Train your logic on THIS | WisCommunity

Train your logic on THIS

[img_assist|nid=46026|title=The eagle has flown|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=189|height=126]After the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier this month published an editorial complaining about the federal government's decision not to grant funding for improvements to Milwaukee-Chicago passenger rail service, nearly 200 readers commented on line and many of them agreed with the paper's editorial board that the Obama administration's decision was political pay-back. Some readers went so far as to say the feds had acted like bullies.

Mind you, I think federal aid for Amtrak's Hiawatha line would be a very good investment, just as a new high-speed link between Madison and Milwaukee would have been a wise economic development and transportation investment. But Gov. Scott Walker supported the former while dissing the latter, and now, because the feds yanked the high-speed rail money in deference to the governor's opposition and refused to give him money for upgrading the existing line, the newspaper and some of its readers think the feds simply are playing political hardball.

Well, no doubt. It's what Republicans do as well as Democrats. But there's more to it than that. The federal government never gives out money to state and local governments without exacting some requirements or mandates in the bargain. And that's the real issue here. Walker, after all, still wanted the $810 million ear-marked for high-speed rail. He just wanted the freedom to reappropriate it for highway construction, benefitting a major class of his campaign donors.

Here's the overlooked double standard, which the Journal Sentinel and state taxpayers ought to be focusing on:

* When Scott Walker induces local governments to act as he wishes by withholding funds -- that's good.

* But when the federal government does the same to Walker -- that's bad.

You see, Walker believes that the federal government should just give him money without strings or conditions or mandates attached, so he can spend it as he likes -- for instance, on new freeways. But the state should never give money to local governments for any purpose unless its Walker's purpose, because those local governments might do reckless, selfish things with it that are not in the state's collective interest. Oh, yeah, that's so ginormously consistent.


May 14, 2011 - 8:21am