TODAY: Obama’s chief economic advisor and “Walmart Progressive” to speak in Madison at the UW, 5:30PM, Mon., Nov. 18

Note to the super-sensitive: Contains the F-word. You were warned.

It’s rather late notice, but I thought a few of you would want to get word.

The following text comes from UW Madison’s “Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery” page.
Monday, Nov 18 | 5:30 p.m.
Fiscal Policy: Achievements, Opportunities & Challenges is free and open to the public.
In the wake of last month’s shutdown of the federal government due to partisan tumult over fiscal and non-fiscal arguments, Jason Furman, chief economic advisor to President Barack Obama, will discuss current U.S. fiscal policy. Furman has generously consented to devote a considerable portion of his hour at UW-Madison to answering questions from the audience, so come with your best; this is the man with the president’s ear. He will be introduced by UW-Madison Chancellor Becky Blank, with whom he worked in Washington, D.C. This event is sponsored by the department of economics.

Nearby parking for the public,charged by the hour using cash or credit, is available in Lot 17 on Engineering Drive [google map]. Also available in Lot 20 [google map] and the Union South Garage on West Dayton Street [google map].
Also handy: searchable UW Madison map

A few bullet points on Furman, starting with the most appalling:

Furman wrote a 16-page 2005 paper entitled “Wal-mart: A progressive success story” when he was a visiting scholar at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. That’s something Michigan’s Mackinac Center liked LOVED. You may remember Mackinac from their support of Right-To-Work in Michigan, or their ALEC involvement, or their supporting role in readying and unleashing Wisconsin Act 10 upon our state. (If not, here’s their entry on SourceWatch).

Back in the day, Alternet printed a nice takedown of Furman by Lynn Stuart Parramore which includes this exremely off-putting quote from Furman on lefty “Kum-Bay-Ya”:

“The collateral damage from these efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits is way too enormous and damaging to working people and the economy more broadly for me to sit by idly and sing ‘Kum-Ba-Ya’ in the interests of progressive harmony.”

I can see why Furman got a conservative stamp of approvall before he was appointed Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) in June of this year.

You might say he gets a pass. That was before we got this May 2013 study that shows that one Walmart Supercenter in Wisconsin costs $900,000 in tax dollars.

In Wis-Fucking-FitzWalkerWalmartIstan.

But the 2013 report came AFTER a 2004 report which estimated that a 200-employee Walmart store could account for $400,000 in public assistance for workers.

Anyway, coming back to the 2013 report, we learn
“…Walmart had more workers enrolled in the state’s public health care program in the last quarter of last year than any other employer, with 3,216 people enrolled. When the dependents of those workers were factored in, the number of enrollees came to 9,207.”

Look at the healthcare chunk alone.: [shamelessly copying and pasting from this Huffpo article]:
* publicly funded health care comes to $251,706 per year for a 300-employee Supercenter [we’re talking Badgercare Plus, Badgercare]*

And this isn’t counting all the gimmes Walmart gets in infrastructure such as roads to Walmarts completely paid for by the State of Wisconsin taxpayer.**

That report was pulled together by the “Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

But our Democrat in Chief, President Obama, appointed Furman.

I must say, one of these Democrats is not like the other.

According to a former colleague of Furman’s, Jared Bernstein, Furman played a role in shaping the nation’s economic and fiscal policies at the federal level since the Clinton years and he understands and remembers everything on both the wonk and the politico sides:
“This is a guy who can hold forth on the history of the tiers of the unemployment insurance system as well as the exemptions in the corporate tax code, including the Senators who snuck them in there.”

Ezra Klein reprinted Bernstein’s congenial email comments on Furman for WaPo, and added a few of his own. Here’s the bullet point list on where what Furman values according to his pal Bernstein:

–Progressive taxation that raises ample revenue;
–Boosting efficiencies and squeezing out inefficiencies in the tax code and the health care system;
–Solidly Keynesian in recession (he was ally in those arguments back in the day);
–Crafting policies with a clear eye to implementation constraints (something you only develop from pretty long experience in the gov’t sector);
–Strong supporter of the safety net (see here, e.g., re the little-known Furman effect).

To Furman’s credit, it has been said he fought hard to include anti-poverty measures in Obama’s stimulus bills circa 2009.

That was 6 years ago.***
A lot can happen to Americans who live paycheck to paycheck in six years, though.
And it has.

More resources:

Furman’s wikipedia page.

Transcript: Seib & Wessel Breakfast With Jason Furman

Furman’s testimony on the state of the U.S. economy delivered Nov. 13 [PDF]

*Badgercare for Walmart
Perhaps when I have more time I’ll delve deeper into why this form of Walmart welfare is especially egregious given the long waiting lists for Badgercare.

** Walmart Infrastructure:
If you’ll permit me 1 anecdote: I was present at a recent hearing where a County Chair, who was being asked about who paid for the upgrade on a road to a frac sand platn, said that the State of Wisconsin picked up the tab on that road because it went by a Walmart Distribution center. So no worries on that. Bingo. Paid for.
Happens all the time. Whatever Walmart wants, Walmart gets.

So I slapped this together very quickly to get word out, and it shows. Initially I said that was “3 years” ago. Sorry for the silly error.


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