Wisconsin Humor Fest

First, Jon Stewart on the teacher versus Wall Street pay logic (hat tip reader Scott via Jesse):

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in Dairyland – For Richer and Poorer – Teachers and Wall Street
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Second, a new and improved Downfall parody which, according to Josh Marshall, is vastly better than an earlier attempt (not being a connoisseur of the genre, I’ll take his word. Hat tip reader Scott A):

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  1. Ina Deaver

    My problem with the Stewart bit is that it would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly sad. And yet, you know that all those people in those clips are saying “But it isn’t the same thing at all — the CEOs have private contracts, whereas the government is a party to the contracts it wants to eviscerate with teachers. And teachers – anyone can do that.”

    Makes me ill.

    1. psychohistorian

      Personally speaking, I think it is damn well time that folks start getting ill.

      History will judge us worse than Hitler…..much worse.

      America, in spite of its promise, will not be remembered well. That bothers me as someone who wants to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. How did the adults of the 50’s allow the country to get hijacked by the corporatists and the religious right? Were they so convinced of their union power that they believed they could consistently persist against entrenched money and power? We had a country that was going well and it was co-opted by the rich to become now a feared banana republic with nukes and the economic status of “fronting” the world’s Reserve Currency.

      Are you sick enough yet?

      1. Abelenkpe

        Love my parents who were adults during the fifties but if they are typical of that generation gotta say they ARE really gullible.

      2. Otter

        I suspect “the adults of the 50’s” refers to the 1950’s.

        The rot was firmly established long before then … perhaps even before the 1850’s.

        Although students point to Bernays and Lippman during WWI, corporate propaganda was already an effective manager of the “Indian Wars” and before.

      3. Already too sick

        I asked my stepmom who was an idealist, peacenick, back in the day and believed in keeping America on a path of integrity to the vision of it’s inception: “What changed? Why did all the hippies give up and surrender to the myth of the American Dream?”

        Her answer broke my heart: She said: “They killed all our heroes.”

        1. ScottS

          No offense to your stepmom, but “dead heroes” are called martyrs. If you can judge a man by his enemies, then we have to come back twice as hard against these hero killers.

  2. John Merryman

    The corporatists were pretty well intrenched by the fifties. Roosevelt simply pruned them back a little. Reading Andrew Jackson’s rants against the bankers and you get some sense of how it has always worked and he wasn’t exactly a saint, but ay least honest about his animosities.
    The mistake the bankers and corporatists are making is thinking they can cook the Golden Goose and still collect the eggs. When the union breaks apart, the states will be setting up their own banks and by that time, capitalist rule by the banks will be too tarnished to command the fealty of the crowd, so they will be public utilities. Money is a system of public contracts required to make markets function and any value is a function of faith in that contract.

  3. Chaos

    I really dislike this line of reasoning. How many people that work on Wall Street live in Wisconsin? This is an issue for the taxpayers of Wisconsin to decide. Not Wall Street got theirs so the local Wisconsion taxpayer should pay up and give public employees theirs. CEO pay is a 300 times employee pay, CEO of Home Deport gets a quarter billion dollar severance package, NFL owners and players are fighting over how to carve up a 9.1 billion dollar a year pie, Albert Pujols wants a 30 million a year contract therefore the Wisconsin taxpayer should suck it up and pay. If you want to start a broader discusion around private sector pay stagnating during the greatest economic expansion and productivty growth in US history then fine. Maybe if the average Wisconsin worker received compensation increases relative to their productivity growth then tax increases wouldn’t meet with such resistance. Maybe if the Democrats didn’t sell out to corporate money then maybe somebody might actually represent the average private sector worker. Hmmm.

    1. DownSouth

      If Walker wasn’t lavishing tax breaks and subsidies on corporations at the same time he wants to murder the workers, your argument might make sense.

      As it is, you come across as being nothing but a shill for the corporations.

      1. Chaos

        Everyday people cannot continue to pay ever increasing personal taxes while being integrated into a lower wage global workforce. If pointing out this simple fact makes me a corporate shill then so be it. Ultimately the Wisconsin taxpayer has to decide if they are comfortable with the level of taxation needed to meet these obligations.

        1. Deus-DJ

          Mr. Chaos,

          I didn’t realize that government workers could be outsourced? Oh, and how much are they making again? Oh that’s right, 5% less than their counterparts in the private sector(after all benefits, etc). So uh, what’s this about “lower wage global workforce”? I’ll answer that for you: its a statement made by someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

          Furthermore, this governor lavished tax breaks to big corporations…why don’t you complain about that, especially when inequality in this country is higher than it was during the beginning of the great depression?


          1. Chaos

            I’ll play along with you. Lets assume that public sector workers make 20% less than their private sector counterparts. Wow, thats a disparity but it takes 35% of everyones paycheck in a variety of different forms of taxation to pay for this because the government is the #1 employer in the state.

            People have to decide if they are comfortable with that level of taxation or not. If not they move, population shrinks, taxes go up on the people who stay. If other people love the level of service and feel the taxation is worth it then they’ll move in. Same is true for companies and corporations. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. It’s a personal choice of the level of taxation to the level of services one desires. Peoples choices will vary widely.

            The reason I didn’t mention corporations is that I feel they’ve already weighed in. I don’t live in Wisconsin but reading posts of others who do it is clear a number of large corporations have already moved out in the last ten to fifteen years. Enough to make a ding in the overall economic climate. Whether it was excessive taxes, regulations, workplace rules, or pure greed I do not know but the point is they are gone. Something about
            the Wisconsin business climate made them search for greener pastures. Now they are no longer employing Wisconsin citizens or paying state taxes. And it doesn’t seem that new employers are moving in. We face a similar situation here in the Northeast.

            The tax breaks are to stop the hemorrhaging and to bribe others to move in, assuming taxation was a primary factor in their decision making.

            Put this up to popular vote and let the people decide. Public workers will vote against it and the other 5.6 million residents will need to weigh in. The thought process for them will go something along the lines of is it worth it for me to pay x more in taxes to keep class sizes to 24 or if I keep paying higher taxes will I even be able to save enough money for my two kids college education so maybe they can deal with a class size of 35. Different people will answer that question differently.

          2. Otter

            Chaos wisely remarks, “People have to decide if they are comfortable with that level of taxation or not. If not they move …”

            Instead of the turmoil, skuduggery, and expense of a vote, why don’t we look to see if the population is shrinking?

            Are people loading up their pickups and heading outstate, or are they heading for Madison to join the protests?

            Wisconsin oopulation has grown 6% in the last decade. US Census :
            2000 5,363,675
            2010 5,686,986

          3. noFly zoneDefense

            Wisconsin oopulation has grown 6%


            When games are turning sour everywhere Wisconsin may still be the best game in town. One thing for sure, “Even though efficiency is inversely proportional to unionism, a Wisconsin Union may level the playing field against Minnesota Unions. A race to the bottom! At the end of the day the local polity must determine its own fate.”

            Cives civilitates omnes localiter determinare expectate.
            ~~Marcus Aurelius~

            All politics is local.
            ~~Tip O’Neill~

            Did MarkUsAweReallyUs really say that? Literally?

            Illiterally! He wrote great heaps of wise saying, but seldom talked out loud. That is why most Romans called him by his nickname.

            Literally? What was his nickname?

            Calvin Coolidge.

            Calvin Coolidge? Literally?


          4. Chaos

            Good post Otter. Obvious to look at the Census data but it did not occur to me. Here’s another interesting stat from the Census.

            Median Wisconsin worker wage in 2000: 57,473
            Median Wisconsin worker wage in 2009: 51,122

            That’s a huge drop especially if you consider productivity growth during that time period. As hermanas eluded to, the fight should have happened during NAFTA but didn’t. The Democrats and Republicans both supported it. People were told the US would focus on higher paying “value-added” jobs and now those are leaving the country or being centralized by internal outsourcing.

            To come full circle, we can’t point fingers at Wall Street excessive compensation, banker bailouts, or people with tiger blood who want three million per episode to justify forcing average taxpayers to pay for a level of benefit IF they are not comfortable with the cost. Yes, the US is full of inequities and those inequities are grossly unjust but the people paying the tax burden are receiving $6000 less in compensation in 2009 than 2000. Factor in inflation, healthcare, utility, food, tuition costs and the loss is downright freightening. But the people of Wisconsin may decide they are comfortable with it. Put it to a general vote and see.

    2. Paul Repstock

      Well Chaos, whose game are you playing? Do you spend saturday infront of the TV screen showcasing this multi billion dollar professional entertainment or at the local highschool field?
      Kids don’t play sports much for fun any more. They have been told that football isn’t worth playing unless they focus on getting to the big leages.

      You need to remember that the circuit requires three entities to function, and your ass on the couch is the most important one. Corporate interests and the media are prostitutes, they won’t perform for free. If football lost even 25% of it’s audience, the NFL would collapse. When I ask fans why they watch, most are at a total loss to explain. Certainly there is no gain from it, just some vague sense of identity and a use for time which requires little effort or thought..:( Sorry guys, I just call it as I see it.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Chaos writes, “This is an issue for the taxpayers of Wisconsin to decide. Not Wall Street got theirs so the local Wisconsion taxpayer should pay up and give public employees theirs.”

      Chaos, you honestly see no connection between massive state budget crises and attendant unemployment to the global financial crisis caused by overleveraged derivative gambling on Wall Street? Really? And you see no validity in discussing the extension of tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy, the sanctity of bonus contracts, and rigged outsourcing in relationship to union-busting and voiding benefits and pensions? That’s chaotic (or dishonest) logic.

      As usual, Stewart’s juxtaposition of issues and evisceration of Fox Noise is brilliant; the irony is glaring. This truly calls for solidarity with Wisconsin workers.

      1. Chaos


        No, I’m not saying this isn’t a consequence of the actions of others. Whether that be Wall Street, Federal Reserve, Rating Agencies, Banks, Mortgage Brokers, Congress, and quite honestly all of us to some degree. What’s more amazing is no one has gone to jail. Warren Buffett is famous for saying when the tide goes out you learn who’s swimming naked. And all the states were swimming naked and spending beyond their means assuming the goods times would last forever. It’s a matter that needs to be dealt with along with TBTF and derivative regulation but I have serious doubts it ever will. The people responsible need to be held accountable and to date they’ve gotten away scot-free.

        But it’s a separate issue. The states are in the position they are in. If the federal government wants a Wall Street/Bank tax or confiscate the ill gotten gains of those responsible (like they do major drug traffickers) and disperse the money to the states for damages then they would have a strong case. But I don’t see either party promoting that. The Democrats controlled the House, Senate, and Presidency for two years and didn’t dare run up against Wall Street. In absense of holding those responsible accountable in a meaningful way, the citizens of Wisconsion have to decide their local economic matters based on what they can afford. Where I object to John Stewart’s line of thinking is he’s basically saying Wall Street got this so Wisconsin public workers should get that. But no one is offering up that the financial services industry should provide aide to Wisconsin but rather using the compensation inequity as justification as to why Wisconsin taxpayers should be taxed more when their wages continue to fall.

        1. Chaos

          Just to clarify my ambiguous last statement, when I referred to compensation inequity I’m referring to the inequity between average Wall Street pay and those who work for the public sector in Wisconsin.

  4. Abelenkpe

    Love the Jon Stewart bit.

    I’m related to and friends with many teachers in several states: CA, VA, MD and GA.. None of them make over 55,000 a year. Saw a graph recently that claimed teachers making around this much also cost the government something like 33,000 a year for their benefits (health n retirement). If that’s the case doesn’t that speak more about the insanely high cost of healthcare?

  5. Expat

    Stewart is right, but it doesn’t matter. It turns Stewart’s fine satire and cutting edge reporting into a sad farce.

    Wall Street, the GOP, the Tea Party, and Washington are greedy, horrible sociopaths. I can’t decide if they simply represent people or if they rose to those positions because they are sociopaths. The former is perhaps excessively cynical, but just look at every day behaviour as you drive or walk around your town or city.

    I suppose Americans would rise up if they weren’t too fat and lazy!

    1. john

      Yup, that’s pretty much what Hosni thought a month ago ’bout those ‘Gyptians.
      Fat and lazy!

    1. Liberaltarian

      Oh sure – people who believe in small government are genocidal nazis.

      The ‘debate’ I see here, and on the FOX/MSNBC shoutfests is beyond infantile.

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