June 1, 2012

"The outcome of Wisconsin’s recall election will not just decide this state’s leanings on matters of budget, taxes and policy..."

"... and the ultimate trajectory of Gov. Scott Walker’s fast-rising political prospects. It will also send a message about a larger fight over labor in this country, and whether voters are likely to reject those who cut collective bargaining rights, as Mr. Walker did here last year...."

A slide show at the NYT about the Wisconsin recall. There's also a long article, but the key text is in the slide show captions, and it's mostly stuff you know if you haven't been avoiding news of the recall. Nice dynamic photo of Bobby Jindal, with Walker and Kleefisch at photo #6. (Kleefisch, who looks gorgeous at the left edge of the photo, is not identified in the caption.)

55 comments:

Mitchell said...

Regarding Ms. Kleefisch, it would seem a natural progression from television news anchor to politics. We don't see more of it, I suppose, because of the pay cut.

Jay said...

Hey, when is the "personally popular" Obama going to appear in WI?

He's got fundraisers today in Ill Why can't he stop over and tout all the great benefits of public sector unions and help the flop sweat Barret's campaign?

I mean, Obama is so personally popular that he would help, right?

*SNICKER*

Pogo said...

Confusing.

And here I thought that the Walker recall vote meant nothing, nothing at all outside of Wisconsin.

A daily update on whether June 5th is meaningful or not would be helpful.

Tim said...

Nice of the New York Times to leave out the fact that President Franklin D. Roosevelt opposed collective bargaining rights for public employees.

I wonder why they did so?

"All the News That's Fit to Print," indeed.

TWM said...

"A daily update on whether June 5th is meaningful or not would be helpful."

That's why they are called progressives . . . if one lie isn't working they just progress to the next one.

And BTW, this word verification gets more difficult and annoying every day.

Jay said...

Obama is going to six money events today in Minneapolis and Chicago.

What is between Minneapolis and Chicago again?

TosaGuy said...

Take a look at the "No FRAC plant" sign in Photo #9.

Fracking requires a certain type of sand, which is found in WI. Sandmines have sprung up in the western part of the state.

Expect the left and the EPA to try to shut down these sand mines as part of their effort to end fracking. Such an effort will easily fly underneath the national radar.

alan markus said...

Hey, when is the "personally popular" Obama going to appear in WI?

Hey, Clinton is supposed to come. Maybe he'll be a "loose cannon" and say something that actually makes Walker look good or embarrasses Barrett. Like the way he undercut Obama on the Romney/Bain issue.

Bill Clinton: Mitt Romney's business record 'sterling'

alan markus said...

What is between Minneapolis and Chicago again?

Thanks to Walker there isn't a high-speed rail stop in Madison that could have been built under-budget and without any construction delays. Must be that evil political genius known as Governor Walker.

alan markus said...

And BTW, this word verification gets more difficult and annoying every day

It's a plot to keep us older (and most likely conservative and/or thoughtful) commenters from posting our thoughts on the internet. I have to take off my glasses and put my face about 6" from the monitor screen to catch those letters.

Jay said...

Like the way he undercut Obama on the Romney/Bain issue.


Clinton knows which way the wind is blowing.

Oh, and there is nothing to "undercut" since one of Obama's top bundlers is a Bain executive and Romeny's business career makes Obama look like a high school sophomore on economics.

tim in vermont said...

""All the News That's Fit to Print," indeed."

I would like somebody to explain to me how the above means something different than "All the news we see fit to print."


BTW, it was not biased that the picture of the elephant on the float was taken from behind, it's in your head rethuglicans!

Bob Ellison said...

Kleefisch, who looks gorgeous at the left edge of the photo, is not identified in the caption.

I've seen her in video elsewhere. She's pretty, like many successful women. Your observation seems like...well, shall I say, a womanly one?

I should dare not, but there, I pushed the "publish" button.

ricpic said...

Bobby Jindal usually comes off as wimpy in photographs but in this slideshow photo he's a deadringer for Edward Fox, the muscular and virile lead in the film The Day Of The Jackal. A duskier Fox.

MadisonMan said...

Why shouldn't Kleefisch look beautiful. She has a job that allows her to relax all day and do nothing.

TWM said...

"Why shouldn't Kleefisch look beautiful. She has a job that allows her to relax all day and do nothing."

Warren must be working her not-so-Cherokee ass off then . . .

roesch/voltaire said...

For the record the WISN poll shows that 60% thought Barrett was better than Walker's 40%-- so I would not cheer too soon, here is the site:
http://livewire.wisn.com/Event/12_News_Wis_Gubernatorial_Debate

Erika said...

1. I am bitterly amused at how NYT is careful to note that Walker's campaign {to remain in the office to which he was lawfully and legitimately elected} has received out of state money, but I see no mention of how the recall effort has received same.

2. Definitely mention the budget cuts; don't mention the effect they've had on the state's finances. Independent, unbiased journalism!

3. Does it annoy no one else to see these pictures of Barrett hanging out in cafes, presumbaly on the clock? He already has a job! He should be doing it! This annoys me in all politicians, to be fair. Even my beloved Rick Perry, back in those halcyon pre-meltdown days.

4. I think that Debbie Wasserman Schulz needs to read the NYT and get up to speed on whether the Wisconsin election is important nationally or not.

tim in vermont said...

I didn't really believe you would post to an on-line poll, but you did. Wow!

As the kids say.... Seriously?

BTW, this captcha is pure age discrimination

TWM said...

"For the record the WISN poll shows that 60% thought Barrett was better than Walker's 40%-- so I would not cheer too soon, here is the site:"

As you probably know, online polls are always garbage. Still, one should not get cocky.

Chip S. said...

Why shouldn't Kleefisch look beautiful. She has a job that allows her to relax all day and do nothing.

A meme is born: Under President Obama's economic policies, more Americans have the opportunity to look good than at any time since the New Deal.

traditionalguy said...

With a name like Kleefisch, it is mere justice that she is attractive.

Good thing Kleefisch is not running for high office in South Carolina where as an attractive GOP women she would be accused of being a bimbo.

Come to think of it, she must be from the South. She doesn't have the classic Wisconsin look at all.

alan markus said...

R-V said (again): For the record the WISN poll shows that 60% thought Barrett was better than Walker's 40%-- so I would not cheer too soon, here is the site

You said that last night, you should have stayed up late enough to know that Chip gave you ownage:

Chip S. said...
In case anybody thought roesch/voltaire was reporting actual poll results, here's a tweet from "We Are Wisconsin" an hour ago:

Who won the 2nd #WIdebate? Vote for @Barrett4WI here: http://livewire.wisn.com/Event/12_News_Wis_Gubernatorial_Debate #WIrecall

Really, who among us doesn't respect the usefulness of online polls?

6/1/12 12:06 AM

CJinPA said...

I said it before and I'll say it again:

The most important election for taxpayers in 2012 is not for president, it's this election here.

Nothing is driving up state and local taxes more than public employee pension systems, and the main roadblock to changing them are public sector unions. Add in the union pay raise demands and other restrictions that make it impossible to run a city or school district efficiently, and the case is made that eliminating public sector unions will be the single more important pro-taxpayer development over the next 10 years.

And that doesn't even include the political ramifications of stopping the caravan of union Brinks trucks delivering campaign cash to Democratic legislators in return for more generous union benefits.

This is big.

Paul said...

Well RV here's your chance to put your money where your mouth is and clean up, if your right, over at intrade.

. . . .

Yeah. I thought so.

Chip S. said...

@alan markus--I think r/v did stay up late last night, but he was hard at work clicking on "Barrett FTW!" at WISN's "poll".

alan markus said...

Oh my, I was wrong about my prediction last night about the downward effect that R-V's scary poll number would have at InTrade today. Actually it's up today slightly frome yesterday.

MadisonMan said...

Nothing is driving up state and local taxes more than public employee pension systems

This is not a problem in WI like it is in my home state (PA). As I've said many many times, the Pension Fund here in WI for public servants is healthy, mainly because the State Supreme Court slapped Tommy Thompson's hands when he tried to "borrow" money from it. (If TT hadn't tried, some other subsequent governor surely would have).

edutcher said...

It's amusing to see the Gray Lady moistening her drawers at this late date.

And the fight against public sector unions is already going that way - the AFT has lost a third of its membership the last couple of years.

alan markus said...

Hey, Clinton is supposed to come. Maybe he'll be a "loose cannon" and say something that actually makes Walker look good or embarrasses Barrett

All he has to do is bring his new new harem, the porn stars.

Jay said...

Like the way he undercut Obama on the Romney/Bain issue.

Clinton knows which way the wind is blowing.


Nothing to do with the wind; Willie will do what he can for the Party, but he's got a score to settle with President Choom and he'll do anything to bury Zero so deep politically he'll never be able to run for dogcatcher again.

Original Mike said...

It's a plot to keep us older (and most likely conservative and/or thoughtful) commenters from posting our thoughts on the internet. I have to take off my glasses and put my face about 6" from the monitor screen to catch those letters.

Yeah, I now have a magnifying glass next to the monitor to read those picture things. Had to use it for this post.

CJinPA said...

This is not a problem in WI like it is in my home state (PA). As I've said many many times, the Pension Fund here in WI for public servants is healthy

PA is my home state too. The pension is bankrupting school districts. (Or, literally will be, starting next year.)

Most governor's try to borrow from pensions, or at least delay payments too them. The test of health is the size of the unfunded liability. It think it's $40 billion in PA. They're too generous, and taxpayers have to pay for them. They have no choice.

Original Mike said...

"As I've said many many times, the Pension Fund here in WI for public servants is healthy,"

It's only as healthy as the stock market.

For your own good, you need to vote Romney this fall.

Roger J. said...

I do agree with my friend edutcher--Mr Clinton has a score to settle, and consummate politician (although personal dirtbag) is going to stick it to Mr Obama--its the Arkansas way.

MadisonMan said...

CJ, you should focus your energy on local politics, then, and not hang your hopes on what happens in Cheeseland.

My Dad draws a State Pension in PA -- has for 20 years now -- so I'm well aware of what goes on there.

@OMike, yes. If the Stock Market tanks, money is lost (one reason I think Social Security should not be tied to it), but I think that just means a reduction in benefits, not a bill to taxpayers.

alan markus said...

he'll do anything to bury Zero so deep politically he'll never be able to run for dogcatcher again

True that - Clinton has his own narcissistic tendencies. He would not be able to die happy with the possibility that Obama would be perceived as history's "greatest" Democratic president ever akin to what Reagan is to the Republicans.

David said...

Not naming Rebecca is part of the NYT war on women.

Chip S. said...

I think that just means a reduction in benefits, not a bill to taxpayers.

Then you don't understand the public-pension problem at all.

Public employees are among the last workers in the US to have defined-benefit retirement plans. That means the taxpayers have to make up any losses to the pension funds. So when taxpayers' own savings decline, they're hit with the further loss of having to protect those precious public employees from any risk at all.

Original Mike said...

"@OMike, yes. If the Stock Market tanks, money is lost (one reason I think Social Security should not be tied to it), but I think that just means a reduction in benefits, not a bill to taxpayers."

You're thinking way too short term. If there's a protracted downturn, it'll mean both, plus an increase in the amount contributed by employees.

Nothing works if the economy (and thus the stock market) is unhealthy. You think Social Security will be untouched if the economy tanks? Where do you think the money comes from?

alan markus said...

It's only as healthy as the stock market.

For your own good, you need to vote Romney this fall


Read this:
Walker's moderate reforms

The Wisconsin Retirement System is the pension plan that covers most of the state's government employees. Its estimated normal cost was 11.6% employee wages in 2011. But government actuaries dramatically underestimate pension costs in an important way: They base their normal cost calculation on the expected rate of return on plan investments - 7.2% for the WRS - which does not account for the riskiness of those investments.

The WRS might achieve 7.2% average returns, but it must pay its promised pension benefits regardless. Thus, the published normal cost reflects only part of the cost of the pension plan. Additional cost comes from the guarantee that benefits will be paid, even if the plan's investments do not generate the predicted returns.

When the published normal cost of public pensions is adjusted to reflect the guaranteed nature of pension benefits, the normal cost of WRS increases from 11.6% of wages to 29.5% - more than two-and-a-half times greater.

The new 5.8% employee contribution has been widely reported as representing "half" of pension costs, but 5.8% is half of the improper normal cost estimate that is unadjusted for risk. In reality, most government employees in Wisconsin now pay about one-fifth of the cost of their retirements, not half.

MadisonMan said...

Then you don't understand the public-pension problem at all.

I don't think you understand the Wisconsin Retirement System.

Original Mike said...

This latest meme:

"In reality, most government employees in Wisconsin now pay about one-fifth of the cost of their retirements, not half."

is ridiculous. That calculation is how much an individual who wanted a guaranteed return of 7.2% would have to invest. But that is NOT how much the state is putting into the system, nor is it likely that it will have to. The fact of the matter is, we do not know how much the system will cost because it will depend upon future returns. Those costs are likely higher than the 11.6% now projected but much lower than the 29.5%. The market would have to tank permanetly (I say again, we have to get rid of the toll in the White House) for that higher number to pertain.

CJinPA said...

CJ, you should focus your energy on local politics, then, and not hang your hopes on what happens in Cheeseland.

I do, MadisonMan. I serve on the local school board:)

We just had to furlough dozens of teachers because the union would not give up its $2.5 million pay raise, in a year where their pension increase is costing the district another $2.5 million.

Basically, we have to lay off good, young teachers, and hike taxes, because of the teachers union. If the good people of Cheeseland show that public sector unions can be tamed, and PA follows, my community stands to benefit in a tangible way.

PatCA said...

Again, I have to laugh at the bias displayed in the captions. Laugh,not cry, because I know their day is done.

All those adorable seniors and "hundreds of thousands" of recall supporters! Friends and neighbors divided! Let's go back to the good old days of rubber stamping tax increases and freebies to the unions. It worked before, didn't it?

Original Mike said...

"If the good people of Cheeseland show that public sector unions can be tamed, and PA follows, my community stands to benefit in a tangible way."

I'll do my part, CJ.

CJinPA said...

Thanks Original Mike.

The country is watching you guys. I learned a lot when I watched our teachers union vote for a 3.7% pay raise knowing full well it would cost less-senior teachers their jobs.

The teachers care about the kids. The union cares about what unions care about: money. Period.

Original Mike said...

But I will not vote more than once.

Peter said...

"eliminating public sector unions will be the single more important pro-taxpayer development over the next 10 years."

I agree, except your timescale is too short. I'd say "most important reform in forty years."

And it's not just money (although the money is important- look at IL and CA!). The end of union work rules in public schools is finally giving school boards the ability to put the needs of students before the demands of the schools' union workforce.

"This is big.

Yes. The stakes are very high. And if Walker is defeated, how long will it be before another politician dares to take on the public-sector unions?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Wisconsin residents once brimmed with stories of bipartisan cooperation — or at least civilized discourse between opposing political sides. Overflowing here now: stories of marriages, friendships, workplaces and Thanksgiving dinners divided by the fight that began in February 2011.

Scary place, the world outside the cocoon.

Chip S. said...

MadisonMan said...

I don't think you understand the Wisconsin Retirement System.

I understand that you've got a hybrid system. A hybrid system that offers this guarantee:

The original Core Fund annuity that is paid at the time of retirement cannot be reduced. (Only positive annual post-retirement adjustments can be reduced if investment returns result in negative adjustments.)

Taxpayers do indeed bear a significant part of the risk in Wisconsin government employees' retirement.

And there's a big world beyond Wisconsin; a world with a big public-pension problem:

If plans are frozen at June 2009 levels, then the present value of liabilities would be 4.4 trillion. Under the typical actuarial method of recognizing future service and wage increases, this figure rises to 5.2 trillion. Compared to 1.8 trillion in pension fund assets, the baseline level of unfunded liabilities is therefore around 3 trillion.

Chip S. said...

Forgot to source the second quote.

CJinPA said...

I agree, except your timescale is too short. I'd say "most important reform in forty years."

Agreed. I meant it will be the biggest change for local governments in the coming 10 years.

And it's not just money (although the money is important- look at IL and CA!). The end of union work rules in public schools is finally giving school boards the ability to put the needs of students before the demands of the schools' union workforce.

Bingo. In PA, the school boards cannot do "economic furloughs." You know what that means? It means they can't reduce the workforce if they only reason is THEY CAN'T FREAKING AFFORD IT. They have to jump through hoops instead. Money aside, once you are able to cut back, you can't let the worst employees go first, it's all seniority. That's state law in PA, and it's there because of the union bosses.

Hope is emerging from Wisconsin.

Jay said...

ch/voltaire said...
For the record the WISN poll shows that 60% thought Barrett was better than Walker's 40%-- so I would not cheer too soon, here is the site:


Yes, because as we know, online post-debate polls are quite meaningful barometer's regarding election outcomes.

leslyn said...

Talkinig Wisconsin Retirement System: The U of W pays the full contribution (employer and employee) for most of its employees. (The UW site doesn't say who "most" are.)

Original Mike said...

"The U of W pays the full contribution (employer and employee) for most of its employees."

Not any more.

OldGrouchyCranky said...

The NYT's new parttime motto: "Fairly Unbalanced!"