Saturday, June 13, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker, A Man To Fear...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is soon to announce his candidacy for the republican nomination for president of the United States of America. Make no mistake about his intentions. Hailed as a right to work advocate his agenda in Wisconsin was to break the backs of labor and his agenda if elected president will no doubt be the same. He is no friend of labor or the small businessman or businesswomen. His loyalty lies with the millionaires and billionaires whose only concern is corporate profits and reducing labor costs as a primary vehicle in doing so.

Gov. Walker, in his own words is to, "divide and conquer. Divide labor and secure the conquest. As for America and the middle class an their American Dream? Well, too f^cking bad.

Beware of this man and think really really hard before considering him for the highest office in our republic. Unless you truly want a new feudalism taking root in America.


In Wisconsin, where the labor movement took root a century ago, a campaign by the governor has broken its power. His political allies hope he can take a similar campaign nationwide.
 

The New York Times - On his first day of work in three months, Randy Bryce asked his foreman for the next day off. He wanted to go to the Capitol in Madison, Wis., and testify against a proposed law. Bryce, a member of Milwaukee Ironworkers Local 8, was unloading truckloads of steel beams to build a warehouse near Kenosha, and he needed the job. He has an 8-year-old son, his debts were piling up and a 10-hour shift paid more than $300. But the legislation, which Republicans were rushing through the State Senate, angered him enough to sacrifice the hours. Supporters called it a “right to work” bill, because it prohibited unions from requiring employees to pay dues. But to Bryce, that appealing name hid the true purpose of the bill, which was to destroy unions.

The next morning, Bryce, who is 50 and has close-­cropped black hair and a horseshoe mustache, woke up at 5:30, got dressed in his usual jeans, hoodie and Local 8 varsity jacket with an I-beam and an American flag stitched on the back and drove 90 miles to Madison in his gray Mustang. Despite the February chill, crowds had begun to gather in the square outside the Capitol. The scene was reminiscent of a similar one that played out four years earlier, in 2011, when thousands of people occupied the Capitol’s rotunda for more than two weeks to protest Act 10, a law that demolished collective-­bargaining rights for nearly all public employees. The protests in Madison were the first significant resistance to the ascendant Tea Party and helped set the stage for Occupy Wall Street. For Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, it was the moment that started his conservative ascent. “The Republican Party has a demonstrated, genuine hero and potential star in its ranks, and he is the governor of Wisconsin,” Rush Limbaugh said last year. The unions, Democrats and other perceived enemies, he continued, had “thrown everything they’ve got at Scott Walker, and he has beat them back without one syllable of complaint, without one ounce of whining. All he has done is win.” Walker is expected to announce in the next few weeks that he is entering the 2016 presidential race.

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At 6 p.m., Bryce’s name finally appeared on the list of coming speakers. He paced the hallway outside the hearing room in anticipation. But 20 minutes later, Stephen Nass, the Republican senator who is the chairman of the Labor and Government Reform Committee, announced that there was a “credible threat of disruption” and that the hearing would be adjourned so the committee could vote to move the bill forward (it passed). A labor organizer, it turned out, had told The Milwaukee Journal ­Sentinel that some people planned to stand up in protest at 7 p.m., when testimony was to be cut off. (“I went through Act 10 — it was ugly,” Nass said earlier in the hearing, referring to the difficulty some senators experienced reaching various parts of the Capitol after the rotunda was occupied. “We had to go through a tunnel like rats. We don’t want to go through that again.”) About a hundred people were still in line to testify. A chant of “Let us speak” erupted. But Nass quickly took the committee members’ votes and was then escorted out, with his two Republican colleagues, by a phalanx of state troopers.

Bryce still wanted to speak. He had lost a day’s wages, and the committee’s two Democratic senators had remained to hear more testimony. State troopers were now blocking the door to the hearing room, though, so he decided to address a group of protesters in the hallway outside instead.

“My name is Randy Bryce,” he began in a loud voice. “I’ve been a member of Ironworkers Local 8 since 1997. I’ve had the privilege in that time to work on many of Wisconsin’s landmarks, private businesses and numerous other parts of our infrastructure.” As he spoke, the protesters began to quiet. Bryce described how he had wandered from job to job after he left the Army, how Local 8’s apprenticeship program had given him direction, a real career. Finally, he presented the case against what he called “a blatant political attack” on his union. “All of our representatives are elected,” he said. “All of the decisions that we make are voted on. The general membership is given monthly reports on how every dime is spent. Every dime spent is voted on. Unlike what is taking place this week, Ironworkers Local 8 is pure democracy. I am disappointed beyond words at not just what this bill contains, but how it is being passed.”

Two days later, just after the full Senate approved the bill that would make Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state, Scott Walker was in Maryland, attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual showcase for conservative activists and Republican presidential hopefuls. At a question-­and-­answer session, one attendee asked Walker how he, as president, would confront the threat from radical Islamist groups like ISIS. Walker’s answer was simple, and may in the end define his candidacy. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” he said, “I can do the same across the world.”

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In the fall of 1980, Ronald Reagan, then a Republican presidential candidate, sent a letter to Robert Poli, the president of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, seeking the endorsement of the union, many of whose members were military veterans and socially conservative. “You can rest assured,” Reagan wrote, “that if I am elected president, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and workdays so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.” The union gave Reagan its endorsement.

Eight months later, after contract negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration failed, the members of the union voted to strike, violating an oath signed by federal employees. Reagan was unsympathetic. After 48 hours, he invoked a provision of Taft-­Hartley and not only fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers, but also had them permanently replaced. The union’s strike fund was frozen, many of its local leaders were imprisoned and, until 1993, the former strikers were banned from the Civil Service. Since Reagan broke that union, the number of large-scale strikes begun in a given year in the United States has fallen to 11 (last year) from 145 (in 1981). In 2014, only 11 percent of all American workers and 7 percent of private-­sector workers belonged to a union.

The night before Walker announced his plans for Act 10 to the public, he gathered his cabinet in the governor’s mansion for a private dinner and a pep talk. During the dinner, Walker stood up and held aloft a picture of Reagan. He singled out the firing of the air traffic controllers as “one of the most defining moments” of Reagan’s political career — a moment, he said, that “was the first crack in the Berlin Wall.”

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In southeastern Wisconsin, union ironworkers earn $55 an hour and receive $33 of that in pretax income. (The difference goes to funding their pensions, health care and training.) The pretax pay for a unionized ironworker in Iowa, a right-to-work state since 1947, tops out at $26 an hour. In Texas, also a right-to-work state since 1947, the sole ironworkers’ local offers pretax wages of $18 an hour. Nonunion workers in the state doing the same job make about $8 an hour. “A mile of U.S. highway in Texas costs close to the same as it does in Wisconsin, certainly not less than half,” Colin Millard, an organizer for the Iron Workers International Union, told me. “So it is only a question of who makes the money — the workers or the owners.”

Ironwork is a dangerous job. It has the sixth-highest fatality rate in the country, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A 2011 University of Michigan study concluded that the fatality rate in construction trades was 40 percent higher in right-to-work states. Local 8 offers a four-year training program that requires more than 7,000 hours of combined classroom and on-the-job study. Even many right-to-work proponents single out the building trades’ training programs, like Local 8’s, as exemplary.

That is one reason many Wisconsin business owners, who might be expected to cheer the demise of unions and welcome cheaper labor costs, have not done so. Contractors rely on the unions to certify and drug-test workers and keep their workers current on new technologies and job skills. Collectively, Wisconsin’s trade unions contributed more than $30 million last year to training programs

Bill Kennedy, the president of Rock Road Companies, a family-­owned asphalt-­paving operation with headquarters in Janesville, Wis., flew back early from a Florida business trip to testify against the right-to-work bill at the same Senate hearing where Bryce tried to speak. Kennedy also helps run the Wisconsin Contractors Coalition, an organization of business owners whose positions on labor issues counter those of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the most powerful statewide business lobby, which has pushed hard for right-to-work. Within a few months of its founding in 2014, Kennedy’s coalition attracted nearly 450 like-minded businesses that collectively employ some 120,000 people. Like many of the group’s members, Kennedy voted for Walker and contributed to each of his campaigns.

“There’s this misguided myth that unions and management don’t get along,” Kennedy told me the day after the hearing. Rock Road was founded in 1913 by Kennedy’s grandfather. It was a hauling business until the Depression, when it began bidding on government-­funded projects like railroad beds and town roads. At its summertime peak, Kennedy’s company employs about 150 workers. His opposition to right-to-work is rooted in pragmatism. “It’s a business bottom-­line issue,” he said. “Right-to-work is going to compromise my quality, my competitiveness. The unions are my partner. They’re almost like a screening agency.” Kennedy’s greatest fear is that right-to-work will undermine the unions’ contribution, and eventually the quality and skills of his employees. “This is a working system,” he said. “I have never understood this right-to-work agenda.”

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In 1956, the Republican Party platform declared: “The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the Eisenhower administration.” President Richard Nixon enthusiastically courted the white “hard-hat vote,” winning a majority of union households in the 1972 election. During a news conference announcing the replacement of the air traffic controllers, Reagan boasted of his union bona fides as a lifelong member of the A.F.L.-­C.I.O. who led the Screen Actors Guild in its first-­ever strike. Walker’s own consistent praise for private unions appears, with the passage of right-to-work, to have come to an end, and with it any sense that his party must even pretend to support labor.

Many union leaders worry that if Walker is elected president, Congress could pass a national right-to-work bill. In January, Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, introduced such a bill in the House; it now has 98 co-­sponsors. In February, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, sponsored a similar bill, which now has co-­sponsors in Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and 15 other Republicans.

Read the complete article BELOW THE FOLD,

Via: Memeorandum

37 comments:

  1. That is indeed a very sobering thought.

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    1. I think so and middle class America (as well as the working poor) need beware.

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  2. For the past 6 years, the opposition party has criticized the slow growth in the economy as well as poor job growth. Here's Walker's record on creating jobs from the Milwaukee, WI, Journal Sentinel:

    "Wisconsin's pace of job creation, which has lagged the national rate for years, fell further behind in the latest quarterly data while landing the Badger State in the bottom tier of its peer Midwestern states.

    Thursday's [March 2015] release of the most accurate employment data available raises questions about the strength of Wisconsin's economic recovery, said Charles Franklin, a social scientist and data specialist at Marquette University Law School.

    Our job creation has slipped a little bit more relative to other states, and that's a source of some concern at a time when the national economy is growing at stronger rates," said Franklin, who routinely analyzes Wisconsin's employment data in order to interpret statewide public opinion polls that he carries out for Marquette's law school."

    As for breaking the unions? When will he do that to police and firefighter unions?

    “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” he said, “I can do the same across the world.” -S.Walker

    Yeah, because American workers are just like the murderous ISIS.

    That was a dumb thing to crow about, it made him look ridiculously naive.

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  3. Walker is bright yet naive. He is capable yet often misguided. Articulate and well spoken yet sometimes simplistic. He is crafty and effective yet disingenuous in spirit.

    He has big money and powerful special interests seriously looking at him. Power in his hands would strengthen the grip oligarchs and plutocrats already have on America's jugular.

    Thanks for the additional info on this guy. He's the man to watch.

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  4. But, given how terrible unions are, shouldn't Walker be applauded for his efforts to give workers a choice in regards to whether or not they join? It is my understanding that Ayn Rand opposed compulsory unionism. Likely because of (what some people say) is the basic union idea that people be paid according to their greed, completely without any regard to the real value of the work that gets done. It is because of this greed (and the fact that workers protected by unions are encouraged to loaf) that companies that wish to stay competitive are forced to send jobs to other countries (so I hear). Furthermore (according to what I've read), most unions are basically illegitimate organizations because of this forced membership and theft from workers that the union bosses call "dues". So, if a person agreed with this view of unions, wouldn't this person think Walker was absolutely correct to be fighting for "right to work", perhaps on a national level if elected preznit? Seems to me that such a person (one who is sick of union thugs bullying workers to join and then forcing companies out of business); a person who believes each worker can negotiate for themselves (on a 100 equal playing field)... such a person would be strongly with Walker.

    David Koch, the Libertarian VP candidate in 1980, supports (along with his brother) Scott for preznit. Does this mean Scott will receive a lot of Libertarian votes? And (while I'm likely way off base), given all this, is it possible Les would consider voting for Walker? Seems like (if what I wrote above is true) Walker in the White House successfully championing "right to work" would result in jobs saved and greatly improved economic growth (because unions would no longer be able to force companies to send jobs overseas and the lazy loafers could be weeded out). Yet this commentary by Les (as well as his comments) does not make it seen (to me at least) that he is pro-Walker.

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    1. Dervish, to avoid any misunderstanding by you as a result of my intentional delay in responding to your most recent challenge to my post here is my explanation. In order to give your comment the special and considered thought (which I realize you feel it deserves) I took the extra time required to give your comment the attention it deserves.

      Yes Ayn Rand opposed compulsory unionism (closed shop) and in a pure philosophical discussion I agree. Individuals should not be coerced by force to join any affiliation in order to work in their trade. I now take this time to remind you that Ayn Rand never felt unions, in and of themselves were evil, only that forced membership was evil and I agree; philosophically.

      The truth is Dervish Ayn Rand had great admiration for the tradesmen and craftsmen that built American to be what it is. She was not opposed to the productive and capable earning wages their skills and productive efforts rightly entitled them to, based on what the market was willing to pay. For their services. On this I am in total philosophical agreement.

      What Rand (as well as any businessman) objected to is the payment of wages to those who are either incapable, inefficient, lazy and or unmotivated as a result of union protection of those type of laborers and tradesmen. Few if any have a problem with paying those their worth and neither did Rand. BTW, because unionization results in everyone within a job classification receiving the same pay (the result of collective bargaining) this results in businesses often keeping wages for top performers artificially low in order to control overall labor costs. There is a downside to the closed shop and anyone who refuses to recognize this fact is drinking somebody’s kool aid.

      Philosophically I agree completely with Ayn Rand.

      It is a truism that there are lazy workers that loaf and contribute as little as possible, only desiring to get by without getting fired. It is a fallacy that all workers loaf and contribute as little as possible, only to get by without getting fired. On this I have the authority to speak as I managed workforces for 36 years in industry. Factually a large majority of workers want to do well and take pride in their work. If forced to pick a number I would say the number who are motivated to be productive to be about 90-95%, depending on the culture. As for the 5-10% who do not contribute, who are lazy and loaf? Well, that is a problem for management and when properly documented poor performance combined with appropriate corrective action fails to produce behavioral changes then management should fire the individual employee. If properly and justly handled management WILL win in a challenge from labor.

      Ayn Rand’s views are ultimately rational, and in a perfect world in which every individual was purely rational her philosophy would work beautifully in application. However, this is not a perfect world and yes, there are nefarious and greedy individuals all too willing to take advantage of labor at every possible turn. And that Dervish, in my view, defines Governor Walker and his wealthy supporters. Which is why this post went up. And… this is what Rand failed to perhaps realize and certainly failed to acknowledge if she did.

      Now, on to other issues.

      Delete
    2. I think Rand, too, was a product of her time and places, and truly worried, like many people did, that totalitarian communism threatened the free world far more than it ever accomplished. I don't begrudge her for that opinion, though. Given her personal story and circles, her perspective was understandable. She envisioned a sort of opposite-to-communism as a bulwark against a frightening and fast rise of radical states like the Soviets and Chinese in the 20th century, but it turned out that tide that had already been walled by capitalism and colonialism hundreds of years earlier. Capitalism won the Cold War, not bombs or Reagan. Not that unmitigated capitalism is any smarter than unmitigated communism, but radical totalitarian communism is untenable and fading away.

      No American union or liberal or Democrat brings any threat of communism to our lives.

      JMJ

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    3. As Marx was reputed to have said, and I paraphase, as for me, I'm not a Marxist.

      If the reputed statement by Karl Marx is true I believe he has referring to how his philosophy was misrepresented by capitalists and bastardized by it's advocates.

      But I know more about Rand's philosophy Objectivism and Capitalism than I do about Marx and his socio-economic theories.

      Remove the percieved bogeymen from the discussion and maybe society could get down to solving real problems.

      And I mean the bogeyman both sides have created. It's divide and conquer and it appears to be working.

      Follow the money.

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    4. I view Rand as evil. As for the rest of what you wrote Les, I read it. Perhaps I'll write up a response for my blog when I have the time.

      Delete
    5. View away Dervish. Enjoy your view.

      No doubt you will, no doubt you will.

      Delete
    6. View away Dervish. Enjoy your view.

      No doubt you will, no doubt you will.

      Delete
    7. I have made harsh comments about Rand's views of Native Americans in the past... which I readily admit now were taken out of context. Anyway, she is one of the least "evil" such thinkers in history. As her ideology tends to discourage the vast majority of the worst evil doing that is ever done.

      Delete
  5. It's not just Walker but virtually the entire GOP field. This article puts the matter into perspective: Trickle-Down's middle-class massacre.

    P-l-u-t-o-c-r-a-c-y spells the end of Democracy (you can quote me on this).

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  6. Of all the GOP candidates, none sends a cold shiver down my spine but like Walker. If you are a regular workaday soul, this guy is your scariest enemy.

    JMJ

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  7. Sounds sort of familiar. Oh yeah-
    ""We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike" - Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933.

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  8. http://www.aei.org/publication/the-myth-of-middle-class-stagnation/print/ - If you're not a surface thinker, read this. If you are, don't.

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    Replies
    1. There are a lot of surface thinkers as well as ignorant folks I guess, you made your point.

      Delete
  9. Economists, Steve Moore and Travis Brown, looked at the last 11 states to put forth an income tax (from West Virginia in 1961 to Connecticut in 1991 - thank you, Lowell Weicker, Yale man) and examined their performance on all of the typical metrics (population, employment, labor force participation, output, revenue, etc.). They then compared this data to the states' performance on those same metrics 3 years prior to the income tax, and what they found was that on every single metric and in every single state that state's share of the country's total value declined and in some instances precipitously. This is devastating, and you really have to wonder what keeps these leftists ticking if it isn't their ignorance.......They also looked at wealth migration and discovered that BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars of wealth are leaving high tax states and migrating to places like Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. Look, I don't know if Walker's been a good Governor or not (though I do like the way that he took on the parasites - in CT they are literally bankrupting the state). But to say that his way of thinking and managing is de facto worse than the type that is presently at work in crap-holes like CT, Maryland, and Illinois is ludicrous.

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    1. So, if you're a hard working conscientious union member you are what Will? A small body parasite as opposed to a large body parasite?

      Look Will, you're posting on the blog of someone who managed for 39 years; I can smell bullshit regardless of which side generates it.

      The majority of union members are not parasites.

      Delete
    2. For Gov. Walker, some unions are more equal than others.

      Why did he exempt public sector unions? But go after private sector unions?

      Both have working class Americans as members. Can we take a good guess at why he did this?

      Delete
    3. Earlier today, while researching the percentage of people who still believe in bogus crackpot theories, I was shocked to learn that 25% of the adult population still think the Earth is flat (despite Columbus proving them wrong … 500 years ago), 26% percent still believe the sun revolves around the Earth (despite Copernicus, Kepler’s Laws, Galileo, and the moon landing of 1964), 40% believe the Earth 6,000 years old (despite the evidence of carbon dating), and 46% believe in creationism (despite the preponderance of fossil evidence).

      Anyone who thinks the Laffer Curve offers a cogent argument for raising government revenue is a believer in pseudo-mathematics where subtraction is addition, and gross economic inequality is the key to prosperity.

      Then I read the rude remarks of a rogue commenter who accuses the good people of this comment thread of trading in ignorance -- and refers to the beleaguered citizens of Wisconsin as parasites.

      Maybe subject commenter would be happier consorting with Pinocchio Lady and her crowd. He belongs there, and I would be happier if he stayed there.

      Delete
    4. I would imagine this commenter is banned here, (O) ct?

      I myself am reading and considering all good comments here, though I don't count calling the man Hitler as a good comment. But seeing as it's BB....

      Delete
    5. No one is banned here dmarks. If their comments are too over the top they simply are not posted. But no one is banned, However, it is prudent to use language that is appropriate and not meant to demean or degrade other commenters.

      Think respect and business appropriate.

      Delete
    6. PS: This site will NOT become a mild version of the Stench Trench; PERIOD.

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    7. I know there are many who would have trouble making even one comment that would pass muster.

      Delete
    8. Yes, they're all over at Lisa's place.

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    9. I do believe WE have made our point.

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    10. What Will refers to is what those fellows wrote up and published as the Conservative response to the Piketty book (which Les blogged about). It's the same old supply side nonsense that has been widely debunked. As I recall, I did look it up when Will originally posted about it on his blog (his comment above is, I believe, a cut and paste from his blog) and found an article specifically debunking Moore and Laffer (the book is by Moore and Laffer with contributions by others, including Brown). I couldn't find it again (an article specifically debunking their book). They are talking about trickle down, however. An economic theory GHWB referred to as "voodo economics" and David Stockman called a "trojan horse".

      As I recall, you liked the Piketty book, Les.

      Delete
    11. I believe what I said was that Picketty made many valid points, and he did.

      Demand leads to production leads to wages being earned and paid leads to disposable income leads to folks being able to purchase demand items. Simplistic yes but true.

      First comes demand followed by supply.

      Delete
    12. "First comes demand followed by supply.

      Absolutely! That is why financial incentives need to go to the consumer, not the supplier. Want to stimulate the economy? Put money in the hands of the consumer, not in the hands of the business.

      Delete
    13. Well, working a full time job that provides for life's necessities with enough left over to save a bit as well as having some discretionary income is what used to work well. In fact some (like me and many others) worked a full time and a part time job until established.

      Of course for that to work two things must exist; 1) there must be jobs, and 2) individuals must be motivated to work. There is a third actually, and just as important; individuals must have qualifications for what they want and search for.

      It should be noted that only a productive society can thrive economically. As a society begins to rely more and more on government for assistance it will become progressively less productive and less wealthy.At least that is the conventional wisdom that has largely held true.

      Delete
    14. What I said is not inconsistent with what you just said. In fact, most families now have two jobs, sometimes even a third or fourth.

      Delete
    15. True, but unfortunately there is some truth that some people just like the free stuff (assistance) and learn how to manipulate to receive as much as possible with doing as little as possible. It is a decided minority though.

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    16. There will always be people trying to game the system, both poor and rich people.

      Delete
  10. Walker's trail in politics goes way back (to HS, I talked with someone who knew him at Boys State
    Government.) His trail is full of baggage and if current polls hold, Hillary wins Walker's state of WI
    by a large margin. The man is all about himself and has no conscience whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete

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