Some Time With The Neighbors

By Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Governor Scott Walker. By Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The first house I lived in that I remember well was the house our family lived in during the late ’50s and early ’60s. We lived in a semi-rural area west of the Twin Cities (now considered a fairly close in suburb), and it was the beginning of the housing explosion in the area. The area was farmland with little towns and housing developments scattered along the main roads, and we lived in one of the housing developments. Everybody knew everybody, and for the most part, we were all friends with each other. Even as a child, I always knew what was going on with my neighbors.

I’m finding as I grow older that I miss a lot of the simplicity of those days, but what I really miss is the feeling that you know your neighbors. So, I decided I should check up on my neighbors in the next state over and see what they’ve been doing recently.

In an op-ed written on April 24 and published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 27, Governor Scott Walker claims that Wisconsin is better off than four years ago. He says that 130,000 jobs were lost during former Governor Jim Doyle’s last term – which is true. Of course, he doesn’t mention that this was during the height of the 2008 financial fiasco, and massive job losses were happening all across the country. He crows that he’s created 100,000 new jobs since he took office, conveniently ignoring the fact that he’d promised 250,000 new jobs if he was elected, and that Wisconsin ranks 37th in the number of new jobs created. But, I digress…

He also claims that he took a $3 billion deficit and turned it into a $1 billion surplus. Of course, he doesn’t mention that the surplus was reached through things such as cutting the education budget by 15.3% (the nation’s 7th largest cut). He says he’s reduced the tax burden on the citizens by $2 billion, yet the tax breaks went to the wealthy and not the middle and working class families. And, his proposed tax cuts in his latest budget will add $100 million to the state deficit (running deficit budgets, Scott? I thought you said you had a surplus) for a grand total of $800 million structural deficit over three years, yet he fails to address the tax increases on the middle and working class that started with the 2011-13 budget.

On April 29, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law as unconstitutional. MNgranny covered that and other recent court decisions in her article from May 30.

The Republican Party state convention opened May 2 in Milwaukee, and Brett Husley was there to greet the delegates. A Democratic state representative from Madison who’s running a one man campaign for governor, Husley was dressed in a homemade Confederate soldier’s uniform. He went viral earlier this week when he announced his plans to hand out KKK hoods to each delegate entering the convention. However, after criticism from both sides of the aisle (and nationwide) for this insane idea, he decided to leave the hoods in his car.

Why the uniform and hoods? Maybe it’s because the convention will be voting on resolutions that sound like we’ve traveled back to the ’60s – 1860s, that is. One resolution would assert the right of the state “under extreme circumstances” to secede from the United States, and the second asserts the right to nullify any federal law. Many Wisconsin conservatives have publicly opposed the resolutions, such as Scott Walker; that would look really good considering there’s a possible 2016 presidential run by Walker, no? Conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes called it “crackpotism on steroids,” a rather fitting description. On the other hand, Mike Murphy, a member of the Wisconsin GOP’s executive committee, says “secession is as American as apple pie.”

That’s what’s happening with the neighbors across the river. I’m glad there’s a wide river and a state line separating us, because while it’s fun to visit the crazy neighbors every once in a while, it sure feels good to come back home where it’s sane.

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This entry was posted in Economics, Education, Elections, Government, Income Inequality, Voting and tagged , , on by .

About ew

ew came of age during the winddown to the Vietnam War, and like many other Americans, as soon there wasn’t an issue that didn’t affect him personally, he became indifferent. This gradually changed during the Reagan and Bush I years, continued through the Clinton years and finally came to a head with the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001. He works as a freelance consultant/tester for various music hardware and software companies, and lives in Minnesota with his cat and other weird and wonderful noise machines.

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