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Tool of the Week: Out of touch lawmakers

MADISON — We’ve got two Tools this week, which should give you a pretty good idea of how bad last week was.

The dubious honor goes to Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) for being grossly out of touch with reality.

Last week on the Assembly floor, before lawmakers unanimously passed legislation that begins to fix the Department of Workforce Development’s faulty IT system, Hintz declared that Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance debacle was a “fake crisis.” He was obtusely referring to the tens of thousands of out-of-work Wisconsinites stuck in DWD’s dysfunctional UI claims system, as if to say, It’s not that bad.

Hintz should pitch his “fake crisis” theory to Brittney Gitzlaff, a Menomonee Falls mother of three young children who in mid-October had been waiting since March for DWD to pay the unemployment benefits it owed her. At one point, a DWD adjudicator asked her if her 8-year-old daughter could watch her younger siblings so that she could go back to work. Her children’s school went virtual and she needed to take care of them.

Hintz might want to consult with Ronald Letzia. The 70-year-old West Allis man, as of late January, had been waiting eight months for DWD to finish his claim. Letzia, with health complications that forced him out of the workforce during COVID-19, was originally approved by the agency before paperwork glitches and red tape slowed the claims process down to a crawl.

These are just two of the many, many stories of human suffering caused by Evers’ dysfunctional Department of Workforce Development. Or as Hintz believes, the “fake crisis.”

In like dismissiveness, Erpenbach said instances of Wisconsin’s left-wing universities targeting conservative speech are like voter fraud complaints — there’s “no evidence” of them.

He’s wrong on both counts, as conservative Wisconsin professors made clear at a state Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges hearing on free speech on campus — or lack thereof. Of course, liberal Erpenbach, like the leftist thought police at Wisconsin’s public universities, doesn’t see anything wrong with targeting and silencing their conservative opponents.

We are frequently reminded how out of touch elitist liberals are. This week Hintz and Erpenbach went above and beyond.

That’s why the Democrat lawmakers collectively are Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.

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