Cutting the Great Outdoors of Wisconsin, Along With Everything Else!


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the massive cuts to education and programs for the poor by the new Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. In that article, I mentioned that Gov. Rauner seemed to be parroting the budget methods of Governor Brownback in Kansas and Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, both of whose state economies have been floundering under their respective austerity programs.

Well, it seems that in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has gone even farther in his attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class by proposing massive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, while attempting to wrest control of  various agencies from the public domain and capturing them in the Executive branch of government.

“The DNR is full of scientists who grew up hunting, fishing, boating, or otherwise recreating in Wisconsin and then found a way to turn this into a living. It just so happens that the work they do benefits those of us who love the state’s great outdoors. Perhaps some other lucky state will get the benefits of their knowledge? We can hope so. We won’t know for some time what these cuts mean to the small businesses that are kept alive by people being able to hunt, fish, or recreate in the areas where projects took place. Estimates put the direct cuts to DNR positions at 66. Their knowledge and the research lost, however, are irreplaceable. ” Crooks and Liars

Gov. Walker is cutting 66 different positions and programs at the Wisconsin DNR in an attempt to balance his budgets without having to raise the taxes on the wealthy and on corporations that he cut when taking office.  You can find a partial listing of these program and position cuts here. While the cuts are devastating, Mr. Walker did not stop there.

” Of course, these cuts don’t even BEGIN to make up for the giant budget hole Walker’s dug for himself. And also of course, he wasn’t finished yet. The bigger prize was wresting control from the good people who, in a non-partisan manner, have tried to preserve the environment for future generations by stripping the citizen-governed Natural Resources Board of its authority. It’s now a powerless “advisory panel”, something Tommy Thompson tried to do but was stopped because back then the Republicans were not yet a wholly owned subsidiary of energy companies and other major donors. A few even seemed to understand that you couldn’t continue proud hunting, fishing and other outdoor hobbies without things to hunt or fish!” Crooks and Liars

Cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations and prevent the University of Wisconsin system from raising tuition to make up the shortfall from the cuts, all while increasing money to voucher and charter school programs.  I wonder who benefits the most from that plan?

If Walker’s economic vision had been successful in adding jobs and cutting deficits, his austerity program might be something worth crowing about.  However, his programs seem intent on cutting any and all programs he needs to, just to make sure he can keep cutting taxes on the wealthy and on corporations.

However, the result of the Walker “austerity for everyone else” program is Wisconsin is near the bottom in job creation.

If these austerity programs had an equal impact on all citizens, they might be more acceptable to the vast majority of citizens who are negatively impacted by them. Shouldn’t the wealthy and corporations be required to pay more when ordinary citizens pay with the loss of their jobs and loss of benefits due to the various cuts by Gov. Walker?  Wouldn’t that be equitable?

In light of how poorly Wisconsin’s economy has been doing under Gov. Walker, I can’t understand why our Governor here in Illinois, Bruce Rauner, would want to emulate those programs?

By the way, how is Wisconsin’s economy doing when compared to its neighbor, Minnesota?

“The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”


161 thoughts on “Cutting the Great Outdoors of Wisconsin, Along With Everything Else!”

  1. I prefer to let people tell me who they are. So when a rabid tax raising big government building freedom grabbing libtard tells me he is a “progressive” I take him at his word. Just as when a head chopping, monument destroying, Christian and Jew murdering terrorist tells me he is a Muslim I believe him.

    Who am I to foist my definition on him. Get with the program. It is what a person “identifies with” that defines him. That’s why they let dudes with dicks into the ladies locker room. This is 2015 buddy….you have to adjust to the times.

  2. Preamble –

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Communists imposing the “dictatorship of the proletariat” swear that the Preamble is not binding.

    Americans know the Preamble is not only binding, it is the essential American context, without which, the American thesis of freedom and free enterprise will fail. The Constitution provides for governance within the parameters of the Preamble.

    Something so simple is unacceptable by the egoistical elitists-in-their-own-minds: Government is limited to security and infrastructure. The “blessings of liberty” are freedom and free enterprise without interference from the government.

    The Preamble has dominion, not the Communist Manifesto:

    No control of industry.
    No redistribution (in any form).
    No “common offense” foreign religious wars.

    American prosperity derived from innovation engendered by freedom and free enterprise, not totalitarianism.

    P.S. The Founding documents were written in plain, simple language for people of every cognitive level. For all of you suffering intellectual “delusions of grandeur,” if we want smart, we’ll take a run down to the physics department. Get over yourselves.

    See if you can grasp this: Justice, Tranquility, Common Defence, Promote the General Welfare (i.e. roads, post office, “utilities”) as the “blessings of liberty” are freedom and free enterprise without interference from government.

    It was Karl Marx who said, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The American Founders said: “…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty…”

  3. Trooper York:

    The term as it is “currently being applied” refers to anyone slightly to the left of the Tea Party. As for Mr. Walker, his string of victories has elevated him to the highest office he will ever occupy.

  4. I use the term as it is currently being applied not in the historical sense.

    But your sneering condescension is greatly appreciated.

  5. There does come a point where a taxation rate becomes too high and it results in less income for a government. This is especially so when there exists a means or location for businesses or individuals to relocate to in order to lessen their tax liability to the state, especially if relocation is not difficult to accomplish. The art in the balance is to determine where this rate of taxation is on a large general basis.

    I have to use the marijuana industry in my state as an example since it provides the starkest example. If the goal of the legalization was mostly to combat and eliminate the illicit trade and its manifest criminality and the destruction of lives and of communities then the taxation rate of 25% at each of the three levels of the supply chain resulted in a doubling or in some cases the tripling of the cost over the street level then in that sense the legalization has been a total failure.

    When Oregon comes online with marijuana legalization it is going to completely destroy the marijuana retailers in the bordering counties of Washington because the taxes and regulations are vastly more advantageous to businesses and the end consumer who will simply travel to Oregon to obtain their products.

    But, Washington does not have an income tax and its property taxes are lower than Oregon so Washington has comparative advantage in this respect.

    Approaching the lowering of taxes with a broad sweep is too much of a generalization to be applicable to each segment of the economy. In our two examples Washington does not need to lower its property taxes if it is competing with Oregon but certainly needs to lower the excise tax on marijuana because the industry likely will die if this is not corrected.

    I agree with Mike that these matters should be addressed by economists and others of similar talent and not the shills in the political world having monolithic views.

  6. trooperyork:

    Walker is certainly no La Follette, I’ll grant you that. But if you actually knew anything about the origins and purposes of the progressive movement in this country, you would also know that the current administration does not qualify for that description.

  7. Nick:

    Ronald Reagan was a college graduate. The last president not to have a college degree was Harry Truman. Walker better start taking some night classes.

  8. No one really knows what Walker is made of until he signs some crazy right wing legislation that a Republican House, Senate and ALEC pushed through. I suspect he is what his masters want him to be and is happy to accommodate their wishes for a brave new society that uses the poor and middle class’ backs to climb upon to enrich themselves.

  9. Being the CEO of a company, or being the Governor or the President of the United States doesn’t require that that person know everything in depth about the organization. The CEO is knowledgeable about, but not in minute detail of each activity of the company. No one has the time or ability to know everything. It would not be desirable to have someone who has that mindset…..that they know everything. I believe this to be one of Obama’s failings. He thinks he is better than everyone else. He has even said so publicly.

    “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

    A good manager and decision maker will utilize the knowledge and expertise of his support staff. He knows his limits. He will hire qualified people and listen to their input. Recognize their specialized skills. Delegate!!!! He will (should) have differing opinions to consider and then consider all the information and make an informed decision. Once that decision has been made….HE is responsible. Even though the information was gathered by others…..HE is the one who made the decision. No foisting it off on underlings. Man up and take responsibility.

    In a financial analysis of governmental workings, I would assume, that someone like Scott Walker has a staff of economic worker bees. Math nerds. I would be surprised and actually shocked if Walker was the one who did the underlying analysis.

  10. “Less government and lower taxes” is a slogan. It has as much meaning as proclaiming a belief in more personal freedom. Who would disagree?”


    That is the basis of this post and the basis of the progressive movement. Bigger government. More taxes. Less personal freedom.

  11. I do not dispute the substance of your comments, but they tell us nothing about Walker.

    Thank you Mike. I will say the same about yours. 🙂

  12. DBQ:

    That brings us full circle. I initially commented that I do not believe Gov. Walker has the intellectual depth to aspire to the presidency. He routinely proposes budget and tax cuts, but I have never heard him speak about his understanding of what government is and what it should do. I do not dispute the substance of your comments, but they tell us nothing about Walker.

  13. Does anyone here have any experience performing a follower clearance/valve adjustment on a BMW K1600 GTL motorcycle? Mine are due and it looks like a pretty involved job.

  14. Another consideration in cutting entire departments is the effect that those departmental decisions have on the public and the economy of the State or other area. If a department is not doing essential work and IF (as in many cases) their decisions are punitive or detrimental or targeting of certain groups or economic segments, perhaps that department would be better off being either reorganized or eliminated.

    In the State of California, as in probably every other State, there are multiple departments that are all attempting to do the same thing. This is true of the Federal Government. Wasting money by having duplicate departments.

    One of the biggest failings of our government, as a whole, and as a society is the tendency to try to keep the status quo, even when all evidence is showing that the status quo is not working or even worse is damaging. Just because a Department or agency exists, doesn’t mean that it should always exist.

    In our area we call it the Good Ole Boy way of thinking. “We’ve always done it this way. My Grandaddy did it this way………I’m not going to even think about doing it any other way.” The Good Ole Boys can think this way. Our Government which uses OUR money can’t……or shouldn’t.

  15. Mike

    It involves the application of a set of values. What programs should be cut and why?

    I do agree, that making economic decisions like this does require extensive analysis to come up with a proper cost benefit decision. (My previous occupation’s focus and which I greatly enjoy)

    But, without having the particulars of the value judgements used in this case, we really can’t know what was applied. As well as not having the detailed cost benefit analysis to give us understanding in the ramifications (positive or negative) in the cutting of positions. Perhaps the cuts are for redundant departments. Perhaps the cuts are to eliminate excessively overpaid administrators and executives, in favor of being able to retain actual field workers. Which positions are more valuable in the overall working of the organization. Too many chiefs and not enough indians? Too many cushy offices and not enough shovels?

    In addition, not everyone’s values are the same. What is of value to one person may have no value to others. So while a decision may make some people angry who value X…..there may be many more people who don’t value X at all. In the case of a CEO, the best decision is based on what is the most beneficial to the organization and what is the most desired outcome by the shareholders….or in this case voters. If the shareholders/voters decide the CEO is making bad decisions and violating their values, they can remove him/her from office.

    We don’t know that Governor Walker and his advisors did not consider these things. Just because you…or I…don’t agree with a decision, it doesn’t make that decision necessarily the wrong one. It just makes us individually angry or disappointed.

  16. DBQ:

    I disagree. I have never encountered a human being who did not approve of cutting costs and improving efficiency, but cutting or eliminating a program is not purely a function of economics. It involves the application of a set of values. What programs should be cut and why? What programs should be eliminated and why? That set of values is the first concern of political philosophy. Instead of an exchange of views about core principles, the discussion of most topics on this (and other) sites tends to quickly degenerate into conclusory accusations

    1. Mike A – I once worked on the budget for the City of Scottsdale which used a zero-based system for setting their budget each year. Each year every program start with zero dollars and has to justify each cent and each employee and each expenditure.

      1. Paul C, Schulte

        Mike A – I once worked on the budget for the City of Scottsdale which used a zero-based system for setting their budget each year. Each year every program start with zero dollars and has to justify each cent and each employee and each expenditure.

        We did that also

        And then Alan Greenspan and his helicopter brand came in

  17. “Less government and lower taxes” is a slogan. It has as much meaning as proclaiming a belief in more personal freedom. Who would disagree? The hard questions are what everyone avoids. What role should government play beyond providing for the defense of the nation? What human activities should be regulated and why? Is it proper to use the taxing authority for purposes other than the generation of revenue? Should government subsidize private industry? Should government be involved with the environment or public health or education or financial institutions or food safety or defective products or labor relations?

    “Less government and lower taxes” is merely a rallying cry for those who cling to the fantasy that privatization of every human endeavor and the religion of free markets will produce a libertarian paradise.

  18. Cutting programs isn’t a philosophy; it’s a tactic.

    Actually, it is both. A philosophy and a tactic.

    The philosophy is that anything that is being done can and should be done more efficiently and in a less costly manner. Being against waste and against unnecessary spending and against duplicate actions or duplicate departments IS a philosophy.

    The tactic to minimize waste and be efficient can be to cut spending. Cut out the money and the duplicate actions and the waste will have to be reduced. Another tactic is to directly cut the positions or redundant departments.

    This is a philosophy and a tactic that is not just used by politicians (although I wish they would do so more often) but is also used in our everyday life and is especially used by successful businesses. UN-successful businesses who ultimately fail do not adhere to the philosophy or use the tactics.

Comments are closed.