On Republicans, pay raises, Wisconsin and Brookfield

I think Republicans will win more friends and influence more people if we give up some of our flippant one-liners in the discussion of government. That’s what I learned last night.

“We need smaller government” needs to be restated as “we need more efficient government that’s free from waste.”

“No new taxes” needs to become “no wasteful spending.”

That’s two examples that come to mind.

I fear we’re so deeply entrenched with words that we’ve shut down the listeners. Last night I ran across a state of Wisconsin employee in what I would consider an essential position. He was tired of hearing that Wisconsin needed smaller government. He knows, from experience, that when Wisconsin gives into that call it’s his job, not some goofball receptionist to a state senator, that gets put onto the list of potential cuts.

Humans have this fundamental need to protect their jobs. State employees, because of the very valuable state pension arrangements, really want to protect what they’ve got. The problem in ever reducing Wisconsin’s employment expenses? Those with the power will sacrifice the essential employees to protect their personal kingdoms.

It’s a bit of a mess, don’t you think? If Republicans want to stage a comeback, they need to articulate a message that sticks, and then lead by example.

Don’t look to State Senator Mary Lazich for such leadership. She managed a blanket vote against state employee raises, but shows every sign of keeping her own 3 1/2% raise for next year.

Speaking of returning pay raises: today’s the last day Brookfield’s Mayor Jeff Speaker has to refund his pay increase for 2008 on a campaign promise he made in 2006. Anyone have any word? I’ll check next Monday if we don’t hear otherwise. I think he’s due to cough up around $2,800.

Of course, he’ll likely earmark the donation through the Sister Cities fund like last year instead of the general fund from whence it came. Does it surprise anyone that it’s about the amount one would expect to incur for a couple of round trip tickets to Germany? That fund is really very wealthy now. It won’t be long before the city can “afford” to send the Mayor across the pond in style.

(PS – I renamed this one. Sorry for the double feed.)


  1. Cindy, while there’s no denying we state employees have very nice pension benefits, some of us want to protect our jobs because we know we’re doing good work….work that also happens to be the kind not many folks really want to do.

    To be honest, I guess I’m one of the lucky people that actually loves his job, and I’d do it even if I didn’t have the fringe benefits.

  2. Barack O'Bama says:

    Well OK Zach W., since you feel that way my administration can save a few bucks by dropping your fringes.

    As of 01-20-09 begin paying for your own vacations, sick time, health, life and retirement plans, etc. Ad nauseam.


  3. Do I smell an elf?

  4. I rather suspect a flying fairy. But it’s a unique IP, so I guess it stands for now.

  5. A flying fairy?

    I must have missed something!

  6. Someone might be tinker-ing around with their web persona.

  7. ah-ha.

  8. Yeah, I didn’t think that was Barack Obama; after all, B.O. wouldn’t make me give up the benefits I’ve worked for years to get.

  9. Tinkerbell says:

    I’ve been traveling a bit, haven’t been posting, and have not adopted the persona of B.O. (how utterly immature… is there a commentor out there with a Peter Pan complex?)

    I’m off to other adventure today. Everyone please behave and fight nice.

  10. While singling Sen. Lazich for criticism may be a tad unfair, I agree that Republicans have to take the lead quickly on this and refuse their raises.

    But saying as Jim Bendera spokesman for incoming Assembly Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald does that, “We’re still in the process of researching and seeing what the options are” for refusing the raise, sounds like politician-speak for “We’re waiting to see which way the wind is blowing,” and Decker is leaving it up to the individual members.

    And no BS about giving it to charity either.

  11. Dean, I don’t think it’s unfair to single out Sen. Lazich, given the fact that she was one of only a few lawmakers to vote against ratifying every single state employee labor contract on the grounds that the raises those employees would receive – which in my case would have been 5% over three years – was too high a price. Given that she’s now due for a 3.5% raise in one year, I think she deserves to be singled out.

    After all, I’d think someone as concerned about fiscal responsibility as Sen. Lazich seems to be would quickly go on record saying they were going to give back their raise.

  12. “After all, I’d think someone as concerned about fiscal responsibility as Sen. Lazich seems to be would quickly go on record saying they were going to give back their raise.”

    I agree, she should, as should every Republican. Democrats should too, but we know they’re not interested too much in saving money.

    I just wished I worked for government so I could get a raise every few years.

    Because as Cindy states at the beginning, taxes aren’t the problem, spending is.