Wisconsin Has Largest Decline of Middle Class of Any State According to New Study.

WisconsinSealBy Elaine Magliaro

Scottie Lee Meyers of Wisconsin Public Radio wrote an article earlier this month about a new state-by-state analysis conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts which shows that Wisconsin has “experienced the biggest decline in middle-class households in the country between the years 2000 and 2013.” Meyers reported that the study had found “the percentage of households in the middle class dropped in all 50 states, with Wisconsin’s drop from 54.6 percent to 48.9 percent being the most significant.” In addition, Wisconsin saw a 14 percent decline in median household income.

Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin)

Governor Scott Walker

Meyers said that Marc Levine–a professor of history, economic development and urban studies who is director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Economic Development–had “attributed the state’s shrinking middle class to the Great Recession, among other factors.” Levine said that “reversing the trend would require raising the minimum wage and restoring unions, especially in the manufacturing industry.”


Wisconsin’s economy relies on manufacturing perhaps more than any other state, said Levine. When manufacturing gets hit hard, he said, Wisconsin gets hit hard too.

Since 2000, Wisconsin has lost about 90,000 — between 18 to 20 percent — of its manufacturing jobs, according to Levine, in part due to free trade agreements and Chinese imports.

According to Professor Levine, a major part of the problem has been “downward occupational skidding.” That is, manufacturing workers who have been laid off “have been displaced into lower-paying jobs in the service industry, and those who have been able to continue working in the manufacturing industry have seen stagnant wages.”

Levine, said, “It turns out the manufacturing jobs aren’t paying what they use to anymore, and a big chunk of that is because of the de-unionization that has occurred.”  


In the late 1960s, an estimated 35 percent of Wisconsin’s total workforce and 50 percent of manufacturing workers were unionized, according to Levine. Today, roughly 11 percent of Wisconsin workers are in a union. That figure is 17 percent for manufacturing workers.

In order to help grow Wisconsin’s middle class, Levine recommended “raising the minimum wage to a ‘living wage’ and supporting the ability of workers to engage in collective bargaining.” He added, “In Wisconsin, we’ve obviously gone the opposite way over the last three or four years. Act 10 took away the collective bargaining rights for public employees, and the rate of unionization in the public sector has declined by about half in the state. And of course, we just passed a right-to-work law and right-to-work states, the research suggests, tend to have lower wages. Those sorts of policies are pushing us in the wrong direction.”

To be sure, the decline in Wisconsin’s middle class pre-dates Scott Walker’s election as governor—but it appears Walker hasn’t done anything to help the situation in his state. Walker’s policies are likely aggravating the problem of a shrinking middle class.

Laura Clawson (Daily Kos):

…but it’s safe to say that Walker’s terrible job creation record, a poor record even according to the Chamber of Commerce, isn’t helping. Neither is saying the minimum wage “doesn’t serve a purpose,” or attacking the unions that reduce inequality, or slashing education funding. Walker was able to get elected by playing on the fears of voters in a shrinking middle class, but his agenda was always aimed at accelerating the decline.

Mike Ivey of The Capital Times said that Laurel Patrick, a Walker spokeswoman, pointed out that the Pew report covered the period from 2000 through 2013 and included “only the first three years of the Republican’s first term.”


From 2011 to 2013, Wisconsin’s median household income grew by 2.7 percent, 15th best in the nation. Patrick said that shows the progress under Walker’s leadership, which has emphasized tax cuts for business owners and regulatory reform as a way to grow the private sector economy.

Patrick also noted the following in an email: “Other income indicators also that show Wisconsin is heading in the right direction under Governor Walker.”


Those figures include a 1.8 percent growth in personal income in 2013, which is 12th best in the U.S. and above the nation as a whole (1.3 percent) and fourth best of 10 Midwest states behind Nebraska, Illinois and Ohio.

In addition, Patrick noted that the average weekly wage growth in the state was 17th best in the U.S. from the fourth quarter of 2010 through the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the Census of Employment and Wages, considered the most reliable measure of economic performance.

But UW-Madison economist Laura Dresser said income growth in the state for decades has been concentrated among the top 1 percent. She said that would explain the decline in the percentage of families considered “middle class” by federal standards, even if incomes have risen recently.

In a report this past January, Dresser wrote: “Wisconsin’s growth and prosperity are not being widely shared. Over the last 40 years, Wisconsin’s richest residents have experienced dramatic increases in income, while Wisconsinites not among the very highest earners saw little or no income growth.”

According to Ivey, Dresser’s report said that “Wisconsin reached a milestone with a record share of income going to the top 1 percent.”

It would appear that Governor Walker’s right-wing policies certainly aren’t helping most of the residents of Wisconsin–but I’m sure they warm the cockles of the Koch brothers shrunken hearts.


A Sampling of Comments that readers posted after reading Meyers’ WPR article:

Rev David R Froemming

Scott Walker’s anti-federalist ideology has prevented Wisconsin at every level from being part of the national recovery. He stands with the bitter billionaire club that deeply resents this recovery – for they represent the winners from the looting of this nation prior to the crash of 2008. They wanted to buy and own this and still do today. Notice the increased military budget of the GOP. The war-debt austerity formula was practiced well on Wisconsin, along with blaming your working neighbor. We are a state divided going under – with decreasing debt, as multinational businesses contribute zero tax dollars to support our infrastructure. That’s why we as citizens need to move to amend the Citizens United ruling in order to curtail the billionaire monopolies destroying democracy.


Ann Anderson

Walker is nothing more than a Koch Brothers (bitter billionaires club) puppet much of the time. They tell him what they want done and he does it. He is relying on their millions of dollars to fund his campaign for the RNC candidacy. Citizens United and Right To work are all part of that ideology as you had noted Rev David. And there will be more thinly veiled voter suppression policies in Wis if they have their way. My husband and I are both on disability and if Walker, Boehner and McConnell had their way we would have a 20% pay cut in the net few years to deal with. And we barely make ends meet now. The GOP see us as parasites and lazy despite the fact that I became disabled at age 38, after struggling constantly with my health and trying to do my job from a hospital bed. And my husband became disabled at age 48 after similar struggles.We both loved our jobs and had built our careers up over the years and were in positions that we would have kept until retirement. Bless President Obama and his administration for vetoing the Social Security/Disability funding reallocation business. That man has an uphill battle everytime he champions the average citizen and the working poor. His tenacity with the ACA was amazing. But expanding Medicaid in every state should have been mandatory. It is cruel the way the low income residents are unable to get any insurance at all. Before all of GOP changes to the ACA, the states did not have the option of refusing to expand it. I bet that if someone in Walker’s family was unable to get coverage you might see that policy change.



Of course Walker and that pack of short sighted idiots in the legislature deserve part of the blame, but in a large part this decline of the middle class is largely self inflicted. By swallowing all the right wing propaganda spewed out of FOX, Rush Limbaugh, etc. and the voting against there own best interests and electing these clowns, they have accomplished what big money had in the past only dreamed of, a completely subservient labor pool.


Wesley Wieland

In reverse order:
The Governor by himself has little impact. The governor backed by a majority in the assembly and the senate combined with teams from ALEC who actually write a portion of the legislation for them not to mention provide in and out of state funding, has plenty of impact. That combination has as much impact as any group could on economic growth, or the lack thereof.

At this point we could look all the way back to Dreyfus if we wanted to bandy about what the root cause might have been. It does not matter. The question is how do we turn the WI situation around. That is Walkers job. He is clearly failing in comparison to other states that started out in worse situations than WI. In the two years of the study that include his term, as well as since. That is abundantly obvious to the most casual of observers. WI was unlikely affected much more or less than any of the rest of the states. WI simply has not done anything other than exacerbate the situation instead of improving it. Fair or unfair, that lands in Walkers lap.

Getting back to the point of the article: The economist argues that policy initiatives that boost what is left of the existing middle class, as well as ease the road to grow the middle class would be helpful. Based on the political rhetoric of politicians of all stripes who during campaigns regurgitate the mantra that the “middle class is the back bone of America”, it would seem that the suggestion merits some thought.

Walker bragged last summer that his administrations policies have saved the tax payer $2B. Not six months later, he is faced with…how much?… oh yeah, $2B budget deficit. Brilliant forsight! So now he has to cut even further to offset the shortfall, or raise taxes. Much like trickle down economics, another scam. Odd thing is, his union-busting is going to make the problem even worse, because now the tax payers have one less tool to use to try to make up for the ever growing wage-to-corporate gowth disparity. His tax payers will have even less to pay taxes on, or with for that matter. Add to that the expanding baby-boomers retirement and WI is set up to become the next Alabama. Bad news, brought on by sleeping through econ 101.

The time frame has been the same for all the states, some that were in worse condition than WI and are now doing better. Bottom line is, he has a job to do, regardless of how that job became tough. Someone is suggesting part of a solution to the problem. Do you have an alternative suggestion? If so, I for one am certainly open to it. I am not open to exuses made for Walker. They don’t matter. What matters is making a change that moves WI forward. If Walker can do it, that is fine by me. His performance thus far does not provide for much confidence. One would think he and others would be open to alternative approaches



Wisconsin Has Seen Largest Middle-Class Decline Of Any State, Study Finds: Economist Says De-Unionization, Recession, Erosion Of Manufacturing Are Factors (Wisconsin Public Radio)

Wisconsin’s middle class is shrinking faster than in any other state (Daily Kos)

Despite loss of middle class families, Walker administration says state ‘heading in the right direction’ (The Capital Times)

The Shrinking Middle Class, Mapped State by State (The Pew Charitable Trusts)

PULLING APART 2015: Focus on Wisconsin’s 1 Percent (COWS/Wisconsin Budget Project)

Report: Wisconsin Drops To 40th In Nation In Job Growth (Wisconsin Public Radio)


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74 Responses to Wisconsin Has Largest Decline of Middle Class of Any State According to New Study.

  1. First, Kansas illustrates the failure of the “Koch Plan” in practice and now Wisconsin.

    A wise general once said “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” but he might as well have said “no plan survives first contact with the enemy but especially when it is a ridiculous plan to begin with”.

  2. rafflaw says:

    What Gene said! Walker is just one more stark example of what the Koch’s want America to look like.

  3. bron98 says:

    maybe the middle class is leaving Wisconsin because of the Fascists who inhabit the judiciary and the district attorney’s offices?



    maybe it is lefties using the power of the state to trample individual rights. I guess what happened in Wisconsin is what the left wants America to look like, heh? A police state with an out of control judiciary.

    The Kochs don’t even dream of the kind of power that was unleashed against those people. But I guess they make a good red herring for real jack booted thugs.

  4. Elaine M. says:


    You said: “maybe the middle class is leaving Wisconsin because of the Fascists who inhabit the judiciary and the district attorney’s offices?”

    I see you’re trying to divert from the subject of this post. The article isn’t about people leaving Wisconsin. It’s about a dwindling middle class in that state. Do you think Walker’s policies are helping or hurting his constituents?

  5. bron98 says:


    I thought that story was too good to pass up.

    Wisconsin is a very leftist state and has been for many years. The world is changing and we are losing industry to developing countries. There are no guarantees in life. Change with the times or see your income reduced. I am facing that now with what I do, I need to change how I do business, my model is over so I need to find another. Evolve or die. Hopefully I will evolve, I am not quite ready to die.

    How much of the middle class works for the state? If you have a large state payroll and pension liability that money has to come out of the private sector. That is money that is diverted and in the majority of instances is just going to labor, there is no capital expenditure.

  6. Bob Stone says:

    I don’t understand Elaine.

    Don’t you want to know how a Democrat DA’s office launched rogue investigations with the help of a Democrat judge to sanction them so that investigators could harass and intimidate entire families by busting down their doors in the middle of the night, confiscating their personal papers and belongings and threatening them with contempt charges if they dare speak to a lawyer or breathe a word of any of it to anyone?

    All because they may or may not have supported one Scott Walker?


    I thought you were a law and order first kind of person.

  7. bron98 says:


    how do you answer Bob? Isnt freedom important for an economy? Maybe the middle of the night raids by the good progressives of Wisconsin is having a chilling effect on the economy, I know it sends shivers down my spine.

    Wasn’t Bull Conner a democrat too? I am starting to see a pattern: use the power of the state against people you don’t like.

  8. A tag team operation of distraction from the point of the column along purely partisan and non-responsive lines.


    Just because I haven’t been around much lately doesn’t mean I won’t get off the porch and roll someone for engaging in troll tactics. Right now? I’m just amused because 1) it’s a really flailing attempt at distraction and 2) I know you two know better than to think that tactic would work here without someone pointing it out. Let’s not make “amused” turn in to “irritated” though. I’ve had a weird week and gnawing someone’s face off for trolling can be oh so cathartic.

    Either address the subject (fiscal policy) or move along, knuckleheads.

  9. Elaine M. says:


    How do you answer the question that I posed to you?



    I’m sorry you don’t understand. I didn’t read the article that Bron linked to. I don’t think the National Review is an unbiased source. If you think it’s a story of great import, why not write a post about it yourself? BTW, Bron has a habit of taking our discussions off on tangents–as he did on my post about brain research. I was attempting to get a response from him regarding the subject of this post. Sorry you disapprove.

    I have no respect for Koch lackeys like Walker.

  10. Elaine M. says:


    “A tag team operation of distraction from the point of the column along purely partisan and non-responsive lines.”

    Not hard to spot, is it?

  11. blouise says:

    The plight of the middle class is the hot topic for 2016. Nothing speaks louder to the voter than the pocketbook and many Wisconsians’ pocketbooks are empty.

  12. Elaine M. says:


    Scott Walker’s approval rating declines in another state poll

    Another Wisconsin poll has found Gov. Walker’s approval rating in decline.

    In the survey of Wisconsin adults by St. Norbert College, Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television, 41% approve of the governor’s performance and 58% disapprove.

    Those numbers are similar to Walker’s ratings in a statewide poll of registered voters released last week by Marquette University Law School.

    Walker’s approval rating has slipped seven points since St. Norbert last polled in the fall of 2014.



    MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Gov. Scott Walker’s job approval rating has fallen to 41 percent, with 56 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job as governor. In the previous poll, in October 2014, Walker’s approval among registered voters was 49 percent, with 47 percent disapproving.

    To look ahead to a possible 2016 presidential matchup, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Walker in Wisconsin, 52 percent to 40 percent.

  13. blouise17 says:

    “The poll also showed widespread opposition to Walker’s proposal to cut $300 million from the UW System and $127 million from K-12 schools.

    Of those polled, 78 percent oppose the school cuts, which Franklin called an “eye-catching level of opinion.” GOP lawmakers have already said they hope to restore the money.

    And 70 percent oppose the proposed UW System cuts, the poll said. Lawmakers have also suggested possible restoration of a portion of the proposed cuts.

    Franklin said in an email that Walker’s drop in approval rating results from concerns about the direction of the state, lagging job creation, and his budget proposal. He also said Walker’s increased travel out of state as he prepares a presidential bid has prevented him from defending his budget in Wisconsin — especially in the face of criticism from fellow Republicans who control the Legislature.

    “So intra-party criticisms coupled with not a very active effort on his part to explain his budget and justify it, are other reasons to see him drop,” Franklin said.

    He noted that much of the drop in approval rating comes from Republicans, those who lean GOP, and independents. …” Wisconsin State Journal

  14. Middle. Class. Dwindling.
    Poverty. Class. Increasing.

    Facts supported by data from numerous sources. A basic element in any statistic based investigation: Always look for the independent variable. What changed?
    Republican takeover of Wisconsin government with Walker as the figurehead.

    On a related theme, Joan McCarter’s piece this afternoon, “Kochs’ acquisition of the Republican Party nearly complete,” is a worthwhile read. Even the comment thread has a number of incisive and insightful comments.

  15. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/04/scott-walker-happy-earth-day-youre-fired “Happy Earth Day! Today is a day we can all band together and share our love for this beautiful planet—or at least drown our sorrows about climate change with nerdy themed cocktails. Later today, President Barack Obama will mark the occasion with a climate-focused speech in the Florida Everglades. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, had a different idea: Fire a big chunk of the state’s environmental staff.

    From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

    Fifty-seven employees of the state Department of Natural Resources began receiving formal notices this week that they might face layoff as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget for the next two fiscal years…

    The DNR’s scientific staff conducts research on matters ranging from estimating the size of the state’s deer herd to to studying the effects of aquatic invasive species. Work is paid for with state and federal funds…

    All told, Walker’s budget would cut 66 positions from the DNR. Of this, more than 25% would come from the science group. Cosh said a smaller number of employees received notices than the 66 positions in the budget because some positions targeted for cuts are vacant.”

  16. Elaine M. says:

    Scott Walker is now toast: The crazy move right that cost him the Koch brothers — and probably the nomination
    First he had the Koch endorsement. Then he didn’t. Why? A Glenn Beck interview where Walker moved wackier than Cruz

    They are now reportedly going to hold an “audition” of sorts during the summer for the Kochs’ primary Prom King. (Apparently their earlier “Koch Summit” was just a casual mixer.)

    So what, exactly, did Scott Walker say that appears to have made the Kochs do such an about-face in record time? Well, it’s a doozy. Walker, you see, was once a “pro-immigration reform” Republican, which is likely one of the reasons the Koch brothers back him. Like most of the more libertarian-minded Big Business Republicans, they tend toward a more moderate stance on immigration. It’s good for business in a number of ways (for both good and bad reasons). Walker, being a proven anti-union, pro-immigration governor, was naturally at the top of their list of nominees. He had recently “moderated” his stance on illegal immigration but it was widely assumed to be a mild feint to the right for the purposes of winning the nomination. It brought him into line with all the other candidates like Rubio and Bush who had once also been pro-reform, so it was no harm-no foul as far as the primary was concerned.

    But yesterday he went a step further. He appeared on Glenn Beck’s radio show and he said this:

    “In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying — the next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages. Because the more I’ve talked to folks, I’ve talked to [Alabama Sen. Jeff] Sessions and others out there — but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today — is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages. And we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.”

    It’s hard not to fall down laughing (or lose your lunch) over the most notorious union buster in America waxing on about protecting American jobs, but he’s the last person to understand the irony of his comments. But by taking a position against legal immigration, he’s just placed himself to the right of Ted Cruz on this issue. He’s out in Ben Carson land. Not to mention that he’s obliterated the last tattered shreds of a conservative argument to appeal to Hispanic and other ethnic groups: the idea that illegal immigration is unfair to legal immigrants who’ve been “waiting in line” to come to this country. Walker wants to close down the line altogether. Only the most hardcore neo-Confederates like Sessions want to go that far.

  17. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/lsu_academic_bankruptcy.html “LSU and many other public colleges in Louisiana might be forced to file for financial exigency, essentially academic bankruptcy, if state higher education funding doesn’t soon take a turn for the better.

    Louisiana’s flagship university began putting together the paperwork for declaring financial exigency this week, when the Legislature appeared to make little progress on finding a state budget solution, according to King Alexander, president and chancellor of LSU.

    “We don’t say that to scare people” he said. “Basically, it is how we are going to survive.

    Moody’s Investors Service also announced this month (April 22) that it was lowering LSU’s credit outlook from positive to stable, based on concerns about the the university’s overall financial support. The lowering of LSU’s credit rating makes it more likely the university will have to pay more for its building projects in the future.” Looks like another republican presidential candidate is wrecking a state university system.

  18. swarthmoremom says:

    http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2015/01/minnesota-economy-beats-wisconsin-7-charts-1-table/ “Minnesota’s economy outperforms Wisconsin’s economy. The trends have accelerated since the end of the Great Recession. Economically, Minnesota continues to pull away from the Badger State.”

  19. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/mark-dayton-minnesota-governor-profile-scott-walker “Think of Dayton as Scott Walker’s mirror image. With the help of GOP-controlled legislatures, Walker and other Republican governors, such as Kansas’ Sam Brownback, have passed wish lists of conservative policies and touted their states as laboratories that demonstrate the benefits of conservative governance. Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, has parlayed that hype into a potential 2016 presidential run. And across the border in Minnesota, Dayton seized a brief moment of unified Democratic control to create the liberal alternative to Walker’s Wisconsin—a blue-state laboratory for demonstrating the potential of liberal policies. Dayton didn’t “set out” with the objective of one-upping Walker in mind, he told me after the Eagan event. But “the contrast,” he notes, is obvious.

    Over the past several years, Minnesota has become a testing ground for a litany of policies Democrats hope to enact nationally: legalizing same-sex marriage, making it easier to vote, boosting primary education spending, instituting all-day kindergarten, expanding unionization, freezing college tuition, increasing the minimum wage, and passing new laws requiring equal pay for women. To pay for it all, Dayton pushed a sharp increase on taxes for the top 2 percent…”

  20. Mike Spindell says:

    Bron and Bob,

    Obviously when you’ve got nothing to explain the point of Elaine’s post, yet you are so puffed up with your particular prejudices that in your denial you can’t deal with them……change the subject. In Bron’s case call names like a child on a tantrum….oh those leftists.

    And Bob it certainly backs up your case to quote a magazine that has been the leading propaganda organ of the upper classes, or perhaps you never heard of William A. Rusher, the monarchist, or William F. Buckley the pseudo intellectual CIA agent who founded it. AS awful as that pair was they at least had some content. Unfortunately the rag has gone on a steep downward trend since their passing.

    Stay classy guys…..um that is if you think classy is avoiding reasonable discussion by off topic distractions. I call it flailing impotency by two who talk philosophy, but lack the intellectual chops to understand it.

  21. Elaine M. says:

    The National Review’s police-state hypocrisy: Ferguson protesters deserved it, but Scott Walker probe crosses the line
    The right is outraged over excessive force in a Walker investigation. Where was that outrage last summer?

    It is not uncommon to see headlines announcing that some SWAT team got the wrong address and raided the wrong house, sometimes even killing or maiming an innocent person in the process. (This horror is emblematic of the problem.) This police overkill is a natural result of the militarization of the police, an issue that came to national attention in the wake of the Ferguson protests. At the time, there were a few conservatives who were concerned, and even some who granted that people of color were the more likely victims of these military tactics. But for the most part, leading conservatives (like the editor of the National Review) pooh-poohed the concerns, pretty much saying that if you don’t provoke these Robocops you have nothing to worry about.

    Nonetheless, they are right to say there was no reason for a swarm of government agents to show up at a government employee’s house at 6:45 a.m., storm though the house yelling and screaming over a subpoena in a corruption probe. It’s difficult to believe they couldn’t have calmly handed her the subpoena and asked her respectfully to show them where her computers and other materials were. It’s intimidation, pure and simple. And needless to say there’s no reason to go raiding houses like you’re taking Fallujah; in pursuit of small time drug dealers; or those who fail to show up for court appearances.

    And the least they can do is double-check the address before they do it.

    Members of the right are shocked and stunned to see nice, white conservatives being treated disrespectfully by police, as if they are some kind of a “perp.” Early morning raids, screaming police, tasering protesters — it’s all creepy. But it’s equally creepy when it’s done to people who aren’t nice, white conservatives, and it happens every day of the week in America. Now that their own ox has been gored, maybe this incident can raise the consciousness of some of those conservatives who far too often see the police as the one agent of the government that can do no wrong.

  22. bron98 says:


    I answered you here:

    “How much of the middle class works for the state? If you have a large state payroll and pension liability that money has to come out of the private sector. That is money that is diverted and in the majority of instances is just going to labor, there is no capital expenditure.”

    Capital expenditure is required to create jobs, a job needs to create a surplus to create another job. If you have a large government payroll it takes money away from capital creation and job creation. Walker is trying to free up more money for capital expenses, factory expansion, re-tooling, land and equipment purchase.

    Consumption does not create an economy, production does. Production requires capital, a large government takes money away from capital and production.

    The other necessary to an economy is freedom for the people to act, now why don’t you comment on the gross overreach of the judiciary and the prosecutors?

  23. Elaine M. says:


    I asked you if you thought Walker’s policies were hurting or helping his constituents.

  24. bron98 says:


    I cant speak for Bob but that article from NR was a real eye opener for me. I am sorry you don’t think freedom is necessary for an economy but both political and economic freedom are necessary for liberty. You cant have one without the other.

    So that is why I posted that story, Bob can speak as to why he did.

  25. bron98 says:


    I thought I answered. If he is reducing the state budget and putting more money in the private sector, he is helping.

  26. Elaine M. says:


    Then why isn’t Wisconsin faring better if Walker’s policies are supposedly working so well?

  27. Elaine M. says:

    Wisconsin wants legislators to block Scott Walker

    Scott Walker spends very little time in Wisconsin these days.

    But absence has not made the heart grow fonder.

    Wisconsinites have grown tired of their governor — and his constant excuses for an economic agenda so misguided that it has left Wisconsin far behind neighboring states when it comes to job creation, wage growth and responsible budgeting. And they are in no mood for more of Walker’s austerity agenda of cuts to vital public services and assaults on public education and the University of Wisconsin System.

    In the latest Marquette Law School Poll, Walker’s approval rating has collapsed from 49 percent to 41 percent. A striking 56 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin now say they disapprove of how he is handling his job as governor. And there is every reason to believe that the numbers will keep rising…

    On issue after issue, Wisconsinites are opposed to what the governor is proposing. There’s a reason for this. Walker’s stances have always been extreme for Wisconsin. But, now, as he bids for the presidency, Walker is tailoring his policy positions and his budget to satisfy right-wing voters in states such as South Carolina. That’s not a recipe for success in Wisconsin.

    To some extent, Republicans in the Legislature have begun to recognize that aligning too closely with Walker is bad policy and bad politics. The Republican-controlled legislative Joint Finance Committee started its budget deliberations by jettisoning 14 of Walker’s policy initiatives — including a proposal to gut the power of the Natural Resources Board, which the Marquette poll found Wisconsinites opposed by a 60-30 margin. And they appear to be dubious about plans to borrow $150 million or more to help the wealthy owners of the Milwaukee Bucks develop a new arena, a proposal that the Marquette poll found was opposed by a 79-17 margin.

  28. bron98 says:


    “And they appear to be dubious about plans to borrow $150 million or more to help the wealthy owners of the Milwaukee Bucks develop a new arena,”

    I am against giving money from tax payers to sports owners for this type of thing. Although the construction of Nationals Park in DC created a very nice area with new housing and shops and restaurants. I would not do it, if a rich guy wants to build a stadium, he needs to use his own money or raise it by selling shares in the enterprise.

    Success is simple, reduce taxes, make sensible regulations that protect all parties, reduce the size of government and follow the rule of law which supports the rights of individuals.

  29. Bob Kauten says:

    You used awful big words, but I suspect that you were insulting Bob and Bron.
    Will they grasp such subtlety?
    We’ll never know, because they’ll change the subject.
    Free markets!
    I’ve been to a Flea Market, does that count?

  30. Elaine M. says:

    The twisted metamorphosis of Scott Walker’s Wisconsin: How a once-liberal state became a political battlefield
    Walker ushered in a new era of conservatism in Wisconsin, but there’s much more behind the state’s transformation
    David A. Schultz

    …Since 1987, Republicans have controlled the governorship for 20 of the last 28 years; and since 1995, except for a brief period, they have controlled one or both houses of the legislature. Walker and other Republicans have successfully exploited white middle and working class anxieties, as work has dried up, incomes have decreased, and the state has racially diversified. Walker, and before him Thompson, offered simple solutions for why things have gone wrong: Lazy welfare recipients, unions, gays, college students, intellectuals, Democrats, and government. (It is a variation of Thomas Franks’ “What’s the Matter with Kansas” thesis.)

    But there’s more to the situation than simply appealing to social issues, fear, and prejudice to acquire votes. The state’s Republican lawmakers have also cynically adopted policies that not only do little to help their new constituencies, but are meant also to perpetuate and magnify exactly those same anxieties and make sure their base continues to vote Republican. Walker has been successful not only in exploiting political prejudices; his policies have actively encouraged and nourished them.

    During Walker’s 2012 recall election, signs across Wisconsin signs declared, “It’s beginning to work,” referencing claims that the economic policies of Walker were finally going to produce the 250,000 jobs his 2010 election promised. Those jobs never materialized, yet Walker retains the support of so many of those whom his policies have hurt.

    In so exploiting and nurturing these attitudes, Walker and Republicans have been successful in flipping Wisconsin. They have used a narrative of blaming others, decrying them, Democrats, and government for the reasons why the middle and working class are struggling. Democrats conversely have failed to articulate a narrative to why this is wrong and their policies are right. This is why Wisconsin is flipping, why Walker is successful, and how that state is a case study and prelude to the Republican 2016 presidential campaign strategy.

  31. blouise says:


    The funny thing is that when this guy looks in the mirror he actually sees presidential material. He’s confused his own propaganda with truth and honestly thinks he has what it takes to man the desk in the Oval Office. Wisconsin is circling the drain while he’s spritzing his hair and whitening his teeth.

    To quote Bron: “The market will correct itself as long as facepowder is applied!”

    Ok, maybe it wasn’t Bron who said that, but it was someone who was his intellectual equal.

  32. bron98 says:

    I say the market will correct itself if just left alone. But the market is nothing more than a collection of individuals making daily decisions about what is best for them. So individuals will correct their behavior if they are allowed to see the actual price of something and not the price that is a fictional one based on government intervention.

    I don’t claim to be smart, I don’t claim to be an intellectual but I do know a little bit about individual freedom; that is a subject that lefties aren’t much concerned with unless it involves cakes or embryos. And for the cakes, well they are trampling on someone’s rights so they are only partially right about gay marriage. So that leaves abortion as the only sacred right of individuals as far as the left is concerned.

  33. Elaine M. says:


    The right-wingers and conservatives really have a lot of respect for the freedom and the right of women to determine what to do with their own bodies, don’t they? They also believe in letting gays and lesbians live their lives as they choose. Yuh, the righties are big on individual freedom! What planet are you living on?

  34. Mike Spindell says:

    “I cant speak for Bob but that article from NR was a real eye opener for me.”

    I’m glad you got my point that the National Review is meant for people like you. Intelligent people who are blinded by the logs of ego-centrism in their eyes.

  35. Mike Spindell says:


    Is it true that you were a member of the Hitler Youth when you were young? When did you quit?

  36. Bob Kauten says:

    The cakes are trampling on someone’s rights? Those bastards!
    This is, by far, the most coherent statement you’ve made on this blog.
    That you don’t claim to be smart or an intellectual is a beginning.
    Those traits are descriptive of progressives (whatever the hell that means) only.

  37. Bob Stone says:

    Not for nothing, but disregarding an article simply because it doesn’t comport with your political leaning is not only childish but the very definition of living inside a bubble. (See Bill Maher for details).

    I’d say the same thing to a conservative who refused to read an article simply because it was published in The New Yorker or The Atlantic.

    If you deem this type of behavior justifiable simply because you oppose a particular politician, then you are a lost cause:

    “It’s a matter of life or death.”

    That was the first thought of “Anne” (not her real name). Someone was pounding at her front door. It was early in the morning — very early — and it was the kind of heavy pounding that meant someone was either fleeing from — or bringing — trouble.

    “It was so hard. I’d never heard anything like it. I thought someone was dying outside.”

    She ran to the door, opened it, and then chaos. “People came pouring in. For a second I thought it was a home invasion. It was terrifying. They were yelling and running, into every room in the house. One of the men was in my face, yelling at me over and over and over.”

    It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers. Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family. Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.

    Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.

    In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”

    As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.

    Don’t call your lawyer.

    Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.

    The entire neighborhood could see the police around their house, but they had to remain silent. This was not the “right to remain silent” as uttered by every cop on every legal drama on television — the right against self-incrimination. They couldn’t mount a public defense if they wanted — or even offer an explanation to family and friends.

    Yet no one in this family was a “perp.” Instead, like Cindy, they were American citizens guilty of nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights to support Act 10 and other conservative causes in Wisconsin. Sitting there shocked and terrified, this citizen — who is still too intimidated to speak on the record — kept thinking, “Is this America?”

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417155/wisconsins-shame-i-thought-it-was-home-invasion-david-french

    • Mike Spindell says:

      Still avoiding the subject of this post which is the decline of a middle class in Wisconsin. As for my discounting the National Review article I think it is up there with people disregarding the news put out by Joseph Goebbels, in each case it is propaganda. To me the National Review was founded as a Fascist propaganda tool and remains so to this day. Rusher was a Fascist and so was Buckley. Oh but I guess you liked Buckley’s vocabulary with which he hid his Fascist beliefs.

      I’m simply tired of the bullshit put out by you and Bron who both seem to believe that when I talk about racism, police murders or the destruction of the middle class it is because I’m some sort of doctrinaire leftist. This is how you dismiss ideas so they won’t trouble your pretty little minds. What I’m talking about is a philosophy of how humans need to treat each other, not some intellectual exercise in masturbation passed off as intellectual sustenance.

      As I wrote at RIL in 2011: http://jonathanturley.org/2011/12/04/william_f__buckley_jr__1985/

  38. Bob Stone says:

    Wisconsin’s dirty prosecutors pull a Putin
    Abusing law enforcement powers to punish political opponents is a crime.

    When Vladimir Putin sends government thugs to raid opposition offices, the world clucks its tongue. But, after all, Putin’s a corrupt dictator, so what do you expect?

    But in Wisconsin, Democratic prosecutors were raiding political opponents’ homes and, in a worse-than-Putin twist, they were making sure the world didn’t even find out, by requiring their targets to keep quiet. As David French notes in National Review, “As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings. Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends. … This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform.”

    Is this un-American? Yes, yes it is. And the prosecutors involved — who were attacking supporters of legislation that was intended to rein in unions’ power in the state — deserve to be punished. Abusing law enforcement powers to punish political opponents, and to discourage contributions to political enemies, is a crime, and it should also be grounds for disbarment.

    If Republican officials treated political opponents this way it would be national news. But when Wisconsin’s Democratic apparat behaved like Putin’s thugs, it got little attention from the “mainstream” media. One of the good things about Scott Walker’s presidential run is that it will bring these abuses national attention. They deserve it, and the perpetrators deserve punishment.


    • Mike Spindell says:

      “If Republican officials treated political opponents this way it would be national news.”

      I never realized what a doctrinaire Republican you are, even believing in the myth of the “liberal news media”. A good mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  39. Elaine M. says:


    Who has justified bad behavior? That’s an assumption that you have made. Home invasions happen every day. Has anyone who writes for this blog ever condoned such things?

  40. Bob Stone says:

    “Home invasions happen every day.”

    Are you F’n kidding me?

  41. Bob Stone says:

    There were casualties left on the battlefield — innocent citizens victimized by a lawless government mob, public officials who brought the full power of their office down onto the innocent.

    Governors come and go. Statutes are passed and repealed. Laws and elections are important, to be sure, but the rule of law is more important still. And in Wisconsin, the rule of law hangs in the balance — along with the liberty of citizens.

    As I finished an interview with one victim still living in fear, still shattered by the experience of nearly losing everything simply because she supported the wrong candidate at the wrong time, I asked whether she had any final thoughts. “Just one,” she replied. “I’m hoping for accountability, that someone will be held responsible so that they’ll never do this again.” She paused for a moment and then, with voice trembling, said: “No one should ever endure what my family endured.”

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417155/wisconsins-shame-i-thought-it-was-home-invasion-david-french

  42. Elaine M. says:

    Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America

    Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing.

    Executive Summary

    Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

    These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

    This paper presents a history and overview of the issue of paramilitary drug raids, provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.

    About the Author
    Author/Editor Summary:
    Radley Balko is a policy analyst for the Cato Institute specializing in vice and civil liberties issues. He is a columnist for FoxNews.com and has been published in Time magazine, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Forbes, the National Post, Worth, Reason, and several other publications. Balko has also appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox News Channel, NPR, and MSNBC.

  43. bron98 says:


    I don’t usually read NR, I gave it up after Buckley died. I thought that article was important, the total trampling of individuals by a democrat prosecutor and judge was truly eye opening. But then the IRS did almost the same thing. So again I say I see a pattern emerging; democrats/leftists are willing to use the power of the state to oppose people with whom they have political differences.

    I am really disappointed you think that is a beam in my ego-centric eye. Honestly do you think what was done in Wisconsin was ok, I don’t believe you do. That is about as fascist or communist as you can get. What was done was utterly despicable and anyone who would support that sort of thing is someone who I would ignore on any topic or issue, I would figure they had limited mental acuity and didn’t care much about others or their country or they were simply evil human beings.

    It also makes me wonder about Walker, I have a hard time believing he didn’t know. if he did know and did nothing he isn’t fit to be president.

  44. bron98 says:


    I am against the war on drugs. I think it should be legal to smoke it, inhale it, shoot it up.

  45. Bob Stone says:


    You have completely missed the point because you haven’t read the article.

    Police don’t raid homes because of political beliefs. They don’t harass and intimidate citizens because of who they support politically.

  46. Bob Stone says:

    “What was done was utterly despicable and anyone who would support that sort of thing is someone who I would ignore on any topic or issue, I would figure they had limited mental acuity and didn’t care much about others or their country or they were simply evil human beings.”

    And by “support” you also mean attempting to rationalize it.

  47. Elaine M. says:


    As I suggested to you upthread, you might consider writing an article about this miscarriage of justice for the blog.

  48. Mike Spindell says:

    “I thought that article was important, the total trampling of individuals by a democrat prosecutor and judge was truly eye opening.”

    This is exactly the intellectually bankrupt position that Bob took in posting that article and that you took in supporting it. You both pre-suppose that Elaine and myself are such ardent followers of the Democratic Party, that we approve of rampant illegality when it is done by people affiliated with the Democratic Party. Bob’s answer, and yours, is of the essence of how dare you accuse Republican Walker of anything, when YOU democrats/liberals do it to? That is an illogical and frankly stupid argument and it is disappointing coming from someone who for years has put himself forward as a follower of Kant’s logic. Really?

    Use the search function for both and Elaine and me. You will find that neither of us can be put into a pigeonhole as doctrinaire Democrats based on the body of our work. You are both responding to this thread with laziness, sloppiness and a distinct lack of logic.

  49. For the most part it seems like the majority of the Great Lakes Region and south of it is moving in this direction.

  50. Bob Stone says:


    You’re probably right. I didn’t mean to hijack your thread; I just thought it pertinent information regarding Scott Walker.


  51. Of course Elaine is right, Bob. If you think something is so important as to try to hijack another author’s thread, write a column of your own. Unlike most people, you do have that option. To do otherwise is simply bad manners let alone a lame tactic.

  52. bron98 says:


    you should write a thread on that topic.

  53. bron98 says:

    Actually, Gene, I was the first to post that article. I would like that credit. I did it in response to rafflaw’s post.

    I thought it was part of the answer to Elaine’s question about the shrinking middle class and I think I tied it together with a subsequent post about political and economic freedom.

  54. Yeah, B., but Bob was the one who chose to run with it.

  55. po says:

    If it matters what I think, I’d like to see Bron write an article about it.
    I fear Bob’s would be about dogs!
    Caitlyn is right….happened in Kansas, happening in Wisconsin…and will keep happening…the shame is that the populations are just too passive so far and by the time they realize the water is boiling and they are cooking, they are already being served.

  56. blouise says:


    Ah, shades of Damon Knight’s “To Serve Man”

  57. po says:

    Thanks for the education, Blouise. I was actually referring to lobsters or frogs, but a literary inspiration makes me seem smarter 🙂

  58. po,

    Bron has never expressed any interest in writing for the blog as an a/e, but as a friend of the blog he is free to write a column and submit it “over the transom” for the guest blogger program on any topic he likes. We’ve had several people express interest in that, but only one who has followed through. The result was a fairly robust thread.

  59. po says:

    Looking forward to it, Bron.
    If you wait too long however, I may beat you to it.

  60. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.occupydemocrats.com/its-official-minnesotas-middle-class-economics-triumphs-over-scott-walkers-anti-worker-agenda/ “The other side of the border has a very different story to tell. In Minnesota, Governor Dayton has pursued a progressive agenda that has rewarded his constituents; “Forbes has ranked Minnesota as the ninth best state for business, seventh in economic climate and second in quality of life.” Dayton took a budget deficit of $6.2 billion and turned it into a surplus of $1.9 billion, and he did it by- wait for it- “raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of households, large corporations, and tobacco taxes.” By doing this, he balanced the budget and then was able to cut taxes for two million Minnesotans. With the surplus money, he has been able to fund all-day kindergarten for all Minnesotan children, lifting a burden from working parents and investing in their children’s futures.

    The differences couldn’t be clearer. Two states, two governors. One red, and one blue. One has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of all of his citizens, healed a recession-ravaged economy and turned it into a bustling powerhouse. The other has driven his state into the ground, and unabashedly told his citizens to tighten their belts while giving millions of tax breaks to the biggest corporations and the wealthiest citizens. This salvo from R.T. Rypak coming so close on the heels of the news how Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has utterly crippled his state’s economy should be the nail in the coffin on the Republican economic playbook. It doesn’t work. It does not create jobs, it does not raise revenue, it does not improve people’s live. It’s far past time American recognized this and stop letting the Republican Party drag our nation into the mire.”

  61. swarthmoremom says:

    http://crooksandliars.com/2015/04/walker-goes-minnesota-gets-burned-blames “The thing is that Walker has had a Republican-controlled Assembly, a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled Supreme Court. Walker has been able to do whatever he wanted without restraint.

    Furthermore, the job numbers show that the rate of job numbers dropped drastically when Walker was elected and able to get his first budget and his first policies in place.

    It’s time and beyond that Walker’s handlers inform him that the people want a grown up for their president, not a little boy living in an imaginary place.”

  62. Cancer patient with a week to live flees Kansas for-profit Medicaid for life-saving surgery in Memphis

    The story’s title alone speaks volumes.

    Can’t go savin’ someone’s life when there’s a profit to be made now can ya?

  63. Gene,
    Tennessee Governor Haslam (R), has slowly come around to the conclusion that refusing to accept more than 1.2 billion dollars of Tennessean’s own tax money back from the Federal government may not have been the best idea. Of course, the teabag contingent in the legislature is crying foul.

    We shall see how this tug-of-war plays out between the sane and insane. Here is the lost Medicaid money widget that local bloggers can insert into their blogs.

    • Chuck Stanley, middle class is a divisive term.

      • Jeff,
        Care to elaborate on that contention? How and why is it anything but descriptive?

        • Chuck Stanley, the use of the term class in this context is meant to pit one group of people against another. Instead of using the term middle class, why not use the term working Americans?

          • I understand what you are saying. However, a lot of people work–and work hard–who have incomes that range from minimum wage (or less) to millions of dollars per year. Middle designates a demographic that not only includes income, but lifestyle, culture, and even where they live. Not rich, not poor, but in the middle. It is a commonly accepted term in economics, cultural anthropology, politics, sociology and psychology. When used, pretty much everyone knows what you are talking about.

            Having said that, I agree with the late television newsman, Harry Reasoner. He gave an editorial talk on his program one evening. The topic was our tendency to pigeonhole people. What is a conservative, a liberal, and all kinds of other currently popular appellations? For example, I am a social liberal and fiscal conservative. Where do I get stuck? I own a number of firearms and know how to use them, but have absolutely nothing in common with the leadership of the NRA and their propaganda machine.

            Harry Reasoner thought trying to label people was stupid and counterproductive. I don’t think creating names for socioeconomic demographics are labels that carry negative connotation, but more of a way to locate a segment of society in comparison to other portions of our society.

  64. Mike Spindell says:

    I read your link and I must say as I was relating it to my wife I was in tears. As someone who has had insurance pay for the transplant that saved my life I take these things personally. God Damn Sam Brownback who is a loathsome man who pretends to be religious. I must say though that the good folks of Kansas perhaps elected a governor that they deserve in their supposed Christian piety.

  65. I. Annie says:

    The Wisconsin GAB who approved the investigation, is bipartisan. The Special Prosecuter is a lifelong Republican. This John Doe investigation was not a partisan attack on Scott Walker.



    “The raids were conducted as part of a pair of investigations led by Chisholm, a Democrat. On the second investigation, Chisholm was assisted by district attorneys from both parties and special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, a self-described Republican.”

    “In an equally unusual turn, prosecutors fired back by calling Walker’s comments inaccurate, offensive and defamatory — with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm suggesting Walker could be criminally charged for lying. They said Walker should call for the release of sealed court records so the public could know more about the investigation and raids on people’s homes, but Walker gave that notion little heed.”

  66. bron98 says:


    that is really a messed up story. Why would they do that? We have a friend whose daughter almost died recently because the hospital, a well known and respected one, didn’t know shit about how to handle her disease. She was released by that hospital and her parents took her to another in their state. They told me had she stayed in that hospital she would have been dead in a couple of weeks. Their insurance, a for profit one, never denied anything.

    I have never been denied anything and my insurance is for profit and same for my daughter. So it isn’t for profit companies that are necessarily to blame.

    You would think that they would have been willing to spend the money on an 18 year old, it would be easier to understand if the person was 80. But that is messed up to, an 80 year old with a sound mind wants to live as much as an 18 year old. Death is a human gift and its biggest curse.

  67. Pingback: Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s Budget Woes | Flowers For Socrates

  68. This is patently absurd.

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