The Future Of American Manufacturing Under a Trump Regime!

President-elect Donald Trump has continued his threats against American manufacturers who move their plants and the related jobs out of the country with 35% tariffs on the manufactured goods that they import back to the states. The lure of low wages in countries like Mexico and China and Viet Nam may be too overwhelming to prevent those job migrations despite those threats. And here is just what might happen (and there is a hint of this in some of the press around the Carrier plant and a rumored American iPhone plant).

We might very well see new small highly automated American plants building cell phones, TVs, washers, dryers, lawnmowers, microwaves, textiles, etc…plants that stay or come back. Plants that employ 120 people instead of 800 like 15 or 20 years ago. And their productivity will be huge! Just huge! And their output will be sold in the American market and the American market only…cause it’s gonna cost 30, 50, 80% more than products made overseas.

And American plants and American jobs will continue to move overseas but their output will be sold overseas in Europe, Japan, China, India and emerging markets worldwide. They won’t be re-imported…they won’t incur the 35% tax…and the American economy will suffer. Suffer bigly. Suffer from higher prices and a loss of jobs for exported goods when those foreign markets retaliate by not purchasing American manufactured goods or agricultural products or American services.

Ivanka’s Baubles Bangles and Beads

Apparently Ivanka Trump wore jewelry from her namesake line of jewelry while accompanying Donald Trump for his interview on “60 Minutes”. And someone from her firm sent out info touting it. And some people are making a big stink about it.

Really? I mean Really?

Donald Trump is about to destroy the legacy of President Barack Obama, destroy international trade, destroy safety net and entitlement programs for US Citizens, destroy the economy by removing 11 million working residents, destroy the environment and possibly start the biggest recession/depression since Herbert Hoover and we a getting out of joint over some over priced costume jewelry?

Get your heads out of your posteriors…we have some real policies we have to stand up against…and you are worrying about this?

Chris Abele proposes wheel tax for Milwaukee County

This is sure to be popular.

A $60 vehicle registration fee, or wheel tax, is needed beginning in 2017 to help pay for Milwaukee County’s bus transit system and costs of repairing county highways and parkways, County Executive Chris Abele said Thursday.

The new fee would be a dedicated source of funding for transportation and generate around $27.1 million a year, Abele told reporters at the courthouse.

The county fee would be paid on top of the state’s $75 registration fee for vehicle owners, for a total of $135. City of Milwaukee vehicle owners already pay a separate wheel tax of $20 so the total for city owners would become $155.

As County Executive Abele eyes a run for governor in 2018, his proposal to levy a $60 wheel tax on Milwaukee County’s vehicle owners seems like an attack ad that writes itself.

Scott Walker proposes sales tax “holiday” gimmick

It’s never a good sign when your “fiscally responsible” Republican governor (and “fiscally responsible” I mean not fiscally responsible at all) proposes a sales tax “holiday” gimmick, presumably as a means of boosting the economy.

Sales tax holidays are common across the southern United States – 17 states from Texas to Virginia have them, with the majority of them falling around the time students return to school, according to a July report by the Tax Foundation. Only a few states in the northern half of the United States have them – Iowa, Ohio and Connecticut – though six more states have no sales tax at all.

The holidays are popular with many consumers for offering at least the promise of some relief around one of the major seasons for family spending. But the measures are also panned by policy experts for doing little to boost the economy.

The recent Tax Foundation report found that sales tax holidays do not promote jobs growth but instead merely shift the timing of consumer purchases and complicate the process of collecting taxes from stores. Some retailers may also raise prices during the holiday, reducing consumer savings, the report found.

As has been noted elsewhere, the sales tax “holiday” gimmick proposed by Gov. Walker is nothing more than a blatant attempt to pander for votes leading up to what is certain to be a reelection campaign.

Rep Brandtjen Plays the Fear and Loathing Card

Representative Janel Brandtjen (R – Menomonee Falls) represents Wisconsin’s 22nd Assembly district which includes portions of Washington, Waukesha and Milwaukee counties…including a portion of the City of Milwaukee. Despite that it seems she only became aware of urban crime earlier this month when a police chase ended in Washington County and resulted in a lock down of the area while police officers searched for the miscreants. So she only became incensed because her constituents were at risk and the sanctity of their Washington county communities were violated.

Brandtjen issued a news release Tuesday complaining about how residents in her district spent last Thursday morning in fear for their lives as police searched for five teens who had carjacked a woman’s Honda Civic at gunpoint in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon.

Police spotted the teens shortly after midnight on Thursday morning and chased them into Washington County. The teens abandoned the car after it got a flat tire and fled on foot. Officers spent hours searching for them in the dark before finally capturing them without incident, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.

Brandtjen said in her release that homeowners were held hostage in their own homes and “families were forced to unlock their gun cabinets and instruct their loved ones to shoot to kill. The violence and crime that has plagued Milwaukee for decades has now begun to spill over into Milwaukee’s suburbs. I lay the responsibility for this growing and out of control problem at the door of the Mayor’s office.”

No apparent concern for the victim of the initial car jacking but I digress.

What action does she want to take to prevent a reoccurrence? This is totally rich:

A suburban Republican lawmaker ripped into Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday and said she would push for funding cuts to the city unless steps are taken to slash Milwaukee’s crime rate.

Buzzzzt: WRONG ANSWER!

Better answer would have been: Mayor Barrett is facing some serious issues in the City of Milwaukee and when I get back to Madison I will introduce legislation that will proved Milwaukee with the resources it needs.

Despite being caught up in the urban macro-environment that is seeing increases in street crime, how did Milwaukee get into the fix?

In response, Barrett’s office issued a chart showing state aid to Milwaukee has dropped over the past decade, even as the police budget has climbed.

And who is one of the representatives in Madison who votes on state aid to Milwaukee? Rep. Brandtjen…who represents portions of Milwaukee.

Beyond the obscene and ridiculous response to crime…Rep. Brandtjen is an elected official who we send to Madison to provide leadership…and solutions to the problems we experience in Wisconsin. This isn’t leadership…just another ideologue throwing a tantrum.

Vote her out!

Whither MKE County: Time For A Dedicated Park District

By now all of you have read at least one article about the perceived risk of having the county executive sell Milwaukee County park land without input from the county board or the general public. The recent changes in state law that allow the county executive to sell non-park land without notice and without competitive bids begs the question of what is and what is not park land. The current interpretation of the law leans toward: it ain’t park land if it’s not zoned park land by each and every municipality that hosts a county park(s).

But in cased you missed it here’s something from the Shepherd Express, UrbanMilwaukee, and the good old Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

And even more recently we have the closing of the Mitchell Park Domes for reasons of safety for both patrons and employees as the deferred maintenance from both the Scott Walker and Chris Abele administrations has come home to roost so to speak. The Domes have gone from a weekend of closure to an unknown length of time or maybe permanently depending on who is doing the talking…and repairs have been guesstimated at up to $75 million.

And if you haven’t heard about that try these: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel or Senator Chris Larson.

So maybe it’s time to take the county park system out of the hands of Milwaukee County and create an independent park district with its own dedicated funding…basically with the half percent sales tax that Milwaukee County voters approved years ago…I don’t know exactly what form that would take but if they have tax levy authority it should include an elected board…not an appointed one.

The value of the park system as a whole can not be overstated. Beyond the pure beauty the green areas bring to the county…add the recreation value…the tourism value…the business/employee recruitment value…the environmental impact…etc etc…the park system is a resource that we can not afford to squander.

An open letter to Governor Walker

Dear Governor Walker,

I’ve read that you’re touring the state to hear from constituents as a way to get caught up after spending so much time out of state during your presidential campaign last year, and since I live over 250 miles north of Madison, I thought I’d address you on Blogging Blue rather than expect you to travel all the way up here.

I know that two of your biggest problems since you took office in 2011 seem to be job creation and overall business climate. Wisconsin has kind of been circling the drain on both counts for many years now, but I have some good news for you.
Minnesota, right next door, is leading the nation on both counts! Last June CNBC rated Minnesota #1 in the nation for business, and over the weekend a new report shows that the Gopher state is #1 in job creation as well.

This is great news, because not only is Minnesota very similar to Wisconsin in a number of ways, but Mark Dayton took over as Governor there the same year you did here, and with an even bigger budget deficit than you inherited!. In spite of all that, they’re now leading the nation in a pair of top economic indicators, and have a budget surplus of 2 billion dollars. That’s a lot of scratch, man!

I’m no scholar, and I can’t make an in-depth argument about how all this happened, but I can lay out some general points that I think can help you turn Wisconsin around pronto.

1. The CNBC report cites Minnesota as a ” union friendly ” state, so you might want to consider repealing Act 10 and that god-awful Right to Work bill since neither could, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered union friendly.

2. I know you went out of your way to repeal Wisconsin’s living wage law, but you should restore it immediately. Minnesota raised their minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, which isn’t nearly enough, but it’s better than the meager $7.25 workers are making over here.

3. Governor Dayton campaigned in 2010 on raising taxes on the wealthy, (something that seems to have escaped the attention of Wisconsin Democrats), and that’s just what he did, though none of the scare mongering about how everyone would leave actually came to pass. And Minnesota is #1 in business climate, job creation, AND they have a 2 billion dollar surplus! Woo Hoo!

4. Minnesota took the federal bucks to expand their Medicaid program, (Minnesota Care), since it was tax money Minnesotans had already sent to Washington DC, and they also created their own state exchange to maximize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for their residents. I think they probably embraced the wildly experimental notion that a healthier population is happier and, as such, better able to get up and go to work in the morning. I don’t know for sure, I’m just taking a stab in the dark.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to all this than I’ve listed, and I know you have a ton of staff who could dig into it and sort it all out, but I just wanted to fill you in on some of the basics. I know how much you love Wisconsin and all of its people, but I also know what a busy guy you’ve been , what with all that presidential nonsense and the Koch brothers retreats and so forth.

So I just wanted to give you a hand. You’re welcome.

The good old days: when labor unions were strong, taxes on the rich here high….and the economy was booming

This is worth a read for all those folks (like so many of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s supporters) who yearn for a return to the “good old days” when America was great.

Still, Trump’s supporters might not appreciate what an economic return to the ’50s—even a ’50s lacking overt discrimination against women and political, racial, and sexual minorities—would entail. The ’50 were, as Stiglitz puts it, “a time of war-induced solidarity when the government kept the playing field level.” In other words, they were a time of Big Government. And Big Labor: As Alternet reports, “By 1953, more than one out of three American workers were members of private sector unions. That means there was a union member in nearly every family.”

Then there’s the matter of taxes. Though a conservative writer at Bloomberg View scoffs at the oft-cited statistic that the top marginal tax rate in the ‘50s was an astounding 91 percent, even she admits that “the Internal Revenue Service reckoned that the effective rate of tax in 1954 for top earners was actually 70 percent”—vastly higher than it is today. Indeed, for most of the past 100 years, tax rates have been much higher than they are now, including during some boom times.

If bigger government, stronger unions, and higher taxes on the rich are what it takes to make America great again, Republican primary voters might be surprised to learn that the candidate who truly shares their values is not Donald Trump, but Bernie Sanders.

How do you plan on spending the $1 tax cut WI Republicans gave you?

So how do you plan on spending the massive $1 tax cut Wisconsin’s Republican legislators gave you thanks to the recently passed biennial budget?

Property taxes on the typical Wisconsin home are projected to decrease $1 on bills mailed this December and $2 next year.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a new estimate Monday, July 27th on property taxes for a home valued at just over $154,000 based on the state budget recently signed by Gov. Scott Walker.

I think I’m gonna buy a box of Mike and Ikes with that dollar Republicans put in my pocket, but I’d love to hear how you plan on spending your dollar.

Campaign 16: We The People!

Sometime between the inauguration speech and the first ball, I would start pressuring Congress to replace the current motto, ‘In God We Trust’ with ‘We The People’!

Originally I thought this was just going to be a trivial add on to my thoughts on Campaign 16 and I would throw it out here during a peak time when there wasn’t much time to write. But then I got busy with real life and haven’t had the time to spend writing and researching…and some of the big issues I want to address just haven’t got to the Blogging Blue yet.

Then I realized that the concept to change the motto is the perfect starting point to the campaign. Because ‘We The People’ perfectly describes the difference between how I interpret government’s role in America and the ‘professed’ beliefs of most all of the other candidates.

‘We The People’ represents the entire Constitution as the guiding principle to protect and support ALL of the people of the United States. The principle that we all have the rights outlined in the document, that we all have the protections outlined in the document and that we all share the responsibilities inherent in those rights and protections. The actions of the government need to be directed to benefit the common good…the entire common good…not a select few…not a particular class…not a particular race. It implies a proactive nature, a proactive stance…where a love of nation is exhibited in a love of our fellow man…not in flag waving patriotic zealotry…where jobs provide the means of life…where education provides the means to jobs…and where the national goal is to build the greatest nation to live in…not the greatest military might on earth.

I am not going to go to great lengths to dis ‘In God We Trust’ on first amendment grounds nor that it doesn’t reflect the diversity that is the United States. But it just doesn’t suit the vision and promise that should be the United States.