30 March 2008

Glenn Grothman attacks Wisconsin values.

Hi everyone,

Glenn Grothman finally shows his hand. I wrote him last week but, so far, no explanation. I think he must be embarrassed.

Last week in his "From the Hill" editorial in the West Bend Express News Glenn said two things that floored me.

  1. He said the university was the enemy of middle class values and, then
  2. he claimed that the UW Board of Regents is raising tuition in order to squeeze out middle class Wisconsinites.
The technical term for the style of argument in Glenn's claim is called "Three Card Monty" or, more popularly, the Shell Game [btw, if you click on the Shell Game link there's a picture of Glenn with his hair done up in corn rows taking money away from some kid.]

Okay, by the numbers:

1. Is the university an enemy of middle-class values? Uh, no.

For most people, (me and Glenn included!) the university is how Americans get into the middle class in the first place. If the university were opposed to middle class values, it wouldn't produce middle class people.

From Glenn's point of view, then, I must be an enemy of middle class values -- but if that were true, then how come I spend every day helping people acquire the skills they need to move into salaried, professional, and traditionally middle class positions? (These people are mostly from farm and blue collar families -- and refugees from once good jobs now sent overseas by the same economic system to which Glenn pledges his allegiance.)

Glenn even ignores the hard facts -- the dollars involved. Economically speaking, the university is a major engine for development in the state of Wisconsin and thus, one of the major contributors to the economics that make our middle class lives possible. The UW trains the people who run our economy. Remove the university and everyone in Wisconsin would end up working for people from other states -- or, these days, other countries.

Want to know what makes this worse? Glenn knows all of this.

Which leads us to the heart stopper --

2. Do the UW Regents keep raising tuition because they too hate middle class values?

No. Senator Grothman himself is the reason the Regents are forced to raise tuition.

The vaporous sloganeering in Glenn's article is hypocritical in ways I can barely describe.

Here's how it works. Keep your eye on the ball.

The Regents raise tuition because the Legislature cuts the UW budget and the money has to come from some place. It isn't going to our salaries (we're among the lowest paid faculty in the country) and it isn't going into slick new offices (the computer in my office is 5 years old, and it works just fine). There isn't enough waste in the system to make up the difference (the UW administration is famously -- and I hate saying anything nice about administrations -- one of the most efficient and least wasteful university administrations in the entire US).

So the money has to come from increases in tuition.

And again, Glenn knows all of this, too.

Oh, but wait... there's more.

The hypocrisy goes even deeper (I've dealt with this before): when Glenn was in college the taxpayers subsidized nearly 75% of his tuition. This was a good deal for the students, but also for the state's economic profile. But Glenn has undone this economic dynamo. After the last 10 years of budget cuts, compliments of Mr. Grothman, the taxpayer now subsidizes only 25% of our students' tuition and now Wisconsin produces fewer Bachelor's degrees than Mississippi.

I guess Glenn didn't mind having the taxpayer subsidize his education, but the kids in school today?... or the adults who have had to go back to college in order to compete in the new, globalized, economy?

Nope. Glenn's votes say "screw 'em."

Glenn's votes demonstrate he doesn't believe todays taxpayers should have the same level of access to the university he did.

Were you able to follow the ball on that one?

Let's review: 1) Glenn claimed the major route to a middle class life (the university) is opposed to the middle class.

[the theme from Dragnet plays]

Dumb da dumb dumb.

And 2) he blames the university for raising tuition when it's really his fault, and the fault of his fellow travelers in the legislature who continually vote to limit access to the university system and, thus, to the middle class life every American deserves.

Dumb da dumb dumb dummmmmmb.

Glenn himself, through his voting record, has limited the ability of hard working, economically threatened Wisconsinites to attend the University of Wisconsin. First he votes to cut the UW budget, which tightens access to moving into the middle class and then, in order to duck the blame himself, he blames the university.

This isn't rocket science: the real enemy of the middle class in Wisconsin is a state senator who votes, every single time, to keep Wisconsin residents out of the middle class.

Did Glenn think his tax cuts would be free? Didn't his dad tell him TANSTAAFL !

Glenn is taking away more than a free lunch, however. He's taking away the economic future of this state. He's taking away your children's future.

...in Wisconsin, at any rate. They can always move to Chicago or Minneapolis.


16 March 2008

Glenn Grothman's greatest gaffs... vol. 1.

Hi everyone,

Our neighbor Clyde Winter put together his collection of Glenn's greatest gaffs.

Thanks Clyde.

The list gets longer every week.

I wonder, often, whether the voters in our district are simply held hostage to single issues -- like choice or taxation -- and are thus blinded to the rest of the package.

I cannot believe that a preponderance of my neighbors are in favor of denying rape victims emergency contraception or letting their property tax rates soar without anyone asking 'why?' (Glenn has turned a blind eye to them for the past 9 years now).

Property taxes have gone up because local municipalities need to plow and salt and provide safe drinking water -- oh yeah, and education and trained workers. All these years Glenn has been loudly trumpeting the self-serving "tax cuts" that, in effect, do nothing more cut the revenue sharing local governments need to avoid turning Wisconsin into Mississippi.... a state that now produces more baccalaureate degrees than we do -- no, I'm not making that up.

You make the call folks.


06 March 2008

Glenn Grothman: Wrong on the Great Lakes Compact.

Hi everyone,

Well, holy smokes. Good to know that as far away as Staten Island New York, Glenn is giving people everywhere an impression of who we are.

Senate approves Great Lakes Compact - NewsFlash - SiLive.com

3/6/2008, 8:15 p.m. EST
The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Senate passed an interstate treaty Thursday designed to keep arid states from pulling water out of the Great Lakes. But it appears doomed anyway in the Wisconsin Legislature.

The 26-6 vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber sent the Great Lakes Compact to the state Assembly, where Republican leaders have raised objections to part of it.

The Republicans run the Assembly, and they aren't happy with a provision that would let one Great Lakes state block a city's request to use lake water. The legislative session is set to end next week, too, leaving little time for revisions or compromises that could pass both houses.

"This is one of those bills everybody knows is not going to pass next week," Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, told his colleagues before they voted Thursday.

I have to say I admire this kind of advocacy, but all the other Americans on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario have said this was a good idea. The Canadians too. Glad to know that Glenn will say "no" no matter how much this isolates us from the rest of the... well, world.

On the other hand, stubbornness for stubbornness sake is not a sign of intelligent commitment, but a kind of psychopathology.

I mention it in passing, and because it's interesting to know that people in other parts of the county now have a pretty interesting idea of who we are. First the Garter Snake crusade, now this.


02 March 2008

Glenn Grothman: autistic on autism?

Hi everyone,

Glenn apparently isn't done saving us money by forcing families in financial straits to care for their own damaged children.

Autism Bill Approved by State Senate
By LaToya Dennis
February 27, 2008 | WUWM | Milwaukee, WI

WUWM: News - Autism Bill Approved by State Senate: "While just about everyone agrees that something has to be done to financially help families with autistic children, Republican Senator Glenn Grothman says the mandate is too expensive.

“The people back home should realize that under the current fiscal environment, this body, the people collectively in this building are in no position to pass the most extreme mandate in the country on this topic,” Grothman says.
The "current fiscal environment" those of us back home live in -- one in which jobs are shipped overseas, in which the tax-burden is shifted from wealthy to working Wisconsinites, and in which the most effective tax-payer funded services (for health care, education, and infrastructure) are continually slashed, is the product of Senator Grothman's voting record. So, Glenn clearly knows what he's talking about.

This must be an example of that new, non-compassionate conservatism introduced over the past few years.

The only thing extreme I see is Senator Grothman.


01 March 2008

Glenn Grothman: treating autistic children too expensive.

Hi everyone,

Turns out if you provide early treatment to people with autism, they can lead productive lives. Of course, Glenn thinks it'll cost too much.

TUESDAY, Feb. 26, 2008, 3:32 p.m.
By Steven Walters
Senate passes autism insurance bill

Madison - The state Senate today voted to require Wisconsin health insurers to cover the treatment of children with autism - a priority of Gov. Jim Doyle.

The bill passed 25-8 and was sent to the Assembly, where its future was uncertain. The Legislature plans to adjourn by mid-March, and legislative leaders said there are no attempts to negotiate a compromise on the issue that can pass both houses of the Legislature by then.

Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit), a nurse and the bill's chief sponsor, said 16 other states require health insurers to cover some type of autism treatments. She said one out of every 192 children in Wisconsin has been diagnosed with autism, and that the number is growing.

Robson said autism can be effectively treated if children get treatment early, allowing autistic children to hold jobs and live independently as adults. Many children are now on waiting lists for help.

"This bill will help them get the treatment that they need," she added.

Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said the bill would mandate some of the most costly treatments of autistic children in the nation, which will raise the cost of health care overall. "One of the big complaints we hear around here is the high cost of health insurance," he added.

The irony here is that he's wrong. Wisconsin ranks in the top 2 or 3 states in the nation for cost effective health insurance.


Weirder still, Glenn seems to believe autistic kids should remain a burden their parents and, later, the tax payers (through expensive social programs) than to treat autism early, when it's less expensive and more effective.

... wait, what?