The Left’s message: Down with the profit motive; solidarity for teachers if it kills us!

Is this weather for real? Neighbor just returned from Florida; no warmer there than here, he marveled. High temperatures in the 70s predicted as far as the eye can see. Don’t we always get one last snowstorm after a “false spring”? Maybe those polar bears will just have to learn how to swim!

I debated former state legislator Joe Wineke Wednesday morning in front of Farm Credit lenders from around the state at Madison’s Concourse Hotel. Joe is one of those Democrats whom Republicans seem to like. (Each party has them.) In Joe’s case, I told my audience I couldn’t figure why. ☺

Joe speculated that most state prison guards and highway construction workers voted for Scott Walker two years ago but will go Democrat in the recall election. I said no way! Kathleen Falk would close the prisons and turn off the cement mixers. She fought construction of the South Beltline bypass and U.S. Highway 12 from Middleton to Sauk City. She handed out ankle bracelets rather than expand the Dane County jail. Her inattention to the emergency call center led to the tragic Brittany Zimmerman slaying. She will fight the iron mine in Iron County if Dale Schultz gives it a repeal.

Joe said he thought (or hoped?) Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett will get in. I parried that no modern Democrat can win in the face of active hostility of the teachers union. They hate the guy. The teachers and AFSCME are all in for Falk.

Joe recited the familiar litany of Walker’s shared revenue cuts to schools and local governments. I asked him by asking how much higher he wanted our taxes hiked. Then I asked my audience of credit managers if they had ever heard of a foreclosure against a full-time government employee. No hands. I sensed that the great majority of my audience sided with Walker.

Wineke, BTW, will announce for State Assembly from the 80th district, which is SW Dane County plus Monticello and New Glarus in Green County.

Besides holding the $60 billion biennial state budget hostage until Act 10 is repealed, Falk as governor would restore the old mediation/arbitration system that prohibited arbitrators from considering the school district’s ability to pay. We’ll be back to the days when school-related property taxes had been rising by an average of 4.2% every year between 2001-02 and 2011-12. Instead, Scott Walker actually decreased school property taxes by 1% for 2012-13.

Poison the wells, sow the earth with salt

Electing Falk is so important that John Matthews, boss of the Madison teachers union, wants Milwaukee teachers to get in the unemployment line rather than work cooperatively with Gov. Walker. The union wants legislation to allow it to reopen its contract without voiding the entire thing in order to make $10 million in financial concessions. Walker and the Republican legislature are favorably disposed but the unions want to play politics at the expense of their members.

The MacIver Institute reports that teachers unions in Madison, Kenosha, Racine, and Green Bay wrote a letter dated Tuesday saying that the legislation would harm the Walker recall effort even though it would help teachers.

"Allowing Governor Walker to make such a claim just before the recall election will prove detrimental to recalling him and, therefore, will only enhance his ability to further harm all Wisconsin public employees," said the letter.

Which is ironic, since a year ago, Milwaukee’s union decided to take hundreds of layoffs rather than accept a less expensive health insurance plan. One of those laid off was its young teacher of the year. So much for union solidarity.

Those were the days, my friend; we thought they’d never end

“The Bad Old Days of Collective Bargaining; Why Act 10 Was Necessary for Wisconsin Public Schools” is a must-read. It was authored by Education Action Group, a small think tank out of Michigan. An excerpt:

“In an attempt to save jobs, the school board asked the union to amend the collective bargaining agreement, so all teachers would be switched to the less expensive insurance plan, with no out-of-pocket costs. The board estimated that the switch would save the district about $48 million per year, enough to retain nearly all of the teachers who faced layoffs.

“‘We could literally save hundreds of jobs with the stroke of a pen if teachers switched to a lower-cost health plan,’ [Milwaukee] School Board President Michael Bonds said. ‘I’m not aware of any place in the nation that pays 100 percent of teachers’ health-care benefits and doesn’t require a contribution from those who choose to take a more expensive plan.’

“The union responded with a vigorous ‘no’ to the proposed switch, and called on taxpayers to cough up more money to maintain their overpriced benefit package. …

So the layoff notices went out.”

BTW: Education Action Group maintains a website called Wisconsin School Reformer. Well worth your bookmarking. Well, what are you waiting for?!

How liberals think, #3,678

I wrote last time about John Nichols’ crusade to selectively eviscerate the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case. Comrade John has a fan boy who calls himself “hughjazzsoul” in the online comment section of I cite this one of many comments because it so efficiently represents the Left’s grievance against business. Says hughjazzsoul: “When profits are the goal of all those people in the corporation should they be running government on any level?”

My response: 1) What in the Constitution disqualifies seekers of profit from participating in their democracy? 2) Does not the working person hope to profit from his labor? Put a little aside for retirement? Maybe a vacation cabin in the north woods? 3) The Obama administration is hughjazzsoul’s wish come true!

They walk among us, people!

This and that

Obama's approval rating sinks from 50% to 41% in one month, according to the new CBS News/New York Times survey. By this measure, Barack Obama should be recalled.

As usual, Ann of Althouse asks the right questions: "If the Greatest Generation was so great, why did they bring up their children to be the Baby Boomers?

Y’know what? We’re THEIR fault!!! I blame them for me!!!

Sign up for the free In Business Wisconsin Report – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click here.