Consult the supercomputer — Tone Madison

The Republicans are stepping up their election freak show and still finding time to try to kick more people out of BadgerCare.

Illustrative: Ghosts and ghouls swarm around the Wisconsin Capitol. Artwork by Maggie Denman.

Every week in Wisconsin politics brings an abundance of bad politics, bad takes, and bad actors. In our new recurring feature, Capitol Punishments, we bring you highlights (or lows) of the week from the state legislature and beyond.

Proof? Why would you want this?

In the latest update to the “inquiry” into the 2020 election, Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), chair of the Assembly’s Campaigns and Elections Committee, cleared a man convicted of fraud in 2009 to testify for nearly two hours on Wednesday about his so-called investigation.

Peter Bernegger was convicted of fraud in 2009 after he and his business partners kept telling investors how well their two start-ups were doing, even though, as a federal judge wrote during his the appeal process, they “have never been able to produce a salable product”. .” Bernegger’s companies “were supposed to make gelatin from catfish waste”, among other things.

Yet this man, who has no discernible employer, no electoral expertise and is not even a lawyer, spent nearly two hours telling lawmakers he had access to a “supercomputer” that allowed him to process data and to prove that there was electoral fraud.

Could he reveal his methods? No. What about the documentation for the cases he presented? No. Affidavits? Also no.

And of course, Bernegger checks out former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman’s inept and opaque ‘investigation’ into the 2022 election. The phrase ‘dumpster fire’ doesn’t even come close. .

The pinnacle of Bernegger’s absurd claims is that an unidentified black man from Illinois hid in a secret room during the day and changed votes at night. If you think it’s a dog whistle, you’re giving it too much credit for subtlety.

Punish the poor

Wisconsin’s already low unemployment rate continues to fall – it’s now at an absurdly low 2.8% – and our labor force participation rate is 66%, which means that two-thirds of Wisconsin residents Wisconsin who are 16 or older and not incarcerated or in the military, working or seeking work. But business owners continue to complain of a labor shortage.

Logically, if we take this statement at face value, it tells us that there are not enough workers in our state. So maybe we should try to make Wisconsin more attractive to workers, for example, by solving the child care and elder care crisis, investing in affordable housing, making care affordable health care and increasing wages.

Instead, the Republican leadership in Wisconsin has decided it’s time to punish the poor, even as experts have pointed out that the measures they have proposed will have no impact on the labor shortage. .

One of the bills being discussed at the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Committee on Wednesday would terminate BadgerCare recipients if they refuse overtime or a raise in order to stay on BadgerCare, a scenario The President of the Assembly Robin Vos (R-Rochester) says he has personally experimented with his own employees.

But there’s no guarantee that those extra hours and dollars will come with health care. Yes, BadgerCare-launched workers could apply on the exchange, but with bonuses, copayments, and deductibles, the change would make health care inaccessible. Remember that the income threshold for BadgerCare is only $13,590 for an individual, $27,750 for a family of four.

Another solution, which Gov. Tony Evers, state Democrats and small business advocates have advocated for years, would be to expand BadgerCare. Workers could put in more hours, and when they go over the income limit, it’s not such a sudden financial shock that they’re cut off from health care.

The package of GOP bills, which the committee will vote on next week, is so focused on the imaginary problem of people choosing government benefits over so-called good jobs that it completely misses the issues. actual Wisconsin workforce.

How many staff members can Robin Vos throw under a bus?

Did you know that Wisconsin is one of the few states where lawmakers are allowed to destroy official documents unless they have received a request for official documents?

How convenient that Vos claims to rarely check his official email. And isn’t it convenient that Vos’s office attorney, Steven Fawcett, waited 13 days to brief staff on the liberal watchdog group American Oversight’s document requests regarding the Gableman investigation?

After all, if you don’t know a recording request has arrived, you can’t be held responsible for destroying that recording, can you?

American Oversight submitted three recording requests to Vos’s office, then sued his office over apparently missing documents.

Vos fought long and hard not to give a deposition, even appealing to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He was eventually forced to give a deposition that could be summed up as a shrug emoji – he doesn’t check his email, he doesn’t know his Twitter password and he only communicates with Gableman and the former President Donald Trump on the phone. So no intervention for the de facto political boss of an entire state.

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