Where is the empathy?
Congressman Mark Pocan did not use the word “Deplorables” to describe those who protested the statewide coronavirus lock-down 04-24-2020 at the WI State Capitol. His condescension was palpable enough without it. The farmers, tavern keepers, and hairdressers who asked for relief from the resulting economic paralysis were motivated by “fear,” or “paranoia” or “just plain manipulated for political reasons,” Pocan writes in the WI State Journal.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway was more direct. “Stupid” is how she described them.
Progressives like the mayor and the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus can’t resist playing the politics of resentment. One might think (but one would be wrong) that the 2016 Election would have taught them better manners — or, at least, smarter politics: resentment given is resentment returned. Donald Trump says Hello.
But then, Pocan and Mayor Satya can talk big. They and their class won’t miss a single paycheck.
Shut up and pay yer taxes!
Which is the point former Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz makes in a must-read column up today in the on-line only Isthmus, which (not so coincidentally) suspended print publication March 19. The businesses that used to advertise went dark.
Cieslewicz is one of a disappearing breed of Democrat in this high-tech, government and university town: someone who actually understands blue collar workers. Perhaps it’s his upbringing in Polish south Milwaukee. The guy actually takes a rifle into the autumn woods to shoot at Bambi.
Cieslewicz gets the resentment felt by the Safer at Home protesters.
- Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is estimated to be 27% due to closures and social distancing orders aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus.
- Forecasts say national GDP will plummet 30% in the second quarter.
- Consumer spending dropped a record 7.5% in March.
- “One in three Wisconsin small businesses may never reopen their doors,” Cieslewicz writes. Yet … yet … yet
“Despite all that, the city of Madison, Dane County and the Madison Metropolitan School District have not cut, furloughed or reduced hours for their employees,“ the former mayor writes. He goes a step further and calls for a property tax freeze, which sounds ambitious because the state is expected to lose $2 billion due to COVID-19.
- Local government is certain to take a major hit on state shared revenue. Gov. Tony Evers is planning a 5% cut in state government spending due to the evaporation of $2 Billion (with a B) in state revenue. To which we add: Goodbye to the anticipated Madison schools referenda this fall for authority to spend an additional $350 million.
- In addition, the county depends on sales taxes for 11.5% of its revenue. New cars are not selling.
- The city relies on 5.75% of its income from the hotel room tax. Who is traveling any more?
But has one city, county, school or (for that matter) state employee been laid off? Furloughed? Pay raises postponed or canceled due to the economic meltdown?
Did someone say ‘private sector’?
It’s just not plausible that cuts aren’t possible ... To have any credibility at all with taxpayers … an overall salary savings goal of 5% or so would be painful, but not unrealistic especially when you look at what the private sector is going through.
If only to say — as the Queen Mother did after Buckingham Palace was bombed during the London Blitz, so that local leaders can look the working class East End in the eye again.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Can’t remember the last time we heard a Madison political figure utter the term “private sector.” How quaint.