Sunday, February 26, 2017

Greedy Wisconsin CEOs and WisGOP politicians work together-and hold our economy back

Dave Zwiefel had an excellent column out today in the Capital Times where he noted that Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is part of a new group that is trying to update Wisconsin's image for the 2010s, with the idea of encouraging talent to locate in the state. This is something Zwiefel finds odd, since WMC and the GOP politicians they support have backed policies that have had the exact opposite effect.
Our state government long embraced the "Wisconsin Idea," where the best and brightest at UW shared their expertise with the state to help build the middle class and promote economic and social justice. Coupled with its concern for education and the environment, the state became a magnet for young idealists who wanted to be a part of it.

As we know, that image of Wisconsin has been turned upside down. Where once the state exported ideas aimed at building a more equitable economy and an infrastructure of strong schools and a world-class university, the biggest idea the Scott Walker administration is touting is a textbook plan on how to destroy unions. Instead of inviting university faculty to partner in solving problems, this Legislature demonizes them as pampered left-wingers intent on brainwashing young-adult students.

Environmental regulations have been eviscerated, the state parks have been unfunded and many of our school districts are struggling. This isn't the image that attracts young people hoping to start a career and raise their families.

If Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce really wants to send a message that our state is a welcoming place to locate, perhaps it ought to stop spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on politicians who do their best to prove that it isn't.
The greedy, "profit and power over anything else" mentality of the state's business lobby is equally perplexing to me. It's not like that mentality is leading to good results, as Wisconsin has had the worst economy in the Midwest over the 6 years that the WMC-bought GOP politicians in the Governor's Office and Legislature have been in power.

In addition, the WMC crowd is constantly whining about a "skills gap" at the same time that they have vociferously backed wage-suppression measures like right-to-work (for less) and the recent legislation against Project Labor Agreements, and have backed a governor and Legislature who won't even consider raising the minimum wage above $7.25. In addition, Wisconsin firms continue to pay among the lowest manufacturing wages in the Midwest, between $3.50 and $5 an hour lower than the neighboring states of Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, on the average. It's like these business "leaders" have never taken an introductory Economics course where they mention that shortages in labor require THAT WAGES BE RAISED to encourage more people to want to enter the market.

And the business community's choices in the state school superintendent's race illustrate this foolishness. Instead of backing strong public schools to generate talent and strong, stable communities that businesses can utilize to grow, the state's business community wants to lower the level of public education in exchange for grabbing more money and influence for themselves. Look at how the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce shelled out $10,000 of its members' funds to pro-voucher candidate John "I'll say anything" Humphries, who promptly got 7% of the vote in last week's primary and was laughed out of the race. You know, the same MMAC that has backed Scott Walker for 15 years, have demanded school privatization for longer than that, and whose home area won this "honor" in 2016.
Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 49 of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, and fell in Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. (-0.5 percent), and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. (-0.4 percent).
Sticking with the business community and the School Superintendent race, One Wisconsin Now discovered an email from the other voucher whore (and general election candidate), Lowell Holtz. Not only was Holtz using his work email to ask for campaign help last year (a big no-no), but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted that Holtz used that personal account to draft a letter to a "business leader" about advice on how to run his campaign.
The email was dated May 25, 2016, and time stamped at 1:43 p.m., in the middle of the school day. It was sent by Holtz to his wife, Susan, and was a draft of note he wanted to send to a woman named Diane asking "if you would share some of your expertise and advice with our committee."

Holtz added that he wanted to discuss "some of the issues we want to emphasize that align with the Governor's thoughts on career and technical education, business partnerships, common core, state-wide testing, and the expansion of vouchers."

Diane's full name was not used.
Oh, given that Holtz runs in WisGOP circles and previously worked in Beloit, I think we have a good idea who Diane is.

Speaking of Scott Walker and Cruella de Ville Diane Hendricks, I noted this story from recent days.
As the Hendricks CareerTek youth workforce training facility opened its doors to the public for the first time Wednesday, officials welcomed Gov. Scott Walker on an early morning tour of the center, set to bring Beloit businesses closer with middle school and high school students.

The center will serve as a bridge between students and future career fields, from construction and manufacturing to information and technology development. The center broke ground last year thanks to a grant from the Hendricks Family Foundation to the Stateline Boys and Girls Club. The facility is strategically located in the Ironworks campus on Third Street, next to IronTek, Beloit’s business incubator space, home to expanding technology firms including Comply365 and AccuLynx.

“This center will have a positive impact on the community in terms of helping students get a head start on what their career paths might be,” Walker said. “A place like this really will help students then apply what they learned from those academic career plans and plug it into whatever path they might be on.”
Gotta say this about our Guv. Once he's bought, he stays bought. And Diane Hendricks gets a bunch of tuition money and free labor to make more money off of, with some of that extra money kicked back to Scotty. Win-win, baby!

Of course, the other 99% of us don't win, as our state's economy flounders and talent continues to leave. But the regressive Wisconsin business community and the WisGOP politicians they own don't care, as long as THEY'RE getting paid and doing fine. Had enough of this crap yet?


  1. It's like these fools believe in predestination. If you're born filthy rich and never bother to get an education and never even have any kind of job, you still MUST be smart and informed- because you got rich. Well, that and they know they can get paid for sucking dick.

    1. Sucking Koch, in particular.

      I really don't know what happened to rich people over the last 20 years where so many have now believed that they are God's special children, and that their money entitled them to abuse their already-high status and try to screw over everyone else. Ypu'd think these people would be grateful for their good fortune and would want to use that luxury to improve things for others (and improve their own business prospects in the process), but these people clearly feel everything is a zero-sum game, and that they have to grab as much as possible, by any means necessary.

      That Darwinist mentality seems to be the mark of people who really aren't that good at what they do, and are more likely to be in a position of wealth and power due to luck (or they had their rich spouses mysteriously die in accidents, like Diane Hendricks). People with real game would believe in their abilities enough to want to compete, instead of destroying competition and not helping the people and the society that helped them get to their fortunate place.

  2. I moved here 30 years ago for exactly the reasons iterated above. Boy, do I feel like a dolt now.