Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Madness of Madistan

Yup, it's Madison.

And as some friends I have out there will attest, the question "Why do you have a right to your money?" is NOT unusual.

There are those who just. don't. get. it. And most of them live in Madison.

31 comments:

Headless Blogger said...

Let me rephrase that question:

Why do you have a right to your publicly funded pension?

jimspice said...

You know, we don't want YOUR money. It's the uber-wealthy we're after.

Dad29 said...

Heh. My money won't get me to Cudahy, no matter the mode of transport. You're very insightful...

And as to the uber-rich: yah, that worked VERY will in New York City, Maryland, and the State of Washington.

Another way to look at it: how much has John F*n Kerry-Heinz coughed up? The Kennedys? Herbie Kohl?

Hint: it's spelled this way:

NOT ONE DIME MORE THAN THE LAW REQUIRES.

All the rest is buried in trusts. Some may even be onshore.

Curious resemblance here, no?

The PEU folks have *talked* about cutting back on bennies, but all the contracts they've *signed* in the last 60 days do no such thing.

The Left *talks* about soaking the rich, but not one rich Leftie has sent a couple extra $million along with their 1040.

Co-incidence? I think not.

Amy said...

What did you do to earn the uber-wealthy person's money, Jim?

*crickets*

That's what I thought.

neomom said...

Because a family making $250K is uber wealthy of course.

But Jim, if you want to catch the uber wealthy in the trap a little better, you may want to go after consumption instead of production.

Dad29 said...

Think you can get Spicy to fall for the consumption tax?

That would be fun to watch.

What he's really after is a wealth tax.

J. Strupp said...

You mean about $330,000 neo. The $250,000 number thrown around in last year is adjusted gross income.

neomom said...

That's what all the lefty's are after.

Either that or they truly don't understand the difference between income and net worth and why increasing the income tax won't glean them much from those uber wealthy.

Just had the same conversation with a lawyer friend in Madistan. Got back the standard tripe about defending millionaires and fairness, blah, blah, blah.

neomom said...

And $330K isn't uber wealthy either. Comfortable, yes, but not exactly Rockefeller status.

jimspice said...

"What did you do to earn the uber-wealthy person's money, Jim?"

Well, I could respond with the old lefty standby that the definition of profit is the difference between the worth of a product and how much you can underpay your workers, but I'll refrain.

The simple answer is I believe NO ONE is worth $20M a year. If someone makes that kind of coin, there is something seriously screwed up somewhere. If I could devise my own ideal tax structure, there would be a strong progressive sweep on the upper income brackets, but it wouldn't kick in until, say, 6 or 8 million bucks. I assume you guys are safe.

And don't worry, I've taken into consideration wealth as well in the evil plan inside my head. Especially as it applies to snotty trust fund kids with no education or skills beyond partying really well.

But by all means, you guys go ahead and view the real enemy as those union neighbors of yours who may or may not out-earn you by 5%.

J. Strupp said...

That's the laugher. The idea that targeting public unions will do anything significant to fix our long term debt obligations in this state (or nationwide) is a joke. At no point in America's history has income inequality been so wide, yet we're going to fix the budget deficit by busting public unions and cutting taxes for people who mostly inherited their money? I'm not a union guy by any means, nor do I work for a unionized company, but the idea that public union benefits are anything but a minor problem in terms of our long term budget shortfall is just ridiculous.

And $330,000 a year is rich. "Comfortable" is 2 cars, a nice house in suburban Milwaukee, 2 kids in private school and a healthy IRA. You can do that on much less than half of $330,000. If you can't, you need a finanicial planner (you can afford one of those too) There just isn't a good argument to suggest that someone making $330,000/year, deducting tens of thousands of dollars a year in mortgage interest from multiple properties and/or a business(s)should be up in arms about paying income tax levels last seen since the dark ages of 2001. For me, it's pretty much equivalant to listening to public workers bitch about taking a $2,000 pay cut.

Dad29 said...

view the real enemy as those union neighbors of yours who may or may not out-earn you by 5%.

I have to hand it to NeoMom: she got you out of your shell.

Three fallacies:

1) You state that Conservatives view teachers (et al) as "enemies." You cannot possibly produce research which supports that terminology or your assertion; instead, it goes to your own attitude on the matter.

2) You have no idea what anyone posting here earns, or for that matter, if they are 'trust-fund' babies.

3) Earnings are NEVER the question. Method of earning (theft vs. skill) can be questioned, of course. But far and away the most important issue is DISPOSITION of earnings. I take shots at Herbie Kohl (and at your candidate for County Exec), but it is clear that they have DISPOSED of some chunks of money for good causes. (In the case of Abele, I'll count the Milwaukee Symphony as 'good.' All the rest? Good in his mind...) The same can be said about Limbaugh, as you well know.

So is Herbie your "enemy"? Abele? Limbaugh? ...based on "earnings" alone?

neomom said...

mmm hmmm.... yeah, $330K is exactly like the Rockefellers. And that you believe I'm even in that vicinity is hilarious.

You sound a bit like the guy on the vid Strupp.

But if you must, limiting collective bargaining on fringe benefits doesn't do much for the state or feds. But it could do wonders for the counties and municipalities where labor C&B is a much larger percentage of their budgets.

Especially since the bailouts have to stop.

Amy said...

The simple answer is I believe NO ONE is worth $20M a year. If someone makes that kind of coin, there is something seriously screwed up somewhere.

And therein lies the problem. I believe anybody who can work and earn $20M a year is entitled to it.

Hinging one's freedom to retain their wealth based on whether or not you agree with their worthiness for it is treading on thin ice.

I have friends with 2 or 3 nicer cars than me. I don't think they need them, so can I have one?

I have friends with big houses and no kids, can I have their house instead?

When I make $50k a year, people who make $100k a year, even $75k a year are better off than me.

To what lowest common denominator are we to set the bar for "worth" of wealth?

The hypocrisy of it is astounding, especially when uber-lefty Michael Moore says wealth is a "natural resource" but wouldn't give away his millions to live like an average Joe.

Dad29 said...

the idea that public union benefits are anything but a minor problem in terms of our long term budget shortfall is just ridiculous

Actually, politicians are the problem--that and their use of the Disney-implanted idea that wishing upon a star will bring happiness (which happens to be material.)

You seem to think that 'income disparity' is a big problem. I think that the problem is unlimited Gummint--or more precisely, the concept that "gummint can fix all the problems", which happens to be the root of the "politicians" graf above.

If you wish to state that the country's population as a whole thought for 50+ years that they could get something for nothing, I'd agree with you.

jimspice said...

"Hinging one's freedom to retain their wealth based on whether or not you agree with their worthiness for it is treading on thin ice."

That is exactly what all the Walker backers are doing with teachers.


"1) You state that Conservatives view teachers (et al) as 'enemies.'"

Good Lord! I read the same blogs as you! Conservative commenters DESPISE public workers. Just go and collect your own list of the terrible things people call them.

"2) You have no idea what anyone posting here earns, or for that matter, if they are 'trust-fund' babies."

I'll give any one of you $5 if you top $5M a year. And then I'll ask you for a job.

3) ...and at your candidate for County Exec..."

Wasn't my first choice, and I'll give you one guess why.

Dad29 said...

Actually, the Walker Admin is NOT 'removing wealth' from teachers et al.

The Walker Admin is doing exactly what thousands of private-sector employers have done: changing the terms of benefit arrangements. No "wealth" is harmed in the process.

The fact is that employers give, employers take away. This is not exactly news, you know. Your complaint is that the State is the employer. So?

As to blog-rhetoric....really? You take seriously what is (in the vast majority of the cases) rhetoric? Geez. I specialize in provocative rhetoric of the "ammo" variety. This stuff ain't scientific formulas or history books, you know.

Didn't make $5million last year. If you'd shot just a touch lower, you could have a job!

And BTW, Abele doesn't sound too bad, although he's a bit short of managerial perspective. Not my politics, but not a bad guy.

Amy said...

That is exactly what all the Walker backers are doing with teachers.

No, it isn't, as Dad explained.

However, I do have to relish the irony of people who constantly decry the wealth of others now rushing to defend people who make more and pay less for benefits than their private sector counterparts. Two things which, however, will change minimally under Walker's plan whereas liberals seek to genuinely decimate the wealth of people they don't like.

As I said above, claiming that "no one is worth $20 mil" means that others are free to say "no one is worth having a solely taxpayer funded retirement package." If you set the goalposts for "wealth" as based on what you do/don't like (instead of what's actually fair and equitable) you can't cry foul when someone moves those goalposts.

jimspice said...

Amy, I see from your profile you are on track to become a teacher. I sincerely congratulate you on sticking to a belirf that will cost you personally a quarter of a million dollars over your lifetime. That truly is conviction. And I would do much more than decimate, which means to cut by 10%, those upper incomes. Though I agree the post WWII rates around 90% might be a bit extreme, rates of the late '60s and early '70s, say 50-60% sound just fine to me. Again, affecting only the top 1 tenth of 1 percent of wage earners.

John Foust said...

If you're so smart, Dad29, you wouldn't need a catchphrase like "buy more ammo."

Readers could simply be impressed by the logic of your own writing, as opposed to your ability to smear a layer of your catchphrase on the quoted text of others.

Walker intends a uniform percentage reduction of public employee take-home wages. He's trying to reframe it as a new contribution to pension. The GOP, from national to RPW, wants to weaken Democrats by attacking their funding from public unions.

It's not a free market approach. It would be far more reasonable to argue that wages need to be reexamined in terms of demand; that the State could save a great deal by moving wages downward on positions where the market shows an overabundance of qualified candidates.

It's not a reasonable approach in terms of past efficiencies, either. Years ago some agencies were directed to become self-funding, in that their fees would cover the cost of existence. Some state employees function on the basis of grants they find. Where's the sense in treating those people the same way?

Walker & Co. are dishonest because they won't speak plainly.

Anonymous said...

If you're so smart, John Foust, you wouldn't resort to ripping off someone else's blog using homoerotic references.

Speaking of which, I may kick down a door on Main Street in Jefferson tonight. I know the fat, lazy union cops won't do shit about it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dad29, your friend is back again. He/she is certainly a winner.



"The Walker Admin is doing exactly what thousands of private-sector employers have done: changing the terms of benefit arrangements. No "wealth" is harmed in the process."


What kind of asinine statement is that, Dad29? In capitalism, an agreement is made between the owner and the worker pay and benefits, based on what is the perceived worth of said worker. Those benefits are a GUARANTEE, a PROMISE.

Just because the owner made a deal that perhaps he/she can no longer sustain in the future is his/her fault. Think how many thousands of workers near retirement age got screwed royally, through no fault of their own, all because some company made a change in the rules because of his/her greed in the stock market (i.e. mortgage securities). Too bad for workers aged 50 and up? I think not.

But I'm sure companies will hire them because they value their experience? Um, no.


No wonder capitalism is so screwed up in this country.

neomom said...

There is no capitalism in government "negotiations" with unions. The "owners" are the taxpayers and they decided last November that the State was broke.

It doesn't matter whose "fault" it is.

But the money tree has died.

Sorry. Being a government union worker doesn't exempt a person from economic realities.

John Foust said...

You don't think a promise was made, a contract signed?

neomom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
neomom said...

It is irrelevant. Every contract has an out.

And not having any money is a damned good out.

Dad29 said...

Just because the owner made a deal that perhaps he/she can no longer sustain in the future is his/her fault

You never heard of force majeur?

The contract made by the State of Wisconsin with its employees expired about 12 months ago, by the way. Doylet failed to reach a subsequent agreement.

Got another idea?

Anonymous said...

"It is irrelevant. Every contract has an out."

It's against the law to break a contract. Otherwise, why make them or honor them???


"There is no capitalism in government "negotiations" with union."

Don't be dishonest. The government is a "company" who provides services. It determines how those services will be put forth, who will put forth those services, and at what cost those services will be put forth. Businesses (private sector) and people (public sector employees) are hired to put forth those services. Both NEGOTIATE what is fair compensation.

Now, taxpayer money goes indirectly to BOTH companies and individuals. What they do with their EARNINGS is up to them...

regardless if it is union members, who work for the state, filling the coffers of Democrats...

or business owners, who have contracts with the state, offering to feed the till of Republicans.

Perhaps the private sector employees ought to have been working harder for the past 30 years...

to demand their work be compensated fairly--and not dictated solely by their employer;

and their job be protected--and not be simply cast aside on a whim--

rather than be conditioned into thinking that what they pay for their health insurance and retirement is "normal".


As Jay Gould stated "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half". Certainly seems to me that is the case today.

Dad29 said...

You've gone off your meds.

"Government" is an entirely different creature than "companies."

Government is, inter alia, a monopoly provider of certain services. "Companies" are very rarely in that position--and if so, are generally granted that position by--ta da--Government.

Sorry. Find something rational to say or don't bother saying it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, look everyone, Dad29 implemented page 421, Section 8, Part 4, Sentences 1-3 of the radical playbook...refer to your opponent as "crazy", even when rational arguments are made.


Of course government has a "monopoly" on SOME services...because the people want programs predicated on the common good. And there are instances in which the government has granted contracts to businesses to take care of those services. The problem lies when some of those companies focus on profits at the expense of that common good and end up costing taxpayers more because of their greed and lack of government oversight.

That is when taxpayers, who demand such services be rendered, seek a balance which has accountability and reduces fraud and waste in a manner that does NOT tear down unions nor stunt business growth. That balance is elusive given the current rhetoric from the right and the left.

Dad29 said...

Boy oh boy. That's enough to make me want to give 120% of my income to the pooor, pooooooor, public "servants."