2011, 06:30 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by AliEnvy View Post
That's right, just keep reminding the little people that this a fight between tax payers and public workers.

As long as middle and working class people are fighting amongst themselves, the rich win.

Tragically, it will probably work. In which case I will root for a general strike.
You know another thing that gets me about that message? When the Tea Party had their rallies and protests, it was just "good ol' Americans standing up for their rights".

But this, no, this is "not the right time", and we must all band together, and stuff.

Angela
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:34 PM   #92
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So what is it, Democrats? Is WI having budget problems or not? Paul Krugman says yes, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz say no. Half the protesters say yes, half say no. Can you all at least get your story straight so you have some credibility?
They weren't until your guy stepped in.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:01 PM   #93
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So what is it, Democrats? Is WI having budget problems or not? Paul Krugman says yes, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz say no. Half the protesters say yes, half say no. Can you all at least get your story straight so you have some credibility?
Hey, look, it's a political party without uniform groupthink on every issue!
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:50 PM   #94
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So what is it, Democrats? Is WI having budget problems or not? Paul Krugman says yes, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz say no. Half the protesters say yes, half say no. Can you all at least get your story straight so you have some credibility?
Last I checked the main point of contention among the demonstrators was the union busting/removal of bargaining rights.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:20 AM   #95
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So what is it, Democrats? Is WI having budget problems or not? Paul Krugman says yes, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz say no. Half the protesters say yes, half say no. Can you all at least get your story straight so you have some credibility?


what do YOU think?
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:23 AM   #96
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That pretty much sums up the motives here. IMO. They want to bust the union permanently and take away the rights of workers forever.


it's even more political than that. the unions are the *only* effective Democratic GOTV machine they have -- if you bust the unions, the political windfall for the GOP will be enormous.

that's what this is about at it's core.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:08 AM   #97
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Among the thousands of demonstrators who jammed the Wisconsin State Capitol grounds this weekend was a well-financed advocate from Washington who was there to voice praise for cutting state spending by slashing union benefits and bargaining rights. The visitor, Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, told a large group of counterprotesters who had gathered Saturday at one edge of what otherwise was a mostly union crowd that the cuts were not only necessary, but they also represented the start of a much-needed nationwide move to slash public-sector union benefits. “We are going to bring fiscal sanity back to this great nation,” he said.

What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch. State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts. Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday. State governments have gone into the red, he said, in part because of the excessively generous pay and benefits that unions have been able to negotiate for teachers, police, firefighters and other state and local employees. “We thought it was important to do,” Mr. Phillips said, adding that his group is already working with activists and state officials in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to urge them to take similar steps to curtail union benefits or give public employees the power to opt out of unions entirely.

To union leaders and liberal activists in Washington, this intervention in Wisconsin is proof of the expanding role played by nonprofit groups with murky ties to wealthy corporate executives as they push a decidedly conservative agenda. “The Koch brothers are the poster children of the effort by multinational corporate America to try to redefine the rights and values of American citizens,” said Representative Gwen Moore, Democrat of Wisconsin, who joined with others in the union protests.

...But the push to curtail union benefits in Wisconsin has been backed by many conservative groups that have no Koch connection, Mr. Phillips noted. Americans for Prosperity came to Wisconsin more than five years ago and has thousands of members, he said. The state chapter organized buses on Saturday for hundreds of Wisconsin residents to go to the Capitol to support the governor’s proposals.
For anyone interested in reading some Wisconsin-specific reports on public/private sector disparities in pensions and other compensation, there are two reports out there which keep being cited in news features and op-eds on the protests. The first comes from a conservative perspective and addresses pensions only; the second comes from a progressive perspective and looks at total compensation, along with some commentary on the various ways these comparisons are usually calculated and the pros and cons of various ways of adjusting the data.

WI Policy Research Institute, Feb. 2010 - Public/Private Pension Imbalance

Economic Policy Institute, Feb. 2011 - Are WI Public Employees Over-Compensated
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:35 AM   #98
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So what is it, Democrats? Is WI having budget problems or not? Paul Krugman says yes, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz say no. Half the protesters say yes, half say no. Can you all at least get your story straight so you have some credibility?
What are you talking about? ... Have you read Krugman's 3rd paragraph in that article?

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In any case, however, Mr. Ryan was more right than he knew. For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:21 AM   #99
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what do YOU think?
Yes.

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What are you talking about? ... Have you read Krugman's 3rd paragraph in that article?
He refers multiple times to the "financial crisis." He sure doesn't sound like he's rejecting the idea that there's a crisis.

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They weren't until your guy stepped in.
PolitiFact Wisconsin | Gov. Jim Doyle says Wisconsin's projected budget shortfall is $1.5 billion, much lower than previously projected

It’s a familiar scenario when it comes to the politics around government budgets.

New to office? Puff up the size of the deficit you inherited, so you look like a hero tackling the problem.

Running for re-election or riding off into retirement? Push those numbers as low as you can, so the citizenry doesn’t hold you responsible for it -- and let the next guy deal with all the fallout.

Eight years ago, it was incoming Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, complaining that outgoing Republican Scott McCallum had made the state budget picture a little too rosy. Now Doyle, who did not to seek a third term, has issued his administration’s official budget statement.

It showed a deficit as low as $1.5 billion.

That’s a far, far cry from the $2.7 billion or so deficit bandied about during the November election, won by Republican Scott Walker. And Doyle is facing a hailstorm of criticism from Republicans for playing the how-low-can-you-go game.

"Even on his way out, Jim Doyle continues to use Madison math to manipulate budget numbers," soon-to-be Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said after the Nov. 19, 2010 announcement.

Of course, Doyle’s top administrators are fighting back. They say Walker and his fellow Republicans are hypocritically inflating the deficit number to more than $3.3 billion.

Let’s dig into the numbers, with a focus on those issued by Doyle’s administration because they are the official ones.

Having a realistic number is important. The deficit -- and what Walker and the new Republican-controlled Legislature do about it -- could affect everything from school spending levels to government jobs, tax rates and the state’s safety net for the poor.

At the center of the issue is the statutorily required biennial report by the state Department of Administration. That report, dated Nov. 19, projected the two-year budget shortfall at $1.5 billion by June 2013, with the caveat it could be $2.2 billion if two key assumptions went awry.

That number was much lower than the $2.7 billion estimate in July by the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau. But lay that aside. While useful for an overall feel of fiscal condition, the Fiscal Bureau report measures an entirely different number than the new document.

So let’s look at how Doyle’s accounting squares with reality.

First of all, the deficit projection is just that -- a best guess based mainly on predicted tax collections vs. the amount state agencies say they need to operate.

State law says the deficit report should not include the recommendations by the governor, in this case the incoming Walker. Those recommendations are supposed to come later, during budget time. As such, the report is meant to strictly be a measure of the best estimate today of where things stand for the next two budget years.

But Doyle’s administrators put his stamp squarely on it, "reducing" the deficit by $800 million -- even before the $700 million in iffy assumptions are factored in.

Doyle did so by assuming Walker would continue several cost-saving measures Doyle used to balance the last two-year budget. Those measures included furloughs, a roll-back of a 2 percent pay raise and across-the-board spending cuts.

Asked about this approach, Department of Administration spokeswoman Emily Winecke told PolitiFact Wisconsin: "Because Governor-elect Walker has repeatedly supported these measures, we did not feel they needed to be added as a likely additional cost."

To be sure, a governor has authority on his own to enact many of the personnel and spending cuts. And Walker, as county executive, used furloughs and similar moves to balance the Milwaukee County budget.

But Doyle will be gone long before the budget is introduced.

An independent researcher who has studied the deficit, University of Wisconsin-Madison economist Andrew Reschovsky, said the DOA report obscured the real size of the problem by incorporating solutions into the mix -- solutions that Walker may or may not pursue.

"You have to go back to the status quo -- before furloughs -- to see what the magnitude of the problem is," Reschovsky said.

Reschovsky issued his own estimate in September pegging the deficit at $3.1 billion, though he says it would be under $3 billion if he did it today.

Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, said it was unusual for an administration to carry over previous cost savings when calculating a future deficit.

Indeed, if one were to assume enough cost savings, a deficit could become a surplus.

There are other problems built into Doyle’s report:

* It counts on $528 million in additional federal Medicaid payments. But that assumes Congress and the president will extend help they first granted in the 2009 stimulus action. That’s iffy, as the report itself notes.

* Another $200 million hanging over the state’s head was not accounted for at all -- the likely repayment of a transfer from the state’s patient compensation fund that was invalidated by the courts.

* Still another $300 million in "savings" came from unspecified cuts in the Department of Health Services. DOA argues the agency found efficiencies in the last budget equalling hundreds of millions of dollars in a budget of over $5 billion.

What’s the bottom line?

Even Department of Administration Secretary Daniel Schooff, who signed the deficit report, says $2.2 billion -- not $1.5 billion -- is the best starting point because the Medicaid and patient fund monies likely will fall to the state to cover.

Doyle’s side argues the deficit reports always have reflected some decision-making by the incumbent governor, even when he’s leaving office.

State agencies, for instance, often are instructed to come in with zero percent increases in state general funds. Doyle did that this time around. Doyle’s camp argues that his incorporation of various yet-to-be-approved cuts -- not just freezes -- is an extension of that approach.

"The real ‘Madison math’ is the assumption that state agency budgets can only go up and not down," Schooff said in a statement to PolitiFact Wisconsin.

In fact, Berry of Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance was faulting Doyle just two years ago for using inflated agency requests to pump up the size of a predicted deficit. Now Doyle is under attack in part because his agency requests are too slim.

But the scenario here is different: It is one thing to assume changes when you wrote the current budget and will be creating the new one. It’s another to presume your successor and others -- in this case, Congress -- will do certain things.

Where does that leave us?

With less than two months left in the term, Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration department released a report showing a $1.5 billion deficit for the next two-year budget cycle. Although that number is official, the agency’s chief -- noting caveats included in the report -- almost immediately began portraying the actual deficit as closer to $2.2 billion.

In constructing the official number, the report makes an $800 million assumption -- it counts as continued savings cuts that are really decisions for the new governor. It also counts on an iffy $500 million in federal cash and skates over $200 million the courts say the state owes to one of its funds.

Here’s our official rating: False.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:56 AM   #100
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it's even more political than that. the unions are the *only* effective Democratic GOTV machine they have -- if you bust the unions, the political windfall for the GOP will be enormous.

that's what this is about at it's core.
It was stunning to listen to the radio (NPR) yesterday and hear local politicians in WI and OH whine about the political monetary power of unions.

Rich companies' and business associations' monetary power anyone???

If money in politics is the issue, let's DO something about it.
Rights are for citizens, not corporations and associations.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:19 AM   #101
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Here’s our official rating: False.[/I]
The fact that it's not my local news and it's been so overpoliticized I'm not sure if I could find an end all be all on that answer. I've seen unbiased sources say both, but at the end of the day what you need to realize is that it's not the ultimate issue.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:29 AM   #102
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Yes.


yes, what? i'm looking for an opinion of yours, in your own writing.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:30 AM   #103
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Rights are for citizens, not corporations and associations.


not according to Chief SCOTUS Justice John Roberts.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:02 AM   #104
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not according to Chief SCOTUS Justice John Roberts.
Hence the Citizens United decision and striking down parts of McCain-Feingold.


Are we of the people, by the people and for the people or America, Inc.?
I would love to know what it will take for Republicans to see this.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:51 PM   #105
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Hey, look, it's a political party without uniform groupthink on every issue!
Hahahahahahahhahahahahahahaha
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