Third Party & Independents Archives

3 Dollars a Day in Wisconsin

It’s a quite a change to go from being a high-powered Harvard MBA grad working for Mckinsey & Co. in New York and Washington DC to working with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County in her home state of Wisconsin. But that’s what Mary Burke chose to do a few years back. after spending some time working for the family business her father set up, Trek Bicycle Corporation, where she briefly held a couple of executive positions. From the boys and girls club to spending her own money to get elected to the Madison School Board was a logical step for Mary, who had also spent some time as Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce for Governor Jim Doyle. So in a way, Mary Burke is a perfect Democratic candidate in a state with a generous health care and pension benefit scheme for state employees: someone who will use her business skills to micromanage the state’s entitlement streams without cutting back too much anywhere. What’s there not to like about Mary Burke if you believe in free health care for lucky state employees?

So of course, there's lots of anger at Governor Walker's 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, which introduced tough changes to the public sector entitlement scheme. For example it requires state employees to contribute about half of their annual pension payments. The amount of pension payments was estimated at 5.8% of salaries in 2011, so a worker making $3,000 a month would have to pay 2.9% or $87 a month towards their pension plan. That's about $3 per day, including state and federal holidays and weekends of course. State employees also have to pay 12.&% of annual health insurance premiums, up from 6%. Absolutely outrageous: it probably works out to $5 a day if you do the math. So Scott Walker is evil if you are a state employee it seems. Fortunately, the rest of Wisconsin is not quite so Manichean and his trending poll numbers suggest he's heading for re-election in November. Or maybe they are Manichean, and happen to see a modest trimming of succulent benefits as a reasonable way to reduce government benefits, and therefore a good thing. Scott Walker seems, like Sean Haugh has suggested for all of us, to be very comfortable in his own skin. Maybe he senses Wisconsin will appreciate his work as Governor come November 4th.

Posted by AllardK at October 13, 2014 1:47 PM
Comment #384227

According to RCP, the average of the four most recent polls give Walker a half-point advantage. Given a margin of error of 3-4%, the race is too close to call.

However, one of the four polls is Rasmussen, and according to their own site, they do not poll cell phones. That has resulted in a consistent bias of 3.4% in favor of Republicans at Rasmussen, since people without cell phones tend to be younger and vote for Democrats. Accounting for this bias, Walker would actually be behind Burke. Rasmussen chooses not to correct this bias because their desire to be partisan is stronger than their desire to be accurate. It has resulted in their sporting one of the worst track records of any pollster over the past two elections.

Posted by: phx8 at October 13, 2014 3:11 PM
Comment #384228

Gallup was as bad as Rasmussen in the 2012 election, predicting Romney would win 49 - 48. Unlike Rasmussen, Gallup recognized the need to change and publicly declared they would do so. It will be interesting to see how Gallup performs in the upcoming election. Unfortunately, they don’t have any current polling available for WI.

The key will be turnout. In 2012, 120 million voters turned out, and Democrats won. In 2010, only 90 million voters turned out, and the GOP did well in the House (but not the Senate). Since the 2014 midterm comes during the president’s second term, history strongly suggests the GOP could rack up a big win.

It is no coincidence the GOP has pushed voter suppression under the guise of voter ID laws. Stopping early voting, same day registration, and other ploys could make a big difference. So it is pretty simple. Discouraging Americans from voting means conservatives do well in 2014.

In WI, it is ironic that the biggest advantage Walker has is the economic conditions created by the Obama administration. The state of WI lags the rest of the country in most aspects, but a rising tide floats all boats, even leaky ones.

Posted by: phx8 at October 13, 2014 3:37 PM
Comment #384235
briefly held a couple of executive positions…generous health care and pension benefit scheme for state employees… micromanage the state‚Äôs entitlement streams without cutting back too much anywhere.
So… where did this bit of rightwing propaganda come from? A better bit of informaiton on this election is here Posted by: Dave at October 14, 2014 12:51 PM
Comment #385344
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