Wednesday, November 18

Stimulating Waste in Dunn County

About nine months ago the federal government decided to spend on an average $7,000 of your families taxes in an attempt to create jobs and boost the economy with a $787 billion spending spree. As the results slowly trickle in the question is how has an area like Dunn County done?

Not surprisingly, the government has done a fine job finding ways to spend your tax dollars. According to information the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has complied, $17.17 million has been spent in Dunn County alone. We all know that spending is not as important as the jobs though. How did the jobs fair in the county?

Badly. Unfortunately that $17.17 million dollars has only created 16.52 jobs in the County according to the government’s own figures. Do the math and you find that it takes over $1 million taxpayer dollars to create or save one single job in the County! Worse, although President Obama promised that 90% of the jobs would be saved or created in the private sector all but 3 of those 16.52 jobs were government agencies reporting jobs saved or created.

To add even more confusion the only primary recipient that was a private business and not a government identity was 4 Control Inc which reported receiving $0 and yet was reported as creating three private sector jobs. Lee Shambeau helps run 4 Control Inc. He confirmed that his company had not been paid for any stimulus dollars yet, although they had worked on one stimulus project with three employees for two days. The reporting requirements were incredibly confusing he acknowledged and the report on that one project is what probably showed up on the site. Most of the stimulus funding he is hoping to receiving is still only a hope with no confirmation. So while the government drags its feet and hints at possible funding it happily reports the jobs it has “saved”. In reality then, Dunn County only created or saved 13.52 jobs at a cost of $1.2 million per job.

These local results should be no surprise given that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported “A stimulus job report that says more than 10,000 jobs were saved or created in Wisconsin is rife with errors, double counting and inflated numbers based more on satisfying federal formulas than creating real jobs.”

Instead of dumping money on government bureaucracies and calling it stimulus, I asked Lee Shambeau from 4 Control what the impact of 1 million dollars in tax cuts would have had to a business like his. Would he have been able to create one job with 1 million dollars? He quickly replied “Taxes are killing business. Taxes are very instrumental part of the cost of doing business.”

As national unemployment jumps to 10.2% and Dunn County unemployment hits 7.6% we would do well to reconsider our attempt to put your family $7,000 in federal debt to spend over $1.2 million per bureaucratic job saved. We would do much better to increase the competitiveness of small businesses like 4 Control through tax cuts if we want to see real employment in Dunn County and across our great country.

Monday, November 16

The Congressional Healthcare Confusion

Note: This article ran as an opinion piece in the Dunn County News.

Confused about the healthcare bill? You’re not alone to be sure. Just take a look at some of our local Midwestern representative’s statements and let your head spin. I’m not even talking of the partisan debate. Take three rural Democratic Congressmen: Collin Peterson (D-MN), Jim Oberstar (D-MN), and our own Ron Kind (D-WI). Collin Peterson voted against the bill because "We've got over a $70 trillion unfunded liability in this over the next 75 years and we're just going to make it worse. And I don't see how that's sustainable.” Kind said, “The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) has confirmed that the House health care reform bill reduces the national deficit by $109 billion over the next 10 years with estimated subsequent savings through 2029.” (Personal email with Kind).

Federal funding for abortion is even more confusing. All three said they supported keeping federal funds from going toward abortion. Yet Ron Kind said that the healthcare legislation would not use public dollars to fund abortion; Peterson and Oberstar said it would. Let the debate begin!Publish Post

The original bill (H.R. 3200) on page 110 said, “[N]othing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the public health insurance option from providing for” payments for all elective abortions. Indeed, a nonpartisan watchdog group confirmed that the bill would allow for public funding of abortion. Kind might say that only premiums paid for the public option will go for abortions, but that is like letting AIG employees earmark their Medicare payment for spa treatments and claim there is no public funding. Logically and legally the government can only spend public dollars. Strike one for Kind.

As has been widely reported, there was also an amendment by Bart Stupak (D-MI) that the Catholic Bishops supported to specifically and narrowly keep public funding for abortion out of healthcare reform. Regardless of what they thought the bill originally said, you would hope they could all support clarifying no public funds for abortion. Nope. Of the three, Kind was the only one that voted against it. Strike two for Kind.

According to a recent Gallup poll Congressional approval is at historic lows along with the trust in government. There is little wonder why. When Congressman from the same party in neighbouring states cannot agree or accurately explain a bill to their constituents back home, we should lose faith in them to properly serve us. And that is a strikeout for everyone.