September 21, 2011

AP National Story Criticizes Wis. Jobs Website For Out-of-State Jobs Which Would Increase Tax Collections

Boy, Scott Bauer and the Associated Press have really, really nailed Scott Walker this time — not.

Bauer found that some of the jobs listed in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s “Job Center of Wisconsin” website are located in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan). Imagine that: The Badger State’s governor is including jobs in neighboring states because he apparently believes that his state would be better off if some of its unemployed workers found jobs across the border. Oh the humanity.

Bauer seems not to have figured out that Wisconsin residents working in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota (Iowa is not clear) pay Wisconsin state income tax (which is based on the state of residence), and that the state would be better off collecting income taxes from such workers instead of continuing to pay out unemployment and other government benefits.

The AP apparently thought that the matter is such a big potential scandal that it put Bauer’s story on the national wire. Here goes (bolded text demonstrates how Bauer really doesn’t get the income tax point raised in the previous paragraph):

APNewsBreak: 6,000 jobs touted by gov outside Wis.

Nearly one in five of the jobs listed on a state website touted by Gov. Scott Walker as a resource for unemployed Wisconsin residents are actually located in neighboring states, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

More than 32,000 job openings were posted on the Job Center of Wisconsin’s website as of Tuesday, but about 18 percent of them were in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. It was unclear how many of those roughly 6,000 jobs could be filled through telecommuting, though many appeared to require on-site work.

Walker ran on a promise to add 250,000 private sector jobs in the state by 2015, and the Republican repeatedly referenced the website – the state’s official jobs site – in his radio address last week as a place for Wisconsin’s unemployed to find jobs and quickly connect with employers.

A search of the website Tuesday afternoon showed 32,253 job listings. Of those, 3,014 were in Illinois, 2,078 were in Minnesota, 737 were in Iowa and 136 were in Michigan.

It wasn’t clear how many of the out-of-state jobs would allow someone to work from home, although a spot check showed many required on-site work, including multiple hotel housekeeper jobs just across the state border in Rockford, Ill., and farther south in the Chicago suburbs. It also was unclear how many would require workers to move out of Wisconsin.

But it’s not unusual for people living near the Wisconsin border to work outside the state. The Twin Cities are only about 30 miles from Hudson, Wis., and downtown Chicago is about 50 miles from the state line and just a 90-minute train ride from Milwaukee. Dubuque, Iowa, is just across the Mississippi River and attracts workers from many rural Wisconsin communities.

Bauer also fails to entertain the possibility that residents of other states, particularly Illinois, which has lost 25,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in the past three months, might be interested in moving to Wisconsin (which has picked up 30,000 this year) if they manage to land jobs there. That would also enable the state to increase its income tax base and collect sales taxes when new residents buy things.

Seriously, the ignorance on display here should be embarrassing, but nobody at the AP appears to even know enough to be embarrassed.

Scott Bauer, the AP in Wisconsin, and the wire service nationally all seem to have come down with a serious, long-term case of Walker Derangement Syndrome. The only cure would appear to be finding reporters who know what they’re doing and don’t have what appear to be huge statist chips on their shoulders.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

____________________________________________

UPDATE: Via commenter Rich in Iowa below (bold is mine) —

Bauer also does not know that any approved employer can post their job openings on the site. All this is a clearinghouse for employers and job seekers hosted by the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and this site pre-dates Walker’s Governorship by, oh, maybe a decade.

You can’t make this up.

Outrageous: Obama Admin Determined to Spend All Green Dollars to Beat Deadline

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:23 pm

An Investor’s Business Daily editorial notes that the Obama administration is hellbent on short-cutting green loans, creating the possibility of more Solyndras:

Blinded By Green Light

The administration is bent on finalizing as many as 15 loan guarantees for green energy ventures before the stimulus deadline. How detached from reality can this White House be?

The administration is separated from the real world on two levels.

On one, the White House is operating as if there were no Solyndra scandal.

On the other, the White House acts as if its ideas are so brilliant that the laws of economics don’t apply them.

Though the administration seems to be unaware, the Solyndra scandal is raging white hot. The executive branch’s part in the process of the California solar panel maker securing a guaranteed loan is of great interest to the Treasury Department’s inspector general, the Energy Department, a House committee and the FBI.

… In its obeisance to green energy and the powerful environmental special interests, the White House has stepped out of the real world and into fantasy.

The administration obviously feels strongly that green energy and a green economy are our future. But it cannot will either into being. Economic laws cannot be overridden by executive fiat, even when that executive is celebrated by an adoring media as a “sort of god” who’s “above the world.”

Taxpayers should hope the administration misses the deadline. Washington is a poor “investor” of their money. Rather than choose what is actually a sound investment, the government insists on playing favorites. Because cronyism and politics supplant cold analysis, what Washington picks is almost always wrong.

The list of failures is long. Thermal solar technology. Synfuels. Ethanol. Toxic mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Light rail. Solyndra.

They won’t trust the markets to pick winners and losers. It looks like they’d rather pick the losers themselves.

It’s enough to make consider a human blockade around the Department of Energy’s facilities and disconnecting their government and personal phones and computers until the deadline passes.

Quick Hits (092111, Late Morning): Solyndra-LightSquared-Gunwalker Roundup

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 11:32 am

This is going to be pretty much of a linkfest without embellishment, as there’s too much happening to attempt to detail each item noted.

This post will also to an extent help readers catch up if they haven’t been with these scandals (and they are “scandals,” i.e., “disgraceful or discreditable actions, circumstances, etc.”).

I will probably be adding to this compilation during the next day or so as new developments occur.

_______________________________________________

SOLYNDRA

Tracey Panek at Bizmology, Sept. 20 — “Solyndra bankruptcy puts other federal loan recipients under scrutiny” (includes loans to foreign entities)
Andrew Stiles at the Corner, Sept. 20 — “Obama Fundraiser (George Kaiser) Boasts of Cashing In on Stimulus Package”
Daniel Foster at the Corner, Sept. 20 — “Solyndra (Execs) Pleading the Fifth”

At Heritage, Sept. 19 — “‘Green Jobs’ Proponents Continue to Tout Solyndra Program as Success”
At the Blaze, Sept. 18 (my headline) — “Solyndra Applied for Another $469 Million Seven Months After Original $535 Was Approved”
Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review, Sept. 17 – “The Solyndra Fraud; The solar-energy company was a con game”

ABC News, Sept. 16 — “Obama White House Warned Solyndra Bad For Reelection”
Fox News, Sept. 16 — “White House Emails: Solyndra Default Would Not Look Good for Obama Reelection”
Fox Business video, Sept. 15 — “Could FBI Investigation Lead to Charges at Solyndra?”

Daily Caller, Sept. 8 — “Solyndra officials made numerous trips to the White House, logs”
Bloomberg, Sept. 3 — “Taxpayers Rank Behind Solyndra Investors Under Obama’s Refinancing Deal”
Daily Caller, Sept. 1 — “Bankrupt solar company with fed backing has cozy ties to Obama admin”

Zombie at Pajamas Media, Aug. 31 — “Breaking: Solyndra Solar Plant Closes; $535 Million Vanishes; Obama Curse Strikes Again”

LIGHTSQUARED

Michelle Malkin, Sept. 21 — “LightSquared: Obama’s Dangerous Broadband Boondoggle”
Business Week, Sept. 21 — “Republicans Want Records of Philip Falcone White House Contacts”
Corky Boyd, Sept. 20 — “Why LightSquared is more than cronyism … It’s about safety”

Hot Air, Sept. 20 — “White House offered “guidance” to second witness in LightSquared inquiry”
FierceGovernment.com, Sept. 19 — “Shelton: GPS and LightSquared network cannot currently coexist”
Daily Beast, Sept. 15 — “Did White House Pressure General Shelton to Help Donor?”

Richard Pollock at Pajamas Media, Sept. 15 — “LightSquared: Another Solyndra?”

GUNWALKER

Bob Owens at Pajamas Media, Sept. 21 — “Gunwalker’s Body Count Grows, Along with the Obama Administration’s Cover-Up”
Katie Pavilich at Townhall, Sept. 20 — “Attorney General in Mexico: 200 Murders Result of Operation Fast and Furious”
CBS News, Sept. 20 — ATF ‘Fast and Furious’ secret audio recordings reveal concerns about whistleblower

Bob Owens at Pajamas Media, Sept. 17 — “Cloward-Piven: The Ultimate Goal of Gunwalker?”
Bob Owens at Pajamas Media, Sept. 15 — “Gunwalker Linked to Three More Murders”
Jack Dunphy at Pajamas Media, Sept. 15 — “Veteran Cops Recognize ‘Fast and Furious’ as a Foolhardy Idea”

Patrick Richardson at Pajamas Media, Sept. 9 — “Gunwalker Scandal Escalates: Grenadewalker?”
Bob Owens at Pajamas Media, Sept. 6 — “Gunwalker Explodes into the Heartland”
Bob Owens at Pajamas Media, Sept. 2 — “Gunwalker: Details of Coverup Revealed”

Plenty of Dems Can’t Handle Obama’s Tax Proposals

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:13 am

Including Chuckie Schumer.

From a Wall Street Journal editorial this morning (bolds are mine):

… the conventional wisdom has it that the President is trying to emulate Harry Truman by setting up a “do-nothing Congress” as a re-election foil.

But the bigger news may be how much resistance Mr. Obama’s ideas are drawing from the Democrats who control the Senate. Senators from energy-producing states object to targeting oil and gas companies. “Just picking out one industry is not acceptable,” said Alaska’s Mark Begich. Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu added: “That offset is not going to fly, and [Mr. Obama] should know that.”

Even New York’s Chuck Schumer, of all unlikely partisans, has objections—notably to Mr. Obama’s plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on taxpayers earning more than $200,000 (or $250,000 for married couples): “$250,000 makes you really rich in Mississippi, but it doesn’t make you rich at all in New York, and there ought to be some kind of scale based on the cost of living on how much you pay.”

Mr. Schumer didn’t mention that one reason for the cost-of-living differential is the Empire State’s own sky-high taxes, but the important political point is that the Democratic Party’s chief Wall Street fund-raiser is tacitly acknowledging that raising taxes on the not-so-rich isn’t popular.

Other Senate Democrats don’t like the President’s basic priorities. “Tax increases have to come second to cutting [spending],” said Ben Nelson of Nebraska, perhaps the most vulnerable Democrat up for re-election next year. “I was just home over the weekend and that’s what [my constituents] were all talking about.”

Delaware’s Tom Carper, who ought to have an easier time retaining his seat, said: “I think the best jobs bill that can be passed is a comprehensive long-term deficit-reduction plan. That’s better than everything else the president is talking about—combined.”

Not all of the objecting Democrats are concerned about their own re-election. Virginia’s Jim Webb, who is retiring, called the President’s tax proposals “terrible,” adding: “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. . . . There are other ways to get there.”

The Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman told a reporter from his home state of Connecticut that Mr. Obama’s plan “doesn’t represent the kind of comprehensive tax reform, entitlement reform and spending reduction that we need to get our country back into balance. And to me, therefore, it doesn’t pass the test. And I don’t think it can be passed.”

Yet Obama and his press apparatchiks believe that reelection success can be based by emulating Harry Truman and running against a “do-nothing (Republican) Congress.”

Sadly, the population of dependents is so high that his reelection remains possible, but the theme is going to have to be something different. Unlike in 1948, Republicans only have the House. And unlike 1948, the Republicans have passed meaningful economic proposals. The fact that the Senate and President don’t like them doesn’t change that fact, or its signficance.

Positivity: Waffle Houses Take Steps To Be Open When Disaster Strikes

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

I’ve felt for years that Waffle House is one of the great underappreciated American icons; I’m a big fan of “waffle on two like one.”

It doesn’t surprise me that the chain is doing what was described in a Wall Street Journal item on September 1 (HT Daryn Kagan):

WELDON, N.C.—When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power.

First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the “Waffle House Index.”

Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.

“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has said. “That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

Waffle House Inc. has 1,600 restaurants stretching from the mid-Atlantic to Florida and across the Gulf Coast, leaving it particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. Other businesses, of course, strive to reopen as quickly as possible after disasters. But the Waffle House, which spends almost nothing on advertising, has built a marketing strategy around the goodwill gained from being open when customers are most desperate.

During Hurricane Irene, Waffle House lost power to 22 restaurants in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. By Wednesday evening, all but one in hard-hit coastal Virginia were back in business.

Hurricane Irene knocked out power in Weldon, N.C., on Saturday evening, but as the sun rose on this tobacco-farming town at 6:30 the next morning, the local Waffle House, still without electricity, was cooking up scrambled eggs and sausage biscuits.

“I hadn’t had a hot meal in two days, and I knew they’d be open,” said Nicole Gainey, a 22-year-old secretary for a truck-repair company who drove over for breakfast.

Waffle House, a privately held company based in suburban Atlanta, may be best known as a roadside stop for retirees driving south or the place where musician Kid Rock got into a brawl after a 2007 concert.

Its yellow-and-black sign hasn’t changed in 40 years, and its laminated menu with color photos is an intentional throwback to the heyday of the highway diner. Comedian Jim Gaffigan jokes the Waffle House “makes the IHOP seem international.”

The company fully embraced its post-disaster business strategy after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Seven of its restaurants were destroyed and 100 more shut down, but those that reopened quickly were swamped with customers.

The company decided to beef up its crisis-management processes. Senior executives developed a manual for opening after a disaster, bulked up on portable generators, bought a mobile command center and gave employees key fobs with emergency contacts. …

Go here for the rest of the story.