I know it's a small thing, but as Wisconsinites get ready to hear, tonight, how Governor Patsy is going to pay for the cash handouts to his buddies in business-- most likely by simply asking poor people to die in the street rather than get health care -- I couldn't help noticing that state workers (who Governor Patsy otherwise hates) were spending their (taxpayer-funded) time increasing the (taxpayer-funded) costs of government... by promoting a private business: lighting the Capitol Dome to celebrate the Packers' Super Bowl trip.
Think that's easy or cheap? Guess again. From Madison.com:
Early Monday morning, [State employee who presumably Governor Patsy wants to fire after she's done working] Trumpy ... unlocked door after door and led lighting expert John Hyatt and his colleague Jen Ahlstrom up multiple narrow passageways so they could transform the Dome's normal white glow to Packers team colors for the week leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl. The process involves securing colored gels over a total of 48 large round lights set atop the building's four wings. Sometimes the gel frames can easily be attached with screws and wingnuts, but usually some muscle or a Swiss Army knife is needed. .... For Hyatt the saga really began over the weekend, when he set off from Grand Rapids, Mich., with the frames and gels on a six-hour drive to Madison. Hyatt used to keep the equipment in his office on State Street near the Capitol, but he decided to close up his shop here in November due to tough economic times — and a moratorium on colored lighting for the Capitol. The moratorium went into effect this fall, said state Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, until members of the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board can agree on a policy about who can illuminate the dome in special colors. ... Typically, the Capitol is lit in honor of nonprofit causes, such as red for National Heart Month and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the groups pick up the tab. This week's lighting will cost the state $1,800.
So we have the money to pay specialists to drive up to Michigan and then tramp around the Capitol fixing the lights to celebrate a team that's not even located in our city and which earned profits of nearly $10 million even in a terrible economy, but we don't have the money for health care for the poor?
Nice priorities. Maybe alongside the Super Bowl commercial tally this weekend, we could also have a little counter showing how many Americans die each year of treatable diseases: 45,000 people each year. You have a 40% greater risk of death if you don't have health insurance, leading to 123 deaths per day from lack of insurance. Or five an hour.
So while the state spends $1,800 -- a miniscule, but symbolically important sum -- on lighting the dome this week to celebrate the Packers, think of this: during the 168 hours that the dome is lit up 825 people will die because they didn't have health insurance.