Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sorry About Your Kid, But There's Money To Be Had

Scott Walker's second week of governorship is starting off even worse than his first.

He proudly pushed his bills that he claimed would create jobs. But at what cost?

Via James Rowen, we find that it doesn't matter who gets hurt, as long as the bottom line of the businesses are kept intact. Dawn Kellner, mother of Jared Kellner, who was killed in the O'Donnell Park tragedy, joined many others to protest these bills, even as she is still mourning her son. But Walker's top legal counsel showed what the Walker administration felt about the whole deal:
Supporters at a Capitol hearing insist the bill still provides compensatory damages for victims, while protecting businesses from the expense of frivolous suits and unpredictable punitive damages.

"The reality or even the threat of litigation poses significant costs on job creators, from stifling innovation and efficiency to its direct impact on the bottom line," Gov. Scott Walker's legal chief counsel Brian Hagedorn said.

But Kellner, who also attended the hearing to speak out against the bill, said she's unconvinced.

"It would make it easier for people to have less accountability, as far as businesses, and that people like Jared could lose their lives, and there's no accountability for that," Kellner said.
Walker's bill is written so poorly, businesses wouldn't be the only ones to get away with murder:
That issue [drunk driving] - raised in a hearing Tuesday by the stepfather of a victim in a notorious drunken driving case - was just one of a host raised as lawmakers waded into the details of a series of bills from Gov. Scott Walker seeking to boost the state's economy.

"It would be virtually impossible to receive punitive damages in OWI cases," said Paul Jenkins, whose stepdaughter Jennifer Bukosky was killed in April 2008 by intoxicated driver Mark M. Benson.
But so what if people's children are getting hurt or killed and they are being denied recourse? There's jobs at stake!

Oh, wait, maybe not (emphasis mine):
Tom "Cap" Wulf, an owner of Wulf Bros. heating and air conditioning business in Sturgeon Bay, said litigation costs were a constant concern for him. He said he favored provisions in the bill that would raise the threshold for allowing expert witnesses in legal cases, saying he felt that expert witnesses in legal actions against his businesses often lacked real expertise.

"It reduces costs. It opens up opportunities," Wulf said.

Wulf said he wasn't sure if he would hire more employees if the bill passed, though he said it could make it easier for him to obtain insurance if he wanted to move into other lines of business.
Jobs? Meh. But it's a darn good chance to increase the profit margin.

Another kicker out of this miasma is that instead of saving taxes, or fixing the budget, like Walker had promised he would, it actually increases the deficit by another $128 million. And that number is probably low.

So how will Walker pay for this kick back to the businesses that supported him? Well, he says that he won't raise taxes. If he stays true to form - which he appears to be doing - he will pay for his largesse by raising fees like there's no tomorrow and throwing the elderly, the poor and the disabled - as well as our children - to the wolves.

Something is telling me that Walker won't be winning any humanitarian prizes in the near future.


  1. Governor Walker is penalizing contractors who want to do quality work. He is rewarding those who want to cheat and put safety at risk. Contractors are rewarded for privatizing profits up front, while over time being able to socialize the risk on the taxpayers.

  2. AFAIK, Indiana laws are about the same. It looks like the family of Declan Sullivan, the student who was filming a Notre Dame football practice when his scissors lift blew over, will also get next to nothing.