Vol. 10    No. 22
OCTOBER 29, 2015
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                Writing Inspirations
Whenever I have lunch with my good friend Ada Deer, she often says, ‘I don’t know how you find all of these things to write about,’ or something
to that effect. And the way I am feeling this morning, I am kind of wondering about that myself.

One reason is that I continuously have things come through my e-mails. Outside of the spam urging me to buy everything under the sun or to go
to a website where they can steal my identity, I get about 100 emails a day that I scan and sometimes read in depth.

One such email that came in this morning was from the White House where President Obama was congratulating the House and the Senate in
coming to a budget deal that postpones all of the hard decisions until after the 2016 election. In other words, there won’t be any government
shutdowns — to the chagrin of the Tea Party adherents and other reckless folks — that will cause Congress to sink even lower in the esteem of
the general public.

I am happy for all of those people and agencies who receive funding from the federal government. Some of these people would just want to
starve Social Security recipients and others right in their tracks by making them go through immediate withdrawal and would end up sending
the national economy into a deep dive.

Some of these Tea Party conservatives want to take us back to the late 1800s, back to the days before civil and women’s rights, back to the
days when the economy wasn’t so complex, when the U.S. economy existed in relative isolation to the rest of the world, back to the days when
Robber Barons were the economy and government played a relatively miniscule role in the economy.

Well those days have passed and if the Tea Party folks don’t keep screwing with the modern day economy, they will take us back to the days
when there wasn’t any running water, when there were no TVs and cell phones, when raw sewage ran in the streets. What planet do they live
on?

There was an item that came through my email about U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s opposition to the Import-Export Bank, which helps to finance U.
S. exports, which in turn create jobs. It isn’t any more of a federal subsidy to businesses than U.S. Bank or Associated Bank are. The Import-
Export Bank is self-funded, but does allow businesses to sell their goods and services. It facilitates the smooth running of the economy.

But Senator Johnson has it in his head that the Import-Export Bank is a federal subsidy, so his Tea Party ideology compels him to vote against it.
And so, because we don’t have the Import-Export Banks, American businesses are losing sales. GE in Waukesha is laying off some of its
employees because it has missed out on sales to foreign customers because their foreign customers did not have the Import-Export Bank to
finance the deal.

Ron Johnson’s ideology has cost about 50 Wisconsinites their livelihoods. Now I know that Johnson married into money and that is how his
business career in the Fond du Lac area was financed. But not everyone is as fortunate as Johnson to obtain the money that they need to make
their businesses go. This kind of thinking could send our national economy plunging.

I mean, just look at Governor Scott Walker’s impact on Wisconsin’s economy. With his first budget back in 2011, he sent Wisconsin’s economy
and jobs spiraling downwards. He wanted to appear decisive and cutting edge, and so decisions were made that cut Wisconsin jobs. Walker
contracted the state economy by reducing the amount that state workers had to spend. And this hurt the private sector because thousands of
people were no longer buying their goods and services. Wisconsin is still lagging in job growth even though we are nearing the end of the
upbeat in the economic cycle. Woe is Wisconsin should another recession hit soon.

Walker has taken us back to the good old days alright. He has set our economy back 100 years.
My emails also tell me that we are getting close to the end of the month. It seems that the volume of emails that I get asking me for political
contributions begins to climb as we go through a month and then increase in intensity as the last day of the month approaches, warning me
about catastrophe after catastrophe that will occur if I don’t click on the little button in the email that will take me to an Internet site where I can
give them my life savings or at least as much as the balance on my credit card will allow.

And not only do I get emails from organizations and candidates whom I may have supported in the past, but I also get continued requests for
funds — requests that tell me how helpful I have been —  from people I have never heard from, candidates from Vermont to Oregon. Someone
has been passing my name — and email — around. I have to admit that I do feel a twinge of guilt as some of these emails start to make their
way directly to my Junk Email folder and I do not lift a finger to put them in my regular Inbox. But the guilt quickly fades away.

So outside of the emails and reading my favorite news websites, I also get my ideas of what to write about just from my interaction with people
who reflect the diversity of our metropolitan area. No matter where I go, people give me story ideas. Sometimes I overhear something.
Sometimes people ask me to write about something. And sometimes I remember that something is coming up and may be newsworthy. I always
like to say that I have about 300 editors placed throughout the community. And I am ever so grateful that they take the time to let me know what
is going on. The Hues would not be what it is without them.

And so Ada, that is how I find things to write about. It is through good conversations with dear friends like you.