A friend of mine the other day said, of the West Bend Republican state senator, "Glenn Grothman is a knob."
There's an argument to made against saying something like that on the grounds of politeness. I mean, that's not the sort of thing you necessarily want to say in mixed company. But she had a point. Grothman's latest inanity, which prompted the comment, is the return of the seven-day work week.
You've probably heard this. If you're on the internet at all – and it seems that you are! – you likely had some friend of yours link to the Huffington Post story last week that laid out Grothman's proposal. When I read it, I had to double-check that it wasn't one of those Daily Currant stories that is satire, but not good enough satire to be funny or anywhere near in the same league as The Onion. Because I could totally imagine someone thinking they're funny writing this story.
But it is true! Grothman has not denied it, and the story's been confirmed by real Wisconsin news outlets.
(But it sounds like satire: HuffPo says the proposal is sponsored in the Assembly by a Republican named Mark Born, whose bio says he lives in Beaver Dam with his wife Liberty and their daughter Reagan. You can't make this stuff up, people.)
I will admit, I think the Wisconsin law requiring at least one day off in a calendar week (unless you're a janitor or a cheesemaker!) is weird, and if it disappeared, I doubt the world would end.
But what gets me about this story – and I think what gets me about Grothman in general, and why people think he's a knob – is the reason Grothman gives for wanting to repeal the law.
"All sorts of people want to work seven days a week," Grothman told HuffPo. "A lot of times, you may have a factory that wants to run more shifts or want to work overtime and is short of people – and the employee wants to work, and the employer wants them to work, why shouldn't they be able to work?"
In other words, Grothman is apparently besieged by sad-faced employees of his district who just want so bad to work a straight fortnight that he is moved by utter compassion to offer this fix to help The Working Man.
Grothman says this about "freedom." For, you know, the worker. Who wants to do all that work.
This is Grothman's schtick: His proposals – curtailing access to voting, saying women don't think money is important so they don't need equal pay, his "production tax credit" that can cut corporate taxes to basically zero – are clearly designed to benefit The Man, not The Working Man. More money and bennies to the wealthy, the white, the male, the powerful. But he sells them as being about "freedom" for the average person.
Here's the thing: If The Working Man in Grothman's district needs to take on extra shifts and whole extra days of work to make ends meet, then the problem is decidedly not Wisconsin's funny law barring seven days of work in a calendar week (unless you're a baker or a fire-stoker!). The problem is that wages are too low.
And if The Man really wants to add whole shifts and whole extra days of work at his widget factories, there's a pretty easy answer that employers have been using since forever – hire more people. I mean, haven't we been told incessantly by Grothman and his brethren that these people are "job creators"? Create some jobs, people!
(One could, if one wanted, insert some additional snarky comments about how this would help fellow Republican Scott Walker with his "250,000 jobs in four years" pledge, but I am not that one, today.)
Both of these solutions – raising wages and broadening employment – would be great for most of the people Grothman represents (not to mention around the state), doing something that would actually increase freedom by putting more money in more people's pockets without requiring a return to 19th century workhouse conditions.
But neither of these solutions is appealing to the real constituency of politicians like Grothman, who would rather squeeze the workers they have than pay a penny more or actually create a job.
Is that enough to deserve being called a knob? I don't know about all that. But it's pretty clear Grothman, who as a state senator worked about 40 days last year, doesn't have a clue about what real workers in this state need.
Grothman is definitely confused. Anyone out there working knows employers want their employees to "flex" their hours instead of working overtime. And the whole "do more with less people" scenario is very popular with employers and is now at its peak.
I'm guessing that not what ol' Glenn has in mind. He is NOT on the side of blue collars workers.
you can write an article like this, one that is well worded and makes sense, and filled with honest truths. but the problem is too many people are brainwashed into kissing the ass of the wealthy "job creators" who want nothing to do with actual job creating. The truth is, the business owners are in it for money, nothing more nothing less, the customer doesn't matter and the employee doesn't matter. Money. That's all they want. And they'll screw each one of us over in order to make one penny more. Congrats, this is what capitalism is all about.
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jay Bullock
Published Sept. 9, 2014
I was very excited the other day when I heard that celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Jill Scott, and Kate Upton had their iCloud accounts hacked and nude photographs of them were being posted all over the internet -- but not for the reason you might think.
Published Sept. 2, 2014
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Oh, look, it's a day that ends in Y, so Bullock is slamming Scott Walker again." You bet! But this day, I have new results from the Marquette University Law School poll to talk about, and since the poll has been eerily accurate - nailing Gov. Walker's recall win in 2012, for example - the results are worth paying attention to.
Published Aug. 26, 2014
I was doing some errands the other day, catching up on podcasts in the car between them, when I heard this: "The behavior of crowds tends to be determined by what's happening outside the crowd." I could not help but draw the connection between what was being said about crowds and what is happening now in Ferguson and around the country.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
"Senseless death"-- and its companion, "senseless tragedy"-- is one of the tritest, emptiest phrases you hear. And, sadly, you're hearing it a lot these days, although it's hard to say that anyone's death is in any way sensible, other than perhaps the lucky few who die of very old age on their own terms with friends and family around all their affairs fully settled.
Published Aug. 12, 2014
From time to time, I like to check under the bridge to see what my trolls are up to. Wait, did I just say that out loud? I mean, I like to dig into the comments to my columns, as well as the emails they precipitate, and share my responses with those correspondents and world.
Published Aug. 5, 2014
Good news, everybody! Wisconsin's senior Sen. (and man, is that a tough phrase to type) Ron Johnson, Republican, is appealing the dismissal of his lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act, so the hilarity can continue for the foreseeable future.
Published July 30, 2014
Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) set forth another in his continuing series (like Harry Potter, but with more magical thinking) of budget committee plans designed to "help" the poor. I'd like to offer 100 things Paul Ryan could have proposed in this most recent version but didn't that might actually help the poor.
Published July 21, 2014
Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finally got off the fence and called for the state's lawmakers to "repeal Common Core and replace it with standards set by people in Wisconsin." Clearly an attempt to motivate his base, Walker's statement -- like most anti-Common Core sentiments -- missed the mark on what the real problems are and opened up an ugly can of worms.
Published July 15, 2014
For a party that has long claimed to oppose frivolous lawsuits, the Republicans last week sure seemed pretty tort-happy.
Published July 8, 2014
The Supreme Court is, pretty often, going to make decisions any of us can disagree with. The court as it is now has managed to anger people on the left and the right -- the left more often, thank you Ralph Nader -- but last week's decisions on birth control have raised the Roberts court's penchant for disagreeability to a new level, one that is undeniably trolling.