Friday, November 21, 2014

Lunchtime musings: Budget shortfall or “wish list?” Inconsistencies in past cause present confusion

Gov. Walker called agency requests a budget shortfall when it came from Doyle

Is it fair to call the $2.2 billion in budget requests a “budget shortfall?” These are, after all, simply requests from the various agencies in state government.

Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch was quick to say so in his department’s report (PDF) detailing the requests, which states unequivocally that the “assumption that ALL agency budget requests will be funded” is “flawed.”

Calling these new $2.2 billion budget requests a shortfall, then, is a bit of a stretch. But that doesn’t mean that these budget requests aren’t alarming. Indeed, alarmist behavior is how Gov. Scott Walker reacted when there were similar requests before he took office.

As pointed out by, this “method” for these budget requests “was also the foundation for the $3.6 billion deficit” claim that Walker has consistently made on campaigns and other self-promotion tours across the country.

To characterize the $3.6 billion budget requests from 2010 as a deficit and to disregard the current requests as a simple “wish list” shows inconsistencies in Walker’s and his administration’s rhetoric. Either there’s a problem with Walker’s budgeting scheme, or the alarmist words from Walker’s campaign were off the mark. In either case, Wisconsin is owed an explanation.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pastor Kid Scott Walker misquotes the Bible to justify denying health care

Governor confuses Chinese proverb and Christ's message of compassion

Scott Walker opposes expanding Medicaid and BadgerCare because it contradicts his understanding of the Bible.
“My reading of the Bible finds plenty of reminders that it’s better to teach someone to fish than to give them fish if they’re able. … Caring for the poor isn’t the same as taking money from the federal government to lock more people into Medicaid,” Walker said.
Oddly enough, the quotation Walker references above never actually appears in the Bible. It's a Chinese proverb. If we want to be clear on Jesus's position on handing out fish to the poor, we can look to the book of Matthew for guidance, where He literally hands out fish to the poor:
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”  
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
It seems like Jesus was all about "giving out fish" (or aid) to people who needed it, a stark contrast to what Gov. Walker implies about the teachings of the Bible. Heck, Jesus even had time to give out some free health care while he was at it.

Forget that college degree -- Walker should consider going back to Sunday school before anything else.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Paging Sen. McCarthy -- blacklisting alive and well under Speaker Vos's leadership

Political payback evident following tumultuous election year

Robin Vos has essentially suggested that political blacklisting is back -- and acceptable -- in Wisconsin.

Conjuring the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy, Vos, who was re-elected to serve as Assembly Speaker this week, suggested that the political ties of Milwaukee Bucks owners could influence the state's decision to help fund a new arena.

Bucks co owner Marc Lasry greeted President Barack Obama when he came to campaign on behalf of Mary Burke.

"If you are looking for people to support [the Bucks] you certainly don't want to poke people in the eye," Vos said on Sunday.

Read another way, Vos is essentially saying, "Support our cause, stay out of our way, or suffer the consequences."

We've seen pay-to-play and other forms of cronyism in the past four years from Wisconsin Republicans. Now we are seeing firsthand open political payback against those whose opinions differ from the GOP's policy positions.

It might not be "Red Scare" McCarthyism, but it's blacklisting nonetheless that's still very reminiscent of the late, dishonorable senator. Vos should change his tune, and offer an apology to the Bucks owners, before any more damage can be the sports franchise, and towards our democracy.