Fear the Beer? Is this an appropriate slogan?

Don’t read too much into this. It’s late and I am a bit snarky at the moment. And this is a clever riff on the Milwaukee Bucks Fear the Deer slogan.

But given the whole nasty environment out of Washington from the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearings, is this really the slogan we need to use??

rant over.

The Hypocrisy In Annual Salaries:

Mylan Pharmaceuticals CEO Heather Bresch defended her company’s pricing of its popular EpiPen during a hearing before a U.S. House Committee today. Beyond the apparent price gouging involved, her annual salary which increased 67 percent to $18.9 million in 2015 was called into question.

Hold that thought!

Meanwhile across the rotunda, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was defending the management of his bank against the charges of fraud for the fake accounts created by his underlings. His annual salary has been ‘stagnant’ at $19.3 million. And the press and social media are crying foul on that amount.

Hold that thought!!

Ok…here it comes:

The Milwaukee Bucks announced that they have signed a new four year contract with star player and fan favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo for $100 million…do the math…$25 million per year. Crickets.

Now I realize that Mr. Stumpf and Ms. Bresch are on the hot seat so their salaries do come into question. But what they make as CEOs isn’t out of line compared to other CEOs of national companies. I am not defending those amounts…I think they are overly generous and untenable…but they are within the realm of compensation for a CEO.

But $25 million for a basketball player (or a baseball player or football player or etc. player) is absolutely ridiculous. And again…all of those complaining about government spending in the millions for the new Bucks arena instead of social services…nada on player salaries.

Inequity? Damn right! On all counts!

Don’t get me started on how little we pay teachers…

So about that Bucks arena vote…

Earlier today the State Assembly passed the $250 million bill providing taxpayer funding for half the cost of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Assembly vote was 52-34, with bipartisan support (and bipartisan opposition) to the bill.

Here’s a breakdown of how Milwaukee’s Democratic Assembly delegation voted on the Bucks arena bill:

Voted Against
David Bowen
Jonathan Brostoff

Voted For
Mandela Barnes
Evan Goyke
Christine Sinicki
Josh Zepnick
Jocasta Zamarripa
Leon Young
LaTonya Johnson
Fred Kessler

Didn’t Vote
Daniel Riemer

As a point of clarification, Daniel Riemer did not vote because he’s on vacation.

So here’s your chance to share your opinion. Is this a good deal for Wisconsin’s taxpayers, or do you think it’s a bum deal?

Why a fancy new entertainment district around the Milwaukee Bucks’ taxpayer-funded stadium may fail

Earlier this week I highlighted comedian John Oliver’s takedown of the racket that is publicly financed sports stadiums, and yesterday Bruce Murphy of Urban Milwaukee outlined why a fancy entertainment district around the new Bucks arena may end up failing.

The bad news is that all of this development is likely to be cookie-cutter creations based on what generates profits in other cities. If these nine square blocks got developed more slowly and serendipitously as happened on Water Street, there would be 72 different businesses operating and competing with each other rather than one corporate master who has a lock on all the land, and there would be constant change, with different businesses rising and falling, remodeling and tinkering.

The irony of all this is that the city (and county and state) will provide a huge subsidy to the Bucks to create a tinny echo of the most generic parts of other downtowns. Meanwhile little or no subsidy is going to all the hard working, imaginative, ever-changing entrepreneurs of Bay View, Brady Street, Milwaukee Street, the Third Ward, Jefferson Street, Walker’s Point, Center Street and Old World Third Street, all of whom are transforming Milwaukee into an ever-cooler city.

And if any of these entrepreneurs fail, there will be no rescue from the city, but rather a rush by some other business person to fill the gap. Yet, if the huge plan by the Bucks fails or if the arena needs expansion, as inevitably occurs, the team’s billionaire owners will be back to the city, county and state asking for more money, to assure that the same show goes on and on and on.

Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens buys his third company in a week, still wants government handout to build Bucks arena

But remember, Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens needs a government handout in order to build a fancy new arena to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Wes Edens wants to be the newest subprime scion.

Edens — founder of Fortress Investment Group and owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks — made his third debt-related acquisition in about a week on Tuesday when his lending company announced it was buying Citigroup’s OneMain for $4.3 billion.

The all-cash purchase by Springleaf Financial is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, and would make it the largest consumer-finance company — and subprime lender — in the country, with nearly $14 billion in receivables and almost 2,000 branches throughout the US.

The purchase comes just eight days after two other Edens companies made separate acquisitions of holdings formerly owned by Bill Erbey, the ex-chairman of mortgage servicing company Ocwen, who was recently forced to step down from his position after a two-year investigation.

The fact that a good number of Wisconsin’s elected officials from both parties are bending over backwards to hand over taxpayer dollars to Wes Edens so he can squeeze a greater profit out of the Milwaukee Bucks is absolutely galling, and I say if Wes Edens wants a shiny new basketball arena, he should pay for it himself.