Daily Archives: March 2, 2011

The Cap Times: Cieslewicz and Falk blast Walker budget plans

March 2, 2011- Local governments like Madison and Dane County can't afford to pay for everything. At least that's the premise behind the portion of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill that would strip almost all collective bargaining rights from most public worker unions.

By eliminating collective bargaining rights, Walker's intention was to allow for a mechanism for local governments to reap some sort of financial savings to survive the loss of nearly $1 billion in state aid in his proposed 2011-2013 budget. It breaks down to a roughly $59.5 million cut from cities, towns and villages, a $36.5 million reduction for counties and roughly $834 million taken from public schools.

More control over union wages and compensation packages, Walker reasons, would provide "greater flexibility" or "tools" for local units of government to weather his massive cuts in state aid, which are intended to address a budget deficit estimated at $3.6 billion.

The Hill: OPINION: Wisconsin governor is waging ‘jihad’ against unions

March 1, 2011- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) jihad against public employee unions is about 30 years late and likely to make Republicans even less popular with voters, who endorse collective bargaining rights for public employees — professionals for whom they have abiding respect. It’s no wonder smart Republican governors, who are a bit closer to their constituencies than their congressional counterparts, regularly demur when asked to endorse Walker’s approach.

Once upon a time, Americans were worried about what they regarded as inordinate “union power” — that was back in the 1980s. In 1981, 60 percent of Americans told a CBS/New York Times poll that labor unions had “too much influence.” Today, just 37 percent express that fear. In Gallup’s data, anti-union sentiment, never very prevalent, also peaked in 1981.

It should be no surprise that most public employees — teachers, firefighters, police — are very popular. Americans consider the work they do vital to the national interest.

NYT: The Hollow Cry of ‘Broke’

March 2, 2011- “We’re broke! We’re broke!” Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday. “We’re broke in this state,” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said a few days ago. “New Jersey’s broke,” Gov. Chris Christie has said repeatedly. The United States faces a “looming bankruptcy,” Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

It’s all obfuscating nonsense, of course, a scare tactic employed for political ends. A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more “broke” than a family with a mortgage or a college loan. And states have to balance their budgets. Though it may disappoint many conservatives, there will be no federal or state bankruptcies.

SustainableBusiness.Com: Koch Brothers Behind Environment Killing Measures

March 2, 2011- By now you're probably familiar with Koch Industries, a major polluter that's involved with just about every kind of unsustainable industry – oil, gas, coal, chemicals, cattle, forestry, and synthetics.

They're behind much of the right wing organizing that won Republicans the majority across the states and in the House through extremely well-funded misinformation campaigns of such front organizations as Americans for Prosperity.

Hundreds of news stories have pointed to the Koch's as developing an enormous propoganda machine who's goal is to corrupt American politics to reward their pollution-based enterprise.

Eliminating unions has been widely reported as a key push for the Koch brothers and is behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's notorious attempt to crush Wisconsin's public sector unions.

Wausau Daily Herald: Utah group targets 8 Democrats for recall

(NOTE: "Utah" is not a misprint. A group in UTAH is trying to recall Democratic State Senators in WISCONSIN)

February 28, 2011- A group based in Utah is seeking to recall eight of the 14 Democratic Wisconsin senators who have fled the Capitol as separate recall efforts gain steam in individual senate districts.

The American Recall Coalition, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, rallied last week in Green Bay, days before a tea party group held its own rally in Merrill to collect signatures needed to recall Sen. Jim Holperin of Conover.

The actual process of recalling an elected official is cumbersome and rarely used. Within 60 days of filing recall paperwork, the American Recall Coalition and other groups must secure the signatures of qualified voters equal to 25 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in each senator's district.

Alternet: The GOP’s Idea of “Shared Sacrifice”: Slashing Spending for the Vulnerable While Letting Military Budget Increase

March 1, 2011- The Republican controlled Congress wants to cut $1.7 Billion from the operating Budget of the Social Security Administration. What effect would such cuts produce? Here's a summary of what would happen over the next 7 months:

* The Social Security Administration will have to furlough its employees for up to one month between now and the end of the year (according to its administrators).

* 400,000 people won't be able to get their applications processed in a timely manner for retirement benefits, Medicare, and survivor benefits, creating an ever-increasing backlog. Nearly 300,000 more will face additional delays in having their disability benefits processed, which would add an estimated 30 days to an already unacceptable 514-day backlog.

* Tens of thousands of internal reviews, which could prevent millions of dollars in inappropriate payments, will be delayed.

They also propose the following:

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