Don’t be fooled; UW cuts much higher than 2.5%

posted May 8, 2015 3:51 p.m. | updated May 11, 2015 12:00 a.m. (CDT)
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Nobody asked, but ...

• Those telling opponents of Gov. Scott Walker’s reported $300 million (or more) cut to the UW System to quit whining because it’s only 2.5 percent of the overall budget are disingenuous. 

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt summed it up succinctly in a recent blog posting: “Our current general fund budget ... without utilities, is about $95 million. On July 1, if the governor's budget is approved, we must operate with a budget of $81 million.” That’s a nearly 15 percent cut. And it’s going to be felt beyond the campus borders.

It’s debatable if we can cut our way to prosperity, but if we’re not careful, we will cut our way to mediocrity, and eventually irrelevancy. Is that more whining? We’ll likely find out, and the stakes are high.

• Every so often the news gets so depressing that we have to remind ourselves there’s a flip side of the coin. An earthquake in Nepal kills thousands ... a depressed man in Menasha guns down strangers ... riots in Baltimore ... the ongoing mess in the Mideast ... two more militant Islamists start shooting in Texas ... the list seems to be endless.

We need to counter these horrible images with other images ... graduation season ... road races for charity ... thousands of local volunteers who give time to dozens of nonprofits in our communities ... lives saved every day in our medical centers ... the list seems endless, and we need to keep that in mind during times like these.

• It’s comical how some who are fine with billionaires and special-interest groups giving unlimited amounts of money to influence elections are aghast that the Clinton Foundation took special interest money while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. 

Earth to the American people: We sold our electoral system to the highest bidder with the Citizens United decision. Money equals speech, remember? All of those giving boatloads of money clearly expect nothing in return, and far be it from politicians to make closed-door deals in exchange for the cash.

You believe that, right? If you don’t, you should support a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United or shut up and live with this foul-smelling system. 

• It’s a free country, and anyone can run for president, but the growing Republican field increases the risk that the survivor will have to say things during the never-ending primary debates to please the GOP’s right wing that will come back to haunt him or her when it’s time to face the Democratic opponent, almost certainly Hillary Clinton. And the larger the field grows, the harder it will become to stay above the fray.

• Paul F. Lynch of rural Eau Claire last week was sentenced to 35 years in prison for firing a semi-automatic weapon at least 24 times in the direction of an Eau Claire County sheriff’s deputy, who fortunately took cover behind a tree and wasn’t hit in the January 2014 incident.

So what did Lynch tell the judge at sentencing? “I had no intention of harming anybody.”

Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

— Don Huebscher, editor