Friday, January 13, 2012

New developments on old news in Fitzwalkerstan

Been tied up with my girlfriend, work, travels, preparing for my trip to Vegas for serious sports gambling this weekend, and a half foot of snow, so I haven't been able to jump in the last few days. But I've seen a few things in the last few days that are nice reminders of what we've been hitting on for the last year.

1. The GOP's one-sided tinkering with redistricting and elections continue to cost Wisconsinites. One way is how the Fitzgeralds jammed through redistrcting in such a top-down, imposed manner of local governments that many voters are not matched to their polling place or actual district, and that Wisconsin addresses are shown to be as far away as Africa on the statewide database software. Hmmm, you think that destroying decades of Wisconsin tradition of having local districts go first in determining polling precincts might have something to do with this? Maybe that rushing through of redistricting in the Summer wasn't such a bright idea when it came to good policy and easy-running elections.

And related to that, former Walkershaw County GOP State Senator Mac Davis's absurd decision to force the GAB to be the entity to lookm over recall signatures, is now going to force the signature review process past 60 days, delaying the inevitable recall election. Not only that, but now the GAB has to shell out at least $100,000 of taxpayer dollars for database software to enter and examine the signatures, and have to hire more individuals to take care of signature work, instead of having Scott Walker's corporate contributors pay for it (as all other candidates up for recall have had to). Gee, you mean this partisan decision is going to cost us a lot more cash and lead to more confusion than doing it the right and legal way? 'Magine that. Then again, causing confusion and frustration at this legal recall process is the GOP's goal here, because they know they can't win any of these elections on the merits.

2. Scott Walker's mistreatment of public workers and local governments led to record retirements of government workers in 2011. The state's pension fund, who handles pretty much all public sector employees that aren't in Milwaukee, had an increase of almost 80 percent over the last 7 years, and many of those 18,000+ have not been replaced. In addition to proving how pathetic a lie Scott Walker is giving when he claims Act 10 and other cuts "saved union jobs", (which I and many others exposed when he first tried it last winter, as you can see in point 3 here. ) the lie is compounded by a throwaway line from spokes-hack Cullen Werwie at the end of the article.
Werwie said he had no information on how much payroll had been reduced because of retirements, and the administration wasn't tracking where most retirements were occurring.
Well if you're not tracking these retirements and replacements, how the hell do you know you've saved jobs and how can you brag that you've "cut public payrolls"? HMMMMM? And you wonder why I say these guys aren't fit to run a McDonald's let alone the state?

In addition, we've seen the effects of these public sector job losses into the overall job market over the last few months. Another report came out this week on Wisconsin having the largest job losses in state government the 2nd Quarter of 2011, as it went down by nearly 8,000 people in the few months before Walker and co. started massive reductions in take-home pay for most state employees (Blogging Blue had a great report on this). And gee, what's happpened to Wisconsin jobs since the second quarter of 2011?

Jobs lost since June 2011 in Wisconsin
24,900 lost private sector, 10,000 lost public sector

Hmm, so much for the theory that public sector job losses "free up" the private sector for growth, eh?

3. We saw that connection come up again in this week's new jobless claims number as once again, Wisconsin was prominently mentioned in the report, and not in the good way.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 31 were in Michigan (+10,364), Wisconsin (+10,203), Pennsylvania (+8,135), New Jersey (+7,989), and New York (+7,746) while the largest decreases were in California (-23,969), Illinois (-4,696), Texas (-2,385), Nevada (-1,590), and Kansas (-1,341).
Yep, that's right, it's more than 10,000 ADDITIONAL jobless claims for the last week of 2011, right when local governments lay off employees for the start of their new fiscal year. And oh yeah, Illinois had the 2nd largest the last thing we'd ever want to do is to go in their direction, right?

But even worse is the total number of new jobless claims, which is now at 27,797, which meant only 5 other states had more jobless claims than Wisconsin that week - California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York - all states with much higher populations than Wisconsin. In addition, that 27,797 is more than 1,000 more than the increase over the same week last year, which is at the same time that new jobless claims have consistently dropped year-over-year in the nation.

Once again, Wisconsin's economic performance goes down while the rest of the nation is recovering, and there's nowhere else to look except to the Governor's Office....if you can find Scott Walker there. (where's he today? Austin? D.C.? Cali? Aspen?)

I'll tell you where I'll be this weekend- VEGAS BABY! VEGAS! Much like the Pack, I hope to come back a winner and in good shape for next week, but it is far from a sure thing.

P.S. Here's one more before I go- the hack-filled group that is the Walker Administration gets a new addition- a correspondence-course-educated Texass oncology nurse who will now run Wisconsin's emergency medical proceedings. Somehow, I'm guessing the paper she wrote for DHS's Dennis Smith at the Heritage Foundation went a longer way toward getting her the job than actual, you know, work, ability and experience. But hey, it does mean we get our own version of Brownie!

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