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Middle Wisconsin News
www.MiddleWisconsin.com December 2012


The Road Ahead...

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note ........................1 The Farce of the Fiscal Cliff ..... 1 Filthy Rich .............................3 Working Wisconsin ...............4 Voter ID Law .........................5 Paul Wellstone ......................6 Grover Norquist ....................7 Speak Up! .............................8 Bernie Sanders .....................9 Damned Fools .................... 10 Anchoring Wealth ............... 11 Challenging the Myth .......... 12

It’s December in Wisconsin. The first snow has fallen, and the lakes and rivers are donning their coats of ice. It has been a tumultuous year. Like all citizens who are concerned about our country, we at Middle Wisconsin News cannot help but ponder the road ahead. For most of us, the past few years have been a time of reaction – a time for simply surviving the onslaught. But the recalls, the elections, and the shock are behind us. The year ahead is calling for a shift in mindset. It is calling for us to be proactive. Middle Wisconsin News will continue to be a voice for progressive ideas. We will continue to highlight the gross inequities and the growing threats to our democracy from plutocracy and oligarchy. But we will also work to bring people together. No matter what our political persuasions, we as citizens – as members of the same community – have far more to unite us than divide us. We must all proclaim anew: It is “We the People.”
NOTE: Starting with this issue, the Table of Contents & various words in the newsletter are live hyperlinks. Click on an underlined phrase for quick access to another page in this newsletter or to link you to an online source where you can read more about a given topic. As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, neighbors, and other organizations. Thanks for reading!

The Farce of the “Fiscal Cliff”
By Dave Svetlik – Mosinee We’ve all seen this before. It has become standard operating procedure. Conjure up an “emergency.” Instill fear in the masses. Scream about the impending doom: “No time to delay! No time to think! It’s out of control! Nothing we can do! We’re heading for the cliff! The “fiscal cliff”! Save your children! Run for your lives! “ This is what passes for statesmanship in America today. This is how we guide our nation – the world’s only supposed “super power.” It would be a comedy if it weren’t such a tragedy. The “fiscal cliff” emergency was entirely and deliberately man-made. Even its date of arrival at the end of a lame duck Congress was chosen to avoid giving the public time to think. No matter that the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Budget for All gives us clear and fair guidelines for actually correcting America’s economic problems. That has never truly been the goal. Government debt and the “fiscal cliff” are merely tools... mechanisms being used by the

Middle Wisconsin News welcomes letters, articles and essays on relevant topics. We ask that you limit submissions to 800 words and provide sources when appropriate. Submissions may be edited for length, clarity, and taste. Emailed submissions should be sent in plain text or Microsoft Word attachments to: dave@middlewisconsin.org
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Middle Wisconsin News
The Farce of the “Fiscal Cliff” –

December 2012 Page 2


“The longer we listen to one another – with real attention – the more commonality we will find in all our lives.”
— Barbara Deming Author

plutocratic and oligarchic elite now largely in control of our government to allow dismantling of the social safety net, privatization of all things public, and the continued transfer of the nation’s wealth upward. We as citizens, as united conservatives and progressives, must come to understand that as a nation, we are literally awash in true physical wealth. We have virtually all of the same resources available that we had when we built the interstate highways; when we built schools and universities; when we built our cities and parks; when we provided the GI Bill for all of the veterans returning from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam; when we landed men on the moon; and when people were paid living wages and were provided with excellent benefits and pensions. None of these resources have changed. What has changed is how the money – the claim to wealth – is now distributed. There is no question that our monetary system is now rigged in favor of the very rich. “Trickle down” economics developed under President Reagan, the demise of the Glass-Steagall Act (also known as the Banking Act of 1933) as well as other Wall Street deregulation (not to mention the signing of NAFTA) under President Clinton, and tax cuts for the rich under President G.W. Bush have transferred so much of the “money” to so few that it has paralyzed our country. The farce being staged in the “fiscal cliff” debate has nothing to do with debt or deficit reduction. It has nothing to do with our ability to provide healthcare and social security. It is not a battle between conservatives and progressives. Similar to the historic Gilded Age or the years preceding the Great Depression, we are witnessing a battle to determine if our nation will return to a democracy or continue down its current path to rule by the rich.

“You stick together ’til it’s won.”
— Pete Seeger American folk singer

The Budget for All – Excerpt
“Throughout our history, Americans have stood shoulder to shoulder to fight through the worst. At this decisive moment, the Budget for All asks the most fortunate to contribute a sensible share. We ask because we value a teacher as much as a CEO, a grocer as much as a venture capitalist, working moms as much as working dads, and our rough neighborhoods as much as our safe suburbs. The CPC budget is a governing vision for all Americans. It is a reflection of their priorities and voices. Americans believe in the covenant made between a government and its citizens. We hear them, and honor the promises made by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The CPC budget protects these basic guarantees: When you are old, you will not live in poverty; when you are sick, you will have affordable health care; and when you’ve fallen on tough times, you will have support to get back on your feet. Those promises are not up for negotiation or experimentation.”

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— The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Budget

Middle Wisconsin News
Filthy-Rich, Tax-Dodging Hypocrites
By Jeanne Larson – Phillips

December 2012 Page 3

“To hear some pundits tell it, the Lame Duck budget battle is about the ‘unsustainable federal deficit,’ or ‘entitlement reform,’ or even ‘ tax rates.’ These characterizations make it sound like a contest between two competing sets of policies and programs. But underlying all of the policyspeak, the Lame Duck budget battle is really about one question. Will the 1% of Americans who had the party that caused the deficit be asked to pay the bill?” — Robert Creamer
Political Organizer Partner Democracy Partners

In “10 Filthy-Rich, Tax-Dodging Hypocrites Pushing Disastrous Austerity on America” Anderson and Klinger (Oct. 26, 2012) describe how the Fix-the-Debt coalition of more than 80 CEOs is using the so-called “fiscal cliff” as an opportunity to press for more corporate tax breaks. This coalition is spending $60 million in a media and lobbying campaigns to promote their ideas on dealing with the nation’s fiscal challenges. Anderson and Klinger point out the irony in the fact that these taxdodging CEOs have been major contributors to the national debt they claim they know how to fix. The Fix-the-Debt coalition proposes cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and deductions that are likely to include credits for working families, while recommending “pro-growth reform.” Translation: More corporate tax breaks – including switching to a territorial system where corporate foreign earnings would be permanently exempted instead of being taxed when returned to the United States. Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that tax havens alone will cost over $1 trillion in 10 years. In 2011, the 10 most profitable U.S. companies – including Exxon Mobil, Apple, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and General Electric – paid an average federal tax rate of 9%. Exxon Mobil paid only 2% of its $73.3 billion earnings to the IRS. Effective corporate tax rates recently hit a 40-year low as corporate profits are at alltime highs. Corporations benefiting most from lower effective tax rates are among the biggest lobbying spenders. (Eichler, The Huffington Post, Aug. 6, 2012) Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, a member of the Fix-the-Debt coalition, magnanimously claims he would accept a small increase in individual taxes for the wealthy in exchange for a comprehensive budget deal that includes the territorial tax system. No doubt Blankfein’s compensation ($19 million in 2011) would increase substantially if the coalition lands a windfall for big business with their pro-corporate agenda. Contact President Obama and your U.S. Senators and Representatives (see page 8 of this newsletter for contact info) to ask them to support equitable, sustainable reforms that do not further shift the burden from the wealthy and big corporations to everyone else.

Source: http:// www.huffingtonpost.com/ robert-creamer/budgetbattle_b_2189553.html

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December 2012 Page 4

Working Wisconsin – Labor News & Views

Worker Exploitation Laws
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'work.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining... We demand this fraud be stopped.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By John Spiegelhoff – Merrill

It happens every time whenever I hear someone say that this state or that state is a “Right to Work State”: The hair stands up on the back of my neck, and I cringe even though I may be talking to one of my brothers or sisters in this historic fight in Wisconsin. I gently correct them. I reframe the issue by saying, “Oh, you mean worker exploitation laws.” They look at me like I am from a different planet or I have spoken a foreign language. The conversation becomes awkward. I purposely intended to turn the conversation awkward. Their eyes implore me to explain myself. I do. With great empathy and respect, I politely tell them that they have been hoodwinked. I inform them that I do not speak that language they have unconsciously been taught to parrot. It is not their fault. I explain that I do not use Republican-speak. Everyone has a right to work. Everyone has a choice to work and feed their families and pay their bills. The phrase “right to work” is a misnomer. “Right to work” really means laws passed by states to exploit workers. What it really means is that although workers are able to collectively bargain (there is a federal law that permits workers to organize and join a union), workers do not have to join the union at their place of work and can “opt out” of paying union dues. So this is what happens in worker-exploited states. The collective power of the union is undermined by financially undercutting the very organization that fights to ensure that workers get treated fairly in the workplace and engage in collective bargaining to improve their wages, benefits, and working conditions. In essence, workers are able to “free ride” on the backs of others. They get all the benefits of a union but don’t have to pay. The union is weakened. The workers are exploited. In Republicanland, they see unions as a threat because they violate the core principles of their party platform. Workers should sell their labor individually to the corporation. Collective bargaining and trade union democracy is seen as unfairly inflating the price of one’s labor. To the Republicans, this cuts into profits and this will not stand. Workers are expendable. Do your friends and families a favor... When someone says “right to work,” respond by saying something like: “Oh, you really mean worker exploitation laws, which are meant to harm working people by driving down wages, eliminating benefits, and valuing profits over people.” Then give yourself a pat on the back for reframing the issue by not using “Republican-speak” and for sticking up for workers.

“The problem with unions today is that there aren't enough of them.” — Martin Johns
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December 2012 Page 5

The Voter ID Law… Is It Necessary?
By Joyce Luedke – Hayward “Voter ID ‘absolutely’ would have made a 3. Is she implying that the thousands of difference in the election outcome” was Wispeople who registered on election day consin State Senator Alberta Darling’s committed voter fraud? Is she implying (Republican, 8th District, River Falls) rethat the poll workers would knowingly sponse to a question about Act 23, the voter and willingly aid the voter in committing ID law, while appearing November 10 on the voter fraud? I was a poll observer on TV show UpFront with Mike Gousha. Alberta election day. I saw firsthand how carefulDarling served as a co-chair for the Romney/ ly the registrars checked the required Ryan campaign. She continued: “We’re lookdocumentation needed by a would-be ing at all sorts of different precincts and all voter to register. The poll workers have a sorts of same-day registration.” responsibility and are bound by duty to assure that elections are fraud-free. I What is Senator Darling implying by her saw firsthand the weight the poll workstatements? ers felt to assure that the election process was legitimate. This is a huge re1. Is she implying that 200,000 or more sponsibility of average citizens who work people committed voter fraud in Wisat the polling sites. consin? President Obama/Vice President Joe Biden won the state of Wisconsin 4. Is she implying that had Act 23 been in with 52% of the vote and a margin of place, more than 200,000 would not over 200,000 votes. Is she implying that have been able to vote: minorities, the these votes are not valid? disabled, the homeless, the elderly, students, military personnel, the poor, 2. Is she implying that voters who voted in the disenfranchised? “different precincts” are more apt to commit voter fraud than others? Is she I believe what Alberta Darling was implying implying that voter fraud is rampant but is this: The new voting law, Act 23, was put just can’t be proved? in place in Wisconsin by a Republican governor and a Republican-led legislature to re“In July, Dane County Judge David Flanagan strict voting to assure a win for the Republistruck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law as vio- can presidential candidate. When the relating the state constitution’s express protec- strictions didn’t produce the desired results tions for voting rights, noting that: Since – a win for Romney/Ryan – then surely, in 2004, voter fraud investigations have been her eyes, there must have been rampant undertaken by the Milwaukee Police Depart- voter fraud. ment, by the Mayors of Wisconsin, and by the Department of Justice, working with Thankfully, all across this great state and various county prosecutors through the country of ours, citizens stood in line – (Republican) Attorney General’s Election sometimes for hours – to cast their vote for Fraud Task Force. None of these efforts have the candidate of their choice. Citizens used produced a prosecution of a voter fraud vio- their vote – their most sacred right – to lation that would have been prevented by express their belief that we are all equal in the voter ID requirements in Wisconsin’s the voting booth. voter ID law.” (Brendan Fischer, PRWatch.org, Nov. 14, 2012) And our voices were heard loud and clear!

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

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December 2012 Page 6

Remembering Senator Paul Wellstone
By Virginia Kirsch – Wausau Wellstone Action was created in 2003 to honor and remember U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila Wellstone, who died in a plane crash 12 days before the 2002 election. Wellstone was a Progressive from Minnesota. In its nearly 10 years of existence, Wellstone Action has trained 55,000 people in progressive politics throughout the USA. The following are some important results from the November 6 election:

“The future will not belong to those who sit on the sidelines. The future will not belong to the cynics. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
— Paul Wellstone Progressive Minnesota Senator

 

In New Hampshire, Democrats won back the House, and 31 of these winners are Wellstone Action alums. In Minnesota, Democrats won both the House and Senate, with 40 of the alumni taking office. After 30 straight defeats at the ballot box, the Minnesotans United for All Families won the fight for marriage equality. In Maine, Wellstone Action partnered with Mainers United for Marriage. This referendum won. No state has ever approved same-sex marriage by popular vote. In Florida, Wellstone Action played a key role in winning this state. They teamed up with Florida New Majority and the Florida Immigrant Coalition to get out the vote in communities that are often ignored. In North Dakota, Wellstone Action trainer Prairie Rose Seminole and her team at Native Vote brought a victory for Heidi Heitkamp, the first female U.S. Senator in North Dakota’s history.

You can read more about Wellstone Action and its alumni at www.wellstone.org.

“We all do better when we all do better.”
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— Paul Wellstone

Middle Wisconsin News

December 2012 Page 7

Grover Norquist
“It is true, as indicated in the last cited case, that every exaction of money for an act is a discouragement to the extent of the payment required, but that which in its immediacy is a discouragement may be part of an encouragement when seen in its organic connection with the whole. Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes Supreme Court Justice (quotation from a 1927 court case) By Virginia Kirsch – Wausau

Grover Norquist wrote the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which has held Congress captive, resulting in numerous U.S. financial problems going unsolved. (Senator Ron Johnson and Congressman Sean Duffy have signed this pledge.) Now voices of opposition to this pledge are being heard. More than 80 senior executives of the USA’s largest companies have touted their support for a group called Fix the Debt. They are saying loud and clear that the United States cannot solve its financial problems without raising taxes on the wealthy—starting with allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire. Norquist founded the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in 1985 at the request of President Reagan. At the last count, the pledge had been signed by 218 House members, 39 U.S. Senators, 13 governors, and over 1,200 state legislators. Those numbers are somewhat reduced, after the November 6 election. Nevertheless, our elected officials who signed the pledge seem to hold their loyalty to this pledge above their loyalty to our U.S. Constitution. On a personal note, Grover Norquist was born in Massachusetts in 1956. He graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBO. He has been a small-government, low-tax activist and has held many positions to that end:
    

Chief speech writer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Staff of the Republican Platform Committee in 1988, 1992, and 1996 Co-authored the Contract with America (with Newt Gingrich) in 1994 Crafted President George W. Bush’s Tax Cuts Active in the Tea Party

To my surprise, Norquist has reached out to minorities, organized support for gays and lesbians, supported the Hispanic Leadership Fund and the Indian-American Republican Caucus. He also supports bringing home the troops from Afghanistan because it would save hundreds of billions of dollars. In 2004, Norquist married Samah Alrayyes, an Arab-American with Kuwaiti roots. They adopted two children from abroad and live a modest lifestyle. Samah was in the news recently as co-chair of the Arab-Americans for Romney. As progressives most of us have deep differences with Grover Norquist, but we are all multi-faceted creatures. It is important that we keep this in mind.

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Speak Up!
By Joyce Luedke – Hayward

December 2012 Page 8

The election is over. Now the work of governing must begin. Now the work of citizenship must continue.

“Thoughtful Americans understand that the highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher standard.”
— George McGovern U.S. Senator & U.S. Representative South Dakota

As citizens, we must continue our duty to be informed and involved. Informed and involved citizens will mean many things to each of us. It means turning off the “propagandist” TV and radio programs. Now go read! After studying the issues, we need to get involved and contact our elected officials. Here are some suggestions: 1. Visit the Wisconsin legislature website: legis.wisconsin.gov  On the left sidebar, click Legislation.  Select Bill Notification.  Enter your email address to receive weekly updates on specific legislative activities you choose. OR  On the homepage, click Who represents me?  Enter your street address to find your State Senator’s & Representative’s profile, office, and legislation. 2. Visit any of these 3 excellent websites:  TheWheelerReport.com  www.WisPolitics.com  www.ProgressivesUnited.org 3. Contact Governor Walker: www.wisgov.state.wi.us | 608-266-1212 Send letters to: Office of Governor Scott Walker, 115 East Capitol, Madison, WI 53702 4. Contact U.S. Senator Ron Johnson at his Wisconsin office: 920-230-7250 Send letters to: 219 Washington Ave., Oshkosh, WI 54901 5. Contact U.S. Senator Herb Kohl at his Wisconsin office: 414-297-4451 Send letters to: 310 W. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 950, Milwaukee, WI 53202

6. Contact Congressman Sean Duffy at his Wausau office: 715-298-9344 Send letters to: 208 Grand Ave., Wausau, 54403 7. Contact District Director Dave Anderson: 202-225-3365 It is important for active citizens to keep contacting our public officials, especially when we get discouraged and want to give up.
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Please take a few minutes and write a letter or make a phone call right now.

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Bernie Sanders
By Jeanne Larson – Phillips

December 2012 Page 9

"You have given the wealthiest [portion] of the population a break, and now you are coming before the American people and saying, 'We don't have enough money to protect the sick and the old.’”
— Bernie Sanders U.S. Senator Vermont

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is seeking signatures on a petition entitled “Stop Dismantling Social Security and Medicare.” Part of his reasoning for opposing a plan to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, children, the sick, and the poor is as follows:

“. . . [T]he large deficit that we are now experiencing was primarily caused during the Bush years by two unpaid-for wars, huge tax breaks for the rich and a prescription drug program written by the insurance and drug companies. Further, as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street which drove us into this terrible recession, revenue at 15.2 percent of GDP is the lowest in 60 years.” “In order to cover the cost of the unpaid-for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they want to make significant cuts to Social Security that will affect not only seniors but disabled veterans. They want to do this despite the fact that Social Security is funded by the payroll tax, has not added a penny to the deficit and has a $2.7 trillion surplus.” “In order to cover the cost of tax breaks given to millionaires and billionaires, they want to increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and throw millions of families with children off of Medicaid.” “At a time when the United States has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, their deficit-reduction plan calls for lowering the top tax rates for the rich and large corporations to 28 percent or even lower.”

Visit the SignOn.org website to sign Bernie Sanders’s petition. This deficit reduction plan and other important legislation will likely come up during the lame duck session of Congress after the elections. Call your Senators and Representative at the toll-free Capitol Switchboard number 1-888-291-9824 to voice your concerns. In one step, you can email both of your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative at opencongress.org. Make your voice heard!

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Middle Wisconsin News
By Mike McCabe – Madison
Democrats chalked up their defeats in the recall elections held earlier this year to one thing...money. But with Barack Obama safely returned to the White House, Democrats are warming up to the money game in a big way as they look ahead to the 2014 elections. No longer do they see Super PACs and dark money as necessarily bad things. Idiots. They can’t win over the long haul playing the game this way. I don’t say this because I think the really big money flows only or even mostly to the Republicans (it doesn’t) or because I agree with the mainstream media consensus that big money lost in the 2012 elections. On the surface it might appear that the likes of fat-cat, right-wing donors like casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson lost because he spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million on five races and his candidate lost every race. Overall, something like $6 billion was spent on federal elections that returned the same president and same leaders in both houses of Congress. One year does not a trend make. Big money wins more than its share of elections. Candidates backed by Sheldon Adelson and his ilk win more often than not, Scott Walker being a very prominent close-to-home example. But big money wins even when it loses. It wins because of the way it has distorted the policy agenda, the way it dictates what is even debated in the halls of Congress and in state capitols. And this manner in which big money’s power is manifested hurts Democrats considerably more than Republicans. If Democrats don’t figure out a way to break free of the political money trap, there is little hope for turning around policies that are leading to growing income inequality here in Wisconsin and across the country. When is the last time there has been a meaningful debate on Capitol Hill or in Wisconsin’s legislature about poverty? The ranks of the poor have done nothing but grow thanks to the great recession, yet elected officials are allergic to debates on the subject. Why? The answer is simple. Politicians can’t raise money talking about poverty. Poor people don't make campaign contributions.

December 2012 Page 10

There Are Damned Fools, And Then There Are Democrats
I’ve written before about how Democrats nationally and here in Wisconsin have lost the support of rural communities and have watched helplessly as Republicans have built a rich–poor alliance. Well, when is the last time you can remember Democratic lawmakers talking about rural issues or putting forward a rural agenda? There is near-total silence on the subject. Why? Once again, the answer is simple. Politicians can’t raise money talking about rural issues. Rural folks don’t make many campaign contributions. When we’ve done zip code analyses of campaign contributions in Wisconsin, we’ve found that most of the money comes from just a handful of the state’s 900 zip codes. All of them are urban or suburban communities. If Democrats stay caught in the political money trap, how can they really stick up for working people in more than just an empty rhetorical way? After all, even before the Republicans’ Act 10 crippled Wisconsin’s public employee unions, Democrats were getting $6 from business interests for every dollar they were receiving from unions. Because of the way it determines what actions elected officials ultimately take and what they even talk about, big money wins even when it appears to lose. And Democrats lose most of all when big money wins. When they are trapped into playing the money game, they lose their ability to act in a way that speaks powerfully to working people and the poor and especially those living in rural areas, without whom Democrats cannot hope to build a sustainable electoral majority in Wisconsin. They could have acted to spring the money trap when they controlled the legislature and governor’s office a few short years ago. They didn’t. And now they're thinking these Super PACs funded by the super-rich might not be such a bad thing after all. They also could have reformed the redistricting process. They chose not to. Now they have to live with gerrymandered districts that make it hard to see how they can gain control of the legislature any time in the next decade. Hell, even in a year when the state voted to keep a Democrat in the White House and put a Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Democrats lost the state senate and didn’t make a dent in the large GOP majority in the Assembly. Democrats won more votes in these legislative contests, but Republicans won more seats thanks to the way the district lines were drawn.

When and where have there been actions taken to arrest the widening gap between the rich and the rest of us? We've been growing apart economically for 30 years now, yet elected officials have continued to back policies that aggravate this condition. Why? Again the answer is simple. Abandoning trickle-down economics in more just a In this world, there are fools. And there are damned fools. rhetorical way doesn’t help politicians raise money. Most campaign And then there are Democrats. donations come from the wealthiest in our society. Here at the Democracy Campaign, we’ve been managing a database of contributors to state campaigns since 1996. If you were to count up all the donors Reprinted from Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s in that database, they would amount to about 1% of Wisconsin’s popBig Money Blog, November 28, 2012: ulation. Any one candidate for state office gets financial support from http://blog.wisdc.org/2012/11/there-are-damned-foolsa small fraction of 1% of the people, and it’s overwhelmingly the fracand-then-there.html tion of 1% of society that actually benefits from trickle-down policies.

Middle Wisconsin News
Wealth & Money Anchoring Wealth
By Dave Svetlik – Mosinee Community wealth building aims at improving the ability of communities and individuals to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, expand the provision of public services, and ensure local economic stability. Community wealth strategies are designed to draw more dollars into the community — by raising the financial assets of individuals, by increasing the level of “common” assets within a community that are locally owned, and by leveraging the use of funds from institutions that are based in the community for community-benefiting purposes.
Source: http:evergreencooperatives. com/evergreen-toolkit/ community-wealthbuilding/
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December 2012 Page 11

Anchoring wealth is about the growing movement to prevent wealth from leaving our communities. It is about keeping our wealth local, rather than losing it to giant corporations, grossly overpaid CEOs, and the predatory greed of Wall Street. Anchoring wealth is about working as a community for the common good, about cooperatives, about employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) for our local businesses and corporations. It is about learning that we cannot depend upon — nor should we be held hostage to — giant outside moneyed interests to create local living-wage jobs. Anchoring wealth is about how we as a community regain control of our own economic destiny and about providing fair opportunities for everyone. I urge you to look at the following websites that provide remarkable examples of what is being done across America and around the world:

   

Community Wealth Building: http:evergreencooperatives.com/evergreen-toolkit/ community-wealth-building/ Worker Cooperatives: https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/02/15-7 Co-ops: http://community-wealth.org/strategies/panel/coops/index.html Sustainable economics: http://www.stwr.org/

How “Saving Money” at a Big-Box Store Impoverishes Us
A number of studies have demonstrated that local firms, when they sell a product in their local market, tend to spend a larger proportion of their income on local wages and procurement, while chain stores are more likely to divert revenues abroad and import from abroad. For instance, a 2007 study in San Francisco found that every $1 million spent at local bookstores created $321,000 in additional economic activity in the area – including $119,000 in wages paid to local employees – while the same $1 million spent at chain bookstores generated only $188,000 in local economic activity, including $71,000 in local wages. The study further found that if residents shifted 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses that would generate $192 million in additional economic activity in San Francisco and almost 1,300 new jobs. Source: http://evergreencooperatives.com/about/

Middle Wisconsin News

December 2012 Page 12

“And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed— if all records told the same tale— then the lie passed into history and became the truth.”
— George Orwell 1984 (published in 1949)

The Myth of Conservatives vs. Progressives
By Dave Svetlik – Mosinee

Politics Exam
1. The majority of which of the following constituencies favors raising taxes on the rich? A. Conservatives B. Progressives C. Both A and B Answer __C__ 2. The majority of which of the following constituencies is against any cuts to social security? A. Conservatives B. Progressives C. Both A and B Answer __C__ 3. The majority of which of the following constituencies is against any cuts to Medicare/Medicaid? A. Conservatives B. Progressives C. Both A and B Answer __C__ 4. The majority of which of the following constituencies favors more regulation of Wall Street? A. Conservatives B. Progressives C. Both A and B Answer __C__

If we once again begin thinking as “We the People,” we will learn that the current political battles being waged in America are not between conservatives and progressives, or between public and private workers, or between any of the other pigeonholes we have been placed in to divide us. “We the People” and our democracy are under assault from an oligarchic/plutocratic power elite, and the sooner we understand this, the sooner we can join together, as united conservatives and progressives, to fight back.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” — Warren Buffett

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