The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Meet Scott Walker, corporate whore and lousy gambler (with taxpayer money, of course).

The Wisconsin governor says he should be America’s next president because he’s a proven budget whacker who, by golly, has dressed down teachers, slashed funding for higher education, busted unions, and gone after welfare recipients. He’s the Koch brothers’ favorite because he’s tough on government “moochers” — unless, of course, you’re a corporate moocher. If a corporation wants public money, well, then Walker’s your go-to Wisconsin whore.

Wesley Edens could vouch for the governor’s willingness to bestow public favors on big men with big money. Edens is a New York City hedge-fund gazillionaire who bought the Milwaukee Bucks pro basketball team last year. Showing the usual ethical perversity that afflicts “private enterprise” sports owners, this flimflamming carpetbagger immediately demanded a $250 million subsidy from Wisconsin and Milwaukee taxpayers to build a sparkling new sports palace for him. Now, one gamble that’s a more certain loser than throwing your money at Las Vegas casinos is letting public officials throw our tax dollars into building new stadiums for profiteering owners of sports teams. And Scotty was willing to take that bet.

Walker and officials of Milwaukee County are betting the farm to subsidize a flashy basketball arena for the Bucks. “Oh golly,” one can imagine Scott squealing at Edens with unseemly delight, “it will be my exquisite pleasure to ramrod the deal through my Republican legislature for you, and I’ll also schmooze secretly with Democratic officials of Milwaukee County to get them to put out for you!” Edens did his part to consummate this back-alley affair by doling out ownership shares of his basketball team to prominent Republicans, including Jon Hammes, a developer who just happens to be co-chairman of the national finance committee for Walker’s presidential run.

The governor told the public that the $250 million bet of their money was “just simple mathematics.” But his glib assurance just explains why these scams are sure losers — officials such as Walker are dupes for corporate hucksters, and taxpayers lost the bet that Walker made on their behalf. From The New York Times: “Based on state legislative estimates, and talks with negotiators, the real public cost of the Bucks arena, with interest payments and risky bond offerings tossed in, stands at about $500 million, or nearly twice what was proposed a year ago.”

Plus, team owners are being sold an $8 million piece of land for $1, getting millions of dollars worth of site-development costs for free, being given a $35 million parking garage (from which they’ll collect half the revenue) and getting about $120 million for selling the naming rights for the public arena.

Worse, in brokering this corporate bonanza, Walker let the Bucks owners nix a public demand to have a referendum on the gamble. He also let them ignore the city’s demand that they pledge not to move the team out of Milwaukee during the 30-year lease on the arena. That part is particularly egregious, since hedge funds make their money by underpaying for a property, goosing up its value with things like public subsidies, then selling it at a premium, and skedaddling with the profits. Even though the owners would have to pay a penalty for selling and scooting out of town, under Walker’s loose deal they’d still pocket about $700 million in profit. If you’re keeping score, that’s negative $500 million to the taxpayers and upward of $700 million in the plus column for Walker’s corporate buddies.

In mid-August, the simultaneously beady-eyed and sleepy-eyed governor signed this $250 million (or closer to $500 million, counting all the little “perks”) giveaway of public money into law. Compounding his sleaziness is the fact that, only one month earlier, Walker had slashed $250 million from the budget of the University of Wisconsin. So, again, if you’re keeping score on Scott, corporations get the goldmine, students get the shaft. And this dupe now wants America to trust him to negotiate with Russia, Iran, and China? If a hedge-fund huckster can snooker him, think what Putin could do!

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

Photo: Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (C) listens to Steve Small following a town hall meeting at the Xtreme Manufacturing warehouse in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 14, 2015. REUTERS/Las VegasSun/Steve Marcus

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump, right

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is examined in a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}