Finding North Without a Compass

A retired Army officer and retired Fortune 500 executive, Warren may be best known for making waves while serving on the Mequon Common Council and Ozaukee County Board. He's no longer an elected official, but he has plenty to say about local, state and national issues.



A Pig-In-A-Poke is an idiom that originated in the late Middle Ages when instead of a suckling pig in the wriggling bag (poke), the seller would substitute a rat or a cat on the unsuspecting buyer. The phrase subsequently transformed over time in the English language to accepting an idea or a plan without fully understanding its basis. The question today is how applicable that phrase is to the voters who bought "Change You Can Believe In" and elected Barack Obama as our 44th President. Did they buy a Pig-In-A-Poke and are now feeling buyer’s remorse? It certainly appears so as the polls indicate that his approval rating has fallen to less than 50%, lower than any other elected President during his first year in office.

How could this happen? If the media and the public had dug deeper into Obama’s background would they have been surprised in to what he has apparently morphed? I personally doubt it. The "Bush Hatred Syndrome" had so overwhelmed both the general public and the media that it would have drowned out further Obama history as a Chicago politician with a history of playing to his audience of the moment.

In the Obama case, if the country bought a Pig-In-A-Poke, we have to live with it at least until the next election in 2012. The question might better be asked how we might avoid such a purchase in the future. The ObamaCare Health Bill offers an opportunity to consider options.

I had the opportunity to attend Senator Russ Feingold’s Ozaukee County listening session at MATC-North. I must say, he found little to no support for ObamaCare in its current form. He had trouble keeping a straight face when he stated that the Congressional Budget Office projected a $185 billion reduction in the deficit from a ten year working of this bill. He knew it was hog wash and so did everybody else in the room, with the possible exception of some of the organized MATC facility led by Charlie Dee. One of his minions proposed that all seniors who oppose ObamaCare remove themselves from their Medicare coverage.

I didn’t get an opportunity to present my views to the Senator as he limited the session to about 80 minutes, so here goes now. To avoid a possible Pig-In-A-Poke I wanted to propose to Senator Feingold that he return to Washington and offer an amendment to the Bill along these lines. Let’s add both some incentives to the bill to insure that it actually operates as planned, especially that it will not add to the federal deficit as currently trumpeted, and some penalties if the results are not as promised and it does add to the federal deficit.

The incentive in the amendment would be that every Senator who votes for the ObamaCare Bill that finally is signed into law, will receive a $1million bonus at the close of the ten year period wherein the costs did not add to the federal deficit. On the other hand, the penalty if the costs of the ObamaCare Bill have added to the federal deficit after the ten year period, would be: "All Senators who voted for it, whether active or not, would lose their government pension and those still in office would resign immediately." That seems fair to provide some assurance that the country is not being sold a Pig-In-A-Poke. As a matter of fact, why not utilize an incentive /penalty approach for every piece of congressionaL legislation where there is a difference of opinion whether the legislation will add or subtract from the federal deficit? "ALL IN FAVOR SAY: "AYE!."

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