Letter to the Editor: A Chicken in Every Pot, Election Year Phenomena

Often erroneously attributed to Herbert Hoover in 1928 as he was running for re-election, a Republican operative wrote an ad for the New York Times, “Under lower taxation America has … stabilized employment …  Republican efficiency has filled the workingman’s dinner pail … Republican prosperity has … put the proverbial ‘chicken in every pot,’ And a car in every backyard.”

Yet in 1928 income disparity, the difference between income of the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent had never been higher. Then came the Great Depression. Now, income disparity both in Wisconsin and nationally is back to what it was in 1928. It took 90 years but we’re there.

Here’s one way this works. After, for example, seven years of taxing us bottom 99 percent dwellers one chicken every year, just before a re-election vote, incumbents, campaigning for our vote, give us back one chicken, hence a chicken for every pot. The difference between 1928 and 2018 is this time let’s do the math. Maybe we have a chicken in our pot and a sandwich in our dinner pail, but we’re still short six chickens. Where the (expletive) did our other six chickens go?

Governor Walker gives us excellent examples of the ‘chicken in every pot’ phenomenon after years of reducing funding for public education, reducing funding for the University of Wisconsin, seven years of resisting gun control legislation and ignoring working families – he sends us a check for $100/child, but where did our other chickens go?

Now, today’s example, after seven years of decimating the DNR, the governor throws us not even a whole chicken by announcing support for a couple of measures of chronic wasting disease control in Wisconsin’s deer herd. The headline in my paper reads, “Walker Outlines Tougher New CWD Measures.”  

His ideas are neither new nor his. The election year quail he tosses us today does not make up for seven years of annihilating the DNR: by cutting $59 million, 200 positions and half the DNR research positions, by hiring the disastrous Texan “deer czar. ” Where did our other chickens go? About $250,000,000 chickens went to a political donor’s arena in Milwaukee and about $4,458,087,915 chickens, give or take a few chickens, to Foxconn.  


Norman J. Wilsman

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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