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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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And just how far are we supposed to "Spring Forward"?

Pulling Apart 2014: Focus on Wisconsin's 1%


Income inequality in Wisconsin is widening, according to a new report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) and the Wisconsin Budget Project. The top 1% of earners in Wisconsin have experienced tremendous gains in average income in recent decades, while incomes for the bottom 99% have declined. “Economic gains are not being widely shared in Wisconsin or at the national level,” said Laura Dresser, Associate Director of COWS. “The rewards of prosperity have been concentrated in the top 1%, and have not benefitted most Wisconsin families.”

Key findings of the report include:
Between 1979 and 2011, the average income of the top 1% in Wisconsin grew by 104%, while the average income of the bottom 99% dropped by 0.4%.
The top 1% in Wisconsin had an average income of $783,000 in 2011, more than 18 times the average income of the bottom 99%.
In 2011, 15.7% of income went to the top 1% in Wisconsin, a share that has more than doubled since the 1970s.

Over the last hundred years, income inequality has followed a U-shape in Wisconsin, with very high levels of income inequality during the 1920s and 1930s, much lower levels in the middle part of the centurty as economic gains were made at all income levels, and then climbing again to very high levels.


In the aftermath of the recesson, income inequality in Wisconsin continues to grow. Between 2009 and 2011, the top 1% in Wisconsin claimed 71% of the total income growth. The average incomes of the top 1% grew by 3.9% during this period, compared to just 0.9% growth in average income for the bottom 99%.


Wisconsin can mitigate the effects of growing income inequality by pursuing policies that set a strong wage floor for workers, build the skills of Wisconsin’s workforce, support working families, and reform regressive taxes. The full Wisconsin report is available here.

Mary Burke releases plan to boost Wisconsin economy, create jobs


Madison — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke laid out her vision for Wisconsin's economy Tuesday, releasing her jobs plan one day after incumbent Gov. Scott Walker signed a tax-cut package that is central to his re-election bid.

Seeking to counter the Republican governor's message of an improving state economy and budget, Burke, a former bicycle executive, put forward her view of a state that is lagging behind the nation in recovering from the recession. Wisconsin is creating jobs at half the rate of the rest of the country and lagging in capturing investment while wages in the state fall twice as fast.

Rather than pointing to broad tax cuts to spur growth, Burke's plan said the state should focus on increasing the number of college graduates and fostering a number of clusters of companies working in niches of the economy, ranging from heavy equipment manufacturing and food processing to clean-water technology.

Walker's record on taxes and the budget and Burke's take on the economy give voters an early glimpse into what both candidates call the key issue in the race — how to create more jobs in Wisconsin. "I know Wisconsin has everything it takes to have one of the strongest economies anywhere, but we're not even close. We're 48th in new business startups. And we're creating jobs at a rate that's just half the national average. We can do better," Burke said in the report.

Here's a link to her plan. I'll comment on it after I've had time to review it.


In Ohio, a Law Bans Lying in Elections. Justices and Jesters Alike Get a Say


The Ohio law makes it a crime to make knowingly or recklessly false statements about political candidates that are intended to help elect or defeat them. Complaints, which can be filed by anyone, are heard by the Ohio Elections Commission, which makes preliminary determinations and can recommend criminal prosecution. The first offense could lead to six months’ imprisonment, the second to disenfranchisement.

The law applies to everyone. It covers, Mr. DeWine said, “the Internet and blogs and Facebook and citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in the town square.”


“In practice,” that brief said, “Ohio’s false statements law allows the state’s legal machinery to be used extensively by private actors to gain political advantage.”


The case, Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, No. 13-193, will be argued next month. It was brought by an anti-abortion group that had sought to put up a billboard attacking Steven Driehaus, a Democrat, in the midst of what turned out to be his unsuccessful 2010 run for re-election to the House of Representatives.

North Carolina: Lawyer Hired to Represent Agency in Spill Inquiry Once Worked for Duke Energy


The lawyer hired to represent North Carolina’s environmental agency during a federal investigation into its regulation of Duke Energy’s coal ash dumps once represented the utility company in a different criminal inquiry. The State Department of Environment and Natural Resources hired the lawyer, Mark T. Calloway of Charlotte, to help respond to 20 grand jury subpoenas the agency has received after the Feb. 2 spill at the Eden plant of Duke Energy, which coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.

A former federal prosecutor who now specializes in white-collar criminal defense cases, Mr. Calloway represented Duke Energy during a 2004 federal investigation into the company’s accounting practices. An environmental agency spokesman, Drew Elliot, said Monday that he saw no conflict of interest.

Why is NC's envirnomental agency lawyering up? And why choose this guy?

NYT LTTE: How the I.R.S. Created a Campaign-Spending Mess


In “A Campaign Inquiry in Utah Is the Watchdogs’ Worst Case” (front page, March 18), you write that proposed Internal Revenue Service regulations are designed to “rein in election spending by nonprofit ‘social welfare’ groups.” But the problem the I.R.S. seeks to solve is a problem of its own failures to enforce tax laws and if implemented would violate long-established First Amendment rights.

The problem arises because the I.R.S. has for many years now, despite a generally applicable statute requiring it, failed to enforce a gift tax on large contributions to these social welfare groups, known as 501(c)(4)’s. It is this failure that propelled electoral advocacy groups to flee from 527s, their lawful statutory home, where disclosure is required, to 501(c)(4)’s, where it isn’t.

Moreover, the I.R.S. has also violated the statute, which requires (c)(4) organizations to engage exclusively in social-welfare, nonelectoral activities, by inventing a primary purpose test that allows (c)(4) organizations to use up to 49 percent of their funds for nonexempt purposes without threatening their tax exemptions.

The I.R.S.’s current proposal does not remedy the mess it has created. Moreover, its proposal to reinstate, through the tax code, restrictions on nonelectoral public advocacy, both right and left, cannot stand. Such restrictions, which have been repeatedly struck down as violations of the First Amendment, would curtail organizations from taking public positions on such issues as stop-and-frisk practices, gun control and abortion.

New York, March 18, 2014

Seems Mr. Glasser suspects the IRS was complicit in allowing wealthy donors to illegally hide their political activities. I can't disagree.

Evidence that American's have figured out the Koch brothers


Facts & Figures: The Koch Brothers

Slate’s David Weigel looked at fundraising emails from a Democratic campaign and, based on a non-scientific sample, found that criticizing the Koch brothers can triple the haul.

I’ve seen some numbers from fundraising emails from one campaign that were sent from roughly mid-January to mid-March, pretty bad news cycles for the party. Nineteen emails didn’t mention the Kochs. They raised, in total, $48,146.30, for an average of $2,534.02 per message.

But five emails mentioned, in at least some way, the Koch brothers. Those asks raised $32,668.72, an average of $6,533.74 per email.

Anti-Obamacare Governor Now Encouraging Residents To Enroll Under Health Law

Walker's hypocrisy reaches a new height with the last quote excerpted below. He's still not taking the Medicaid money, effectively acting as a one man death panel for thousands of Wisconsinites.


Just two years ago, Walker was singing a very different tune. He had refused to create a statewide ACA marketplace — thereby also forgoing significant federal funding for Obamacare outreach efforts — and said he wouldn’t lift a finger to help implement the law until the Supreme Court decided the law’s fate. In fact, Wisconsin’s spending on ACA outreach is the lowest in the nation at just 46 cents per capita. Walker eventually went even further than that. He said that he wouldn’t do anything about the health law at all until after the 2012 November elections, in the hopes that Mitt Romney would win and repeal the law, making implementation efforts moot.

But now that Obama has been re-elected and the ACA is actually going into effect, Walker is admitting that it could provide a boost for many Wisconsinites. “I don’t want people to fall between the cracks,” said Walker in his Examiner interview. “ntil we can change and come up with something better to replace the law, we still care about our constituents, we still want people to do well.”

It’s a tacit acknowledgment that Obamacare is actually a good deal for the more than half million uninsured state residents. Some of the poorer Wisconsin localities, such as Racine County, suffer from disproportionate numbers of early deaths and STDs and have higher rates of infant mortality.

“A lot of people think that Republicans like me would want to sabotage the law by making it hard or difficult for people to sign up,” said Walker. “I think that’s somewhat shortsighted by our critics, because what we care about more than anything are the people we represent.

Wisconsin: Dale Schultz, Stephanie Miller and the forgotten GOP support for voting rights


When state Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, denounced his fellow Republicans for cutting the number of hours when Wisconsinites can vote, the attention was on his declaration that “I am not willing to defend them anymore."

And his explanation that GOP efforts to make voting more difficult are "all predicated on some belief there is a massive fraud or irregularities, something my colleagues have been hot on the trail for three years and have failed miserably at demonstrating."

And his observation that “it’s just sad when a political party has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. We should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.”


The "party of Lincoln" was not just on the right side of history in the mid-19th century, when it became a political vehicle of the abolitionist movement and of the Radical Republican struggle for reconstruction. A century later, the Grand Old Party was still in the forefront of the struggle, as Schultz noted when he spoke of embracing "the spirit of the champion of the 1957 voting rights act." Recalling the vital democratic work of "encouraging voting" and "making voting easier," Schultz said, "Back in 1957 with the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower, Republicans were doing that."

Out! Now!

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