Saturday, December 19, 2009

Following the bouncing taxes and fiscal years

I think a lot of people get confused over how different levels of government work with each other in Wisconsin, and politicians and cynical talk show hosts use this to their advantage. I'm going to give the 3 of you who might read this blog a better understanding of how this all fits together, and then it's your job to tell others and lessen the chances of more duping of the "talk more than I know" crowd. Ready? GO!

We hear a lot about the federal government and their spending, because our media is based on national news and doesn't make a whole lot of effort to get out of their D.C./ NYC bubbles. So we get to understand that the federal government spends for programs like health care coverage, interstate highways and rail, and military expenditures (although our media doesn't do a good job of explaining that the money for these things come from the same place- us). I also think people mostly understand that these items are paid for by federal income taxes, but they don't get that capital gains taxes are significantly lower, or understand that cap. gains is for productive uses like day trading of stocks, house-flipping and other legalized forms of gambling (as opposed to more legitimate but illegal forms like betting lines on sporting events).

They get a bit fuzzy when you try to explain that Social Security and Medicare are paid for by segregated funds, although once you show them that FICA line, they get it a bit more. But they think any potential deficit there is somehow different than the deficits that come from spending more of the non-Social Security/ Medicare money, when it's really not. We get those deficit funds from the same place- China and various others we like to owe. But once you get to state and local spending, the just know that "they pay a lot of taxes" and have no idea where all that spending is from. And that's why I'm here.

First of all, the feds, state and local governments have 3 different fiscal years.
Fed- Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 (i.e. Oct. 2009 starts the first fiscal year under Obama, the record deficit recently completed was based on the last budget for Dubya).

State- July 1 to June 30. 2-year budget. We are currently in 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 is mostly set and starts in 6 1/2 months.

Local- Jan.1 to Dec. 31, so their new 2010 fiscal year begins in 12 days.

You can see where this becomes a problem if you are the city of Madison and get nailed with a 17-inch storm in December, because you're working on a budget you set 13 months ago in November 2008, when you anticipated normal snow and normal levels of opperations, and you're trying to ride it out till the end of the year. When this comes up, you usually have to borrow money or take it out of your contingent fund to cover it, but most citizens think that city budgets are set for the entire "winter season", instead of being two separate budgets that change over come Jan. 1.

This also leads to confusion on when states and localities receive their funding from one of their main sources - higher levels of government. Many government grants are handed out to lower levels with the idea that the more local levels might be able to direct resources to better places (which may or may not be true, depending on who you're dealing with). So when you hear all this whining about stimulus funds not being spent, the different dates of government fiscal years is a good explanation. For example, Wisconsin's new budget started on July 1, and generally used stimulus funds for those two years (July 2009- June 2011). Part of it was to fill their huge budget deficit, and part of it was to jump on projects they'd otherwise be spending themselves (Gov. Doyle's billion-dollar adventure on I-94 from Milwaukee to Kenosha is a good example). Likewise, Obama wasn't even elected when local governments made their 2009 budgets, so while they've had to change around some priorities and items this year, more likely they used the stimulus funds and programs to deal with their 2010 budgets. It's why you will likely see a ton of construction projects around Milwaukee and other communities next Spring and Summer, because it's the first budget year where the extra money from the feds kicks in, and local officials prefer that the feds pay for it than with property taxes, as it tends to help their future job prospects.

A problem comes up when the higher levels don't decide to help their brethren down below. For example, when huge amounts of federal money are going to overseas adventures and you have a president and Congress who don't like book-learning, often items such as medical research at universities are cut. A lot of states have schools like UW that rely on large amounts of research being offset by federal grants, since people in other states stand some chance of being helped by medical or producitivity advances that come out of thinking places. So now they have to find a place to get the money to do their jobs of research. Maybe that comes from the state, if you have a mindset that education is important, or maybe you hit up donors or corporations to help you out to get it done. Of course, that means you need to find someone that cares enough about the subject to help pay for it, and that person might want to see a certain result regardless of what the facts say, but that's the way it goes when you don't get cash from a taxpayer accountable entity. Or you might not get the money at all, and you don't do the research, regardless of the needs.

Another issue might be when a needed expense keeps rising, kind of like what is happening in Wisconsin with Medicaid expenses . If you think giving medical help to those without a lot of money is a priority, and if companies choose not to offer coverage or if economic conditions (like the deregulation-driven recession we're now in) drive down incomes enough to greatly increase the amount of people needing help, then these expenses go up. The same situation happens if you think locking up criminals for various offenses is worth doing and your prisons fill up, requiring you to feed and house more inmates (as has happened in Wisconsin). Since the pot of money is limited in what states can spend money on, and these items keep going up, you can either 1. Cut out some of these priorities, and therefore give less coverage to the sick (as Robin Vos would like to do in the article) or 2. You knock out some other item you usually spend on. In the state's case, this means they'll decide to give less money to previous priorities like the UW System, or they'll cut the money they share to all the local governments in Wisconsin, and tell these groups to come up with their own funding.

So you drop down to local governments, who handle needs like police and fire services, snow plowing, street fixing, and other extravagances. In Wisconsin, localities can only raise revenue in a handful of ways outside of state and federal allocations. Most of this is through property taxes, but they can also institute a sales tax (if the state lets them, which is has not done for the City of Milwaukee), some other user tax like rental cars or hotels (again, if the state will let them) licenses and fees to do certain actions (i.e. bartender licenses, building permits, parking on city streets), tickets from law enforcement, and selling locally-owned assets (cars, land, etc.) What they cannot do is put in a local income tax (the state explicity prohibits this), and they have to balance their books. So because the feds don't want to handle it, and the state doesn't want to handle it, the locals have to handle it. And the locals can't go many routes to handle it, based on the state not allowing them to do much other than raising property taxes and other fees, so that's what they raise to make sure cops are on the street and potholes get fixed and related things.

NOW, here's the fun part. Tea-baggers and corporates complain that taxes and spending are too high in D.C., so they try to limit tax levels and pass the buck to the state. Sykesist tea-baggers blame people in the Legislature for high taxes and make up stats about how the state is some kind of tax hell (they conveniently leave out the state's low sales taxes and license fees when they do), so the legislators are cowed into budget games to avoid raising state income or sales taxes (which despite all the squawking, they've pretty much done for most of us in the real Wisconsin), but they do it by cutting shared revenue and other state help to localities.

So when localities have to figure out how to come up with things the tea-baggers want to see (like cops on the streets or their roads plowed), they raise the one thing they can - property taxes - or they try to sell their land or services. Who does the land or services go to and who are they accountable to? In the Bush era, it was people like Blackwater and Haliburton for the feds, or maybe it's Scott Walker's buddy that runs a custodial service, or maybe it's former Bush Budget guy Mitch Daniels in Indiana, who sells off the state's Social Services (oops, scratch that last one) .

So in a nutshell in Wisconsin, the feds won't tax and pay their share and pass the buck to the state, who won't tax and pay their share and passes it to the locals, who raise property taxes and/or don't pay for what's needed, and the tea-baggers complain that government is dysfunctional and doesn't work. And the argument of "government doesn't work" means that there should be lower taxes and spending, which makes the feds pass the buck to the states who...and the cycle continues.

And the corporates who tell the tea-baggers what to say blame government for their property taxes and state taxes going up and not doing a good job, when it would do a better job, be more fucntional, provide better services and not need local or state taxes to go up if they didn't try to placate the corporates and cut the damn expenses at the higher levels in the first place!

There, now go forth and spread the good word this Christmas season!

Friday, December 11, 2009

UW-Marquette quick thought

I was thinking of a big rant on tax structures and the general idiocy of Climategate (it isn't anything except in the Angry Man Radio/ Writer world, and their yapping will only make those of us in the reality community more pissed off and willing to bring the myriads of facts). But I decided the Viagra addicts' act was starting to eat me up from the inside, and since that's what those losers want, I decided to instead do some Christmas gift wrapping, got groceries, and will try out this Point Winter brew.

I will give a few words on tomorrow's UW-Marquette tussle at the Kohl Center. Without being the kiss of death, I like the chances of UW bouncing back at home. Plus, they gave UW-GB their moment of glory for the next decade earlier this week, going with the Wisconsin Idea of having the Madison campus help all corners of the state. This is quite a bit different than the Wells Street cult of displaced FIBs and Sykesists, now isn't it?

Oh, and with that in mind:

Tom Barrett- UW undergrad, UW law.

Scott Walker - Marquette dropout.

It don't happen in a vacuum folks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

UW 73 Evil Empire 69

BELIEVE IT!!!!! I was there, and yes, it kicked ass.

Let's face it, rooting for Duke = rooting for the Yankees = rooting for ND football = rooting for Goldman Sachs. And that's why as a decent American, it's always nice to see any of these teams go down. Even nicer when its your team doing it.

P.S. Check the Goldman Sachs "prediction" on the unemployment numbers tomorrow morning. They're strangely accurate. Wonder why ? (Actually, I don't wonder. I just seethe)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Concert ettiquette

Went to a show at the Turner Hall Ballroom last night with my girlfriend. Saw Camera Obscura, a very good melodic band from Scotland (my girlfriend has very good taste). They were a bit frustrated by their sound system, but put together a solid set. Something about Scottish female lead singers slinging guitars combined with a high-quality lead guitarist and great Smiths-style pop works for me.

But I need to call out the d-bag I saw in the crowd. It's no one in particular, because this guy seems to show up at any show. It's the dimwit near the front who's making a spectacle by clearing out an area in the standing crowd, often in a costume or with some kind of prop, throwing his hands up and encouraging the crowd to look at him and his act instead of the people we spent $15 to see.

Now, I have no issues with enthusiastic crowd members who bounce to the music, and you can even dance and sing if it hits you. But you'd better not be doing it because you want other people TO SEE YOU DANCING, SINGING AND CARRYING ON. Memo to you, you are not interesting, you are not profound, and we did not come to deal with your stupidity. Stop getting in the way of our entertainment you self-absorbed jag.

Far too many people in this world, both individually and economically, think the world is about them and their needs, and that everyone else should care about them and their needs. We do not, and the world does not. This is why governments exist to balance these needs, and why being an a-hole is not an accpetable way to go through life.

Back to the Sunday laundry, the "Smells Like the '90s Weekend" on the radio (just heard Fiona Apple's "Criminal" for the first time in years- I forgot how flat-out wacked that girl was, no wonder her career fizzled), and waiting out NFL injury news.

P.S. On a related note, sports fans who paint their faces and wear dumb outfits are not "more intense and hardcore" fans than those of us who don't. I'm tired of that type of loser being portrayed as a positive. It's not Halloween, why are you dressing up in some outfit? (and yes, I includes Cheeseheads in this analysis-particularly at Badger games. Cheeseheads are only remotely acceptable at a Packer game, if at all.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who's (Ex) Cited, and Who's Taxed in Wisconsin?

First, off I want to thank Capper at Cognitive Dissidence for referencing this blog. Given my (lack of) prolificness on the site, you can tell it's a hobby at best, but it's still pretty cool to see yourself cited...and even linked to! So I'll return the favor on the BRAND NEW links page on the right. I have joined Cognitive Dissidence on the links page with Aaron Renn's excellent blog, the Urbanophile, which goes into city government and lifestyle issues much better than I ever could. I strongly encourage (all 2 or 3 of you that aren't me) to check it out.

Now that I have the killer traffic (it's jest folks), I want to draw your attention to an interesting study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, titled Who Pays in Wisconsin

What you'll find is the regressive nature of sales taxes (i.e. poor people pay a higher percentage of their income in these taxes), the relatively higher hit to the middle and upper-middle class of property taxes, and the progressive nature of Wisconsin income taxes, where the rich pay a higher percentage. And it also shows that the highest-taxed group (by % of income) is the 20-60% group, mostly because they still pay relatively high sales and property taxes, and can't write off as many of their taxes as richer people can. It also illustrates that those write-offs and regressive nature of sales taxes means the richest folks in this state pay the smallest percentage of state and local taxes, at 6.7%, much lower than the 10.3-10.7% that the middle 3/5 of income-earners in Wisconsin do.

That last item is an important point to make, as the Charles Sykes and Scott Walkers of the world conveniently leave out that higher-income people are much more likely to itemize their taxes on their federal return, which allows them to get back some of their state and local taxes. I've never had any reason to itemize, and have taken the standard deduction in my previous tax years because it was the bigger deduction, and I bet many of you do the same. But you can bet Charlie and Scotty don't, the WMC types that back them don't, and they're counting that the dopes who listen to them don't know that. It's a lot like how national angry-man radio hosts leave out that the "overtaxed" rich pay a much lower % of their income on Social Security and Medicare taxes due to the income cap (by comparison, we pay the full 7.65%)

The state reoport also shows that from a pure % of income standpoint, it's doubly stupid for the WMC crowd to be against higher sales taxes to pay for transit and parks, as opposed to either increased property taxes or cuts that hinder people's ability to take advantage of these needed public goods. Unless you have NPD and think government exists solely for you and your needs, of course.

Also, read the entire report from the ITEP, as it links to all other states, and you'll see just how regressive the plantation states are, especially on people with incomes in the lower 40%, and it'll make you glad you live in a thinking state.

P.S. Enjoying a New Glarus Snowshoe Ale this evening, an amber/red that's sufficiently smooth for me. It's one of the best ways you can help your local manufacturing- drinking high-quality local brews and vinos.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Budget busters

Well, let's see what's happened in the last 2 1/2 months. The health care bill finally got passed out of the House, albeit very watered-down, and is now languishing in the Senate where dimwits are arguing over diversions like abortion and other lame triggers. The Dems and Obama and co. better push hard on this, because it's their asses if they don't. The GOP needs the boogeyman of possible crazy change over something bad being done, because if something's done, it reminds people that they HAVE NO ANSWERS. Which is why I still think the GOP barely gains in 2010, if at all. The Silent Majority knows who screwed this up.

But if Obama keeps selling out to Wall Street, then the GOP has a chance, because the average dude just getting by will erroneously say "Well, they must not be different. Screw it, change them out." We've seen the S&P go up over 65% in 8 months...and unemployment spike up to 10.2%.

These stats should completely put to bed any illusions people may have about corporations using their profits to help real people, but amazingly, some people are still spouting this "They're the creators of everything and need even more advantages than they already had." What world are these people living on? (This assumes they're honestly this deluded, I think a lot of them are paid hacks) Their idol Gordon Gekko was telling the truth when he said "I create nothing, I own." It's time to demand income taxes at 50-60% on incomes above some ridiculous number (like $2 million), and treat cap. gains the same as income. You do that, it's amazing how much less likely the greed and casino nature of today's corporations gets diminished. It's simple market economics in action.

Speaking of "What planet are you from?" Silly Scotty Walker is trying to get the endorsement of SARAH PALIN???? I mean, it's not like anyone with any sense of decency or brains would vote for that toolbag, but did he not notice the election results in Wisconsin last November? That 17% victory wasn't all Obama, it was also a lot of people in a thinking state saying "We aren't letting THAT near the White House." Combine that with Scotty's "money is more important than equal partner benefits", and you've just turned off anyone under 40 with a brain.

And that's not going into Walker's disastrous budget for the County. The County's already more or less bankrupt, they're just gambling that somehow the market turns around to make their pensions somewhat funded. But the un-negotiated job reductions, ridiculous levels of outsourcing, and fake revenue sources (you're not selling the Park East next year for that amount, bud), and then joking about fake layoff notices are Goldman Sachs-level shameless douchebaggery. I work in the biz, and we had every bit the challenges that Scotty's boys had, without anywhere near the conflict. We eneded up with a more responsible budget that didn't triple our borrowing, nor did we guarantee the municipality's insolvency to hit the year after the exec leaves. There's a reason competent people from my grad school don't sign up to work for the County (at least areas under Walker's control). It's the GOP affirmative action program in full effect.

I know the GOP owns WTMJ and WISN, but people do get their sources from people who aren't getting paid to lie. They do know that, don't they? It must suck to live your life in a bubble like that.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Health care rally

Dropped by the health care rally that the Obama organization (Organizing for America) put on today. Not a bad turnout, probably 800-1,000, although it was hard for me to tell since I strolled into the back and couldn't judge how many people were seated on the ground. I'm not a big fan of these rallies, as carrying signs and being led on inane chants don't really do it for me, but I felt people like in the Silent Thinking Majority need to get ourselves out there more. So let it begin with me, etc.

Rep. Gwen Moore gave a good speech in favor of reform, showing how health care costs cascade their way through a number of areas of our lives. I don't think the Dems have done a good enough job explaining that health care reform is a necessity to improve American business and fiscal competitiveness. Allowing the for-profit sector to continue to run this without the large-scale competitor that a government option would be means higher premiums for both employers and employees, with health care costs getting in the way of chances for growth and expansion, and probably more companies choosing not to cover, which pushes this burden onto the worker and the taxpayer.

We need to start drawing this debate as a matter of choice and competitiveness vs. the ever-increasing limitations of keeping the status quo. I think us on the lefT have grown tired of the ignorant anti-reform complaints and the lack of explanation of why this is so critical. And it's especially disappointing that we don't talk enough about how increasing health care costs are already driving up budgets to unsustainable levels, in covering government-paid jobs like police officers, fire fighters and teachers, and also how the private-sector contractors can increase what they charge for publicly-assisted coverage like Medicaid and Medicare Part D (showing to be the ridiculous corporate giveaway we feared it might be).

The next few weeks are critical, but one of the chants at the rally grabbed my attention. It was "Get it done." I think people are demanding ACTION, and woe be to the group that tries to block final action from occurring. If that is made clear, I think reality will sink for the Senate Blue Dogs, and something will get passed. It might not be enough for my taste, but getting something is preferable for 2009, because once the benefits become obvious, you'll see a lot more in 2011 and beyond. And that's exactly what the GOP is scared of, which is all the more reason to do it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quick update

Can I take back that Brewer take in early June? Not a fun year for the Brew Crew anymore. Yuck.

And my June points on health care still stand. In fact, if these health insurance companies have enough time and money to use all this effort lobbying against real reform, isn't that proof they have excessive profit? And that profit comes from Econ 101 lessons- monopoly of inelastic services = big opportunity to have your way.

If these companies can't compete with government using THEIR economies of scale, doesn't that mean they don't deserve to stay afloat? That sounds like the way capitalism should work to me: do your job well, or get beat by someone who can do it better. But these folks want feudalism, not capitalism, with us being the serfs. That's the REAL answer.

As I said earlier, Obama and the Senate Dems better go big and to the left, or else they will be the ones who pay the price for pussing out. Should be an interesting next month.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Logic and health care

It's truly laughable to me to hear some of these criticisms from people on health care reform. "Oooh, someone will choose your coverage and you'll have wait times." Someone chooses my coverage and I have wait times now. "Well, it'll hurt the insurance industry and they won;t be allowed to adjust to the market." If these folks were more concerned with serving the market over serving their executives, we wouldn't have this problem now would we?

Come on folks, this is common sense. If people understood how much they are taxed on their average paycheck due to deductions from their health care premiums (and I don't care if it goes to a corporation instead of the government, if it comes out of my paycheck, it's a TAX), combined with the extra taxes that are required to pay for the health care of police, fire, teachers, and other public employees, it becomes quite clear that public health care will SAVE MONEY. It also takes out the uncertainty of having coverage dropped or premiums jacked, which distorts business and consumer decisions. And oh yeah, it means elected officials are the ones accountable for how the health care ystem works, not for-profit corporations. When it comes to necessities, it's big government > big corporate any day of the week.

Didn't they teach this to these free marketers about how people and firms make decisions. You know, some time around week 3 of Econ 101?

Obama was elected because he took liberal positions on war, corporations and inequality, and religious fundamentalism. Listening to those who won't work with you is not the way to go, and if he stays on this route, he will lose folks like me, which he needs a lot more than any back-stabbing corporate.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Visit to the Rust Belt

Went to a fun wedding last weekend in Hammond/ Whiting, Indiana. It's always nice to see good people get the celebration they deserve.

It was quite remarkable to drive along Highway 41 in Hammond. Seemed like the land that time forgot. Most of the signs were from 20-25 years ago, with no real changes in sight. The relics of the past, with the small lawns and tight streets, are very intriguing, and reminiscent of parts of Milwaukee. Reminds you that a lot of these problems didn't just start when Bear Stearns died, and it makes me wonder if we ever get any version of it back. Having a society based on consumption ain't such a good thing when there's no income and future prospects to consume.

I've been getting this wary feeling that these "green shoots" will be short-lived, and that people get impatient that a long-term problem hasn't been solved in a few months. This country's dumb enough not to see the big picture that an economy based on Ponzi schemes and other bullshit takes a long time to dig out from. If this country does have the sack to take it, we'll come out a lot better, but if we go for the cheap laugh, we are jacked.

Maybe it's the prospects that I see in our state and local budgets, but the second punch is coming in the form of lost services and the needed raise in taxes. Again, maybe it makes things leaner and meaner by 2012, but will the average doofus have the patience to get it.

Then again, I will take one comparison with the last time this country had double-digit unemployment- a killer year from the Milwaukee Brewers. Obviously it's still early, but I like this start, and if J.J Hardy and Corey Hart start hitting, or another starter can get added, this could be a lot of fun. And a lot more interesting and entertaining than some other things that I waste too much time on.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Green shoot? Try still shot

Sorry, but for all the happy talk from the Wall Street douches on TYV, I remain unconvinced that renewed prosperity is just around the corner. Since when is 605,000 more jobs lost (including revisions of previous months) a good thing? Because it's not 700,000? Get this down below 500,000, and maybe I'll start thinking that things might be bottoming. Everything else is cosmetic window-dressing, but indicative of the biggest "change" that Obama has installed- hope that things might get better, instead of remain rigged and destroyed.

And I don't believe for a second that banks are all solid- how can they be when debtors still aren't getting paid, and defaults and job losses continuing. I'll still stay tuned.

Given Wisconsin's budget problems, I'll gladly accept all the FIBs coming up to Miller Park on a non-holiday weekend. Sadly, I don't think it'll be enough to help things in the near future, although if we can pick and choose our furlough dates for the rest of the year, I can make do with it. particularly if it can fall during some midweek Brewer day game in August :P.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not out of the Woods

Am I the only one who isn't exactly thrilled to see the panic go away from our current situation. Oh, I believe the crazy freefall has stopped and that we aren't heading for ruin. But I still don't see enough stabilization in the banks, because while they are being propped up for the time being, the lack of borrowing capaibilities and bank balances still seem to be around. And while the drops may be slowing, the rebounds aren't happening, and so we're crawling around on the floor.

Yes, we've gone a in a good way from where we were at the start of this year, but half-measures and flatline numbers won't get people their jobs abck. And we're not even adding the mess that state and local finances will still have after this one-time assistance from the stimulus package. If national health care, entitlement reform, or some other big change in handling future liabilities is not addressed, this will continue to be a big albatross for government and allocation of tax resources. It's worth keeping an eye on.

And I see no reason for any near-term growth in the real world until job losses drop to something less than 300- 400,000 a month, and fewer than 100,000 mew jobless claims being filed a day. That hasn't come close to happening yet. And until it does, don't fall for the irrational exuberance, and keep playing it safe and smart.

At least you got 70-degree weather coming by the end of the week, so I'll be taking the small victories when I can, and taking advantage of that $2 "any beer you want" Happy Hour at Bar Louie.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kick em back

Just a quick note on how the bitter white male crowd is trying to take down Obama and blunt all the enthusiasm around his presidency (a lot of which is media-generated because they're lazy and it's an easy subject to deal with. I was in Vegas last weekend and was glad not to have to care about it).

Hey losers. We're not the ones who think of Obama as the Messiah- you do, because you're so shallow that you think we view "our guy" as an idol. But that's what separates us from you. We recognize greatness and achievement, but do not get blinded by it. We can sense when things will turn around for the better (as they did once Dubya jumped on that helicopter and got the fuck out of my government), but we also know that we can't wait for it to happen. And we recognize that nothing will turn around economically in the near future, because corporate a-holes have wrecked it beyond recognition right now, and it'll take a lot of work to even get us back to sustainability, let alone steady growth.

Obama has already stepped up strong by renouncing the Bush's Administration SOP and told the world that we're going to be better than the neocon bastards that represented our country. Then backed it up through closing Gitmo, suspending all Bush-imposed regulations, and removing the gag rule. These are layups, to be sure, but the fact that the obvious was done is alreadfy an improvement over what we had.

Now, let's get to the stimulus package. A bit too heavy on highways over transit and aid to local governments, both of which would help roads because transit will reduce their usage and because local governments are broke and need the money to deal with delayed road maintenance. But it's geared toward spending and work, instead of the GOPpers' tired call of "tax cuts". Are GOPpers so stupid to think that the failed strategy of trusting businesses and rich folks to do anything other than helping themselves will somehow change when their already-low rates are lowered even more? People need work and wages, two things that they haven't been getting recently, and I don't think care if they get 72cents of that last dollar, or 75.

Lots of work to do, but a decent start for the new president. And what the jealous Viagra addicts don't understand is that the "Change" Obama represents is a change back to making solutions based out of reality, a change back to competence being a requirement of getting a job in government instead of ideological affirmative action. It also means a culture of respect and desire to achieve, instead of the laziness, selfishness and division the characterized the mid-2000s. Forget the economy, those items in themselves are change we all should believe in.

Oh, and to paraphrase Road House, the Dems need to know when it's time not to be nice, and kick back when the children start complaining (as no doubt they will). Make these whiners know their place, and maybe they'll recognize that they'll have to try being an adult to solve problems. Or they'll be marginalized into the insignificant shriveldicks that most already recognize them to be. Either way, it's a big win for the country.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In Need of Stimulation

As I prepare to see UW get its biggest test of the Big Ten season (against Purdue), a few quick hits on the new New Deal.

The real problem right now in the country is that no benefits from the alleged growth of 2001-2007 ever trickled their way down to vast majority of real people. So once the reality of "we're screwed and broke," sunk in, starting with the oil spikes this summer (which we can tell now were clearly caused by investor douchebag speculation more than any demand increase or supply cutback). So the answer is to get people back to a point where they think they will 1. Have a job, 2. Have that job be paid something and 3. Make it worthwhile to invest, because there's a better economic situation to look forward to in the future.

This is why the stimulus has to be spending and infrastructure based. Businesses will not look out for the right thing and hire folks because it might work out. They're more concerned with cutting ther losses and keeping their investors afloat- real workers come much later. And government is the best agent for pushing these new jobs in a certain direction, which is why green technology has to be a centerpiece. Once green technology is installed and shown to work, this will encourage others to take the risks to move that direction themselves, and the establishment of these projects gives the base to lead to economy-of-scale savings and advantages.

If there's something we've learned in the last 30 years of supply-side silliness, it's that corporations should never be expected to do the right thing. These are cold-blooded organizations that are designed to MAKE MONEY, and they will do it by any means necessary. This is why we have governments and law enforcement in the first place, becasue we understand that individuals do not always do the right thing, and that their mistakes have major impacts on other individuals, particular if the screw-ups sign your paychecks. You gotta have government go Warren G and Nate Dogg, and be the Regulators.

Oh, and if you're reading this Barack/ Axelrod- throw a few million Milwaukee's way. Our Mayor was smart enough to back you early, and we're freezing here. Help some of your Upper Midwest urban brothers out!

Edit: Disregard my ripping of Ben Sheets in my September post. Hey Benny- you're getting no bites, and the Crew needs a No 1 starter. Why not come back to Milwaukee for 1 year at $12 million and prove you can be healthy. If it works out, you get your multi-year paycheck and the Crew gets a big bonus at the top of its rotation, and might just be contender again. In econ, we call this a mutually beneficial exchange.