Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sure, Walker's $100-a-child giveaway is cynical + bad economics. But take the money, folks

I caught this "news" story from over the weekend by Wisconsin State Journal columnist Chris Rickert titled "'Dirty' money? Madisonians grapple with GOP's pre-election tax rebate." The premise of the article is whether "those people in liberal Madison" are going to sign up for the $100-per-child pre-election bribe from Gov Walker and the Wisconsin GOP passed into law earlier this year.
Madison mother Alisha Steele, 43, says her family will probably apply for the tax rebate Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature agreed to dole out in the months leading up to what is expected to be a difficult election for him and other Republicans this November.

But “I have really mixed feelings about it because, sure I’ll probably apply to get $200 for my two kids, but it feels” — and here she pauses — “dirty.”

On the first day parents of children under 18 years old could apply for the credit, some in a part of the state known for its liberalism in general and antipathy toward Walker in particular expressed similar reservations, while acknowledging that a hundred bucks — or 200 or 300 or 400 — is still real money.

“My husband’s perspective was, like, he rolled his eyes about it,” said mother-of-three Katie Crokus, 39, of Verona. “He’s like, we’ll take it. ... But isn’t that money better spent? I mean it’s $300 — we could probably apply it to myriad of other things that would be more valuable to the state.”
And Ms. Crokus's perspective is correct. Are there many better uses for the $130 million or so that this one-time $100-a-child giveaway will cost? Absolutely. For example, you could fill in all of the cuts to state highways that are resulting from the Walker Administration's decision to funnel $134 million to upgrade numerous roads the Foxconn-sin region. We also could use that $130 million to speed up the long-slowed I-90 project from the Illinois state line to Madison - I just drove this highway and 2 rough lanes are not acceptable to deal with for the next 3 years.

But you didn't want to spend the money to get this done

$130 million could have also been used to:

1. Restore the funding cuts given to the UW System in 2015, allowing for tuition to be frozen and for the UW to continue to offer competitive salaries.

2. Giving permanent funding increases to poorer K-12 school districts instead of continuing to leave them behind and continually be stuck between raising taxes through referendum or closing schools cut staff 8 years after Act 10 was supposed to solve these fiscal issues.

3. Banking the money to make sure we actually do have money left in the bank in June 2019, and to reduce the significant structural deficits that loom on both the General Fund and the Transportation Fund for the 2019-21 budget

And I'm sure there are many more ways to use $130 million that help a lot more Wisconsinites. But c'mon parents, take the money.

There's nothing wrong with taking a tax cut because of short-sighted, cynical GOP policies that you hate. - that's the fault of Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP. You can only play the game under the rules that exist today, and in 2018, there is no honor in making yourself worse off by playing by the rules you wish we had, so why would you hurt yourself by doing so?

It's not like that one-time tax rebate is going to change your buying habits or economic security, so it's not a move that's going to do much (if anything) to help Wisconsin's economy for 2018, especially in a time of rising gas prices and rents. But you're certainly more than welcome to give it to a cause and/or politician you agree with - after all, that's what right-wing oligarchs do all the time with the tax cuts their puppet GOP politicians give them. What we can do is to elect politicians in 2018 that stop putting us in a position where to stay afloat, we have to wait for the peanuts that trickle down from the corporatism that controls Wisconsin's economic policy.

Instead, let's have an economic policy that is designed for more people beyond a few key constitutencies or donors, with a time frame for an economic strategy that lasts longer than a few days of headlines or getting a few more coporate donations. It's time to get a Governor and Legislature that ynderstands that the best way for Wisconsinites to provide for their families is through good wages, stable communities, and continued job growth, not a one-time check for $200.


  1. For sure. Take the money. Spend it because our economy could use even the tiny little bump this is going to provide it. And then vote for the democrat, whoever it is because that person will most certainly be a better governor than Walker. A small kitten would be a better governor than Walker.

  2. Take the money and donate a portion or all of it on a Democrat running for DOJ, Governor, Senate or Assembly.