Mark Pocan’s Smoke Screen: His pieties about protecting middle class families are a cover for hiking taxes on the poor

On June 15, Mark Pocan was on a roll. He stood on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly delivering a sarcastic stem-winder, criticizing the new state budget so dramatically that it sounded as if he were auditioning for a community theater production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Pocan, who seems destined to inherit […]

Let’s Hope This Bill is More Expensive

Wisconsin isn’t facing a $3.3 billion deficit because taxes aren’t high enough.  Revenue has dropped because, due to high unemployment, there simply aren’t enough people paying taxes.  To fill the deficit, instead of creating new taxes, Governor Scott Walker had decided to create new taxpayers. It’s been well publicized that Walker intends to create new […]

Rethinking Wisconsin’s Tax Mix

Questions abound regarding Monday’s Refocus Wisconsin meeting held here in Madison – is former Wisconsin Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler calling for an increase in the sales tax?  Is he doing so in his capacity as a budget adviser to Governor-elect Scott Walker?  And why is orange juice served to large groups of people always so […]

Was Mark Twain a Teabagger?

Begin reading Mark Twain’s novel “The Gilded Age,” and you’ll discover a fascinating and humorous story about settlers in early Missouri.  Its pages contain love, intrigue, and adventure. But then, in Chapter 15, Twain (along with his co-writer Charles Dudley Warner) launches a broadside attack on Congress.  See if this sounds at all familiar: “If […]

Ten Tips for a Better Tea Party

Let me go on record. The Tea Party movement is wonderful.  It gets people involved in the political process who normally never would.  It forces viewpoints into the public that are sometimes hard to find.  And Tea Parties irritate just the right people.  They are on their way to being the most important movement for […]

“Who’s Standing Up for the Rich?”

For further evidence that the New York Times isn’t even trying anymore, take this paragraph from a story today about what polling says about Tea Partiers: “Their fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the […]

Charitable Hypocrisy

I like charity.  You like charity.  Liberals like charity because it helps assuage their heavy consciences.  Conservatives like charity because it shows people will contribute to the betterment of society without being forced to do so by government. It makes sense, then, that the tax code reflects this inter-political-species hand holding.  Many non-profit organizations are […]

The $680 Million Press Release

Yesterday, Governor Doyle’s administration gleefully reported that 8,284 jobs had been “created” or “retained” due to the federal stimulus money received in the most recent state budget.  The key word here is “retained” – because much of the funds the state spent merely displaced state general funds, which had been used to pay for state […]