Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, October 22, 2016

We all know much conservatives hate the idea of government intrusion into our personal lives (well, except for controlling who we marry, what or even if we worship, and what we choose to do with our uteri) and how much more they hate the government getting its thieving hands on our money, the almighty dollar being the patron saint of conservatism.

Well, as you might expect, there are even exceptions to that last one. When you’re jobless and receiving benefits, it seems anything goes if you live in Scott “Limited Government” Walker’s Wisconsin.

A bill making its way through the state Legislature would allow government officials access to the bank accounts of the unemployed to recover overpayments, penalize those trying to update their skills and improve job prospects with training, and punish jobless people who have been already victimized by identity theft, if unauthorized parties are able to fraudulently access benefits.

Among the draconian measures in the bill, according to WSJ Wisconsin State Journal:

—Someone denied benefits after failing to accept a job offer would remain ineligible until finding a job and earning six times his or her weekly benefit rate. Under current law the requirement is four times the weekly benefit rate.

—Jobless benefits would no longer be extended beyond their normal expiration date for people who are completing vocational training or basic education courses.

—Unemployed people who failed to keep their identification number, user name and password secure could be liable for any benefits obtained by unauthorized persons.

—Financial institutions doing business with the state would be required to disclose information about accounts held by people who owe money to the unemployment system.

—The state would try to collect overpayments made as a result of administrative errors or computer malfunctions. Officials could sue to freeze bank accounts holding money wrongly paid out.

Says the Huffington Post, “Under the legislation, at least once every three months the state’s Department of Workforce Development would send financial institutions information on people who improperly received unemployment insurance. The information on such ‘unemployment debtors’ would include ‘names, addresses, and social security numbers,’ according to the bill text. If the debtor has an account with the bank, then the institution would tell the state the account type, number, and balance.”

“This is to protect the workers and lessen the burden on employers who are paying all the bills,” said the bill’s predictably Republican co-author, Rep. Dan Knodl. However, the people who would like to be workers are not only getting no protection at all, but are being treated like common criminals for the sin of not being able to find a job.

AP Photo/Scott Bauer


Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Sand_Cat

    Another “surprise” from Scott Walker.

  • charleo1

    Well, you’ve got to hand it to the GOP. Always keeping the common man
    in mind.

  • doninsd

    Bear in mind that the citizen is guilty, and owes the state money until he/she can prove different. Love that constitution.

    • sigrid28

      Americans who were shocked that a U.S. citizen could be held in a Mexican jail for a week, because she was “guilty until proven innocent,” could not take their eyes off their television screens for a week, so eager were they to follow this story that dominated cable news day and night, from the moment this mother of seven was taken into custody until she was released. Now for similar drama we need look no further than Wisconsin.

  • Lynda Groom

    I just love these small government frauds. Shame on them for such a suggestion. Considering the source I surprised it is not even worse.

  • 4sanity4all

    Another outrage from Scott Walker. And they like him as governor…..why?

    • stcroixcarp

      No, we don’t love him as governor. The Koch brothers do. We collected over 1 million signatures (20% of Wisconsin residents) to recall the jerk. I personally stood on street corners in the Wisconsin winter to collect signatures. Why did he win the recall election? BIG MONEY.and campaign rules. Walker was able to start raising money when the first recall signature was signed and could begin his campaign. The democrats had to wait until after all the signatures were collected and verified, then we had a democratic primary election and then the winner of that election had 32 days to campaign and raise money. Walker is an ethically challenged failure!

      • 4sanity4all

        Thank you for the additional information. I was in Wisconsin while this was going on, and I saw the TV ads that the Koch bros were funding, I shook my head at the ludicrous half truths and lies in those ads. Well, they won that round, but I hope the people in Wisconsin are so outraged, that they cut out the malignancy in upcoming elections.

  • FredAppell

    Is this going to be a conservative template for red states? Talk about paranoia and showing your hand. I’m sure any possible fraud there may be doesn’t warrant such extreme laws. It always does come back to money with this group though doesn’t it? Welcome to their vision of greater states rights with a neutered federal government.

    • sigrid28

      Anybody with access to the Internet can find out a great deal about anyone–including bank account numbers and totals–by doing the kind of background check that is part of renting an apartment, for example, or buying a car or getting a job. So what are we so worked up about? How right you are about the paranoia underlying the mumbo jumbo in this Wisconsin legislation, meant to intimidate the unemployed and those who are too put upon to see through its senseless rhetoric, verbiage, and basic pointlessness. It is child’s play to find many, many ways to avoid the proposed intrusiveness of this witless legislation. Only the kind of fools who proposed it are too dumb to see that.

      If Democrats in Wisconsin do not challenge this in court and/or load it up with amendments and other devices to render it even more useless than it already is, if it passes, they deserve what they get. Voters in Wisconsin let Scott Walker and his Koch brother messengers intimidate them when they had a chance to recall him. No wonder they do not show the bravery of Democrats in North Carolina who are dealing with some of the same outrageous legislation, where they are getting put in jail for demonstrating every Monday–they call it “Moral Monday”–to make voters aware of what is going on.

      • FredAppell

        Too many inexperienced voters have cost us. Too many of them thought that they only have to vote in the Presidential Elections. They are the people who are not going to visit blogs such as this to possibly learn something. They probably don’t pay much attention to political adds. They are simply not interested and don’t understand the consequences of their inaction.

        The low information voters only take in bits and pieces of information that is relatively unimportant to them, as a result, they more than likely
        vote the way their friends vote because it’s trendy. The Democrats
        in Wisconsin either did a poor job of organizing these low information voters or their message wasn’t very good. Something clearly happened there and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Walker voted in another term when the time comes. Perhaps the voters in NC learned from Wisconsin’s mistake, at least they’re paying attention.

      • S.J. Jolly

        Way I hear it, Wisconsin voters didn’t consider that Scott Walker’s actions amounted to grounds for recall, rather than being intimidated. Have to suspect that those opposing to recalling him are declining in number as he continues to enact his far-right programs.

      • RobertCHastings

        Unfortunately, I think Democrats in Wisconsin are in pretty much the same boat as Democrats in several other states. After the mid-term elections of 2010, in which a low turnout by those who voted in 2008 for Obama (and gave him a Democratic majority in the House AND the Senate) resulted in Republicans taking large majorities in at least 15 states around the country, the Census of 2010 allowed those Republican majorities to redraw voting districts, making Republican majorities almost a shoo in for the next decade.

        • sigrid28

          But if governors in Wisconsin are voted in one-person, one-vote (and district-by-district) gerrymandering should make no difference. Right?

          Even in gerrymandered districts, the results of the 2010 census probably counted many more voters as Republicans than there are today, since Walker and his cronies refused to fund state jobs, unhinged the unions that formerly protected job benefits, and actually drove jobs associated with private businesses out of state. Now, Walker seeks to steal even unemployment benefits and displays a very unattractive eagerness to snoop into bank accounts to see whether he can take away the last thin dime of constituents who must finally be coming to see that they mean nothing to him–especially the poor and the underemployed.

          • RobertCHastings

            Governors do not elect legislators, voters do, and apathetic voters allow the election of legislators such as those in Wisconsin, and North Carolina.

          • sigrid28

            I think I said it badly. Let me try again:

            To elect a governor or a senator, you count all of the votes throughout the state, no matter what district they come from. To elect a representative, you count only the votes from the district the candidate would represent. So gerrymandering has more effect in district elections than it does in statewide ones. Right?

          • RobertCHastings

            You are correct. I did not mean to imply that I felt your reasoning or conclusion were incorrect, or that you had no understanding of the electoral process, which is apparently what I DID convey to you. I am sorry about that. Don’t let a grumpy old man’s ramblings throw you off.
            My point was that those young people who were so energized for the 2008 election, and had their voices heard, failed to realize that important elections occur every TWO years and they failed to follow through for the Democrats in 2010, resulting in thirty states around the country winding up with Republican governors AND Republican controlled legislatures. Governor Walker of Wisconsin was elected by a majority of the Wisconsin voters in 2010, a majority that apparently did not include a sizeable portion of those who voted in 2008. The issue was made worse by the fact of the 2010 Census, which wound up being a boon to Republicans, who were able to apportion their states along favorable voting lines, something which not that long ago was considered illegal, like bribery, which also seems to be the accepted norm.

          • sigrid28

            How right you are. I think another voter suppression tactic that reduces the effectiveness of the youth vote when it comes to electing Democrats is the Republican initiative to try to limit the ability of college students to vote on their campuses. In respect to this group, at least in our Iowa college town, visiting paid workers for Obama in 2012 failed to access this population effectively. They tried to set up convenient polling sites, but they refused to sit in student unions handing out voter registration forms so students could register and vote in Iowa if they were from out of state or vote by absentee ballot if they were not from our Iowa town. I tried eighteen ways from Sunday to get them to do this effectively, and they just–basically–refused. I called the state headquarters and also got nowhere. Meanwhile, Republicans were gearing up TruetheVote tactics to intimidate voters. Now, Republican legislatures are trying to make it impossible or at least very inconvenient for college students (1) to register to vote in the state in which they attend college OR (2) to vote in their home states/towns by absentee ballot. As a volunteer on the BarackObama phone bank, I know that we can reach voters at home to help them get to the ballot box, but calls to students are a more limited prospect. If the Democratic mid-term election campaign does not handle this any better, the youth vote that is a sure thing for Democrats will once again be botched–when it was right there for the taking.

          • RobertCHastings

            I hate to hear that. It seems that our first Internet president is not as savvy as he has been painted. While I am not on Facebook, Obama has in the past used. Other social media are used by the young, and should be something the Democrats would pursue as a fertile resource for new voters. The thing about college students being prevented from both absentee voting AND voting on their college campuses is deplorable. This will wither turn them into some serious activists, or it will turn them off completely. Hopefully, by the time the 2014 election rolls around, these issues will have been resolved, publicly, and to the embarrassment of the Republican party.

          • sigrid28

            From our lips to God’s ears, Robert.

    • RobertCHastings

      Wisconsin is not the only state closely monitoring unemployment benefits, especially in this time of austerity. North Carolina is considering legislation to discontinue payments for the long-term unemployed. I don’t think their moves are quite up to those of Wisconsin, nor do I think Wisconsin and North Carolina are unique.

      • FredAppell

        I’m sure you’re right, it isn’t very comforting to be reminded of that though. The new breed conservatives want all the power at the state level and when they assert that power, people who genuinely need the help end up suffering. I have a sister that had a hell of a time finding a
        job that would enable her to live independently. She has a hell of a resume and better skills and understanding of business than most of us.
        She did it all on her own initiative with nothing more than a GED. She could be the poster child for everything the conservatives say they believe in. Here’s the kicker, she’s a liberal who will probably vote for Hillary. When she needed help, she had a hard time getting unemployment, in 20 plus-years she never filed for any unemployment and the one time that she needed it, she had to jump through hoops and was nearly denied. She isn’t on it anymore and she’s back to being
        gainfully employed. Good thing she doesn’t live in one of those states, she wouldn’t have been able to stay on it long enough to help her.

        • RobertCHastings

          I am sure her story is not an anomaly. Such stories from around the country are just what will lead a number of folks to become activists.
          I have gotten about half way through “The Democracy Project”. I highly recommend it as a real eye opener to how our country REALLY functions. Your sister might enjoy it, also. While it is written by an insider to the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and should be obviously biased, what David Graeber reveals seems to explain in eminently reasoned arguments what is going on in this country’s highest echelons.. I say reasoned because even without reading this book, folks who are watching are coming up with the same conclusions.

          • FredAppell

            You are correct, her story is common but it has a happy ending.
            She utilized the system the way it is designed for. Some of these red states wouldn’t have done her much good in that regard. You won’t hear this too often but even our republicans are quite moderate here in New England, some of them are even a
            little liberal. They would never pass the conservative litmus test that’s for sure. Connecticut would never pass such laws as a consequence to us being more liberal.

            Thanks for telling me about the book, i’ll look for it. Obviously the bias isn’t going to be an issue with me. I’m always trying to get a better understanding of the mechanisms behind our country. My sister probably wouldn’t read that kind of a book, she’s not a political junkie like we are, her political understanding is very rudimentary. She really doesn’t care to learn all this stuff and I have to respect her decision.

  • Pingback: Wisconsin Bill Would Let Government Access Bank...()

  • Buford2k11

    Is this another ALEC sponsored bill from the Koch boys? More’n likely. when will the people figure this out?

    • FredAppell

      They never will, their hatred for liberals runs so deep that it precedes any evidence that you could possibly put forth regarding who is pulling their strings.
      The ends justifies the means with them.

  • Like most other things connected with conservatism, smaller government is more of an con-job than a principle. About ninety percent of the time it boils down to getting the government off the back of polluters, and nothing more.

    • S.J. Jolly

      No way are the Koch brothers spending decades of effort, and a $ billion or so of their own money, going for any 2% reduction in the taxes and government regulations on themselves and their corporations. I have to suspect that they are going for 100% exemptions.

  • tdm3624

    Wow. I hope the people of WI are able to fight this. If the government can get access to the unemployed’s bank accounts, I don’t think access to everyday citizen’s accounts are too far behind.

    • Lawless4U

      Doubtful they can fight it. The repubs hold both houses and the governor’s mansion. They also have the state Supreme Court in their pocket.

  • The American people can’t even get their presidential candidates tax returns but this clown wants to be able to look inside peoples personal accounts.

  • Chrystal Myghty

    When you elect fascists, you get fascism.


    Well, somebody has to pay for upper income tax cuts!

  • Budjob

    It baffles me how any REASONABLY INTELLIGENT voter could place an X for this individual at the ballot box.This jerk is a first class,bonafide,dyed in the wool,card carrying creep and a verifiable fascist!

    • Lawless4U

      It happens the same way every other republican gets elected in this country: You go out in the sticks and mention God over and over. That gives you about half the votes, then you tell lies over and over again until you get a majority.

      • Landsende

        Voters need to remember that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

  • JDavidS

    Nothing from this asshole surprises me.

  • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

    This gives “big brother” a whole new meaning. Walker’s friends, (Koch Brothers) you know what Republicans laughingly refer to as “job creators” don’t pay enough to earn 6 X their weekly benefit rate.

  • atc333

    Government intrusion in the lives of its citizens is bad, except when the Right Wing decides when it is good. Nice to hear Gov. Scott is up to his conservative tricks.

  • Guest

    It’s interesting why Walker and his fellow crooks don’t go after tax delinquents. My guess is most of them are their biggest donors.

  • tobyspeeks

    Here’s a list of Walker’s biggest donors –

  • R. DuFresne

    Not enough they have their hands down my pants now they want access to my bank account? Doesn’t that make the GOP a PIMP of some sort?

  • Allan Richardson

    Apparently, in his opinion, people who lose their jobs, for whatever reason, are not fully human, and thus have no right to privacy. Soon it will be no rights at all: conservatives are talking about going back to the original 18th century when only PROPERTY owners would have the right to vote. In other words, if your bank found out you disagreed with its political views, it could foreclose on your home and you could no longer vote for the candidates who want to hold the bank accountable! Or maybe they mean properties who have FULLY PAID OFF their mortgages: the top 1 percent would be the only voters, and the advertising would be so much cheaper for super PAC’s (excuse me, “charities”).

  • latebloomingrandma

    Wow! And this guy is being touted as a serious and credible (?!!) Presidential candidate for 2016. The guy in charge of the state that busted the union as a test case for other states. The state now with the slowest rate of job creation. Of course—let’s put him charge of the entire country. A marionette for Koch industries.

  • jointerjohn

    The fact that they are drawing unemployment benefits means they worked for a living until they were tossed aside. That makes these people scum in Scott Walker’s eyes. I wouldn’t give him air if he was in a bottle.

  • RobertCHastings

    And who the fuck is going to protect the personal and financial information of unemployment recipients through all this exchange of information? And, once, because of the lack of oversight from the state, their identity is stolen, where do they go for recourse? How in the HELL did this guy survive a recall election, and who in Wisconsin (my beloved home state) keeps voting for those assholes? I used to dream of returning to the land of sky blue waters, but I think I will stay in North Carolina, which is not much better.

  • Lovefacts

    If these “conservatives” had their way we would live in a dictatorship. One that allowed only their religion and their view of the world and a total lack of science, the arts, or thinking. Let’s go back to the Dark Ages.

  • bckrd1

    Maybe the Wisconsin voters will put a little more thought in to who they vote for next time.