Dear Newly Elected Republicans: As leaders of the only state in the nation to flip 180 degrees red, I urge you to focus on turning around the state’s economy. Unlike Washington, which has focused on increasing the size and intrusion of government into our personal and business lives over the last 24 months under the alleged guise of "stimulus," Wisconsin needs to quickly go in the other direction. There are thousands of families out of work and in need of their own economic turnaround, so there’s no time to waste.
Now is the time reduce the size of government; the single biggest cost to start with is government employees’ compensation, health care, and pension costs, which are bankrupting this state. Many government employees are now retiring with compensation greater than they earned while employed, and far greater than earned in the private sector. It’s unsustainable. As stated by Joel Kotkin in his 2006 book, The City: A Global History, the decline of city-states was in large part because "legions of privileged bureaucrats, aristocrats … siphoned off the wealth of the empire."
He reports that one reason some nations declined while others prospered was because, "Everywhere, autocratic regimes undermined the incentive for entrepreneurs through arbitrary taxation, confiscations, and favoritism shown toward court favorites. Attacks on people’s property removed the incentive to acquire and gain property."
Sounds familiar. The point is that Washington’s and Madison’s intrusions have removed the incentive to produce and grow. (Ever notice how, when the combined tax rate approaches 50%, the economy turns down?) Why work harder when the government takes away a majority of the fruits?
The business of America is business. What the big government promoters must understand is that once they take too much of your paycheck, the incentive to produce more is removed.
What is lacking is not stimulus, it’s confidence. And the only way to build confidence is to reduce the size and scope of government. You newly elected Republicans need to convince us that you understand, that you will act immediately to restore confidence by repealing prior bad legislation, reducing taxes, cutting regulation, reducing government spending, and creating certainty and predictability so that those of us in the business community have the confidence to hire, invest, take on more risk, grow and expand — which will lead to more tax revenue.
So, my fellow Republicans, don’t blow it. You’ve got one chance, or people like me will vote you out of office two years from now. And forget about reform. There are some departments of government that are either completely broken or simply not needed as technology and the economy has grown beyond them. It’s time they’re eliminated so that the limited resources can be focused where they are most needed.
Remember what Ronald Reagan said, "The dreams of people may differ, but everybody wants their dreams to come true. And America, above all places, gives us the freedom to do that."
Redistricting: 2010 is the year of the Census, which is a precursor to redistricting. With the Republicans completely in control of Wisconsin, now is the time to build a lasting majority. And don’t sell out the Second District (the Madison area, represented by Tammy Baldwin). We want our vote to count, too. The beauty of Obama is that he picked a redistricting year to lose his majority. There are state legislatures around the country that turned Republican that hadn’t been Republican since the 1870s.
City of Madison: At a time when the entire country has just rejected bigger government, Alder Maniaci has proposed that the City Council start receiving taxpayer funded health care insurance and pensions! Mind blowing. Excuse me, but the idea of voluntary service (they do receive a small stipend) on the City Council is that it’s supposed to be voluntary. I realize many of them turn it into a full-time job, but that’s their mistake.
What they need is the opposite. Stop micro-managing the city; force time limits on Alders’ speeches and on meetings; become more efficient. The last thing we, as taxpayers, should do is reward our Alders for their inefficiency. And we all know that what might cost tens of thousand dollars today will balloon into hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future. Let’s not go there.
And what’s with the Mayor going on a property-buying spree? (I guess he wants to keep up with soon-to-be-Ex-County Executive Kathleen Falk.) The Mayor wants to spend $4.73 million to buy a couple parcels on East Washington Avenue, where the city previously turned down a $4.2 million TIF request by developer Gary Gorman for the same property. So, let’s see if I have this right? Turn down a TIF request, which is paid for by the developer’s own development, so that the taxpayers can fund more tax dollars to buy the property and take it off the tax rolls.
Further down on East Washington, the Mayor is proposing a similar deal. At a time when city debt is soaring, we can’t fund enough police officers, and murders go unsolved, the city has decided to play developer.
Madison Teachers Union: Walker isn’t even Governor yet and MTI is already attacking him in their newsletter. What are they complaining about? Walker’s proposal that teachers pay some portion of their own health insurance cost. They also claim that restoring the Qualified Economic Offer, "which has artificially restricted wage increases for teachers since 1993," will be a burden. Increases in wages and benefits for teachers statewide have averaged 4.13% since 1993, according to the LaCrosse Tribune. I’d say that a 4.13% wage increase every year for decades is pretty good compared to those of us in the private sector, who saw our wages and benefits decrease in excess of that, especially over the last couple of years!
Expect more misinformation over the next two years from the promoters of big government. The bottom line is this; in the last few years, the "takers" have taken too much from the producers, and now we’re rebelling.
Next Month: What specific economic policies and immediate changes need to be implemented by Walker and the Republican State Senate and Assembly.
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