Progressive Heroes: Alexander Yakovlev -- Father of Perestroika Dies

The head of the international foundation Democracy and architect of perestroika Alexander Yakovlev died on Tuesday in Moscow after a long illness. He was 81 years old.

Yakovlev joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the 1940s. In 1987, he became a member of the Politburo (the party’s executive organ). He was among the reformers in the Soviet leadership and the ideologists behind perestroika, as well as being one of Mikhail Gorbachev’s senior advisors.

After the conservatives in the party gained strength, he was removed from the Politburo and expelled in 1991, two days before the August coup against Gorbachev. From 1998 he led the Commission for the Rehabilitation of Repression Victims, clearing the names of those persecuted under Soviet rule.

Yakovlev was a doctor of history and a corresponding member of the Soviet Union’s Academy of Sciences. From 1969 to 1973, he headed the party’s Department of Ideology and Propaganda. In 1972, he published an article criticizing Russian chauvinism and Soviet anti-Semitism. After that, he was removed from his post and appointed Russia’s ambassador to Canada where he served till 1983. From 1983 to 1985 he headed the Russian Institute of World Economics and International Relations.

Yakovlev did a lot to liberalize the Soviet media, helped publish banned books and materials under the policy known as as glasnost.
London Sunday Times Obit
Interesting Library of Congress pictorial tour of Russia.


This Week's Edition of Borderline Dodgeball welcomes Chris the Admin from www.ontheborderline.net

Hi, I’m JPN aka Dratsum, let’s play Borderline Dodgeball. Since I was born and raised OnTheBorderline, I don't have to say it’s wonderful to be back ontherborderline. This week, my guest is Chris the administrator of the blog site www.ontheborderline.net. I understand this website will easily approach 200,000 hits just this month alone! What's your secret?

Actually, we owe it all to you. You are the best thing that has ever happened to my blog site...and the worst. As I say pretty much every Thursday morning at about 5:43, I want to thank you again, though a few things need clearing up. I must say you're looking very ultra-left today Dratsum, what gives?

Well, actually there was a mob of your supporters outside the studio and they showered me with Kool-Aid. And yourself, you're looking a little grayer than usual. You are not you usual black and white.

Are you sure they were my supporters? We usually try to associate with only one flavor of Kool-Aid -- red. You look like you got douched by the whole rainbow coalition. Oh well, I'm sure you clean up well...but you probably leave a ring or two. Concerning my color, I've been drinking floridated water lately...that could explain it.

In a recent letter to the editor I accused you of "flinging around voodoo-math-laden statistics." On the same page in a letter you wrote that in Wisconsin "we have no more students today than we did 10 years ago." In a post on this blog site, I pointed out that actual in the past 10 years there has been an increase of 19,450 public school students in the state. That's a 2.3 percent increase.

Talking with some friends last night I was reminded of The Spending Parable, it reminded me that when someone spends their money unwisely like a drunken sailor, when it's gone it's gone. When they want more it's going to be a tough sales job to ask for more.

I bring this up because it was pointed out to me that someone said that the figure used in the New Richmond News about there being the same number of students in Wisconsin 10 years ago was false. I found out there was bit less than 20,000 kid difference which threw my statement off by 2.2 percent or so. There are a lot of factors that could move it either way but even that minuscule percent would still calculate into over $250,000 dollars for each kid over the number of kids there were 10 years ago. To be honest, I'm sure that there were some schools that needed replacement, but the actual figures used to build all the new buildings amounts to an average of $5926 per student in the state one way or $5795 dollars the other. And folks, this is long term debt. Some consolation.
See: OTBL Post -- Some Consolation

So your statement in the letter to the editor was wrong.


Also in your same letter, you said that "Wisconsin has a business climate that is one of the worst three states in the country and has been touted as a tax hell." I did a quick Google search on state rankings and found the Tax Foundation site which, in its 2004 State Business Tax climate Index Ranking by State, says Wisconsin ranks #41. Now, I went to St. Pat's, a private school, and the Hudson junior and senior highs, both public schools...

You mean government schools.

Whatever...regardless #41 is less than #47 and therefore is a more positive number than you stated in your letter. Therefore, you used the wrong number.

It was brought to my attention that some of the data presented in my editorial was concocted. It's the farthest thing from the truth. There was a lot of material there and was not any room to cite the sources. When I said that the members of this blog were methodical in their analysis, I meant it. Here is the data that backs up all claims made in the editorial. There is nothing fuzzy about it.

If you check my blog post Data Sources, you will see that I said Wisconsin ranks #41.

But in your letter you said #47. So the information in your letter to the editor in the New Richmond News was wrong. It's not 47 but 41.

You need to cease his innocuous and obsessive compulsion to attack and take up a new hobby, say bird house building. You live to discredit members and readers of my blog through your blog and through editorials in newspapers.

But Chris, isn't what you and your blog participants are doing on your blog site basically innocous and obsessive-complusive attacking of the local school board, administration and anybody that disagrees with you? Aren't you trying to discredit members of these organizations via your blog, school board antics and the local newspapers?

I want to thank you again, though a few things need clearing up. Your method of operation has been to attack the messenger, slander, discredit at any cost. Your discrediting would have to include anyone who does not believe in your ultra-left ideologies.

But Chris, isn't what you and your blog participants are doing on your blog site basically attacking, slandering and trying to discredit the local school board, administration and anybody that disagrees with you? Aren't you trying to discredit members of these organizations via your blog, school board antics and the local newspapers?


When you suggest that I take up a hobby like building bird houses, are you not advocating a form of socialism that is for the birds? I assume you would want me to hang these houses up outside for the birds to use.

You may appear to come to the middle on some issues, but really never do. Members of my blog are characterized as extremists, neocons, and out of the mainstream.

Chris, could you enlighten our viewers with a statement as to what your blog is all about and why your members shouldn't be "characterized as extremists, neocons, and out of the mainstream."

That's easy...what is it specifically about the high-brow academicians and intelligentsia of the Hudson School Board, and the attraction which they feel for socialism and similar ideologies? This includes the social democracy, the welfare state, and the ‘social models’ now who threaten us with big and patronizing government, high regulations, and large-scale income redistribution.

I think Intellectuals are drawn to visions and ideas, as well as to systems which accord them a greater share of influence and power. Intellectuals feel 'under-valued' by the market, in that it puts a value on them less than they think appropriate. Intellectuals are attracted to this type of thinking because it elevates their importance and the chance to impose their ideas on a world which would otherwise reject them.

Modern day manifestations of these phenomena include ambitious social engineering, radical human rightsism, and the enforcement of the perceived good, environmentalism, and international or one world government. All of which are being taught to indoctrinate our children, in the public schools as we speak."

Chris, earlier you said I am trying to discredit anyone who does not believe in my "ultra-left ideologies" and that I may appear to come to the middle on some issues, but really never do. Considering your statement above, do you think it is possible that you have veered so far to the right that you've crossed over the centerline, hit the shoulder grave, went down into the ditch and flew so far into the right-wing cornfield that the fact that I am driving in my proper lane between the centerline and the shoulder looks ultra-left to you?

I don't do all the talking at www.ontheborderline.net. There are others participating and a lot of them use "Dr." before there names. It's a respect thing we intellectuals have for each other. We are not anti-intllectual on my blog site and we are definately open-minded about debating the issues. Here's a stellar example of an exchange between a couple of out members: Dr. Taxboy, Dr. Donttreadonme and Dr. Ruthless. It's titled: Murphygirl goes the way of Dratsum.
Dr. Taxboy says:
After taking some serious potshots at the intellectuals on this blog, murphygirl has indeed shown that she is a "One Shot Wonder". When asked to back up her rhetoric about the school board incident of June 14th with facts she chose to go into hiding.

Here is just part of what murphygirl had to say- "They were asked to leave and they didn't, so yes the police were called. No, they shouldn't have been removed by the police." Huh? Or how about this part- "The fact of the matter is those two men should have gotten kicked out of the school board meeting because they were being rude and not conducting themselves like adults." What?

Or some more cold hard facts- "However they are not some "victims" of the Hudson Police Department and the School Board. If you are attending a meeting you have the responsibility to yourselves and to the rest of the public to act with some decorum and not like a two year old having a fit." Were you there? And the final words of wisdom from murphygirl- "There is no conspiracy, no cover up." Got some inside information you haven't told us about? Yep, this is great fictional stuff murphygirl. You'd make a great commentator on another website, but don't come back to this one without some FACTS.

Dr. Donttreadonme Says:
Well, they have one thing in common - both wear skirts.

Dr. Ruthless Says:
I bet Dratsum has nicer legs.
See we are open to debate and we are obviously intellectuals.

Would you like to see my legs and let me know if they are better looking that murphygirl's?

Allow though we post many white papers issued from the CATO Institute, we only post the ones that say taxes are too high and it's ok for business to pollute and use child labor in foreign countries. We don't not post any of the CATO stuff that advocates the legalization of pot or says it's ok for one man to look at another man's legs.

So you pick and choose.

Yea. Maybe that's why so many of us Borderliners like to eat at Old County Buffet.

I lot of what gets posted on your blog leaves me thinking of the phrase "out to lunch."

You are making me hungry.

As you know, I was once a member of your blog. I was a frequent poster for a few months. Why was I kicked off?

You were banned from this blog because of your vulgarity and lewd commenting.

You've posted this a number of times since June on Thursdays mornings at 5:43 after the local papers come out. I've requested that you send me the comments that got me kicked off your site and I would post them. You do have an extensive archive on your blog site and I would think my request would be easily granted. What's the delay?


This is the last thing I posted on your blog site of 4/30/05:

Sorry, boys! I was confused. I thought this was a blog where issues were up for serious discussion. Obviously, that is not the case.

Maybe you should note that under the ONTHEBORDERLINE logo people see when they first log into this site. That would save you from wasting your time chasing off unsuspecting interlopers like me who wander on to your firing range. Then again, we interlopers provide you with a change to waste your ammo in some sport shooting.

At least you boys don't waste too much time pretending you have any "Christian values." It wouldn't play too well with your heads stuck so high up Ayn Rand's philosophical skirts. It's YOU and the almightily dollar PERIOD. Ayn Rand writes, "The cross is the symbol of torture. I prefer the dollar sign, the symbol of free trade and therefore free minds."

It's interesting that you are right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong. In fact, not only are they wrong, they are evil socialists, Marxists, or whatever the buzz word for the day is. Just because you are stuck on the right side on the political wall, does not mean you correct, anymore that those stuck on the left side of the wall are correct. There is a middle ground where the moderates and common-sense people work, play and worship in this country. Call us what you will, but the fact is we are the backbone of this nation and the ones who will carry this nation into the future.

So go ahead, gather in your circle, whip out you wallets, stroke your little dollar signs, look at those Ayn Rand pictures and jerk away. I'll shut the lights out on the way out...

Now Chris, can you tell me what is "lewd and vulgar" about what I posted?

I'm thirsty. Could I have a glass of Kool-Aid?

Sorry Chris, this isn't the FOX network.

We are out of time on this week's edition of Borderline Dodgeball. We want to thank Chris the Admin for stopping by and explaining his version of the voo-doo-laden math he's so fond of using.

Tune in next week when Ayn Rand joins us to talk about sewing and demonstrates how to thread a camel through the eye of a needle.

Hey Chris Think About This...

"Most people use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamp post, more for support than enlightenment. "

"I feel that the kind of examples of statistical analysis that tend to be considered in professional discussions ... are so grossly over-simplified as to make a pretentious mockery of real-life situations and statistical consultancy. "

Henry Ford on Education

A man is educated when he knows how to do what he can do, and extract from his performance a sufficient economic, intellectual and spiritual satisfaction. A man who cannot do that is not educated, no matter what his knowledge of books may be. That man is best educated who knows the greatest number of things that are so, and who can do the greatest number of things to help and heal the world. Schools are useful only as they put men in possession of their own powers; and they cannot do this without the earnest desire of their students to be so helped. Any man can learn anything he will, but no man can teach except to those who want to learn. Education is pre-eminently a matter of quality, not amount.

Henry Frod
- Ford News
January 1, 1924

Pen & Ink Thinks

Orange Bears by Kenneth Patchen

The Orange bears with soft friendly eyes
Who played with me when I was ten,
Christ, before I'd left home they'd had
Their paws smashed in the rolls, their backs
Seared by hot slag, their soft trusting
Bellies kicked in, their tongues ripped
Out, and I went down through the woods
To the smelly crick with Whitman
In the Haldeman-Julius edition,
And I just sat there worrying my thumbnail
Into the cover---What did he know about
Orange bears with their coats all stunk up with soft coal
And the National Guard coming over
From Wheeling to stand in front of the millgates
With drawn bayonets jeering at the strikers?

I remember you would put daisies
On the windowsill at night and in
The morning they'd be so covered with soot
You couldn't tell what they were anymore.

A hell of a fat chance my orange bears had!

Kenneth Patchen was born in Niles, Ohio, in 1911. From the age of twelve, he kept a diary and read Dante, Homer, Burns, Shakespeare, and Melville. He attended Alexander Meiklejohn's Experimental College for one year and then the University of Wisconsin. He was employed in a variety of jobs as a migrant worker in the United States and Canada. "Permanence," a sonnet, was published in The New York Times on April 10, 1932. He wrote more than forty books of poetry, prose and drama, including Before the Brave (1936), First Will and Testament (1939) and Journal of Albion Moonlight (1941), a prose work. In 1942, he published The Dark Kingdom in a limited edition of seventy-five copies and painted each cover individually in water color.

For more than thirty years, Patchen lived with a severe spinal ailment that caused him almost constant physical pain. The weight of this personal battle was compounded by his sensitivity to greater issues of humanity, and his poetry paid special attention to the horrors of war. With his work he tried to create a kind of sanctuary for the reader, apart from reality, where larger-than-life characters were motivated by their loving and benevolent natures. Kenneth Patchen died in 1972.



Headquarters @ www.ontheborderline.nut

Kilber's Cookie Crumbles With Voo Doo Math Statistics

The administrator of the www.ontheborderline.net blog had a letter published in today's New Richmond News. Chris Kilber's letter focused on the discussion within the New Richmond school district concerning the need for school additions and/or new schools. Mr. Kilber got out his smoke-n-mirrors and confounded readers with a limp array of undocumented "facts" and "figures."

His first point was to point out that "as a citizen of Wisconsin,100 percent of my state income tax goes to the state of Wisconsin, who in turn sends it out to the local school districts throughout the state."

I'll agree with CK on the first half of this statement: 100 percent of my state income tax also goes to the state of Wisconsin. Where else would it be going? It sounds like CK thinks the state then takes 100 percent of his taxes and sends it out to local school districts in Wisconsin. I would say only a portion of his state taxes go to local school districts. Other portions go to building roads, running the state, tourism, health care, agriculture, etc.

CK says "Wisconsin has a business climate that is one of the worst three states in the country and has been touted as a tax hell."

That's a hip shot...Where does he get this ranking from? A quick Google search on state rankings brings me to the Tax Foundation site which, in its 2004 State Business Tax climate Index Ranking by State, says Wisconsin ranks #41. That leaves 9 states below Wisconsin. On this blog site 9 don't equal 3...even if a 6 turned out to be 9.

The 2004 Tax Foundation rank for Corporate Income Tax put Wisconsin at #20 and for Individual Income Tax we ranked #32.

How about these stats:

Business taxes are lower in Wisconsin than those in 35 other states, according to a 2005 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which measures more than 15 taxes that can affect corporate profits.

On the Inc. Magazine 2004 Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America list, Green Bay and Madison ranked 1-2 among medium metro areas and La Crosse ranked 17th among small metro areas.

Favorable business tax policies:

1. Property tax exemptions for manufacturing machinery and equipment, computers and computer equipment; inventories, and pollution-control equipment; tax credits for energy used in manufacturing and for R&D.
2. 60-percent capital gains exclusion.
3. No inheritance and gift taxes.
4. No unitary tax on foreign-owned corporations.
5. Single-sales-factor tax treatment adopted

Changes in Wisconsin's incorporation law have caused a number of state companies to reincorporate in Wisconsin from Delaware. Wisconsin has the most up-to-date law on the books, and does not charge a franchising fee.

Some statistics sites to check out:
Wisconsin Commerce site
Tax Foundation publications
CK also tells us the public school population hasn't changed in the last 10 years. According to statistics on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction web site, in 1994-95 there were 860,581 public school students and in 2003-04 (mosavailablet avaiable) there were 880,031. That's 19,450 more students or an increase of 2.3%. Where I went to school that's an increase. Of course, even if the student population remained the same in Wisconsin, that wouldn't eliminate the need to building new schools or add on additions. In western Wisconsin school districts, the average increase in student population was +7.3%. Of course, we probably wouldn't have had to spend the $5.1 billion (where did this figure come from Chris) that CK claims was spent in the past 10 years, if we bused Hudson, River Falls, Somerset, etc. kids to school in Milwaukee or Hurley or Platteville.

The wheels are always spinning over on the other side of the borderline. It's too bad they don't engage their mental clutch.

CK also says "taxes are driving citizens and business out of the state."

Let's see...

Wisconsin's population growth:
Demographic trends drive the demand for goods and services and underpin the ability to attract workers and employers. The number of producers and consumers is one of the first pieces information needed for any plan of business or public service. This article examines basic elements of WisconsinÂ’s population growth.

Where the growth happens:
The Wisconsin Department of Administration's Demographic Services Center estimates that 5,490,718 people lived Wisconsin as of January 2003. This reflects an increase of 127,074 people over the 2000 Census. Natural increase (births minus deaths) accounted for roughly 49,812 people, or 39 percent of the increase. Net migration (people moving in minus people moving out) contributed the other 77,202 people, or 61% of that increase.

Non-metropolitan Wisconsin enjoyed a faster rate of net migration, (2.02%) than metropolitan Wisconsin (1.16%). Nonetheless, metropolitan Wisconsin's rate of natural increase (1.23%) was far enough ahead of non-metropolitan Wisconsin's (0.29%), that metropolitan Wisconsin's overall growth rate (2.39%) was slightly greater than non-metropolitan Wisconsin's (2.32%). Of the state's total natural increase (49,812 people), approximately 89.9 percent (44,766 people) were added to metropolitan areas.

Check the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

site for more information.

Yes, it is true that taxpayers are leaving the state, but more are coming in. Maybe CK is making his observation based on the recent exit from Wisconsin of his blog mate Bill D. Concerning businesses leaving the state, I'm sure some are and, likewise, there are businesses coming into the state and jobs are being created within the state. It's called "churn." Interestingly enough, Wisconsin is cutting government jobs and gaining in non-government jobs. The info below comes from September 2004.

Read on...

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report helped to explain why Madison, which is often touted for its private sector growth, was relatively flat in total employment. Madison is the center of state government, which has been downsized by Gov. Jim Doyle and the Legislature as they attempt to keep state spending under control. While Madison's tech and service sectors continue to churn out jobs, it is basically breaking even with the decline in government payrolls.

According to federal statistics, Wisconsin ranked behind only a half-dozen states in cutting government jobs in the past year or so. All of those states are larger: California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Missouri. In percentage terms, Wisconsin appears to rank No. 1 in shedding government jobs. (Unfortunately, some were federal jobs the state would have preferred to keep.)

The state grew in nearly every other job sector tracked by the Labor Department, showing 1.7 percent job growth (48,800 jobs) since mid-2003. The state's unemployment rate of 4.6 percent is down from 5.8 percent a year earlier and compares to 5.7 percent nationally.

Check the Wisbus.com

site for more information.

I could go on, but the point is CK is flinging out statements that don't with jive the numbers. You can say anyone can find statistics to back up their argument and that's exactly what I did here. It didn't take long. CK is guilty of making snapshot judgements as are some of the other borderliners. They did a post a couple weeks ago telling about a house in Hudson or North Hudson that's been for sale for two years. This is accompanied by talk that this proves houses are not selling in Hudson.

Take a drive out by the old Charlie Ward farm area down County Road N. Two years ago they were just starting to dig up dirt out there. Now look at it. Go farther east on N and see those developments. Hang a left and head north to Badlands road. Maybe those OTBL'ers need to get out more...and preferrablely during the daylight hours.

November's Borderline Project of the Month

PS: Chris K: I don't live to discredit the bloggers and readers at www.ontheborderline.net. My goal is to inform the public what the thinking is that goes behind the actions the OTBL bloggers. Maybe you need to get a hobby...


Tune Death: OTBL'ers Explore The Vinyl Frontier

In an attempt to get a hipper image and better compete with our neighborhood bloggers at OTBL, we asked them to do a record review of the historic and political importance of certain historic recordings. Since they show such an undetectable understanding of US politcal history, we figured we couldn't go wrong. Their initial review is The John Birch Society album by the Chad Mitchell Trio. Here's what the OTBL experts had to say about this LP:

Admin: ...I have heard of the John Birch Society but have never even been to their site, been associated with, nor even honestly know exactly what they do. The only society I belong to is the Borderliners. I can't speak for all members of course, but the ones I do talk to and see on a somewhat regular basis, have never mentioned or talked about it either.

Cub: ...I don’t have any idea what the John Birch Society is either. But if they’re REALLY for lower taxes, limited government, and personal responsibility, bring em on.

Ruthless: As far as I know, we never discuss him on this blog and I find him humorous at best. And I love the quotes about the John Birch Society. I never heard of that until he mentioned it.

Tax Boy: John Who?

BobZ: For the edification of Democrats, Republicans, and people under 50 , the John Birch Society was founded by Robert Welch. He was nevous about communists infiltrating the government and started the Society. ...The John Birch Society is the mirror image of the Klu Klux Klan...Barry Goldwater...was a founding member of Planned Parenthood....I...want to memorize the Koran....

Dontpeeonme: LPs? 78's? 331/3's? Digital? CD's? What are you talking about? Wax cylinders was good enough 100 years ago and it should be good enough now!

Dratsum: I give it two thumbs up!

Murphygirl: Hey Dratsum, how about showing us some leg!

Dratsum: Hey there Murphygirl, it's a good thing this isn't being published on www.ontheborderline.net. If it was, you'd be kicked off for being lewd and vulgar.

Quotes of Note: Henry Ford

A man is educated when he knows how to do what he can do, and extract from his performance a sufficient economic, intellectual and spiritual satisfaction. A man who cannot do that is not educated, no matter what his knowledge of books may be. That man is best educated who knows the greatest number of things that are so, and who can do the greatest number of things to help and heal the world. Schools are useful only as they put men in possession of their own powers; and they cannot do this without the earnest desire of their students to be so helped. Any man can learn anything he will, but no man can teach except to those who want to learn. Education is pre-eminently a matter of quality, not amount.
- Ford News, January 1, 1924

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
~Henry Ford

Ford incorporated the Ford Motor Company in 1903, proclaiming, "I will build a car for the great multitude." In October 1908, he did so, offering the Model T for $950. In the Model T's nineteen years of production, its price dipped as low as $280. Nearly 15,500,000 were sold in the United States alone. The Model T heralds the beginning of the Motor Age; the car evolved from luxury item for the well-to-do to essential transportation for the ordinary man.

Henry Ford Trivia

On January 12, 1900, the Detroit Automobile Company released its first commercial automobile - a delivery wagon - designed by Henry Ford. This was Ford's second car design - his first design was the quadricycle built in 1896.

On May 27, 1927, production ended for the Ford Model T - 15,007,033 units had been manufactured.

On January 13, 1942, Henry Ford patented a plastic-bodied automobile - a car 30 percent lighter than metal cars.

In 1932, Henry Ford introduced his last engineering triumph: his "en block", or one piece, V-8 engine.

Ass not...


Today In Labor History: October 18

1648: The “Shoemakers of Boston” - the first labor organization in what would later become the United States - was authorized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were allowed to organize and set industry standards, gaining a monopoly over the sale of shoes in Boston at the expense of rural shoemakers.

1927: IWW Colorado Mine strike; first time all coal fields out.
History on Colorado mining

More on labor

Manufacturing Study Provides Interesting Insights Into Tax Perceptions In Wisconsin

What they don't tell you at www.ontheborderline.net:

I came across an interesting story concerning a newly released study on the state of manufacturing in Wisconsin. The story in Wednesday's Pioneer Press said the study recommened the state focus its efforts on promoting its top 13 manufacturing industries. Those industries include those that make paper, machinery, fabricated metal, electrical equipment, wood products, dairy products, fruit and vegetable products, transportation equipment, cleaning compounds and non-metallic products.

John Brandt of the Manufacturing Performance Institute said Wisconsin can maintain its competitive advantage by building on the strength of these driver industries, improving supply chains and helping companies quickly take advantage of new technology and innovations.

The study's authors caution that challenges still loom, and not just from overseas where production costs are lower. Wisconsin manufacturing firms will have trouble recruiting and retaining new young workers, and taxes are higher here than in neighboring states.

This study had hi-lited these strengths and weaknesses in Wisconsin's business climate:

1. Wisconsin’s proximity to a vast consumer population.
2. Excellent transportation infrastructure.
3. At present, a superior, highly skilled work force.
4. A highly valued quality-of-life.

1. Manufacturing has a poor image professionally.
2. Taxes of all types are high.
3. Businesses are unable to contain manufacturing costs.
4. There is an emerging two-tiered work force, with older, reliable workers nearing retirement and their potential replacements difficult to attract and retain.

Notice that strenghts 2, 3 and 4 are related to what our taxes go to pay for: good roads, educated people and a great quality-of-life. Notice #2 in the weaknesses. It says that "taxes of all types are high."

This study was commissioned by
Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP)
and done by Manufacturing Performance Institute (MPI). These are organizations promoting manufacturing and lobbying for it in this and other states...especially MPI.

I willing to bet that any study MPI does says the taxes are too high. That's their job to push for lower taxes wherever they can. WMEP has board members from companies like Trane, Harley-Davidson and John Deere. It also has board members representing unions and technical colleges.
Below are some tax myths about Wisconsin from a study done by The Center on Wisconsin Strategy that might shed the tax light a little differently on this subject:

Myth: Taxes are killing business in Wisconsin.

Fact: Wisconsin’s business taxes are far below average; moreover, business taxes are not the primary factor in business location decisions.

1. Business taxes in Wisconsin are strikingly low. Wisconsin ranks 49th in business taxes as a share of state and local taxes (50th if we include the District of Columbia), and 36th in business taxes relative to business profit.

2. State and local business taxes account for only 0.8 percent of the cost of doing business for most companies. Much greater costs include housing (10.9 percent) and health care (13.7 percent).

3. A number of studies show that taxes rank low on the list of factors considered in business location decisions. Much more important are a well-trained labor force and high-quality public services (including infrastructure).

Don't get me wrong, we need to promote growth sector businesses, but the business sector has to pay its share of the bargain too. Average wages have been dropping in Wisconsin over the past decade. Could that be a reason why young workers are attracted to manufacturing jobs? The future is at stake here. We need good paying jobs in this state with adequate health care benefits. We need trained, educated people to perform those jobs and this obviously doesn't happen for free. Business needs to pay its fair share of what it takes to remain competitive in today's global economy.

If you have an additional informaiton or sites to link to, let me know and we'll get them on this web site. Shoot me an e-mail or post the info in the comments to this post.

Story link

Businesses Do Pay Taxes


Today In Labor History: October 17

1973: International Printing Pressmen’s & Assistants’ Union of North America merges with International Stereotypers’, Electrotypers’ & Platemakers’ Union to become Printing & Graphic Communications Union.

1988: Industrial Union of Marine & Shipbuilding Workers of America merges with International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.

More on labor

Progressive Heroes: Vivian Malone

Vivian Malone Jones, a Mobile native who overcame former Gov. George Wallace's infamous "stand in the schoolhouse door" to help integrate the University of Alabama, died Thursday, two days after suffering a stroke. She was 63.

Jones, one of two black students to break the color barrier at the university in 1963, became the school's first black graduate in 1965. Acquaintances remembered her Thursday as a pioneer whose quiet determination made her the perfect person to do it.

"She was a remarkable woman. She was full of grace and enormous courage. She knew exactly what she was doing and why she was doing it," said Culpepper Clark, the dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences and author of the definitive book on the university's integration. "She was aware of the (dangers), and she did it anyway. That is the definition of courage.

Links with more on Vivian Malone's life:
Mobile Register Obit
LA Times Obit

Have You Seen This Video?

In a sad way, you might find this humorous...

Click here to take the Big Box Mart tour.