Wisconsin, Scott Walker, and Protesting Workers: The Story Continues

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

There have been some new developments in the Wisconsin story since my last post on the subject, Is the Scott Walker Story Just the Tip of the Koch Brothers Political Iceberg?. More than six hundred comments have been left at that post—and it takes a long time to load the page. I thought it best to write up a new post for people who would like to continue the discussion on the subject of Governor Scott Walker, the protesting workers in Wisconsin, Walker’s anti-union budget repair bill, the AWOL Democratic state senators, and various and sundry other things related to the subject.

Today, I’m just providing links to some news stories on the subject for you.

Wisconsinites were locked out of their capital building. WBAY (ABC)

Madison firefighters were denied access to one of the Capitol’s entrances when they were responding to an emergency. (Journal Sentinel)

A Democratic Wisconsin state representative who was tackled by police when he tried to enter the Capitol to get some of his clothes said that his Capitol card has been disabled. (TPMMucraker)

Some Democratic state legislators wanted to be accessible to their constituents so they moved their desks outside the Capitol to conduct business. (The Nation)

The Wisconsin Senate passed a resolution that called for police to take 14 state Democratic senators who fled to Illinois into custody for contempt. (Wisconsin State Journal)

Scott Walker’s budget defunds Planned Parenthood and targets contraception access. (Huffington Post)

A recent Rasmussen Poll shows that nearly 60% of Wisconsin voters disapprove of Governor Walker. (TPMDC)

AFL-CIO plans another big rally at the Wisconsin Capitol for this Saturday. (TPMDC)

573 thoughts on “Wisconsin, Scott Walker, and Protesting Workers: The Story Continues

  1. Lottakatz:

    from Wikipedia:

    “The U.S. Government Bonds constituted a lien upon the railroads and all their fixtures, and all were repaid in full (and with interest) by the companies as and when they became due. Section 10 of the 1864 amending Act (13 Statutes at Large, 356) additionally authorized the two companies to issue their own “First Mortgage Bonds”[6] in total amounts up to (but not exceeding) that of the bonds issued by the United States, and that such company issued securities would have priority over the original Government Bonds.[7]”

    The land granted was the Louisiana Purchase, which was probably illegal but definitely beneficial. Was the land the governments to give away in the first place?

    I am not sure it is fair to say the railroads relied on government to build, they did rely on government land but they had to as the government owned most of the entire western half of the United States due to Jefferson’s purchase. And I am pretty sure Jefferson never meant for the government to retain ownership of the land.

  2. so in what manner did those companies receive government assistance? We already know the railroads got land from the government which was obtained from the Louisianna Purchase. Which may or may not have been Constitutional.

    So how else did those companies receive government aid?

  3. from Myth of the Robber Barrons:

    “Three Assumptions About Capitalism
    This shallow conclusion dovetails with another set of assumptions: First, that the free market, with its economic uncertainty, competitive stress, and constant potential for failure, needs the steadying hand of government regulation; second, that businessmen tend to be unscrupulous, reflecting the classic cliché image of the “robber baron,” eager to seize any opportunity to steal from the public; and third, that because government can mobilize a wide array of forces across the political and business landscape, government programs therefore can move the economy more effectively than can the varied and often conflicting efforts of private enterprise.

    But the closer we look at public-sector economic initiatives, the more difficult it becomes to defend government as a wellspring of progress. Indeed, an honest examination of our economic history—going back long before the twentieth century—reveals that, more often than not, when government programs and individual enterprise have gone head to head, the private sector has achieved more progress at less cost with greater benefit to consumers and the economy at large.”

    “Competition Versus Subsidy in the Railroad Industry
    It would be comforting to report that the United States learned its lesson about the effects of federal subsidies from the Collins/Vanderbilt experience. Unfortunately, less than a decade later, would-be railroad builders were coming to Congress begging for money to span the nation with transcontinental lines. Congress subsidized three transcontinental rail-roads: the Union Pacific, the Central Pacific, and later the Northern Pacific.

    These companies, which were provided with money and land by the government, had no incentive to build their lines efficiently, along straight routes with even grades and proper materials. Eventually they went bankrupt. The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific did so only after eating up 44 million acres of free land and $61 million in cash loans. Large sections of the lines they did complete soon had to be rebuilt and sometimes even relocated due to shoddy construction.

    The privately funded Great Northern, which, by contrast, operated on a shoestring budget, was a success. Unlike his competitors, James J. Hill built the Great Northern for durability and efficiency. “What we want,” he said, “is the best possible line, shortest distance, lowest grades, and least curvature that we can build.” That meant he personally supervised the surveying and construction. “I find that it pays to be where the money is being spent,” he noted. He believed that building a functional and durable product actually saved money. For example, he usually imported high-quality Bessemer rails, even though they cost more than those made in America. He was thinking about the future, and quality building cut costs in the long run. When Hill constructed the solid granite Stone Arch Bridge—2,100 feet long, 28 feet wide, and 82 feet high across the Mississippi River—it became the Minneapolis landmark for decades. Yet today Hill is regarded as just another member among the ranks of the greedy, amoral “get-rich-quick” capitalists.”

    “After the transcontinental railroad episode, Congress increasingly began to take the position that American business success would be based on entrepreneurship, not subsidy, relying on those whom I call market entrepreneurs rather than political entrepreneurs. If you look at industries after the Civil War—particularly steel, oil, and chemicals—you find that time and again American market entrepreneurs stepped in and defeated competition from Europe, without subsidies.”

    “John D. Rockefeller and the Oil Industry
    Our story would not be complete without recalling the success of John D. Rockefeller. By the 1890s, Standard Oil had a 60 percent market share of all the oil sold in the world. Rockefeller sold the oil at eight cents a gallon—that would be around $1.60 today. Eight cents a gallon! Nobody in the world could do it that cheaply. Kerosene was so inexpensive that people could light their homes for less than one cent an hour.

    Rockefeller, the first billionaire in U.S. history, made a fraction of a cent on each gallon of oil his company sold. He had the foresight to say that his goal was to make it for six cents, sell it for eight cents, and use the two cents for research and development. Rockefeller realized that finding new uses for oil was the key to success. (Other companies would take a barrel of oil out of the ground, heat it to get the kerosene, and dump the excess as waste into rivers.) Eventually Standard Oil discovered and produced scores of byproducts, including candle wax, soap, petroleum jelly, tars, and lubricating oils.

    Because of this resourcefulness, Rockefeller might well be called the first environmentalist. (He also could be credited with species preservation: the whaling industry declined precipitously as kerosene displaced whale oil in lighting.)”


    Apparently John D., Andrew and James J. Hill did not take government subsidies.

    A good deal of what you know is based on these 2 people:
    Henry Demarest Lloyd and Ida Tarbell.

    “The Standard Story of Standard Oil
    In 1881, The Atlantic magazine published Henry Demarest Lloyd’s essay “The Story of a Great Monopoly”—the first in-depth account of one of the most infamous stories in the history of capitalism: the “monopolization” of the oil refining market by the Standard Oil Company and its leader, John D. Rockefeller. “Very few of the forty millions of people in the United States who burn kerosene,” Lloyd wrote,

    know that its production, manufacture, and export, its price at home and abroad, have been controlled for years by a single corporation—the Standard Oil Company. . . . The Standard produces only one fiftieth or sixtieth of our petroleum, but dictates the price of all, and refines nine tenths. This corporation has driven into bankruptcy, or out of business, or into union with itself, all the petroleum refineries of the country except five in New York, and a few of little consequence in Western Pennsylvania. . . . the means by which they achieved monopoly was by conspiracy with the railroads. . . . [Rockefeller] effected secret arrangements with the Pennsylvania, the New York Central, the Erie, and the Atlantic and Great Western. . . . After the Standard had used the rebate to crush out the other refiners, who were its competitors in the purchase of petroleum at the wells, it became the only buyer, and dictated the price. It began by paying more than cost for crude oil, and selling refined oil for less than cost. It has ended by making us pay what it pleases for kerosene. . . .2

    Many similar accounts followed Lloyd’s—the most definitive being Ida Tarbell’s 1904 History of the Standard Oil Company, ranked by a survey of leading journalists as one of the five greatest works of journalism in the 20th century.3 Lloyd’s, Tarbell’s, and other works differ widely in their depth and details, but all tell the same essential story—one that remains with us to this day.

    Prior to Rockefeller’s rise to dominance in the early 1870s, the story goes, the oil refining market was highly competitive, with numerous small, enterprising “independent refiners” competing harmoniously with each other so that their customers got kerosene at reasonable prices while they made a nice living. Ida Tarbell presents an inspiring depiction of the early refiners.

    Life ran swift and ruddy and joyous in these men. They were still young, most of them under forty, and they looked forward with all the eagerness of the young who have just learned their powers, to years of struggle and development. . . . They would meet their own needs. They would bring the oil refining to the region where it belonged. They would make their towns the most beautiful in the world. There was nothing too good for them, nothing they did not hope and dare.4

    “But suddenly,” Tarbell laments, “at the very heyday of this confidence, a big hand [Rockefeller’s] reached out from nobody knew where, to steal their conquest and throttle their future. The suddenness and the blackness of the assault on their business stirred to the bottom their manhood and their sense of fair play”


  4. Maury,

    You did not answer my question as high lighted by Mr. Spindell…Please do tell us what those companies have in common…

  5. Anonymous:

    I am not sure I understand what you mean by the question. I gave you at least 2 examples of companies that did not take government subsidies above.

    So please ask it again so that I may understand.

  6. Blouise:

    I told you above I dont believe in cows milk for human consumption. Cheese is ok, but milk straight no way can it be good for you.

    But good morning to you as well. I hope you have a pleasent day.

  7. Maury,

    Please tell me in your own words…cut and paste is boring don’t you think if you are trying to convey a ideal or message… People have short attention spans…..or at least I do…. Do you have an original ideal? Or is this outside the scope of your information ability?

    Again, what do those companies have in common….

  8. Anonymously Yours:

    They have many things in common, what specifically do you want to know? I am not going to list everything I can about what they have in common.

    As far as having an original ideal? How can I have an original ideal? An ideal of what? You want to know my ideal hot dog, ice cream, cookie, dog? What?

    Definition of IDEAL
    1: existing as an archetypal idea
    2a : existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only b : relating to or constituting mental images, ideas, or conceptions

    : the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies : prototype; also : a perfect example
    2: idea 1a
    3: an inherited idea or mode of thought in the psychology of C. G. Jung that is derived from the experience of the race and is present in the unconscious of the individual

    Can you please tell me what you are talking about. So I can answer your question.

    I guess we could say that Carnegie, Ford, Rockefeller, Morgan and other “Robber Barons” were “archetypes” of successful industrialists.

  9. Snyder, Lawmakers Still Undecided About Right-to-Work

    A Tuesday evening meeting between Governor Rick Snyder and House and Senate leaders brought no clarity to the ongoing question of whether lawmakers will introduce right-to-work before the session ends.

    Flanked by House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, the governor told reporters lawmakers will continue to have thoughtful discussion about right-to-work, but gave no indication of his position. He also gave no timetable for potential legislation.

    Earlier in the day, the Capitol was filled with people for and against right-to-work.

    “I come from a family of union people and back then they really represented the worker in a reasonable fashion, they could negotiate, not it’s gotten to the point where people can’t get a job, they’re afraid to oppose the union and their position,” Rose Bogaert of Wayne County said.

    Bogaert made her way to Lansing hoping to pursuade lawmakers to take up the issue. She feels it would help Michgan’s economy and give workers freedom of choice.

    Bogaert and others on both sides of the issue waited anxiously at the Capitol all day, hoping for word on what lawmakers plan to do with right-to-work.

    Committee meetings and House and Senate sessions came and went, but the big question lingered.

    “It would be very disappointing for lawmakers to push this through at the end of the session,” Jeff Breslin, a nursing union member said. “We do not need lawmakers sitting here in Lansing making decisions that are going to affect each individual workplace.”

    Union members call the right-to-work push a dangerous power grab that will lower wages for the middle class. Both sides spend the day talking and lining up votes.

    Right-to-work plans vary, but in general limit union’s ability to collect fees from non-union workers.

    “They would still have full collective-bargaining, simply all this does is say to the worker that’s earning the money, if you want to belong to this private organization please do,” Scott Hagerstrom with Americans for Prosperity, a group in favor of right-to-work, said.

    “Unions will still have to represent these workers, so that will be like me going to a health club and deciding I’m going to join, but I’m not going to pay any of the membership fees,” Breslin countered.

    Right-to-work picked up steam Monday when the Michigan Chamber of Commerce came out in support of legislation. The business group says 85 percent of its

    With two weeks until the session ends the Capitol remains packed with questions, people and a good share of nerves.


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