February 28, 2009

Blame to share, or just Dem's... or GOP's?

Wisconsin has agreed to repay the federal government $10 million it recovered years ago from mistakenly overpaid welfare recipients, along with $5 million in interest accrued over the six years the Doyle administration fought the case.

That's all the setup you need to appreciate the Robin Vos Selective Memory Quote of the Day.

Vos, R-Caledonia, a member of the Legislature's budget committee, said: "It's unfortunate that Governor Doyle attempted to fight it so long that we have huge amounts of interest we have to pay. I've got people in my office every day looking for increases for very worthwhile programs. At the same time, we have to pay this out because of a mistake that Doyle has taken six years to admit."

Vos, a Republican, is absolutely correct that the interest accumulated while Doyle, a Democrat, has been in office. But make up your own mind whether this is a worthy kick, or a cheap shot.

Says the AP story in today's Chicago Tribune:
A federal audit in 2002 found Wisconsin officials had recovered $17.4 million in overpayments in the state-federal program but failed to repay the federal government its share of $10.7 million.

Auditors recommended the state pay up. The federal government formally ordered repayment in 2005 and interest of 12 percent started running at that point. The state continued to dispute that it owed the money.
What Vos doesn't mention -- or at least is not quoted in the Tribune as mentioning -- is that the "mistake that Doyle has taken six years to admit" actually took place in the 1990s, and was made by ... wait for it ... his predecessors in the Governor's office. Um, a couple of Republicans named Tommy Thompson and that other governor whose name you have to really search the memory banks for...oh, yeah, Scott McCallum.

So maybe there's enough blame to go around, if this is really an issue worthy of finger-pointing.


  1. Focus on the 12% interest that continues to accrue. I wonder if the agreement has interest also accruing on the unpaid interest as well. Whoever is at fault - pay the bill!

  2. So we going to bitch about Voss (no Surprise) for the few millions, but no a peep about the TRILLIONS Obama is going to spend? Of couse not you love Obama and hate Voss.

  3. Pete asks at the end "if this is really an issue worthy of finger-pointing." You should have asked yourself that question Pete.

    In reading the info you provide, the errors occurred during a Repub administration. So what. Vos was complaining about Doyle's decision to fight - a decision that is apparently costing us millions in taxes. That decision is all Doyle.

    Looks to me like you are just looking for any chance to take a shot at Vos. This post tells me more about you than Vos.

  4. A quick history lesson folks. Until late in 2008 the Congress would spend a great deal of time debating a $30 billion spending bill. Now they don't even spend a week on a trillion dollar spending bill. Now they use earmarks rather than pork barrel spending because it sounds better. The presidents own people give this spending a 50 - 70 percent chance of working. Many economists say there is 100% chance the economy will turn around on its own in the same amount of time the spending package will change our direction.

    This kind of spending by government has gotten us and other countries in trouble before. Initially only the Republicans sounded the alarm, but now more moderate Democrats are stating their concern too.

    "Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Hope some people in Washington start learning real fast.

  5. It would be nice if we would debate what is right and wrong or what works vs. what doesn't. This is a blog that is run by two very liberal guys who don't have to be objective. The difference is I don't ask for a fairness doctrine to be deployed to make Pete and Dustin be objective.

    Why is it liberals trust government to do all our thinking and decision making for us. Pete, why do you think that government is qualified to handle manage tax money when we see time and again they can't?

  6. Info: Finally, a good question! "Why do you think that government is qualified to handle manage tax money when we see time and again they can't?"

    Where'd you get the idea that I think this way? Clearly, government has failed, time and again. So has the private sector. A pox on both their houses.

    I'm as willing to embrace an alternative to both as the next guy; failing that, I dream of a self-sufficient, solar-powered, organic-gardened cabin in the woods, away from everyone (including the taxman).

    But until then...we have to play the cards we've been dealt.

    And as for Denis' point: Yes, Vos is complaining only about Doyle's decision to fight, which costs us $5 million, while ignoring the $10 million the state owes because of the mistakes made by his GOP predecessors. That's hypocritical It seemed to me -- and still seems -- that there's enough blame to go around.

    And as for Anon's point, "Initially, only the Republicans sounded the alarm" about the trillions we're spending: How quick we are to forget that the national debt rose $5 trillion during the Bush administration, during most of which the GOP also ran Congress. Didn't hear many alarm bells coming from that side of the aisle then...

    This is not a partisan issue; we're doomed regardless which party is in charge. We need to stop finger-pointing and refloat our (and the world's) economy.

  7. That's right Pete lets raise our taxes more to save the world.
    In fact I will do you one better we will let the UN run every aspect of our life.
    Since if I read right Obama now thinks we have to do a "New Deal" for everyone everywhere.

    Time for me to reflect on this

    Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased by chains and slavery? ... I knot not what other men may do but as for me give me liberty or give me death.

  8. Pete, as you probably know, state employees tend to be on the left, probably even more so in the field of social service. So the initial overpayment you cite may well have been a mistake by a dem. Of course we don't know. All we really know about the actions of the Republican administration (that you criticize) is that they discovered a welfare overpayment and they recovered the money. What is wrong with that?

  9. Denis: Nice try, but no ceegar. Neither of us as any idea who specifically made the error, and it's disingenuous on your part to attempt to blame a "left" or "dem" state employee, but it definitely happened during a Republican administration (the buck stops here, remember?).

    Quoting from the story: The error occurred in the 1990s (and Tommy Thompson, R, was governor from 1987-2001). The error was discovered by federal audit in 2002 (while Scott McCallum, R, was governor).

    All I said was: There's enough blame to go around. Vos' attempt to blame Doyle for this perhaps innocent error and its aftermath still seems unnecessarily partisan to me. Why didn't McCallum just pay back the $10 million when HE had the chance in 2002?

  10. Nice try yourself Pete. You say "it's disingenuous on your part to attempt to blame a "left" or "dem" state employee." That statement itself is disingenous. I wrote that state welfare workers tend to be Dems and that the mistake MAY have been made by Dems, and then I followed this with "Of course we don't know." So when I write that we don't know, how is it that you interpret that to mean that I am attempting to blame the left? This is why I am saying that you are being disingenous here.

    All we know, based on your article, is that the Republican administration discovered an error and recovered the money. And according to your article, it was the Doyle administartion that fought this and incurred the penalty.

    I don't know why McCallum didn't return the money promptly. Your article did not attempt to answer that question. Perhaps they were wanting to keep it as long as possible and earn interest on it, I don't know. Whatever the reason, it didn't cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin a dime. Only the Doyle administration's decision did. And yet you keep trying to have Repubs share the blame.

    This is morally relative thought and biased reporting, IMHO.

  11. StopthemadnessNOW3/01/2009 9:45 PM

    While Denis and Pete are politically bantering back and forth, I'd just like to point out that Rep. Robin Vos and his staff seem to have nothing better to do than play "gotcha." It's getting real old.

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