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Issue of the Week: The Big Lie

Plus Heroes and Jerks of the Week

Jan. 28, 2009
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They are at it again. The ultraconservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, WPRI, has hired two “researchers” to argue that if Wisconsin enacts Healthy Wisconsin, a fairly comprehensive health care program, Wisconsin will become a magnet for ill people throughout the country. Twenty plus years ago, the right wing argued that Wisconsin was a welfare magnet because the benefits in Wisconsin compared to Illinois when all aspects of the welfare programs were compared had Wisconsin providing approximately $50 a month more generous welfare package for a family than Illinois. That bogus welfare theory argued that poor families would leave their friends and family and move to Wisconsin for that $50.

Now the same silliness and lies are happening again and this time it is with health care. They argue that if Healthy Wisconsin is enacted, ill people from all over the country will pack up and move to Wisconsin. The only problem is that these researchers have absolutely no empirical evidence to prove that people would or have ever moved across state lines for health care programs. So what does an ideological researcher do when they are being well paid to prove something that is not factually true? They get creative. Since there is absolutely no evidence to support the conclusion that they were hired to prove, they start to extrapolate. They offer absurd arguments such as if people would go to the extreme of joining the military for health insurance then they would certainly move to Wisconsin for insurance as well. That is the basis of one of their two main arguments. Again there is absolutely no evidence that Healthy Wisconsin would cause any migration to Wisconsin, but that doesn’t deter the WPRI. They just search around to find researchers who for enough money will come up with these silly arguments.

Then the next step is to get this unsubstantiated conclusion to be accepted by the public. Enter the Journal Sentinel. They promote the conclusion in their paper and then their right-wing columnist Patrick McIlheran, who is not trained as a researcher, editorializes on it, taking this study as the gospel truth. Once this lie is repeated over and over again, as it will be from the right-wing talk show boys, something that has absolutely no basis in truth becomes a fact of life. No wonder Wisconsin has trouble moving forward.

Hero of the Week: Boys and Girls Clubs

Embodying Dr. Martin Luther King’s spirit of service to others, many area volunteers stepped forward this past week to make a positive change in our community. Special mention goes to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, whose staff and members participated in many local activities, including neighborhood clean-ups. Such positive work is par for the course at the Boys and Girls Clubs, where social leadership through community involvement is a guiding principal, not just a one-day-a-year event. Leading by example makes the youth of the Boys and Girls Clubs our Hero of the Week.

Jerk of the Week: Patrick McIlheran, Journal Sentinel columnist

Either he is not smart enough to understand a flawed study, (see Issue of the Week) or he is choosing to promote the misinformation that it is promulgating. McIlheran has completely bought into a very flawed study paid for by the right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) about a legislative proposal, Healthy Wisconsin, that is now being introduced in other state legislatures as a model of a very good and cost effective health care program.

Though there is absolutely no evidence to prove WPRI’s argument that sick people will pack up and move to Wisconsin to get better health care coverage, McIlheran is quick to quote a researcher stating that at least 142,000 sick people would move to the state. Amazing. So the question is, is Patrick McIlheran intentionally trying to put out misinformation, or is he just too dumb to examine a study and realize that it is based on absurd assumptions that have nothing to do with the Healthy Wisconsin program?

Quote of the Week

“Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike, (March 18, 1932 – Jan. 27, 2009)

Photo of the Week
The Take Over Series @ The Highbury by Viee Phakphoom

Photo taken on December 5th, 2008 at The Highbury's one night art show hosted by Wiscojazz-Your Midwest Music Connection www.wiscojazz.com/.

Art and photo:
Viee Phakphoom

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