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Why Wisconsin matters and why it doesn’t

As a recent resident of Wisconsin, there are a number of factors that will influence this recall election that skew the results in Walker’s failure. Therefore it may be a less important election than is apparent, in part due to other things that Walker has gotten done.

A little reported fact is that Walker and the Republican’s passed school choice. They did it in a way that insures the loyalty of normally democratic voters. Here is how it works:

In Milwaukee and other jurisdictions a school choice law was passed. InĀ essence, what property taxes were going to the schools can not be re-assigned to private schools. Further if the private school gets the money they can’t charge the parent a dime more in tuition. So take an Orthodox Jewish family, a unit as an Orthodox Jew I know something about. In the past with 8 children, their base tuition bill before scholarship and discounts could easily reach $80,000 a year or higher. Now the per pupil money that was going to the public schools now goes to the parochial school, with a limited link to how much property taxes the family was paying. In Milwaukee’s Jewish neighborhoods, a typical property tax bill can run $12,00–$15,000 per year.

Normally Democratic leaning Jewish voters are fighting the recall because of the probable budgetary impact on their tuition bills. Though it could be argued and will be in another post why a Democratic vote makes sense to the Orthodox Jew, factor in the same economic equation to union households, that send their children to Catholic school, which is a large factor that erodes Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret’s support in ways it would not harm the Obama vote which could be made by splitting the ticket.

Clearly the Wisconsin vote matters to the union movement. But the fact that there is a recall election at all against a well funded Republican governor is a victory for the unions. The outside money flowing into Wisconsin dwarfs the outside funding for the Democratic party. The union rhetoric that this is a survival election for that movement is an overstatement of the facts. Clearly the election is a test, but the factors listed above skew the outcome. The real test is in the aftermath of the Citizen’s United court decision can Obama survive in a “mixed” economy against a blizzard of advertising that he did not have to face in the 2008 election.

This site is going to get more active. Both sides, but much more the Republican’s have decided that facts don’t make any difference to the American voter. In response to that a play on Romney’s words. We’re not stupid.

The American voter is not stupid. They realize that the first financial panic in 80 years nearly sunk the economy into recession. They realize that it would have been the Bush recession and maybe the Bush depression had the government not stimulated the economy with infrastructure spending. That doesn’t mean a lot of money was not wasted. It was. But the American people are not stupid. They understand how we got into the mess we got into.

That mess was due to 8 years of Republican regulatory indifference, and a political environment that allowed Wall Street to skirt the existing regulations and bet the farm on derivatives. Well, guess what, the taxpayers paid that bill.

The days of the American voter having a short memory are over. We are more sophisticated than we were in 1980. We also not as stupid as Romney thinks we are.


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