Scott Walker

Peter Suderman in Politico Magazine on Scott Walker's Crony Capitalism


credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

I've got a piece in Politico Magazine today looking at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's recent deal to back the construction of a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks with public money, and his history of dubious attempts to boost jobs and economic growth in the state via taxpayer funding and government-designed agencies. From the piece

Over and over during his presidential campaign, Walker has declared that, as president, he'd stand up to "special interests." But by signing legislation a few weeks ago committing $250 million in public funds—which, once interest is included, balloons to more than $400 million—to the construction of a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks, Walker has made it clear, once again, that he's willing to use taxpayer money in ways that help his political allies, like Bucks co-owner and longtime Walker donor Jon Hammes.

This is classic crony capitalism—a hefty dose of corporate welfare doled out to the benefit of a deep-pocketed political ally—and Walker has a long history of it in his home state. Indeed, one of Walker's first acts as governor was to overhaul Wisconsin's Department of Commerce, transforming it into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a poorly run crony capitalist boondoggle that has benefited his political allies at taxpayer expense.

"We think this is a good solid move as a good steward of the taxpayers' money here in Wisconsin," Walker said of the stadium project, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It's a familiar sentiment. Walker has stumped for the stadium deal for months, and the idea that taxpayers ultimately stand to benefit from it has always been at the core of his argument. The Bucks have threatened to leave Milwaukee without a new arena; Walker's position is that it's "cheaper to keep them" because games held at the new stadium will bring in local spending (and thus taxes) while encouraging outside investment.

His pitch, long favored by politicians committing public funds to sports facilities, is contradicted by virtually all the economic evidence: multiple studies from organizations across the ideological spectrum have found that stadium subsidies don't encourage nearly the level of economic gain that backers promise. And with or without the stadium, locals would spend their money inside the state.

While research indicates that taxpayers don't win from deals like this, wealthy sports team owners clearly do.

Read the whole thing.  

NEXT: Is It Unethical for Caucasians to Cook Chinese Food?

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  1. In other news, driverless cars are evil you fucking nerds.…..d3xbGb3bCT

    1. xkcd on self driving cars:

      1. And the alt text is outstanding.

        The man is a genius.

    2. This is not an argument born of nostalgia, nor is it an attempt to resist technical progress.

      lol k

      1. Who cares if it is?

        1. It’s an old man shaking his cane at things he doesn’t understand and pining for the good old days. At least he has the self-awareness to realize that his arguments go for regular cars too.

          1. The problem with many libertarians is they claim to worship freedom but really worship technology and perceived efficiency instead. These sorts will gladly embrace slavery in the name of technology and efficiency.

            Self driving cars are a good example of this.

            1. I has a confused.

              How am I enslaved with a self-driving car?

              1. what problem is it trying to solve?

                How about the ‘I want to take a trip to Phoenix but its a three hour drive and I don’t want to pay $50 to take the shuttle and end up with no car once I get there’ problem?

              2. Self-driving cars don’t enslave anyone.

                Now, can Our Masters figure out a way to make self-driving cars a means of State control? You bet. But that’s a different issue.

                1. Forseable consequences are not unintended.

    3. Academics, philosophers, sociologists and policymakers have also raised important questions about the ethical and moral dimensions of autonomous cars: will these vehicles be programmed to act ethically, and whose ethics will they have?

      When those groups of people are opposed to something, I’m inclined to fully support it.

      Driverless cars are only going to be ‘evil’ because of how our governments will pervert the technology to get more control over us as they always do. The technology itself has the potential to be a godsend that will save lives, and improve quality of life.

      1. How will driverless cars save lives?

        1. Presumably they will eliminate crashes caused by human error such as distracted or drunk driving.

        2. Quite simply, fewer accidents. Potentially vastly fewer.

          1. But at what cost? I am not giving up my privacy and autonomy in return for reducing my already small chance being killed or seriously injured in an accident Would you?

            1. Wtf. Who wouldn’t rather watch porn than navigate a commute?

              1. ^^THIS^^

            2. Nobody’s asking you to.

              1. Yes they are. As soon as they are perfected you will hear calls to make them mandatory.

                1. OK

                  1. ‘Hearing calls’ is not the same as *are going to be*. We hear calls to forbid gun possession – still hasn’t happened throughout most of the country.

                  2. I’m not sure how you get ‘giving up privacy’ for a autonomous vehicle that is completely self-contained (except for GPS reception). This is not V2I stuff – that shit became obsolete before it even had a chance to get off the ground. Sure, the government still tries to (sort of) push it – no one is paying attention to them.

                  Its not going to allow any more remote tracking than OnStar (and like services) *already* allow (and have for a decade or more). And that remote access isn’t even a *necessary* part of autonomous navigation. Its needing physical access to your car’s internal network to download GPS positioning data – which has also been pretty standard for over a decade.

                  Or EzPass.

                  V2V does *not* require your vehicle to provide direct location data to other vehicles – and GPS positioning is too inaccurate for that purpose anyway – as the vehicles will have their own sensor net to precisely determine your location in relation to themselves. It will be useful when a vehicle announces that its braking (and how hard) so that other vehicles can react appropriately.

                  Sure, there’s a loss of autonomy there. But unless you genuinely value the option of being able to forgo braking and plow into the car in front of you . . .

                  1. I value being able to drive as I choose and assume the risks as I choose not be driven as the topek think I should. You guys don’t get that because all you see is “but I can drink and drive and watch porn”. As if porn and drinking where the measure of all freedom.

                2. There seems to be a simple solution to this problem. Don’t buy a self driving car. And as for government mandating the use of self driving cars. I’m not sure libertarians should oppose new technology going to the market simply because the government could use it for a nefarious purpose. Also Americans love driving cars even more than they love guns. I have a hard time believing that such a plan would get passed especially in the South or out West.

        3. By being better at driving than people are.

          “It won’t be better” isn’t a convincing response, since you wouldn’t buy it if it was worse.

        4. Driverless cars are pretty far away from the market, but things like systems to warn you when you drift out of your lane already exist. I guarantee you that alone has saved many lives already.

          1. My car’s cruise control automatically brakes if get too close to neighboring car. A bit annoying for me, but for someone less attentive, could prevent an accident.

            About 50 such automated systems gets you pretty close to driverless cars.

            1. Close, but not completely.

              I’m all for the emerging automotive technologies that will make cars safer, but you’ll have to pry my steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

              1. And that’s fine.

                There’s a huge amount of work that needs to be done simply in the area of securing the network in the car from outside interference (hacking) and, personally, if I could afford it I would have one self-driving car for long trips and one older, non-networked-at-all car for daily use.

                In any case, self-driving capability is not going to *replace* manual-driving – at least not for a good while after the first fully autonomous vehicles hit the market.

          2. I think there’s a serious risk that the quasi-autonomous technologies that we are seeing now will have little to no positive effect on accident rates.

            Because people are fucking lazy and stupid, and will use them instead of paying attention. Hell, one of the ads already shows a guy doing all kinds of stupid shit not paying attention, and being saved by the technology.

            I doubt that giving drivers permission to be lazy and inattentive is going to result in much safer roads.

            1. It is part of the general trend to make people info tile and lazy. If you are too lazy to even drive yourself, you don’t deserve your freedom and deserve to be treated like the slow 12 year old that the government intends to treat you as.

        5. Ok. So my question then is – what is the cause of the accidents that result in deaths? What % from drunk driving, what % from mechanical failure, what % from driver error?

          If you wish to reduce drunk driving fatalities – why not install a breathlyzer in every car?

          From mechanical failure – will driverless cars know when they are about to critically malfunction, and pull themselves off the road?

          For driver error – aren’t technologies already emerging that will reduce this incidents?

          1. A quick google said that the top causes are driver error (I include drunk driving in that), followed by mechanical failure, road defects, weather (which should count as driver error IMO, as in SLOW THE FUCK DOWN), and last on the list was badly marked construction zones.

            1. I assume that driver error is responsible for the majority. Given that, it seems there are a lot of emerging technologies in cars that will reduce accidents by driver error (automatic braking, lane drift sensing, etc). I guess I just don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to drive there own car.

              Granted, there are times when it would be awesome and save me taxi/Uber money when out for a night of drinking. So, I’d be ok with making it an option that I can turn off.

              But, I think John is right when he points out progressives at every opportunity seek to take responsibility and autonomy away from people and place it in the hands of a much smaller group of Top. Men. and always in the name of “public safety” and “for your own good”, i.e.- you aren’t responsible enough to operate a motor vehicle, so we’ll do it for you. Isn’t that what will happen with driverless cars? What was it that Benjamin Franklin said about trading freedom for safety?

              1. I’ve got a pretty long commute for work. I wouldn’t mind having an autonomous car to drive me back and forth if it meant I could take a nap or do some work on the laptop. Other times I like to drive, but I truly hate my commute. I think it would be a nice option to have. As far as eliminating drivers completely, I’m mixed. If there were autonomous car lanes on the highway, they could presumably travel at a much greater rate of speed and at closer distances, making the highway more efficient. But I wouldn’t want to share such a lane with driver-operated cars. But for going to the grocery store or something like that, I’d rather drive myself.

                1. You’d have to have dedicated and completely segregated lanes for driverless cars – otherwise a driver car could crash into the column of fast moving driverless cars. So – more spending on roadz.

                  You cold probably do that on most interstates but forget the surface streets – it’d have to be one of the other.

                  I’m beginning to see why the progs love this idea.

                  1. So – more spending on roadz.

                    Maybe, maybe not. Those lanes would have a much higher throughput, being that the cars would be faster and closer together, so if enough people used them then the interstates would need fewer lanes, not more.

                    You cold probably do that on most interstates but forget the surface streets – it’d have to be one of the other.

                    Or driverless cars could have a mode for sharing the roads with driver cars.

                    1. The ability for them to be faster and closer together is vastly overrated. You 120 mph train of cars is great right up until the lead car hits a deer or one of the cars blows a tire. Driverless cars will drive the speed limit and no faster. Physics and liability concerns will ensure that.

                    2. I still think that driverless lanes would have a higher throughput, even taking accidents like deer and blowouts into account. Why? Instant reaction times and communication with other cars. If a car did hit a deer or have a blowout, the following cars wouldn’t be dependent upon the driver’s attention and reaction. A signal would be broadcast and the following cars would react instantly. Does that mean bumper-to-bumper at 120? I doubt it. But would it be more efficient than cars with drivers? Undoubtedly.

                    3. The reaction times would help but not eliminate the problem. If the car in front of you slows quicker than your brakes slow your car, no reaction time will save you. Also tires will limit speed. More than that no autonomous car company is going to risk the liability associated with exceeding the speed limit. Your robot car will meticulously obey all traffic laws, which will get old quick.

                    4. The reaction times would help but not eliminate the problem.

                      I never claimed perfection. Only higher throughput on driverless highway lanes.

                      More than that no autonomous car company is going to risk the liability associated with exceeding the speed limit.

                      I would assume that the driverless lanes would have their own speed limit.

                      Your robot car will meticulously obey all traffic laws, which will get old quick.

                      If it came to that, I would hope that there would be an examination of the traffic laws. Most of them exist solely for revenue, though they claim it’s for safety. Driverless cars that obeyed all laws wouldn’t generate revenue, and would presumably be safer even if they didn’t. So there would need to be a different set of standards.

                    5. You would hope for a lot of things. Getting those things however… Robot cars will drive according to some kind of industry standard for safety. If you think that will be anything but utterly conservative you are kidding yourself.

                2. The real danger – and one that the Luddite faction ignores (though the pro-auto is exploring) is ‘outsourced ethics’.

                  In other words – a guy slams on his brakes in front of you, you can ram into him (and die) or swerve and potentially hit or drive off the bridge a busload of nuns (but you have better odds of surviving that).

                  *You* don’t get to make that choice, it will be pre-programmed in.

                  1. *You* don’t get to make that choice, it will be pre-programmed in.

                    How many people in such a situation make a conscious choice? Not many. They react without thinking. An autonomous car would likely be more aware of the surroundings and be able to plot a safer avoidance path, assuming it was programmed well.

                  2. Additionally, I would assume that driverless cars would be in some sort of communication with nearby driverless vehicles, so in an accident situation they could coordinate their reactions so as to avoid additional collisions.

                  3. Yes. One of the dangers is that robot cars will drive only as top men intend them. They are also a perfect bomb delivery system. That alone will likely kill them or make them subject to so much government control they won’t be worth the trouble.

      2. No, they’ll be programmed by crazed libertarian techies and their main objective will be to run down women and orphans in the street. Because libertarians can never find enough ways to leave dying women and children in the streets. First it’s take away their healthcare and then killer cars!

        1. Yeah, right. Like libertarians are going to program cars to run down the very orphans we need for our salt mines, monocle factories, and, err, personal services.

          1. Only the ones who refuse to work 16 hours a day for bread and water.

      3. And rob is of our privacy and autonomy in the process. What do you value more freedom or safety and efficiency?

        1. Isn’t that what the market is supposed to determine?

          You don’t have to use Facebook – but plenty of people do because they think what it offers is worth what it demands.

          You use a cell phone? You’ve already traded freedom (privacy and autonomy) for safety and efficiency.

          1. But I have to use automated banking and will if we are not careful have to use one this hideous contraptions.

    4. Condensed version: “I know the Luddites have always been wrong, but this time it’s different, because reasons.”

      1. They are always wrong. I mean it’s not like the Internet and computerized banking has robbed us of our privacy and made it a thousand times easier for the government to control people. Technically only has upside.

        1. In all seriousness, it is pretty hard to argue that the NET result of the internet is less liberty. I think you are only looking at one side of the equation. Of course, the govt will try to get its nose into new technology. But generally after a large increase in liberty has already occurred.

          BTW: This is what driverless cars look like:

          1. More like this.

        2. In the west, in general, there’s been a slight decrease in privacy sure – though in net there’s been both an *increase* in privacy and convenience.

          And in the rest of the world its pretty much *only* been upside.

          1. Slight decrease in privacy and freedom? Really?

      2. Cars are freedom. Progs hate freedom. Progs love trains. Driverless cars are the next best thing to trains.

        1. Basically this.

  2. Once again Cosmo Magazine is letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and not focusing on tearing down the real enemy: democrats.

    You all sicken me.

    1. Are people still in mourning over The Ashes?

      1. Sorry, I don’t get the reference.

        And I’m usually quite good at that. But I don’t want to cheat and google it without admitting my failure first.

        1. Shit, my bad. Got my user names confused. Please ignore my stupidity.

          1. Ah, I thought it would be some obscure movie or book reference.

            1. I thought he meant the ashes of the Democratic Party, after the severe ass beating they’ve taken the last 2 election cycles. But then I noticed that Ashes was capitalized.

              1. I think it has something to do with cricket. The game, not the insect.

    2. If you care about ending crony capitalism, the only answer is to vote Democrat because they would never engage in such a thing.

      1. Well, that’s because they’re not owned by the Kochtopus.

      2. So no accurate information about a particular Republican that would make them look bad, because it IS bad, should ever be noted because someone might foolishly vote for a Democrat instead?


        1. Look, prolefeed, you know it’s the silly season again.

        2. Of course it isn’t. I just saying vote democrat.

    3. Getting rid of the Democrats completely will only make the Republicans worse, because now they can really do all the things they’d like to do, totally unopposed. Not sure if that sounds scary to you, but it scares the living shit out of me.

      1. For some reason, it scares me less. Not that I don’t agree with you, but the Republicans are bumbling political idiots compared to the Democrats. Democrats, if they ever had total control, would visit a whole new form of smiley-faced fascism on us with the happy and helping hands of bureaucrats everywhere. The Republicans are too inept to do that.

        1. Both scenarios are equally scary for me. Don’t forget, a very large majority of the GOP in Congress are pretty damn fascist on their own. I can’t even imagine what horrors the Orange one and Turtlehead could dream up. But I can guess with near certainty on some of them. More foreign wars, more spying on Americans, more cronyism, more tough on crime bullshit, more WOD.

          Granted, the Dems would do all of that and wreck the economy at the same time, but I’m not really sure how much difference it would make. Maybe the Dems will at least make enough Americans really angry that we’ll finally do something.

          1. The difference is that they are opposed by the bureaucrats so they would be consumed by their own infighting. Win win

  3. I saw an analysis of this deal that claimed the state obligations would all be covered by ticket fees and state income taxes paid by the nba players. No stadium means no nba salaries means no nba income taxes. So that is an important part of the math I think.

    I don’t think the deal math relied on any indirect claims about restaurant business etc.

  4. Not surprised. Now let’s take a peek at Walker’s foreign policy and stand on the WOD. I bet those are even shittier.

  5. From what I undrstand , Walker’s reaso.oi.g is not yhat the arena wull promote economic growth, but that losing the Bucks from the state would harm corporate and income tax revenues more than the amount of state spending on the arena. That still may be wrong, but it is a different argument than meely promoting economic growth.

    1. reaso.oi.g is not yhat the arena wull

      You on your phone, bro?

      1. Sigh, yes,

    2. Its also a *worse* argument.

  6. Bailouts for some, tiny American flags for others.

    1. Oh come on, you’re just jealous of all the real patriots at a Hillary event waving their cute little flags. Because you can’t stand the thought of a woman president, sort of like how you hated Obama because he’s black. Get over it, bagger!

  7. driverless cars are evil you fucking nerds.


  8. Judging by the 4-way stop near my home, most cars are nearly driverless already.

  9. Billionaires don’t like be unhappy. Not one bit. Because they can move with ease and since his politician friends know this the politician friends prefer to keep the billionaire happy with lots of citizens sliding on and off his schlong the day long. Keeping misers thrilled and close by is the work of the politician and government violence is a super cool tax-collecting tool that comes in handy when Mr. Miser prefers not to blow a wad on a new stadium. Billionaires mine cities like coal miners mine mountains.

    Probably would be very few American billionaires if our tax system was immune to manipulation and plundering.

  10. There’s a Milwaukee Bucks now?

  11. Aren’t all politicians expected to buy off somebody to get elected? The difference is between those who do it just as much as necessary, & those who make it the chief focus of their jobs.

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