The most random thing happened to me on Sunday evening; I fell asleep at 7:30 PM. Consequently, even though I am now more awake than any non-meth addict should be at 5 AM, the Great Big Wisconsin Post will have to wait one more day. Until then, enjoy this bit of validation of the continuing relevance of the basic exchange theory of politics.
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The lion's share of attention regarding Scott Walker's legislative proposal has been paid to the effort to revoke Wisconsin public employees' collective bargaining rights, but the 144-page bill (more reliable link here) is a far more exhaustive and inclusive list of the fundamentals of Republican politics in the 21st Century. Not many people have the time to plow through the whole bill but those who do will be rewarded with plenty of gems like this:

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

If this isn't the best summary of the goals of modern conservatism, I don't know what is.
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It's like a highlight reel of all of the high-flying slam dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism. Extra bonus points for the explicit effort to legally redefine the term "public interest" as "whatever the energy industry lobbyists we appoint to these unelected bureaucratic positions say it is."

In case it isn't clear where the naked cronyism comes in, remember which large, politically active private interest loves buying up power plants and already has considerable interests in Wisconsin. Then consider their demonstrated eagerness to help Mr. Walker get elected and bus in carpetbaggers to have a sad little pro-Mubarak style "rally" in his honor. There are dots to be connected here, but doing so might not be in the public interest.
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I think the "Budget Repair Bill" is Wisconsin's very own Vanguard moment.

106 thoughts on “STAND AND DELIVER”

  • Jesus christ. The Republicans are even more vile than I thought – first, they put the state in deficit. Then they demand the deficit must be fixed on the backs of the poor and the assets of the state.

    It's like a much faster version of the Party's plan for the entire country. Hope we can stop those fuckers before they completely ruin everything forever.

  • These are the kind of revelations that will show us the mettle of the T-party activists.

    Y'all Lefties claim the Ts are a fabrication/creation, wholly owned subsidiary of the Rs We have some early indications they are not based on the current budget battles in the HoR.

    Please Ed, spare me the breast beating about the cronyism of Rs. Your Chicago Ds invented it fer sure! It is both parties and it has to stop now.

    The next few years will be interesting on whether the 'voting is useless' cynics are correct.


  • No wonder he's trying to ram this through and trying to stifle debate on it, it's also why he's lead off with the collective bargaining gambit to hide the devil of the details.

  • Mikkonen, a Marine Corps veteran, said he lost two jobs in manufacturing and now holds three different jobs, including working as a waiter and pizza deliverer, to support himself.

    "Jobs are hard to come by, but I found something in less than a month," he said.

    Ah, yes, the "if you're on unemployment, you're just a lazy fuck" argument. God I love these guys.

  • @Hobbes – I've been hearing these same sentiments from several of my old school mates from Wisconsin. It's sad to watch working class people that you've known most of your life destroy their own standards of living because they've been fed bullshit and been told that they like it.

  • What in the holy fuck? No-bid contracts for the privatization of public utilities? Please, please someone from the media write a story about this.

  • Last night I heard a promo for Fawn Hannity's show where he said something like, we need to pull a Reagan on the people in Wisconsin. Give them so long to get back to work and then fire them. There are plenty of teachers around the country who would love to have their jobs. You could just see the glint in his eyes while mentioning his lord, Saint Ronnie of Reagan. Asshat.

  • That's right ladies and gentlemen… there is a self created fire sale going on. When people don;t now how to run a government and create giant deficits they have no idea how to fix it but to sell off their assets. The republicans and some dems can't really manage anything effectively. This generation in power have had American prosperity handed to them like trust babies. They then withdrew the funds and will leave the carcass for the next generation who will be slaves to corporate interests.. I am no communist or socialist… I am a capitalist who understands why government and regulations should act as the referees in a world of greedy, self-serving power grabbers.

  • We have a word for when this happens in the "Third World" – it's called LOOTING. I see no reason to call the shenanigans by Gov. Walker (and his teabagging colleagues in Ohio and else where) anything different.

  • @bb

    Whenever one of my conservative friends says something like "Both parties do it" or "They're all the same" I reply with – "Then I guess you don't mind if I vote for the Democrat?"

    The conversation usually stops right about then.

  • Y'all Lefties claim the Ts are a fabrication/creation, wholly owned subsidiary of the Rs We have some early indications they are not based on the current budget battles in the HoR.

    bb, sorry but the Tea Partiyers are going to do exactly as they are told by Fox News. They will fully support selling off government assets, if they are aware of it at all, even if it is below market value. They will concentrate every bit of the considerable hatred they have on the teachers' union.

  • Major:

    I'm not saying "both parties do it. so shut up" I'm proud that you vote for whoever your little ol' heart desires. I said spare me the breast beating about the Rs. Ds practically invented the crony scamming crap, but it is UNACCEPTABLE when any damn body does it.

    We need to stop it – preferably peacefully. If as Pug sez the T partiers are indeed Fox Puppets, we will see that now, won't we?


  • Thank you for posting.

    This really reminds me of Krugman's post on Nassau County awhile back, although his observations were more about the consequences of these policies.

  • bb in GA said: "Please Ed, spare me the breast beating about the cronyism of Rs. Your Chicago Ds invented it fer sure! It is both parties and it has to stop now."

    Since he's talking like a child, which parental cliche should I answer that with?

    A: Two wrongs don't make a right?
    B: If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?
    C: A bad thing is a bad thing, no matter how many people do it.

  • Check out the following section, too:

    "(c) If the department sells or contracts for the operation of any state−owned
    heating, cooling, and power plant under sub. (1), the secretary may identify any full−time equivalent positions authorized for the state agency that has operating authority for the plant, the duties of which primarily relate to the management or operation of the plant, and may decrease the authorized full−time equivalent positions for that state agency by the number of positions so identified effective on the date that the state agency no longer has operating authority for the plant."

    Sell the contract, and clean house in one fell swoop.

  • "It's in both parties" is a load of shit. ONE party incites its members to violence; ONE party slanders hard-working people; ONE party wants to disable the state's protection of the people's interest; ONE party wants to rape us all. The other party seems to have no idea what it's up against.

  • You don't sell an operation as complicated as a nuclear power plant by bidding. You may solicit offers, but the terms and conditions apart from purchase price are so complex and important that in the end the transaction must be be negotiated in detail between one finalist buyer and seller. Bidding is not the only way to achieve best price, and in this case a bid system, as is usually done in a governmental auction, and in this case would probably impede a sale and erode the price.

    It really has nothing to do with cronyism.

  • Thanks so much for all that valuable "insight", David. This is a subject I happen to know about.

    The usual process for selling large packages of assets is exactly to solicit bids, open a data room with relevant information for review by potential bidders, then review those bids submitted and begin negotiations with the most promising bidder. Terms and conditions will be included in any credible bid. It is not an auction in the same sense as Sotheby's.

    And even in that situation, the bid has to be approved by the Board of Directors. I can't imagine a CEO being allowed to sell off assets for whatever he wants. That's out of control. Maybe the dictator of Equitorial Guinea could that, but not an American CEO.

  • Nice catch! I don't think I've seen any coverage of Walker's plans aside from the union-busting aspects, and probably many venues have only seen fit to give it that much attention because of the street protests.

  • Cokeheaad. You claim R's put Wisconsin into the deficit. Exactly how was that done when Jim Doyle was a deocratic governor for the las8 years. Next time you want to blame a political party, and the reps deserve blame for things, know what you are talking about before you spout off a lot of nonsense.

    As far as the 'opinion piece. It is exactly that. An opinion piece. And it is so full of holes I don't even no where to begin. You want to blame Republicans for corporatism, no bid contracts and paying off lobbyists. Do you want a list of examples with the Obama administration?? How many no bid contracts have been continued AFTER Bush left office?? DO a little research and see. Corporatism and lobbyists. What would you like to call Tim Geithner??? How many lobbyists NOW have positions in the White House after campaigning there would be 'no place for lobbyists in my administration.

    So next time you would like to go off on an 'opinion piece' and make a bold statement try not to come off as so sophomoric. BOTH sides are no better than the other. Until we as a people start holding DC acountable for their actions and vote for 'We the People' and not 'We the corporations' will things start to turn around.

    I just hope it is not too late

  • Yes the republicans are out to really win big this time and along with Tea party candidates that won are out to really throw this country into a conservitive hole the likes we have not seen since the 1950;s .But It is our fault that they have this power in the first place because Democrats DO NOT VOTE in the forst place!! Only 25 % of the nation that was able to vote in this election voted and that is disgusting to me and I will bet you ANY money the majority of those that DID vote were republican.WE NEVER show on mid term elections!! I do not know if it is just laziness or stupidity but I for one am, getting sick of the whining about what the republicans are doing when we DPNT VOTE!! There are alot more of us then them and if we had voted they could not have taken the house or any state!!

  • The mainline 'baggers are, I'm sure, quite anxious to get back to bitching about guns, immigration and incandescent light bulbs. They can't spit out the "red meat" long enough to realize it's between the Koch brothers' legs.

  • "If as Pug sez the T partiers are indeed Fox Puppets, we will see that now, won't we?"

    No. "We" won't see shit. Those of us with our eyes open to it *already* see it.

  • @jkdawg:

    1. If I understand reports correctly, Wisconsin's budget was in fairly good shape compared to, say, California's. Then Walker stepped in, and his first order of business was to slash taxes for no damn reason. Poof. Instant budget deficit. And the collective bargaining provisions have nothing to do with the deficit.

    2. Ed's not saying the Democrats are virtuous flower children who do nothing wrong. Look through the archives, and you'll see that he's been plenty harsh. Next time you want to blame a political blogger, know what you are talking about before you spout off a bunch of nonsense.

    3. Ah, the platitudinous 'bagger line. "We hate both parties! It's just that we always vote for Republicans and…hey, why are you laughing like that?" The next time the Tea Party makes a concerted effort to do anything but vote for more Republicans, I will smack my gob in astonishment.

    4. Please learn to spell. It really opens doors, doncha know.


    So 2006 and 2008 don't matter?

  • @ Hann1bal

    1. Collective Bargaining certainly has a huge mark on the deficit. Defined Benefits have ALWAYS ended up being underfunded. What Walker is proposing is moving towards a Defined CONTRIBUTION plan. These Gov't Unions MUST start paying for their own retirements.

    2. D's and R's are no different in Methodology, only in their Mission. I say to Hell with both and let our Communities decide our own paths to success.

    3. You won't likely see the Tea Party going Repub again. They were the only Party open to true Liberalism ( at the time. Look for the Tea Party to either split off or more likely place candidates in both parties. If the feds were truly Limited in scope as originally planned, there would be no room for Parties at that Level. Straight Rule of Law and Limited responsibilities.

  • @ hann1bal

    1. The tax cuts have not even taken affect yet. So there is no budget deficit due for that very reason.

    2. I don't care what he has posted in the past. My comment is in regards to THIS opinion piece. And it is juvenile and filled with tons of inaccuracies. I didn't even touch on the cronyism. Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters come to mind.. So you can think it is nonsense it does not matter to me. Blame Ed for the terrible piece he wrote.

    3. And don't paint me as a 'bagger'. Far from it but nice try. More of an independent. But it does show your mental acuity with the name calling and the generalization. But I understand because it requires out of the box thinking and for some liberals that is not their strong suit.

    4. I hit spell check this time. Hopefully it meets your approval.

  • Does anyone out there have any information on just how many publicly owned utilities there are in wisconsin and where they are?

  • Scott Hedrick says:

    THe government ought to get out of the utility business. However, stuff ought to be sold for reasonably close to market value. Instead of a bid process, hold an auction with a reserve. That will provide the fairest determination of fair value.

  • Folks,

    As I am in the government as a career and serve at the pleasure of both left and right and good and bad., i must tell you it is common practice to sell for 1 dollar or give away an "asset" that can beneift the public. Seldom, including BRAC has there been a fair and market reimbursement on a former govt property. It is neither a red or blue thing. But in aganecies where we have our own antiquated steam plants or waste water treatment plants. Private sector companies have come in and taken over weither through bid or no bid and run them. Sometimes its because of the envirommnetal liability. We as the govt do not want to bear the fiscal resposibility on the taxpayer to bring a system up to code. The private entity comes in a pays the CI money and then gets their return on investments over the long haul. usually buy supplying outside new customers. Sometimes old govt "shops" of wage grade union workers are running them and these folks are so senior they wont leave, make well over 100K a year and more tha the managers. They rape the taxpayer for overtime because they wont do what is required during the normal workdays. And instead they go private. these employees are usually picked up by the private intity but at a wage reasonable and usually meeting the fair labors Davis Bacon act. The fact is every time it is done it benifiots the taxpayer. I have yet to come across a local, muni or federal transaction that wasnt a boon to the taxpayer.

  • Curious in FL says:

    Well, when you are in debt, have no money yet need money, what can you do but sell your assets (or declare bankruptcy)? Whether as a private citizen, or as a State government that can't print it's own money, ultimately those are the only two choices.

    With that said, I think it sucks a$$ that the asset sales won't be subject to bidding. It seems that no one these days can walk through the political field promising fiscal reform without having some type of crap come along for the ride.

  • Curious,

    A lot of times with utlities, there is no bid because not many fish in the ocean… but now a days it has grown a lot. There is real compitition around the country that will move in. But there are aslo others that just rehire the problems that are there get it with lowest bid, make Tyco money for themselves and have no customer service. You try to out those with Big Bond requirements but when it is not owned by government then they cant keep a BS entity from not having a bond… it should be contracted out with X percent going to the public coffers.

  • Jeezus you guys, unbundle your undies for a minute MMM-K?


    These are facilities at places like colleges, prisons and the like. There is an issue with some of these meeting environmental standards, and there may be some fines if they are not upgraded, plus the state may not have the money to upgrade them, hence the reason the state is looking to unload them.

    Also, a flat out auction may not be in the best interest of the state, as they will still need to negotiate the power rates provided. Soooo, again in the best interest of the state fits perfect.

    So while you folks are bickering about partisan politics, there are real issue here, and it appears this governor is trying to deal with it. The past governor just swept it under the rug.

    Reference to number of plants etc:

  • Wiscosin Taxpayers are paying 100% of the Teacher Union's pensions and healthcare insurance in Wiscosin. Also the Teachers have very inflated salaries.

    Whats wrong with Teacher Unions having to pay for some it themselves ?
    ( The Private Sector employees have to pay for some of their pensions and healthcare insurance.
    Not to mention the Private Sector is paided less and works harder)

    Unions have special job security. In which it is almost Impossible to fire Union employees. Even if they are slacking off or have poor performance.

  • My oh my. It certainly looks as if the educational system has failed quite a few of the guests here. Let's see…we're supposed to trust that the current governor is going to always do what's right for the state. We're supposed to assume that unions deserve to be dismantled because, well darn it, their members negotiated for benefits and can't be fired on a whim. A litany of hard-right wing complaints are supposed to answer a specific point, one that might be appreciated by people with actual integrity (as opposed to republican party hacks.) That point, in case you missed it, was that we need safeguards to ensure that politicians can't fire their enemies and sell public goods to their friends for almost nothing.

    The fact that the wingers here don't care is yet another piece of evidence that the republicans care not about the rule of law one whit. It's just all about power, crushing their foes, and enriching their friends. Here's a news flash: you can't just loot things forever. And the moral system that I described isn't one that normal people find appealing.

  • If you are trying to prove there is crap in all bills (dems and reps), I'm there. What a shocker. But finding some crap and using it to support your position whatever it is… that's down right – political. There's crap in Walker's bill so he must be wrong and his opponents right… nice. No bit contracts are bad, period. Crap is crap regardless of the side you are on. Don't play their game. No one will take you seriously.

  • Wow… that is the best you can find? I will go back to supporting the R's now… call me when you have an example that doesn't take multiple leaps of associative logic…

  • I decided to do a bit of digging on this one and asked myself a couple of questions: what exactly are these assets the state of Wisconsin wants to sell and why would they want to sell them? Now, the reason I asked myself the first questions is because I didn

  • Damn this public education I gert!
    Just what are public heating and cooling plants? Heck what are private ones?
    I know of central a/c, and heat pumps, but how do you centralize them to work from a plant somewhere?
    Sounds like the government is trying to sell thier own broklyn bridge scam.

    Why do I keep hearing about shared sacrifice, the government is sacrificing also, they are letting the people keep thier money, So why are the public unions complaining when the state is also taking a cut.

    I just wish one news channel would tell us what unsafe working condition the teachers face without a union rep stealing their money, that they don't face now being disarmed with those thugs roaming the school.

  • In Wiscousin
    Teacher Unions do not have to paid anything for their Pensions and Healthcare Insurance.
    ( That couldnot had in the Private Sector Ever)

    I wish I got Free a Retirement Pension and Free Healthcare Insurance Just like The Teacher Union workers of Wiscousin.
    ( At the Expense of the Taxpayers)

    Wouldnot that be nice ?

  • @Jon: The contribution from the individual is up front on those retirement and healthcare thingys. That's the POINT: THEY WERE NEGOTIATED!!!!!! Maybe the teachers would be paid better if they didn't have anything taken off the top. EVEN SO!!!!! the union has agreed to allow greater contribution by its members (NEGOTIATION!!!!) as requested by the GOV.
    It is union busting and wage busting. And as beckerhead and Limburger (and a host of cons), income redistribution.

  • @Jon: a job application from C&L. Maybe someone can negotiate retirement and healthcare for ya:

    Energy client is looking for experienced Plant Managers for multiple power plants located in Wisconsin. You need 15+ years of operations & maintenance experience in a power plant environment. You should have at least 5 years of experience managing operations & maintenance teams in an operational power plant. The ideal candidate has experience in a coal fired power plant. Salary is commensurate with experience.

  • One of the Koch brothers companies (Think-something?)is already running an ad looking to hire managers at an anonymous power plant. Looks like our power plants have already been sold and we just haven't been told yet. Interesting, huh?

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