DAILY WISCONSIN

Weren’t as good  

I told you to look out for the new Wisconsin jobs report today, coming on the heels of the bad performance in the “gold standard” Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages(QCEW) which I discussed in this post.

That’s because the January report would feature revisions based on that QCEW report. And sure enough, that Wisconsin jobs report came out today with sizable downgrades in job growth.

Revisions from previously-reported Dec 2018 Wis jobs figures 
All jobs -17,100
Private sector jobs -13,400
Manufacturing -12,900

Via Jake’s Wisconsin Funhouse: As predicted, Walker job growth and total people working weren’t as good as the year said

‘Every paragraph revealed another strange twist or failure’

As it turns out, history had already determined that state handouts to attract and keep businesses was a horrible idea, so bad in fact many states amended their Constitutions to prevent those mistakes from ever happening again in the future.

After reading the Cap Times article “Where to now with Foxconn? It won’t leave Wisconsin, but it won’t build what it promised,” where every paragraph revealed another strange twist or failure, I had to look up why Scott Walker and his band of plundering Republicans pirates liked the idea of state corporate handouts so much. Not surprisingly, their actions weren’t based on anything I found in the real world, it was simply pure ideological theory. Look at how much money we’re losing, and how few jobs they’re creating…

Via DemoCurmudgeon: History, Corporate Tax Incentives, and the State Constitutional Gift Clause collide with Scott Walker’s economic theories.

Consumer Demand 

I had a half-filled grocery cart at Woodman’s grocery store and found out they do not take credit cards.  I presented the cart to a worker and let the store place the items back on the shelves.

I wanted a bright yellow hat and looked at local stores to no avail.I came home and shopped Amazon Prime for pantry goods–98 pounds at no shipping cost delivered to my door.

Via Local Businesses vs. Amazon | CAFFEINATED POLITICS

Liberty includes language

My daughter and I stopped at the gas station the other day to grab some soda and a snack. We were talking in Croatian like always and the lady behind us smiled at me and said, “It’s so nice to see a mother and daughter together. If only you would speak English.” I was taken aback for a second, letting the words sink in. I was shocked at what I heard, but it wasn’t unimaginable because some people are afraid of different.After a few seconds, I gathered myself and muttered a few choice words—in Croatian. We paid for snacks quickly and quietly left the store. I could see my daughter looking at me for a response and I was trying my best to do what I would want her to do, just let it go. However, it was difficult to do so.

Via Different is Beautiful @ MKE Moms Blog.

Opposite Reaction 

Sounds like the Trump Tariffs aren’t exactly working as planned. Especially given that our deficit with China grew by nearly $44 billion last year, and our deficit with Mexico jumped by nearly 15%.Also, the damage from the rising trade deficit isn’t just that we’re spending more than we’re sending out, to levels that we last saw right before the Great Recession. It’s also that we havent seen that much of an increase in wages in the US from that protection, particularly in manufacturing and agriculture.Agriculture in particular got shelled. Real exports in “foods, feeds and beverages” are down year-over-year in each of the last 4 months, and soybean exports were down more than $4 billion in 2018 vs 2017.

Via Jake’s Wisconsin Funhouse: Trade deficit keeps blowing up. Not how Trump Tariffs were supposed to go

What are they doing in there?

Quite frankly, it’s quite hard to tell. It’s quite the mess and there is more information missing than available. There is very little information about who paid whom and how much to lobby for which matters.

WHY DO LOBBYING REPORTS MATTER?

I’m pretty sure my regular readers don’t need to have this explained to them. Think of that project in your neighborhood – what went on behind the scenes? Think of big projects in the city like Judge Doyle Square? No reports. MG&E has 5 lobbyists? Clean Lakes Alliance who worked on the James Madison Park plan – no lobbyists in 2018? All those construction projects? Liquor licenses? Who is being influenced to make those decisions? Funny thing is, I have yet to find one lobbyist who reports meeting with the mayor in the past 6 months. Hmm. I know he’s out of town a lot, but that seems highly unlikely. Likewise, I find no reports of lobbyists meeting with Mike Verveer, or Marsha Rummel or Ledell Zellers. With all the liquor licenses and development projects downtown, I hardly think that could be true. And let me be clear . . . the problem isn’t the people who have expense reports shown below. How many lobbyists do you think are missing from this list? Who do you think they are? And who do you think they influence? And how much did that cost?

Via What are [Madison] city lobbyists up to these days? | Forward Lookout

Two Standards 

I still can’t get over the double standard #1: Wisconsin Republicans are in a panic over the “uncertainty” manufacturers would have if Gov. Evers dramatically reduced the manufacturers tax cut. These supposed “job creators” may see it as a penalty, and just leave out state forever.

I still can’t get over the double standard #2: On the other hand, Trump blew up every trade agreement the world depended on, and still hasn’t renegotiated and got any of them approved. Plus, tariffs are forcing farmers to lose money or go into bankruptcy, and consumers are paying about 1 percent more of their hard earned money on things they buy…yet Republicans are oddly not just cheering Trump on, but they’re saying we’ll all be better off when and if the art-of-the-deal is ever completed?

Via DemoCurmudgeon: Trump Tariffs cost Americans $3 billion a Month more in spending, Trump Trade Deficit Largest in U.S. History!!! Winning?

From the Top, For the Top 

[WISGOP] Vice Chairman Andrew Hitt will take on Courtney’s duties until a new chairman is selected by the party’s executive committee. A meeting to pick a new chairman hasn’t been set, party spokesman Charles Nichols said.

So the new chair will be selected by the executive committee…not elected by the party membership at large (or at least via delegates at the convention).

Given how they select their leadership, is it any wonder why the Republicans ‘run’ government they way they do?

Source: Wisconsin GOP Doesn’t Trust Anyone To Vote | Blogging Blue

Good News, Too 

The Whitehorse story along with the spring elections for the Madison School Board, at times, tend to further a narrative that much is wrong with what takes place in the classrooms.  But if we only pay attention to that narrative we would miss the good work that is happening in our schools.   A teacher and her nineteen fifth-graders, while not making top of the fold coverage, is the flip side to the news we all have come to know.

Two weeks ago my partner, James, and I sat for an hour in a very busy and creative classroom at Falk Elementary School.  Over the school year a number of adults sponsored a student so that each month a new book landed in their hands.  The effort was made possible in tandem with Scholastic Books and related services.  The school reached out to say thanks with Read Your Heart Out Day.  What I witnessed made an impression that lifted my spirit about teachers, students, and our schools.

Via The Other Madison Classroom | CAFFEINATED POLITICS

More than a nip 

[The Australian Fair Work] full bench said Mr Urso’s evidence could ‘simply not be accepted’ saying he ‘could not seriously have thought that a drink in the nature of a peach martini would only contain one standard nip of alcohol,’ it said. ‘The evidence tends to suggest that he had significantly more than five drinks, in which case ‘free pouring’ loses whatever capacity it had to exonerate him,’ it said.”

Via Althouse: “A Qantas flight attendant who got blind drunk on peach martinis in a New York bar during a layover has lost his appeal to win his job back.”

2019 Openness Award Winners

Simpson Street Free PressA Madison-based newspaper produced mainly by high school students, the Simpson Street Free Press pushed back hard against the claims made by a group affiliated with the Madison School District that the group was not subject to the state’s open records and meetings laws. The effort prompted one school board member to call for requiring any group that includes school district representatives to follow openness laws.

Via Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council names 2019 Openness Award winners – WisconsinWatch.org.

Walker Foxconn Folly

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Here’s the counter-argument today, first in a long, must-read piece carried by the Madison Capital Times which, among other things, looks at the risks facing Racine County and the Village of Mount Pleasant where Foxconn bulldozing and local borrowing are well underway:

Based on an examination of Foxconn’s corporate history, Asian business practices and the stark realities of the LCD panel production industry, the likelihood of a flat panel factory in Mount Pleasant seems unlikely any time soon — if ever.

Neither does the prospect of anything close to 13,000 “family supporting” jobs…

For Racine County, the situation is more pressing… The total county cost was recently projected at $911 million, a liability of more than $10,000 per county household…

Via The Political Environment: Grim new reviews for Walker Foxconn folly billed to taxpayers

Evers’s Budget

Nonpartisan redistricting reform was also included in the Governor’s budget. We need to look toward the future. Voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. This proposal is supported by a wide margin of citizens. It was no wonder the Governor included it in the people’s budget.For years, Republicans have stripped away essential voters’ rights in Wisconsin. The Governor’s inclusion of automatic voter registration is a good first step for reversing the undemocratic policies of the last 8 years and starting a new chapter of voter rights expansion in Wisconsin.

Via First Glance at Governor Evers’ Budget – Green Bay Progressive.