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Scott Walker: Making a Name for Himself

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When President Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers, Scott Walker was 14 years old. It must have made an impression, but that is all it did. As Walker tries to compare himself to Reagan in dealing with state employees unions in Wisconsin, he seems unfamiliar with the facts and circumstances that faced his hero. All labor unions are not the same. The Wisconsin unions in question are not on strike. They do not threaten national transportation. They have offered concessions.

protests outside the capitolWith Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., in town to rally protesting demonstrators and with Wisconsin State police searching for absent Democrat legislators, Walker’s anything-but-Reagan moment in the national spotlight provides an interesting trial balloon for public opinion and a sticky problem for public affairs professionals. It begs the question, what does Walker want?

Public opinion can be decried as being a mile wide and an inch deep on many topics, especially when the public knowledge base is weak, as it is with American public opinion about the Mideast. In that case the deficit in question is information and not money.

But Americans do know about labor union membership since they, their friends or their neighbors are union members. Moreover, American opinion about unions and collective bargaining rights is changing.  For example, Gallup’s new poll “broadly suggests that Americans are not anxious to see state workers take the brunt of the pain” with respect to budget cuts “either in terms of reducing their pay or eliminating their collective bargaining rights.” Gallup says that the “public isn’t eager to see these fellow residents lose pay and benefits or union rights.” But the poll notes that “they aren’t convinced unions are good for states either.”

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll reports that “Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent.” As to Walker’s (and others) charge that union members are paid too much, “61 percent of those polled — including just over half of Republicans — said they thought the salaries and benefits of most public employees were either ‘about right’ or ‘too low’ for the work they do.”

The new Pew Research Center survey shows that more people “back Wisconsin’s public employee unions rather than the state’s governor in their continuing dispute over collective bargaining rights.” The polling reports that roughly “four-in-ten (42%) say they side more with the public employee unions, while 31% say they side more with the governor, Scott Walker.”

Ezra Klein writes in the Washington Post, “A new PPP [Public Policy Polling] poll of Wisconsin shows that if the state’s voters could do it over again, they’d elect Walker’s opponent as governor.” The reason for that is “self-identified Republicans who are also union members.” So the numbers are changing.

Be that as it may, the public relations implications are also becoming less favorable for Governor Walker. I asked a question of former military public affairs professionals, who are used to dealing with tough situations and who are not political public relations people. “If you were the public affairs officer for the governor’s office in Wisconsin, what would be your top concerns?” Here is a sampling.

“Groupthink trumping sound PA [Public Affairs] advice,” responded Jamie Robertson, communication director of a Canadian government commission involved in public safety. “Telling the governor what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear,” Robertson added.

“My main concern is not that [Governor Walker’s] efforts to control costs will be misunderstood or that all [Walker’s] actions will be cast in an unfavorable light by interested parties. That’s part of politics today,” responded J. David Knepper, principal of a Florida media firm. “My main concern . . . is that [he will not do] what is right.”

David Cagle, president of a California public relations and communications company answered, “With the newly released audiotape of the governor admitting to a prankster that his office had considered using agitators amongst the demonstrators, and admitting in a press release that the voice we hear is indeed his, I just don’t know how he could be doing it worse.” He continued, “The only . . . thing he can do now is start telling the truth.”

Governor Scott WalkerWalker’s public affairs team must have been out the day of the punked phone call, in which Walker refers to moderate Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen as “about the only reasonable one” of the 14 Democratic legislators who fled the state. However, Cullen told Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, “This is the eighth governor that I’ve worked with in one way or another — four Republicans, four Democrats — and this is the first governor who takes a clear public position that he will never negotiate.”  The Badger State’s new governor evidently missed the part about his hero Ronald Reagan’s practice of deal making. “I don’t budge,” Walker said on the taped call. “I’m not negotiating.”

It has become clear that the budget impact of Walker’s attempted union busting is negligible. Not only does it not save money, it threatens to lay off as many as 12,000 people.

Walker’s “…attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected,” wrote Paul Krugman in the NY Times. “What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis…”

There is a point at which the question of competence in office will rise above others. To assail the GOP on the competence issue is a cheap shot. But the longer Scott Walker tries to make a name for himself above executing his duties as a governor, which includes competent negotiation, the name he is making will not be a good one.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • Steve

    I appreciate your article, Tommy. I believe that it is time for public union workers to have the taste of the recession that I’ve had for the last two plus years in the private sector. God knows I’ve made sacrifices just like many other Americans. The taxpayers of WI have been living day by day throughout this economic drought paying too much for their services through taxation.
    I think that with public union employees, collective bargaining should cease. In my opinion, it is acceptable for private sector union employees to collectively bargain because as a potential customer, I can decide whether or not to do business with a unionized company.
    It is a farce that these union members are portrayed as a “less fortunate” class of citizenry. In reality, these Wisconsinites are in a class of their own. Their quality of life, salaries, and benefits are much better and do not parallel that of the arch-typical American middle class.
    I can only hope that someday my home state of Connecticut can be saved by daring leadership such as that of Scott Walker. He isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel. He is returning to the “back to basics” conservative mentality that he was elected for. I wish Governor Walker and the State of Wisconsin the best.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    My wife used to work for the US Dept. of the Treasury when we lived in the States. She had an excellent health insurance plan, paid sick leave, paid vacation time and ten federal holidays off, all paid, and on top of all this, she had a pension plan that she contributed about half to. She made reasonable money for the work she did, and I was as grateful as all hell for it. When she complained about the union dues she had taken out every two weeks, I kept reminding her that it was the union that had gotten her all the benefits she had and that we both benefited from – particularly the health insurance, and eventually, when we left the States, the pension plans we cashed out. My father was a union organizer when he wasn’t driving a truck.

    So, it is not like I don’t comprehend the value and importance of unions.

    Nevertheless, the State of Wisconsin has made some very bad choices in the way it negotiated contracts in the past, and now it is not in the position to give money out from a bare cupboard. Those days have finally come to an end.

    This is not a matter of a governor looking good or bad. It is a matter of governments in the States going flat broke. That is the over-arching issue that dwarfs the issue that Tommy Mack raises here – that of public relations.

  • Rich Falli s

    Actually, the number of potential lay-offs is much much more than 12-13 thousand.

    School Districts and municipalities choked of transfers from the State will be required to do Mr. Walker’s job for him by laying perhaps as many as 25-30 thousand workers, with another 6 thousand retiring to keep their pensions intact.

    As well, by raping the public school system of almost a billion dollars, the Governor intends to offer every school child the opportunity for an education ‘voucher’. The state will essentially pay 70% of the cost of a private school education. Only wealthy people will be able to take advantage of this socialism for the rich, while kids who are disadvantaged or who live in homes of limited income will remain trapped in cash-strapped second rate skewls. Currently, Wisconsin ranks second in SAT scores.

  • Doug Hunter

    “The state will essentially pay 70% of the cost of a private school education.”

    Shouldn’t that be offset by the state saving 100% of the cost of instructing that child at a public school?

  • Clavos

    Shouldn’t that be offset by the state saving 100% of the cost of instructing that child at a public school?

    Which often costs more than what a private school spends, and the private school gets better results.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Never mind that private schools’ students normally come largely from the more affluent sector and from the same cultural sector, are often strongly affiliated with a local church, and usually do NOT have to deal with disabled children…

    …whereas public schools deal with children of ALL races, of ALL cultures, of ALL religions, of ALL levels of ability, no matter how severe the disability…

    For instance, for the two medically-fragile children I have who I send to school every day (on the wheelchair-accessible school bus), the state forks over funding to pay for the LPN or RN assigned specifically to one child (and NOT as the ‘school nurse), and a caregiver for the other child (who at 18 y.o. has a mental age of about 12-18 months).

    Private schools will normally NOT take these children because they simply do not have the capability to deal with them.

    And let’s not forget that most private schools do NOT provide school buses to bring kids back and forth to school. Many do, but most don’t.

    So in other words, public schools do far, far more than do most private schools. I’d love to see how the costs-per-student would compare if a private school were to provide every one of the services that a public school normally does.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Folks, the show is on. Layoffs begin Friday. But wait there’s more!

    File this under Dept of Redundancy Dept: WI Senate Republicans have passed a measure holding their absent Democrat colleagues in contempt for not filing for a leave of absence.

    The show is on means exactly what I write.

    As to Governor Walker, he is
    “a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/And then is heard no more: it is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing.”

    Tommy

  • Clavos

    I see the good governor in a different light — as Henry V:

    “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more/Or close the wall up with our English dead/In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man/As modest stillness and humility/But when the blast of war blows in our ears/Then imitate the action of the tiger/Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood/Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    You can’t really, Clavos, if only for lack of gravity. Yours is but a literary repartee.

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F Cohen

    As to # 8

    As a true warrior once upon a time, Henry V’s quoted passage was the lifeblood of my soul. Unfortunately “the blast of war in (the good governor’s) ears” has come – but instead of “the tiger” he has imitated the character of a rather tame pussy cat.

  • Baronius

    Maybe Walker will be Ophelia!

    We have no idea how this situation will play out, or what character Walker will most resemble.

    They’re sending out layoff notifications today, but they layoffs won’t begin for 31 days.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Nevertheless, the State of Wisconsin has made some very bad choices in the way it negotiated contracts in the past,

    Yes, the very recent past…like once Walker got into office. (chuckle) Walker began with a budget surplus and gave his capitalist cronies cuts until he had a budget deficit.

    This is not a matter of a governor looking good or bad. It is a matter of governments in the States going flat broke.

    So, Walker created the problem by giving to the wealthy. Now he wants to steal from the worker to make up for it.

    After rewarding his corporate supporters with a $117 million tax break, Wisconsin’s newly-elected Tea Party Governor, Scott Walker, manufactured a $137 million budget shortfall in order to go after public employees, including their basic civil right to form a union and bargain collectively. As Stanley Kutler reports on Truthdig.org, prior to Walker’s huge tax giveaway to corporations, Wisconsin’s non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau predicted a budget surplus of $67 million for 2011. (source)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Tea party proponents are pathological liars. They claim to be for The People. What they actually want to do is enforce their ideology on The People, regardless of what the actual people want.

    They will lie to you and claim they believe that the free market is the fairest system. Really they just fucking blatantly support wealth over human value–all the time, every time. They have no problem with outrageous military spending and waste and I can’t remember seeing one of them criticizing military spending.

    How do they justify that a human life is worth so much less than something that has been conjured up–such as is money. They talk about fairness and freedom. They consider money more important than people. In the free marketplace human life is cheap.

    They are always about trying to cut social programs. Many of them appear to me to be irredeemably far along on the scale of psychopathy.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am all for giving them land and allowing them to rape and pillage each other to their grinchy little hearts’ content.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Whilst leaving the rest of us alone.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    You may remember that Walker rejected already-approved federal funding to build a high-speed train between Milwaukee and Madison, when he first became governor, that his predecessor said would stimulate Wisconsin’s economy and create 5,500 jobs. Of course former Governor Jim Doyle is a Democrat.

    With respect to his alleged emulation of Ronald Reagan, a Tea Party favor, Walker seems ignorant of the fact that his hero served as president of the Screen Actors Guild – a labor union.

    Tommy

  • Baronius

    Cindy is factually wrong. The budget shortfall was reported in January, before the tax cuts (which became law in early February). The shortfall is due largely to lower-than-expected tax revenues over the past year. Walker’s tax cuts are projected to raise the total tax revenues of Wisconsin, but they don’t show up in the numbers under discussion today. Cindy’s source for the false information is the Communist Party USA’s website.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Baronius, Walker’s ‘budget repair bill’ [rolling my eyes here] is much more a case of political muscle-flexing than a genuine attempt to ‘repair’ the budget. The inclusion of shocking irrelevancies like allowing the governor to sell government power plants to private companies without bids, and to reduce at his discretion health care assistance for the poor, is telling.

    Conservatives may possibly win this battle, since they obviously have the votes. But they are losing the war, as public opinion turns against the ugly take-no-prisoners Walker style of governance.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Anything Baronius disagrees with is either a Communist plot or the devil’s design. The Cold War is over, Baronius, get over it.

    And how do the tax cuts help remedy the sitution – the budget shortfall, that is, whether real or manufactured? The fact that the unions conceded to Walker’s financial stipulations and the jackass is still pressing on is all one needs to know that the fight is ideological in basis, beyond the bean-counter mentality. It’s the new Republican strategy, encouraged by the successes in midterm elections, to win the White House and the Senate come 2012, budget shortfall serving as a pretext. Nothing but human hubris gloating as a result of victory and masquerading under the guise of fiscal responsibility.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The budget shortfall was reported in January, before the tax cuts…

    Oh, I guess that makes everything okay then. Presuming you are correct, I will reiterate.

    How’s this:

    Walker, knowing there was a budget shortfall then gave cuts to his political corporate cronies and then decided the shortfall should be paid for by workers.

    The shortfall is due largely to lower-than-expected tax revenues over the past year.

    Makes perfect sense then to give the rich some more tax breaks.

    Walker’s tax cuts are projected to raise the total tax revenues of Wisconsin…

    You mean like EVERY CORPORATE TAX CUT TO DATE HAS BEEN PROJECTED TO DO???????

    YOU MEAN LIKE THE BUSH TAX CUTS????

    THE ONES STILL IN EFFECT DURING THE CURRENT CRISIS?????

    IS ANYONE SWALLOWING THIS BULLSHIT ANYMORE????

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Only the recipients of the tax cuts!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That’s right, Roger.

    Because Bush’s tax cuts brought us the prosperity we enjoy today.

  • Baronius

    Roger, I’m not exaggerating. The site that Cindy linked to is politicalaffairs.net. According to their About page, “Political Affairs is affiliated with the Communist Party, USA”. The tipoff for me was the site’s slogan, “Marxism. Fresh. Daily.”. As I pointed out, and Cindy does not dispute, the information in the article was false. Cindy is literally spreading commie lies. :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I’ve yet to know a rich man to put others’ interests ahead of his own. It must be “in the blood.” Yet they all think they’re anything less than transparent, high-minded and objective.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I see the good governor in a different light — as Henry V

    At the siege of Harfleur. Hmm…

    But is Gov. Walker the besieger or the besieged?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I didn’t even know there is a Communist Party, USA, Baronius. What does it mean in this day and age, do tell?

  • Baronius

    As for the benefit or drawback of tax cuts, I don’t know how many times we’ve had, or can have, this conversation. We disagree. I’ve presented historical data; you’ve denied that reality exists. This is a stalemate. Just don’t pretend that no one’s ever presented the argument to you.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius,

    Actually, the info was on Rachel Maddow’s show. And is also disseminated throughout a wide range of political sites and numerous news outlets. So, it isn’t original with the Marxist news outlet I linked to.

    I don’t dispute it, because you have challenged it. In looking for support, I see that it is a big brouhaha and I haven’t been able to arrive at a site I trust to settle the matter.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    They mostly rally to support social justice causes.

    The evil bastards!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I’ve presented historical data…

    I must have missed that presentation. Care to repost your links or whatever?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I don’t know whether you’re addressing me or Cindy. Sure there is an argument, there’s got to be an argument if tax cuts are to be regarded as part of (responsible) fiscal policy. But to play a fool, isn’t timing everything, or is it a principle overriding all other principles, regardless of circumstances

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I suppose by Baronius’s definition, Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky and Al Jazeera are Communists too. And let’s not forget WikiLeaks. Anything in fact which runs counter to the interests of the uberrich and the good ole USA.

    A convenient worldview, to say the least. And I thought the Red Scare was over and we can no longer blame the Russians or the Chinese for the mess we’re in. Well, not according to Baronius, apparently. He still needs a scapegoat.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s the absolutism of the argument that is so exasperating: if reducing tax rates always and inevitably raised tax revenue, then should we reduce taxes to zero and get infinite revenue? Yay!

    When Reagan reduced the highest income tax rates, he was reducing them from what could reasonably be called punitive levels. The cuts may well have done what Grover Norquist, repellent though he is, has claimed: revived the economy.

    The slightly raised rates under Clinton were not punitive, and the economy still prospered.

    Bush reduced the rates while conducting two expensive wars. The economy was up and down, but the middle class floundered.

    Obama wants to return to the Clinton era rates, but only for high earners. This is portrayed as destructive radicalism.

    The tax rhetoric of the right is just a house of cards, but it seems to have eternal life.

  • El Bicho

    “I’ve presented historical data; you’ve denied that reality exists.”

    Did that data include the Bush tax cuts?

  • troll

    Baronius you’ve looked into this:

    do tax cuts operate the same at the federal and state levels – Reagan used them to jump-start growth and thereby increase the fed’s revenue (a few years down the road) but this was only possible with massive deficit spending

    how would this work at the state level where deficits aren’t allowed?

  • Clavos

    But is Gov. Walker the besieger or the besieged?

    At present? A little of both it would seem, Doc.

  • Baronius

    Troll – You’re giving a demand-side explanation for the increase in revenue. The supply-side argument is that the lower tax rate encouraged investment. I haven’t looked into Walker’s tax cuts – different taxes have different impacts – but from what I know, state tax cuts tend to be more effective in raising revenue, because it costs a company less to move capital between states than between countries.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Now you’re above my head, or perhaps because I’m into Hobbes and don’t want to think too much (about other things). How does the “deficit spending” factor in?

  • Baronius

    Roger – I didn’t say that Cindy was a communist. I did imply that the Communist Party USA is communist. Is there a reason that I should rethink that?

  • Baronius

    Cindy, El B, et al – In the 1920’s, 1960’s, 1980’s, and (I think) 2000’s, there were cuts to the higher income tax rates which were followed by increases in economic activity, which led to increases in federal tax revenue. I’ve cut-and-pasted the data from the 20’s and 80’s before; it’s readily available online.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    If all this amounts to is persuading businesses to remain stateside, it’s a no brainer. So the real question appears to come down to the following: what is the real benefit (to the state) of increasing the rate of employment at subsistence wages, and how does it contribute (significantly) to the state’s economy. And even if this question could be answered in the affirmative, what are the real benefits in terms of alleviating the state’s budget crisis from increased taxation of minimum wage income? Do they outweigh the revenue lost as a result of tax cuts? And do the minimum-wage consumers can be said to carry enough weight so as to stimulate the state’s economy so as to make sufficient difference?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    What I’m curious about, Baronius, what does “a communist” mean to you anymore? What I’m really surprised is that you find the term useful.

  • troll

    hmm – I thought that the supply side argument was that growth of gdp attributable to tax cuts lead to increased state revenue – which is the picture I presented in #35

    …but from what I know, state tax cuts tend to be more effective in raising revenue…

    do you have the historical data on this increase in state revenue Baronius?

    Rog, my impression is that Reagan used deficit spending to keep those services that he couldn’t/wouldn’t eliminate functioning while the tax cuts ‘led’ to increased growth

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    So you’re saying there are two distinct elements to this madness, (1) keeping up with the overall demand by not cutting the services (the demand side of the argument at the federal level) while (2) using tax cuts to stimulate the economy so as to eventually make up for and hopefully wipe out (federal) deficit spending (the supply side).

    Have I got it partly right?

  • troll

    I think so

    I’d like more info about how this works at the individual State level

    just what is Walker hoping for?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @36

    Whatever the case, he’s no hero, no Henry V or even Richard III, the lovable villain.

    Anyone can be Mr. Bean, the accountant. Harvard Business school cranks them out by the dozen.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Well, the states have no deficit spending prerogative. They have to balance their budgets, yearly, and aren’t allowed the floating option.

    What Walker seems to be doing, aside from ideological considerations of course, is severing himself from the Federal paradigm whereby the central government is the bearer of all risk. By disavowing himself of this option, the idea of risk no longer being acceptable, there is no choice but to cut services.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “no choice to cut services”…and give big tax breaks to Big Business, too – to the tune of $137 million dollars for this year alone.

    Yes, he’s choice whatsoever, huh?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Walker is not just trying to close a budget gap. His bill exempts the fire and police unions — they could keep collective bargaining — and those unions just happen to have endorsed him last fall.

    Along with the corporate tax breaks he pushed through days after taking office [which will add to the deficit], those exemptions call his motives into question.

    He assumed his ‘my way or the highway’ approach would bring him praise and success. I believe it is blowing up in his face instead.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Scott Walker is just a front-man for an agenda that is big on slogan and weak on substance.

    When you read the bill he represents for the new Republican majority, you will find it is all about the weak management style of “I’ll show them who is boss” without understanding what being “boss” means. He is just a front-man. Unfortunately, as Handy suggests, there is little difference between being a front-man and a fall-guy.

    I have to give the man credit, however. His rhetorical economics demonstrates the GOP agenda for the 2012 election, which is to keep unemployment high and recovery weak.

    Then the Obama administration can be blamed.

    Tommy

  • Boeke

    Tax cuts and subsidy gifts to business are quite futile when US business is sitting on $2trillion in capital. If there was anything worth investing in they would already be doing it. Thus, money to business will simply go idle. It’s a net harm to the US economy.

    But we have a huge demand deficit in the USA. Consumers are not buying because they are broke, so money directed to consumers will be immediately deployed and pump up the economy.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I have never voted for a Republican. But even I find it difficult/impossible to believe that any elected officials are actively working to “keep unemployment high and the recovery weak.” They just have this mystical belief in low taxes and cutting spending as the answer in all circumstances. It’s ideological tunnel vision.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Yes, Handy, he’d have to be a character from Shakespeare’s playbook on villainy to be operating on those premises. Besides, he’s too young to attain that level of corruption.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    There is a flaw in the GOP spreadsheet. The impact of that “ideological tunnel vision” is what will keep unemployment high and the recovery weak. Layoffs do not create jobs, either.

    I am waiting for David Stockton to explain to me how shrinking the revenue pool (cutting taxes) decreases a negative budget balance (reduces a deficit). These so-called Republicans’ rhetorical economics are, however, consistent with those of their hero Ronald Reagan, who never sent congress a deficit increase he didn’t like.

    There are two things that would go a long way to improving our economic health that no one talks about: increasing domestic productivity and ending the wars to reduce defense expenditure.

    Tommy

  • Boeke

    The only thing that will help our economy is increased consumer spending: we are suffering a Demand Drought.

    Cutting deficits is counter productive: it makes things worse.

  • Cannonshop

    #55 why is there a “Demand Drought”, Boeke?

    Oh, yeah, that’s right… because huge numbers of americans deficit-spent themselves into poverty, at the same time that 435+1 Americans increased the national debt and devalued the currency, while over-extending credit on both the personal level (as in individual citizens) and the NATIONAL (governmental) level.

    Even if you’re a Keynesian and think Roosevelt’s New Deal alone ended the Great Depression, you have to understand why that won’t work htis time- FDR started with a fairly large SURPLUS-the Government had REAL money to spend stimulating the economy.

    We don’t have that.

    The Money does NOT EXIST.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Do you ever check facts before typing your tirades? Consumer debt and consumer spending have both improved considerably in recent months. The economy is growing, just more slowly than most of us would prefer.

    Vast generalizations often result in vast misstatements of fact.

  • Cannonshop

    Eh, is it expanding, or just bubbling, Handy? ’cause I think it’s just kind of bubbling. A measure, IMHO of an “Expanding” economy, would be negative growth in the unemployment rolls not caused by dropping people at the end of their benefits period from the count.

    “Help Wanted” signs, in other words. Don’t see many of those-and I’m living in an area that currently has the lions share of U.S. Exports (Boeing accounts for a huge share of export income for the United States.)

    I have a friend sleeping on my floor because he hasn’t been able to find a job for the last two years…

    The economy is NOT improving.

  • Clavos

    The economy is NOT improving.

    Quoted for Truth.

    My business, which is particularly sensitive to economic fluctuations, dealing as it does with luxury goods (yachts), has been down for nearly two years and gives no indication whatever of regaining strength.

    Nobody “needs” a boat, so they are among the first things given up and among the last to be re-acquired.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, Cannonshop’s and Clavos’s anecdotal evidence is of course all we need to know about the state of the US economy.

    Yes we’ve got a long way to go…but private [i.e. non-government] employers have added jobs every month for 12 months in a row now. During the first 6 months of 2009, the country was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. So there has been considerable progress.

    The three-month drop in the unemployment rate, Dec-Jan-Feb 2010-11, was the largest in more than 25 years. The economy doesn’t turn on a dime, so to speak. It’s a big ship that takes a while to turn around.

    I am still looking for work and I feel the economic pain very personally, believe me. But I do think things are moving in the right direction, just still slowly, at least relative to the deep, deep hole we were in.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Handy is spot on in his analysis. So, why do GOP types and so called conservatives keep insisting that cuts, except for the military/industrial complex, cure anything? (trick question)

    It is easier to stick to a monosyllabic slogan than to advocate economic sense (trick answer). Here is the new slogan that should be acted on: Spend Spend Spend. (There is a Byrds’ song that comes to mind.)

    Tommy

  • Clavos

    Right, handy. IF you believe the government’s numbers…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If the government is cooking the numbers for political purposes, they’ve certainly done a clumsy, incompetent job of it. Unemployment numbers were the biggest single reason for the Nov 2010 election results. [They also, of course influenced the 2008 elections, contributing to a Democratic victory. The government producing the numbers then was run by the GOP.]

    If you have any specific counterevidence [in addition to those all-important yacht orders, of course], do tell.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Back to the original subject here: the Wisconsin GOP just pulled a procedural coup and passed the anti-collective bargaining bill, bypassing the absent Dems. How will this play out? I suspect there is more turmoil to come.

  • Clavos

    [in addition to those all-important yacht orders, of course]

    They’re important to more people than you might think, handy, but in the meantime, I have a nice 90 ft. motor yacht you can have for only $3,950,000.

    If the government is cooking the numbers for political purposes, they’ve certainly done a clumsy, incompetent job of it.

    Handy, clumsy and incompetent is what the government does.

    But I don’t think they are “cooking” ’em, they’re not clever enough for that. No, it’s just clumsiness and incompetence.

  • Cannonshop

    #65 Clavos, is the principle you’re describing based on the “Never ascribe to malice what can be better explained as Incompetence”?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    A joke that is circulating in various forms:

    A CEO, a tea party activist, and a union worker are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies on it.

    The CEO takes 11 cookies, and pointing to the twelfth, says to the tea partier: “That union guy is trying to steal your cookie.”

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Here and here are compelling insights into the efforts of the peaceful but downtrodden Wisconsin public employees’ unions and their gallant supporters to right the obvious wrongs being done by Governor Walker and his stooges in the legislature. The greedy fat cat Republicans should be greatly ashamed of the harm they are doing. Unless they repent immediately and reverse their ill-considered efforts, they will suffer and be responsible for the consequences.

    Dan(Miller)

    Is there an HTML code for attempted sarcasm?

  • James

    Anybody thats stupid enough to fight over the scraps left over by Corporations buying the government …… and elected officials like Walker who sell his office to corporations….. DESERVE TO LOOSE THEIR CITIZENSHIP ….. AND TO BE DEPORTED FOR LETTING CORPORATIONS BUY THE GOVERNMENT AND THE ECONOMY ….