Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Two questions

Answer one or both, Answer them here or wherever you want.

If you support Governor Doyle's rather substantial set of tax increases, are you bothered by the fact that he ran for reelection by promising not to raise taxes? Circumstances change, but they probably haven't even disconnected the phone at campaign headquarters.

If you support the Regents' adoption of "holistic admissions" including granting persons preferential treatment on the basis of race, are you bothered by the fact that it is clearly illegal? Does the fact that you like a policy (or think the law is a bad one) mean that you don't care if people who are sworn to uphold the law enact that policy by acting as if the law did not exist?

Don't answer by pointing to what you believe are similar acts by conservatives. I am sure you can find them, but they ought to be dealt with on their own terms. Can you defend the Governor's tax proposals and the Regents' policy on any basis other than "everybody does it"?

6 comments:

jp said...

Life is not lived inside a law book.

Seth Zlotocha said...

On the first question, did Doyle promise not to raise taxes during the campaign? I'm not asking to be snarky, but rather because I honestly don't recall him ever making that type of promise, at least regarding the taxes he's now proposing to raise.

On the second question, the proposed UW admissions policy does bother me, but not simply because it appears to violate state law. UW-Madison has had a holistic admissions policy for about the last 15 years -- this new policy is aimed at the comprehensives. And while there's more to it than just race, increasing racial diversity at the comprehensives has always been a big goal, particularly when you consider the typical non-white enrollment at the comprehensives, as a cluster, usually only hovers around 5-7 percent, which is only about half of what the non-white population is in the state as a whole.

But, the thing is, the UW comprehensives already do whatever they can to admit qualified minority students. In short, the real issue isn't about minority admissions, it's about minority applications. Indeed, you'd have a tough enough time convincing an inner city Milwaukee student, for instance, to attend UW-Whitewater, let alone Platteville, Stout, Superior, etc.

That's why it's my view that this new holistic admissions policy -- should it get adopted -- will change little to nothing for actual UW admissions and enrollment. It's merely poking a political hornet's nest that should've just been left alone, and apparently running up against state law along the way. In the end, truly increasing minority enrollment on UW campuses needs to be a ground-up endeavor -- like UW-Madison's PEOPLE program -- not top-down.

Rick Esenberg said...

I certainly heard him talk about not increasing "taxes" and claimint that he had "solved" the budget deficit (oops!) "without tax increases." He did say he raise the registration fee half the amount he is proposing and I don't suppose that he went down the laundry list of new taxes that he is proposing and said that he wouldn't propose them. I certainly don't recall him saying that what we need in Wisconsin - and I'll propose it two months after you reelect me - is almost two billion dollars in new taxes.

You may be right about the impact of the Regents' policy although I am astonished that the Regents are as casual as they are about state law. Life is not lived inside a law book (even for me), but you'd think public officials would feel themselves constrained by state statute.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Talking about not raising taxes to balance the budget in the past and promising not to raise any taxes in the upcoming budget are two different things.

Both Doyle and Green left important questions unanswered during the campaign. Each proposed millions of dollars in new tax breaks on top of the $1.6 billion hole that already existed due to advanced commitments (when the JS counted in September, Doyle was up to $66 million and Green was up to $148 million). Increased revenue under the existing formulas wasn't going to make up the whole difference (although it took out a chunk), so something had to give.

Green pledged to freeze state spending at current levels, which essentially means he would've needed to drastically slash programs to pay for existing advanced commitments and all of his promises. I can't imagine that would've been a popular move. Doyle, on the other hand, said he wouldn't increase state income or sales taxes (which he didn't), but he said nothing about those revenue sources he's now proposing the raise.

So if you want to frame a question that harks back to the campaign, it really should be whether people prefer the revenue increases proposed by Doyle to the program cuts that would've needed to take place under Green.

Some said...

"If you support the Regents' adoption of "holistic admissions" including granting persons preferential treatment on the basis of race, are you bothered by the fact that it is clearly illegal? Does the fact that you like a policy (or think the law is a bad one) mean that you don't care if people who are sworn to uphold the law enact that policy by acting as if the law did not exist?"

I do not support the regents’ adoption of a "holistic admissions" policy but I'd like to throw out an answer anyway. I don't find it at all inconsistent to support a policy from a policy standpoint even if I know it is illegal from a legal standpoint. However, even if I was in favor of "holistic admissions" I would have to be against the regents’ adoption of such a policy without first trying to, and succeeding in, changing the law. That wouldn't mean I'd be inconsistent in saying "holistic admissions policies are good." I'd only be inconsistent if I said, "the regents should adopt a holistic admissions policy even though it's illegal.”

With respect to the immigration issue for example [I'm not trying to apply the same standard to an issue where I oppose conservatives, it's just easier for me to talk about since I do support open immigration and don't support 'holistic admissions" policies from a policy standpoint], I always say that everyone should be allowed to come to America. [I'd probably allow some exceptions to this for people with violent criminal backgrounds or something]. Lots of people respond with stuff like, "But it's illegal! I support legal immigration." To me this is stupid because the issue is really about how much immigration should be legal, or more broadly; how much freedom there should be. With the holistic admissions policies, the issue to a lot of people is whether or not such policies should be legal. Obviously the regents don't have the luxury of looking at it that way though.

Terrence Berres said...

"I always say that everyone should be allowed to come to America. [I'd probably allow some exceptions to this for people with violent criminal backgrounds or something]."

Off topic, but this illustrates a problem with the immigration debate. As far as I can tell, when the U.S. had what we now regard as unlimited immigration, immigrants still had to enter through designated points (like Ellis Island) and present required documentation of their eligibility to enter.