Saturday, July 13, 2019

“He’s a liar and the truth ain’t in him” – WILLIAM O. KNIGHT

By Tom Frazier

I have been “involved” in Wisconsin politics for nearly 40 years, first as director of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups for 27 years, where I was CWAG’s paid lobbyist, and as a volunteer since my retirement a little over 10 years ago. I have seen a lot of changes over that time period and, unfortunately, the changes have not been good.

The major changes have been pretty obvious, such as all the money in politics that was caused, in large part, by the U. S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case that opened the floodgates for private corporate donations to political campaigns. This is bad enough just on the face of it, but is made much worse by the fact that most of it is made by wealthy donors who are able to hide these donations from the general public. This means that you do not know who made the donation, but the people running for office who benefit from them know damn well where they came from and who they owe for them.

And to add insult to injury these secret donations are now being used to help judicial nominees either get elected (e.g. Wisconsin Supreme Court) or get appointed (e.g. the U.S. Supreme Court). So if wealthy individuals and/or corporations can’t get what they want through the legislative process, they can get what they want from the judicial branch of government. As you well know, the vast majority of us do not have enough money to influence elections or appointments. Our voices are muted.

When I retired at the end of 2009, I thought things couldn’t get much worse. Boy, was I wrong.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The "Other" Wisconsin: Why Medicaid Expansion is the Smart, Compassionate, and Fiscally Responsible Thing to Do

By Tom Frazier

If a man from Mars had watched Governor Ever’s State of the State address, and the Republican response given by Speaker Vos, I believe that he would have concluded that they were talking about two different states.

In a way, they were.

I think that Speaker Vos was talking about the Wisconsin where well-to-do individuals and corporations are thriving in our economy, and Governor Evers was talking about the “Other” Wisconsin where people such as children, minorities and lower income are not thriving and, therefore, need help with things like healthcare. Unfortunately, there are too many people still living in the Other Wisconsin and we need to stop ignoring them.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this dichotomy more than the issue of Medicaid expansion that the Governor plans to include in his 2019-2021 state budget, and that the Speaker is adamantly opposed to. As a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) states could choose to expand the Federal/State funded healthcare program for the poor by increasing the income eligibility to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). As an incentive the federal matching rate would be 100% for the first few years gradually decreasing to 90% in 2020 and beyond. This compares to the average Wisconsin rate of 58-59%.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sore Losers and Lame Ducks Should Not Overturn the Will of the People

By Roger Utnehmer

Sore losers and lame ducks are about to try to steal a Supreme Court seat, restrict voting in Wisconsin and subvert the will of the people expressed in the elections of Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

Republican legislative leaders are attempting to take power away from Evers and Kaul, rig the 2020 Supreme Court race to favor a conservative justice and make it more difficult for Wisconsin citizens to vote. The special legislative session starting Tuesday should be repudiated as the unconstitutional power grab that it is.