cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The breadth and depth of the non-budget items that continue to be "found" in the state budget are almost beyond belief. The Journal Sentinel published an article yesterday that delineated some of those:
- Drivers licenses for illegal immigrants- why would they want this when they're driving now? Could it be that these would permit some to vote illegally? If they're illegal, shouldn't something else be happening if they're stopped for a traffic offense?
- Increased minimum auto liability insurance- this will significantly increase the premiums we'll have to pay, it will add money to the pockets of trial lawyers, and it will ultimately cause more uninsured motorists, which will raise our rates some more. Sounds like a great idea, huh?
- QEO abolished- this is obviously a pay-back to WEAC, the teachers' union; it was interesting to see WEAC come back and tell the legislature to delay this until 2010; it must mean that the QEO will be better for the teachers this year during our recession, and then the teachers can begin to negotiate for the larger increases. Arbitrators will be involved when QEO dies, and that'll assure bigger settlements as the economy improves.
- Arbitration language is opened up- thus permitting much larger settlements than would be the case under the language formerly relied upon.
- Choice schools are to be hindered even more and will likely be forced out of business- it is interesting that Rep. Pedro Colon (D) was the one who stuck a stick in the choice schools' eye, even as his constituents want what they have today, total English immersion.
- Traffic stops for no seat belts in use- this will lead to more complaints by citizens who believe they're being targeted.
- Racial profiling data base tracking- this will be coupled with seat belts in the minds of many. Trial lawyers will likely benefit from this, as well.
- State agent access to personal bank accounts- this will require that banks permit the state to determine how much you have in the bank so they can collect their tax money more easily.
- Early release of felons- if they meet the "good behavior" benchmarks. Given a recidivism (return to prison) rate in the high double figures, this makes a lot of sense. We can get the prisoners on the streets sooner so that we can lock them up again. Sounds like a real winner so far as reducing costs, huh? Again, trial lawyers will probably benefit.
- GPS monitoring cutbacks- this will help the bad guy sex offenders work their magic better since they'll no longer be monitored 24/7, but simply once a day. Again, another really neat cost-cutting measure.
There is obviously good reason for all this having been concocted behind closed doors; it stinks!
You and me can correct these things and we get that chance at the time of the next election. We can remember to not give Governor Doyle a third term. We can remember to not give Democrats absolute control of at least the Assembly or the Senate. We can get much more active in letting our elected officials know what we think and what we want. If we don't do that, we'll get whatever they want us to get.
Based on this budget cycle, we should really have seen enough that we'll not permit this to be done to us ever again.
Finally, we really need to get in their collective faces when they lie to us using their double-speak. We are the fools from their perspective; and, too often, we play our parts too well by half!!
Remember that these rules apply to our local elections, too. We sit with a village board that makes it easy for the president to get his way. No matter the names of the people involved, there should not be a "rubber stamp" extended to anyone in elected office. That makes it too easy for us to get the short end of too many sticks. We have two new faces at the village level, and time will tell how they will usually vote.
Probably the best way to assure periodic turn-over amongst those we elect, is to knowingly replace them from time to time. We have to evaluate whether or not new blood will offset the loss of institutional knowledge. That isn't as difficult a choice at the local or county level as it might seem. We never turn out the entire crew at one time, and it is not likely that we'll get mandatory term limits. But we ought to turn some of them out every two terms or so just to keep everyone aware of who it is that puts them in this place of honor to work on our behalf.
The Curmudgeon Blog today is titled "9.4% National Unemployment".