On these principles, Wis GOP is double-down incontinent | Wis.Community

On these principles, Wis GOP is double-down incontinent

[img_assist|nid=55336|title=Double down|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=175|height=167]Here's our latest roundup of major inconsistencies in the work of those purportedly oh-so-principled Wisconsin Republicans:

1. The party that has screamed loudly about so-called "takings" laws and rulings that allow governments to condemn or otherwise acquire private property is now proposing to enact what amounts to ... a new takings law. The provision, set for the budget bill, would make it much easier for private power-line companies to blow through private property in order to erect new cross-country transmission lines, and the state Department of Transportation to grab private lands in order to widen highways and build new ones. 

The Wisconsin GOP is also the party that recently made it much harder for wind-power developers to site their towers anywhere in the state. Presumably, sometime after Democrats regain power in this state, Republicans will blame them for the takings that Republican majorities are about to enable.

2. The Republicans say their number one priority is job creation -- even though they haven't managed quite yet to get around to anything like a proper job-creation bill, unless you count their persistent though ineffective trickle-down strategy of massive tax cuts and new tax credits for businesses. However, in fact, they have been very busy cutting jobs -- public jobs. "The 2011-'13 budget passed by the Joint Finance Committee would spend $66.1 billion in state and federal money over two years - a 1.8% increase - and eliminate an estimated 1,033 jobs," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Add those jobs to the 250,000 that Scott Walker has pledged to create. And let's not even begin to consider how many municipal and public teacher jobs across the state will disappear, thanks to billion-dollar cuts in state revenue sharing.

3. Republicans have complained mightily whenever a Democrat moves funds from special accounts to general revenues in order to balance the books. They did it when Gov. Jim Doyle took dollars earmarked for highways. Yet, these are the same Republicans who are happy to swipe $28 million in Wisconsin Retirement System funds to help balance Scott Walker's budget. 

Never mind that the state Supreme Court has in the past ruled that such moves are unlawful. This latest grab is especially bad, because it costs public employees who are already going to be burdened by other wage and benefit cuts imposed by Walker. The dollars in question were contributed to the state pension fund in part by those public employees, but GOP lawmakers instead want to use the money to help cover employee insurance premiums and other state program costs -- which amounts to an added hit on employees.

Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan is down good with Congress grabbing fees collected by the US Patent Office from its users to pay for other, unrelated stuff in the federal government, even though the Patent Office already has a huge backlog of pending applications, which observers say has stifled US technological development. No job-creation concerns there, either, apparently.

4. Wisconsin Republicans oppose any kind of tax increases but are poised to whack the Earned Income Tax Credit, which will increase taxes on some working poor families. Meanwhile, Walker's budget increases state fees by over $100 million -- a familiar dodge used by politicians who claim they're not raising taxes, when raising fees amounts to the same thing. And never mind that the sum of all the Walker budget proposals is that a lot less will get done in this state -- transit systems will see drastic cuts in revenue, along with schools and municipalities, and the Repubs set local property tax caps so the locals can't easily recover the revenue other than by drastically forcing further wage and benefit cuts upon their public workers.

Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but Republican deeds and words are so wildly inconsistent we really need to designate a special class of hobgoblinery for their politics.


June 14, 2011 - 8:51am