Sunday, June 7, 2015

Weekend reflections

On the road back from a good weekend in the Twin Cities, where I caught up with old friends and even saw a rare Brewers series win. A couple if quick thoughts.

1. Glad to see Martha Laning become chair of the Wisconsin Dems, and even gladder to not see Jason Rae and the Milwaukee kids NOT be in charge any more. It's a start to returning this state to sanity, now that someone with a clue about small-town Wisconsin who might be able to explain why good progressive policy connects to people's lives.

2. The Twin Cities are as advertised, checked out the downtown area on Friday night, Uptown, St. Paul and Cottage Grove on Saturday. That area is going places, attracting young people, and building new and improved neighborhoods all over. Their budget debate centers on how much ADDED money they can give to education, and whether they should bank more of their surplus for later. I talked to a few Wisconsin ex-pats over the weekend, and all are in head-shaking mode when discussing a state they used to be proud to be from. And they are not returning home any time soon.

3. The only drawback I saw in the Cities was that fast-food and lower-wage places were struggling to keep up with demand, so service at those places sucked, and traffic was even worse than I remember it (even with the light rail being packed and running great). Then again, I think a lot of Wisconsinites would love those problems, which results when you're in a state with 3.7% unemployment and a growing labor force (up more than 50,000 last 12 months).

You'd think people would want to learn from the success of Minnesota's economic model, and emulate some of it. We're doing the exact opposite in Wisconsin, trying to funnel money to oligarchs and the politically connected, and giving nothing to the bottom 95% of the state, and we're now dead last in the nation for business start-ups.

These reigns of error for the 2010s has to end. The DPW started it with the election of Laning yesterday (I hope), but dumping these trickle-down dingbats in the Legislature and the Governor's Office are a necessary second step.

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