Saturday, 12 March 2011

Observations of Wisconsin

After a number of weeks watching this mess in Madison, Wisconsin.....I want to offer five observations.

First, since day one....folks have noted that the plan to toss out union rights was simple to carve from the fiscal plan.  Everybody knew this.  It was repeated by CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and just about everyone who had insight into this.  So I'm kinda amazed that everyone acted with shock this week when the Republicans in the Wisconsin senate did exactly what had been predicted three weeks ago.

Second.  Imagine a union in existence and the top boss makes almost a million a year....the regional union bosses make $250k a year, and school teachers are generally pulling in $80k in pay and benefits a year. And they refer to themselves as middle-class....working class?  If only these pizza delivery idiots were unionized.....then they'd all make $45k a year, and our pizzas would all cost $35 each for a medium pepperoni pizza.

Third.  Over the past three weeks...I've noticed the use of the term "unfair" being used about 2,675 times.  I've watched over thirty hours of media chat with CNN, ABC, MSNBC, and Fox News.....and "unfair" comes up almost every three minutes by someone in Madison, Wisconsin connected to the union or by some analyst.  Frankly, when you hear "unfair" that often in real life....it's associated with a 8-year old kid when asked about school, the teacher, or homework.  For some odd reason....I'm not seeing much difference here.

Fourth.  Folks are watching all this violent stuff in the past twenty-four hours and hostile commenting.  If I were coming up to an election season....I might think long and hard about avoiding that identification because it doesn't carry well in the real world.

Fifth and final....recall.  The governor can't be recalled until January of next year (I checked the rules).  These Republican state senators?  They could be recalled now and the unions are talking about this being the goal.  Best guess?  Five or six guys will be targeted.  You have to present roughly twenty-five percent of the signatures of folks, from the last election in that district....to recall the guy.

The problem is that you end up with guy getting sixty people at some mall entrance to sign the petition at lunch....and twelve don't even live in the district....and another twelve aren't even registered voters.

So when you present this and think things are great.....the odds are against you.  Someone will review the names.

I'm guessing four guys will be recalled.  Here's the problem....the unions have to bring in at least $10 million to run election campaigns in these four districts against the Republicans.  The Tea Party is prepared to stand up and support the fight against the Democratic candidate.

If you only win one of these four elections.....it was a total flush of funding.  You need to win all of these races to influence your followers and keep the spirit up.  If you only win one.....you really hurt the spirits of the guys greatly.  I would pause and be very careful how you precede.

The funny thing is that we are now getting an entire summer of hot politics in Wisconsin....when it'd normally be baseball, hay, and painting season.  It'll be curious how things end up.

Flushing the Money Toilet

The GAO went out and did some analysis.  They added up the total amount that various federal offices/agencies had put down in 2009 for homelessness.  The total?  $2.9 billion, via twenty programs.

To put this in some sense....that a guy from Bama could appreciate....you could have bought 4,800 house-trailers (at $60k each).

You could have gone out and bought 16,100 RV trailers for one massive homeless trailer park.

The GAO guys came to admit that the $2.9 billion really didn't change much of anything but keep folks lined up for another day...another week....another month....another year.

This is the stupidity of this game of allowing various agencies to pump money out and never realize that dozen other government agencies are doing the same thing.

Am I suggesting a Secretary of Homelessness and an entire government agency to do this job?  No.  That would be extremely unwise.  But someone....like a President....ought to stand up and point to one group and just say that your job is to funnel money to anything related to homelessness....and everybody else should just shut up and do your regular job.

Sadly, I doubt that we will see something like that.  And, another $2.9 billion or more will be poured out in 2010, 2011, and 2012.