Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Nevada’s Gift to Wisconsin: Sheldon Adelson’s Money

As if the state of Wisconsin doesn’t have enough problems, Nevada gazillionaire extraordinaire Sheldon Adelson is pumping money into the coffers of Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign treasury. [MilJourSent]

Who’s supporting Walker?

Walker received two $250,000 donations in the latest period. One came from Las Vegas Sands president Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul who, along with his wife, put $17.5 million into Winning the Future, a super PAC supporting Gingrich.

Also giving $250,000 was Richard DeVos, the co-founder of the parent company of direct marketing firm Amway. DeVos has been active in the school voucher movement, and Walker last year expanded Milwaukee’s voucher program and established a similar one in eastern Racine County.

Five people gave the governor $100,000 each – John Childs of Massachusetts, chairman of private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates; Warren Stephens of Arkansas, chairman of financial services company Stephens Inc.; Robert Kern, founder of Waukesha power-generating firm Generac; his wife, Patricia Kern; and Patrick Ryan of Illinois, CEO of insurance firm Ryan Specialty Group.  [emphasis added]


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Filed under 2012 election, Adelson, Republicans

What War On Women? Repealing Equal Pay Laws

Just in case you happen to be female, or happen to be married to one, or the son or daughter of one, or the father or uncle of one — you might find this Republican assault on women of interest.  It’s not all about sex either.  It’s also about income.  Buried beneath the hoopla of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signing the anti-abortion legislation this past week (Let’s Make Government Small Enough To Insert Into Every Woman’s Vagina?) was news about Walker signing into effect the repeal of the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. [AYV]

Corporate proponents of repeal had argued the law would encourage “frivolous lawsuits” from a “protected class” of people (that would be women) — however, in the two years the law was in effect there were NO lawsuits filed.  Zero. Zilch.  None.  So, why was repeal so important? What could justify it?  Well, maybe money is “more important to men?”  Huh? Someone is still thinking it’s 1960.  For reference, my calendar says it’s 2012.

In 1960 only 20% of mothers were in the work force.  As of 2010 70% of all children in the U.S. lived in households in which all the adults worked. [AmPro]   Two incomes are now the norm, and are two income families struggling to maintain middle class earnings doing better than the previous generation in the ’60s? No.

“…while those families certainly make more money than a one-income family did a generation ago, by the time they pay for the basics — an average home, a health insurance policy, a second car to get Mom to work, child care, and taxes — that family actually has less money left over at the end of the month to show for it. We tend to assume with two incomes you’re doubly secure. But if you count on every penny of both of those incomes, which most families today do, then you’re in big trouble if either income goes away. And obviously, if you have two people in the workforce, you have double the chance that someone will get laid off, or double the chance that someone could get too sick to work. When that happens, two-income families really get into trouble, and that’s how a lot of families quickly go bankrupt.”  [MJ]

So, we have working families working harder simply to stay afloat financially.  Money, then, is equally important no matter the source, be it the father’s or mother’s contribution.  As of 2010 the median household income in the U.S. was $50,046 annually.  [Census] We can safely assume that at least 70% of those families depended on at least two sources of income to sustain their status as a “median family.”

The notion that having the “little woman” enter the workforce in order to obtain income for “extras,” is as dated as capri pants and pill box hats.

Equally outdated is the idea that women lose money by leaving the workforce to concentrate on child raising:

“A 2007  study by the American Association of University Women found that college-educated women earn only 80 percent as much as similarly educated men a year after graduation. Part of that is attributable to differences in life choices and family circumstances, but not all. “After accounting for college major, occupation, industry, sector, hours worked, workplace flexibility, experience, educational attainment, enrollment status, GPA, institution selectivity, age, race/ethnicity, region, marital status, and number of children, a 5 percent difference in the earnings of male and female college graduates one year after graduation was still unexplained,” it said. After 10 years in the workforce, there’s an unexplained 12 percent gap.”  [TDB]

Again, the “time off” argument might have had some validity in the age of Pill Box Hats, but it’s not a valid contention today — the calendar on the bulletin board still says 2012.  We could venture to explain that gap — women aren’t paid as much as men for the same work.

While corporations may very much want to repeal anything that might potentially affect their profitability (women’s pay, minimum wages, etc.) the hard reality of the 21st century is that two income families are the norm, and most families are one sick child or one pink slip away from serious financial difficulties.

Repealing an equal pay protection act isn’t just another assault on women, it’s an attack on entire families.  Someone might also want to remind these Republican legislators and governors that Hazel and the Donna Reed Show aren’t on the television schedule anymore.

Extra Credit Reading Assignments: “The Three Faces of Work Family Conflict,” Center for American Progress, January 2010.   “Wisconsin’s Repeal of Equal Pay Rights,” The Daily Beast, April 2012.   “Dual Income Parents,” Women and Work,  March 2010.   “Single Income Families account for 7% of the total,” Population Reference Bureau,  March 2003.   “Scott Walker Repeals Equal Pay Act, Amplify Your Voice, April 2012. “Walker Overturns Law to Prevent Pay Discrimination,” Think Progress, April 2012.

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Filed under 2012 election, conservatism, Economy, employment, equal pay, family issues, income inequality, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Morning Roundup: Nevada Taxes to Arizona Axes

* There’s a handy chart over at the Nevada View showing how the lowest income earners in the state of Nevada are paying about 10% of their income in taxes while the top 1% pay about 1.6%.  Drilling down into the Nevada Fact Sheet (pdf) yields further interesting information like the poorest among us pay 6.2% in sales taxes (the most regressive form) while that upper 1% pays about 0.7%.  There’s more information from other states at the ITEP website.

Meanwhile, it could be asked are some people unethical because they are rich, or rich because they are unethical?

“It’s not clear from the study if being rich increases unethical behavior or if such behavior is what allows people to become rich in the first place. The researchers suggest a number of reasons why upper-class individuals are more prone to unethical behavior, citing their relative independence from others and increased privacy in their professions, and the availability of resources to deal with the costs of unethical behavior. Previous research has found that feelings of entitlement, inattention to the consequences of one’s actions on others, and an increased focus on achieving goals also play a role.” [Atlantic]

* The President ask us to do a bit of soul searching concerning the Trayvon Martin case, and The Sin City Siren offers a sentient perspective from Las Vegas.

* The Gleaner/City Life comments on the Nevada District Three race: “But the plutocrats, who exploit the Tea Party’s useful idiots to win policies that favor corporations and the wealthy at the expense of working Americans, know exactly what the race is about. They couldn’t care less whether the winner is Joe Heck or a potted hydrangea, so long as the winner’s name is followed by an “R” and the radicals keep control of the House.” Amen.

* Want to take a quick look at just how radical the House Republicans have become?  Nevada Rural Democratic Caucus prints out a table of the 49 bills introduced in the 112th Congress that would repeal or decimate health care reform.  Oh, and by the way, that Individual Mandate thing that the GOP has now decided is unconstitutional?  It was originally a Republican idea, circa the George H.W. Bush Administration as a way to counter Democratic calls for a single payer system. [NPR] The Gavel also provides a retrospective to the bad old days when health care corporations had the final say on whether the policies they sold to employers and individuals would cover real medical expenses. Kyle Leighton has a good piece on “How To Run On Healthcare” that’s well worth the click and read.

* So, what IS the debate about contraception all about?  The GOP tried very hard to make this a “religious freedom” argument, albeit with the disclaimer that it was only the freedom of ultra-conservative denominations with which they were concerned, but the Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers) convention in Milwaukee featured brochures handed out to delegates that were explicitly anti-contraception. [TP for more]

* Matt Taibbi asks why “gangster banks” keep getting public business? There’s more at Huffington Post in “JP Morgan and the Largest U.S. Municipal Bankruptcy.”  Dealbreaker asks: Why can’t California find any underwriters who haven’t already defrauded the state?  And, it seems as though Greg Smith isn’t the only former Goldman Sachs employee who thinks of the firm as a giant vampire squid, now Marc Cohodes is blowing his whistle. [BusInsider]

* CBPP provides this graph of where the Ryan Budget makes its “savings:”

Ryan shaves some $2.4 trillion from Medicaid and other health care programs for low and moderate income Americans, $134 billion from SNAP food assistance, and $166 billion in cuts to education, training, and employment services, among other deep cuts.  The Good News? Millionaires and Billionaires would get at least a $187,000 tax cut. [TP]

* Evidently not content to merely take over women’s bodies, Republicans in the Arizona Legislature would now like to assume control over all federal public lands.  Governor Brewer has decided that forests in AZ need “trimming?” [AZ Republic]

* Oh my, “out of state operatives” are promoting a candidate in Wisconsin [MJS] including some education and union groups which spent $1.6 million on radio ad buys.  And, we should note the Koch Brothers gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 for his campaign, poured in $700,000 for anti-recall advertising, gave the RGA $1 million ($65,000 of which was immediately handed over to Walker), while the RGA spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV advertising and mailers attacking Walker’s opponent in the last election. [MJ]

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Filed under Economy, Ethics, financial regulation, Heck, Nevada economy, nevada taxation, Taxation, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Coffee and the Papers

Oh my, the story concerning Nevada über-lobbyist Harvey Whittemore has all the Big Names — Ensign, Ernaut, Sandoval, Reid, Heller, Berkley — and a flight of campaign donations returned. [full story Las Vegas Sun] Perhaps leading to the conclusion that Hell hath no fury like a business partner scorned?

Someone might want to tell Senator Rubio (R-FL) that he really doesn’t get to have it both ways.  He can’t devote a full paragraph to his family’s flight from Castro’s Cuba [Rubio] in his Congressional biography, which is a little strange since his parents left in 1956* (and then attempted to return, or visited, or something in ’61),  campaign as one who  “always publicly identified with the exile community and has a strong following within it. In a campaign ad last year, he said: “As the son of exiles, I understand what it means to lose the gift of freedom,” [CSM] [WaPo] and then get touchy when Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) calls him out for stonewalling the confirmation of Mari Carmen Aponte as ambassador to El Salvador in order to pressure the Obama Administration into changing policy toward Cuba and Nicaragua. [LV Sun]  *Fidel Castro did not take over until February 16, 1959.

The Yucca Mountain Breakdown. Another slip of the tongue from Mark Amodei (R-NV2) “While nobody wants a nuclear landfill in Nevada, we probably ought to at least talk about it,” Amodei said. “Well if that is breaking ranks, then yes I did.” At which point former Nevada Governor Richard Bryan came down upon the freshman representative like a ton of toxic dirt. [full story Nevada News Bureau]  Just asking, but if nobody in Nevada wants it — what is the point of talking about it?

No matter how many Democrats jump on board, the cleverly named CPU Act is a bad idea.   The bottom line is that enactment of this legislation would cut tech workers’ pay and allow employers to cut overtime pay. [More at Economic Policy Institute]

A bankruptcy is a bankruptcy… Governor Romney is having some difficulty in Michigan with the auto bailout rhetoric.  And, then’s there’s Bain in the mix:

“The managed bankruptcies that Romney had in mind in early 2009 for the two car companies pretty clearly were liquidations that would then allow Bain Capital or other venture capital firms to buy small parts of these companies, eliminate union workers, and … I’m not sure.  A weird, incoherent ad his campaign’s been running on the local news broadcasts actually hints at the elimination-of-union-workers thing, while actually advertising that “liberals” got “Obama” to save the auto industry.  Seriously.” [Angry Bear]

Not. So. Fast.  Senator Pat Toomey (R-Club for Growth) was incensed that anyone would believe his taxation plan would require tax increases for those earning less than $200,000 annually.  Except Senator Toomey’s tax plan would require tax increases for those earning less than $200,000 annually.

“The math is irrefutable.  Senator Toomey told O’Brien that, while reducing their deductions and credits, he also would cut tax rates for people below $200,000 so that they would face no net tax increase.  But that can’t be.  If the tax plan is supposed to produce a net increase in revenues, and if it loses revenue from people making over $200,000, then it simply must raise revenue from people making less than $200,000.”  [CBPP]

Financialist Follies.  John Paulson, he of the Hedge Fund Titans who helped create the Wall Street Casino, is worried about a Greek default:

“We believe a Greek payment default could be a greater shock to the system than Lehman’s failure, immediately causing global economies to contract and markets to decline,” the hedge fund said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The euro is “structurally flawed and will likely eventually unravel,” it said.?  [Bloomberg]

Look carefully at Paulson’s terms.  “Shock to the system” as in a shock to the financial markets.  “Causing global economies to contract” as in investment banks particularly in France and Germany will find themselves in another bind.  “Markets to decline,” at this point Paulson isn’t talking about the market for automobiles, homes, refrigerators, or agricultural products — the only “market” in which he is interested is the Stock Market.

In short, we might want to take a deep breath and contemplate what another self-induced panic by the Wall Street wizards might mean for credit access for American consumers and businesses.   Remember: Those investment banks could have invested in plant expansion, infrastructure projects, manufacturing upgrades, or entrepreneurial enterprises — it was THEIR choice to invest in Greek debt.

Brute Force, that’s how a Citigroup whistle blower described the firm’s attempt to paper over its bad loans. [C&L]

“Instead of reporting the defects to the Federal Housing Administration, the bank saddled the agency with losses by falsely declaring the loans fit for its federal insurance program, according to a complaint filed yesterday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Citigroup agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle the claims, and admitted that it certified loans for FHA backing that didn’t qualify.”  [Bloomberg]

And, how was this accomplished?

“Efforts to quash negative quality-control reports about mortgages continued into 2011, according to the complaint. That January, at a quarterly staff meeting that Hunt said 1,000 people attended, CitiMortgage managers gave a “Star Players Award” to workers who had successfully challenged negative reviews during meetings with quality-assurance workers and others, according to the complaint.”  [Bloomberg]

The press release from the Department of Justice, USAO Southern District of NY is available here for those who want more details. (pdf)

The Urban legend of those Terrible Health Care Costs.  Oops, the facts just don’t fit the narrative.

“In fact, the recent trends are mildly favorable. As J. D. Keinke of the American Enterprise Institute writes today in the Wall Street Journal, the idea of runaway health spending is a “myth” because “new data show that health spending over the past several years has been normalizing toward the rate of general inflation, rather than growing higher and higher, as had been the case almost continuously since the 1970s.” … [EconView]

Faux New tries and fails to get the author of the book on the Obama Administration to fill in the blanks with misinformation.  Find the entertaining and illuminating video here.

WalkerGate gets more interesting as investigators are probing into the possibility of real estate bid rigging in Wisconsin while Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. [BlueCheddar] [MJS 1/25] Walker has asked for two more weeks for reviewing recall petitions. [MJS]  This, while a three judge federal panel excoriated Wisconsin Republican lawmakers and told them:

“…to turn over 84 documents to a group of Democrats in a blistering order that said Republicans had engaged in an “all but shameful” effort to keep its efforts hidden from the public.

The court promptly released the documents that showed, among other things, that Republicans who drew new election maps last year largely orchestrated the public testimony given in support of them.

The three federal judges – two of them appointed by Republicans – were unanimous in their decision. It came after a string of orders against the Republicans and just five days be fore the judges will preside over a trial in Milwaukee to determine whether the maps adhere to the U.S. Constitution. [MJS]

But, the saddest feature of the attacks on Wisconsin citizens and their rights is to be found in this article, including:

“Before Sunday’s sermon in many churches in Milwaukee, ministers and religious leaders will ask those sitting in the pews to pull out their photo identification as a step to make sure that their members can vote in Tuesday’s primary election.” [MJS]

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Filed under Amodei, Berkley, Ensign, Health Care, Heller, labor, Reid, Romney, Sandoval, tax revenue, Taxation, Vote Suppression, Yucca Mountain