Wisconsin businessman: Havoc isn't 'what this process is about'
Dan Mulder of Madison says the political bickering is out of hand. "He who creates the most mayhem prevails in the day.”
February 19th, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Wisconsin businessman: Havoc isn't 'what this process is about'

Dan Mulder is staying away from the marching and chanting around the Capitol steps in Madison and staying put in his office and warehouse. But it’s not because he doesn’t have an opinion. Far from it.

Mulder is the general manager and chief executive officer of a local business employing 25 people. He’s seen costs skyrocket and health care insurance premiums continue to rise.

He describes himself as an independent — he did not vote for the recently inaugurated Gov. Scott Walker. These days, however, he says Walker’s plan on fixing the budget deficit, which includes removing public sector employees’ collective bargaining rights, is right on the mark.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/02/20/wisconsin.biz.avoids.chaos.cnn"%5D

“I just think [Walker] deserves an Oscar for standing up,” Mulder said. “He’s got the resilience and the constitution to stand up and take on this issue.

“He fully realizes and understands that you can’t pay with what you don’t have, so he’s trying to live within his means. And that’s something that is completely foreign as a concept to most government sectors because if they need more money, they just raise taxes. The people who are paying those taxes are saying, ‘We can’t pay any more’.”

Mulder is a proponent of a civil and rational dialogue and exchange of ideas. He says the protests and chaos happening at the Capitol is not the way to go about getting things done.

“He who is loudest, he who is most vocal, he who creates the most mayhem prevails in the day,” Mulder said, shaking his head. “That should never be what this process is about."

“It’s really tragic because this is somewhat akin to the Civil War. Not that we’re at that level and hopefully we won’t be. But you’ve got brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor—that’s how driven this argument is.”

As far as the Democratic legislators fleeing the state to prevent a vote on the controversial bill, Mulder says they were elected to do a job - and not just when they feel like it.

“The last time I woke up, we were in a democratic society,” Mulder said, adding that the November elections — which put both a Republican governor and Republican legislature in place—were a clear mandate that it’s their turn to try some solutions.

“That Republican administration has been put in place by public mandate. And now that they’re exercising that mandate there's a minority of the population that doesn’t want to conform to that. Then it’s not a democracy anymore.”

He concluded by saying if people aren’t careful, the situation could eventually turn into anarchy.

“It’s tragic.”

soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. cnntwiststruth

    Cnn, i congratulate you for putting out a few unbiased articles on this subject matter. When i see this continue i will be changing my user name.
    Patty! the teachers brought some students to the riots, i mean mob gathering. Now, thats sound education, is'nt it ?

    February 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JohnR

    @GT66: I think sbus's point is that small businesses are tapped out by health care and tax costs and can't be expected to pay more and more of either ad infinitum. And anything that threatens to become the financial undoing of small business automatically threatens to become the financial undoing of the entire national economy and puts in doubt, among many other things, the long term feasibility of our continuing to pay for public education at all, let alone at anything like the current spending levels. A robust private sector is the only way to pay for an adequate public sector.

    February 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JD

    He is the first governor of Wisconsin in 64 years to not have a college degree! That says it all!

    February 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cnntwiststruth

      JD, and that fact is why the great people of Wisconsin voted him in. Walker is not a slimed up liberal looking to some way pass the buck.

      February 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madtown guy

      What does that say? You need a degree to get elected? He's an entrepreneur. You don’t need a degree; you need money to get elected.

      February 19, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ryan A - Florida

    What Mr. Mulder fails to understand, is that we do not live in a pure Democracy...because that would simply be a "mob rules" situation, one which our Founding Fathers sought to avoid.

    February 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sharon

    Never before has there such a time as this–riots in Wisconsin–the first DEMOCRATS to ever RUN from a battle–people not caring about their State–some sacrifices–to help the improvement of their State and their children–Unions who ALWAYS support DEMOCRATS will not back down even for 2 years to help this Crisis in this State-they demand–expect to WIN because OBAMA HAS OVER 700 UNIONS WHO DO NOT HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OBAMA CARE!

    THIS ISN'T RIGHT! Also–The Nation of Islam is EXEMPT–even the President and his family!

    There has never been more division in the world has today! Obama encouraged the youth in Egypt to step up to the plate for their rights. This occurred right after Obama took office-he immediately left the country for th G-20 Summit. From the summit Obama was live on ARAB Networks planting seeds.

    On March 14th, ttheir are some organized communities who plan to march in the streets on American's soil! What is Obama trying to do–cause total chaos everywhere–then not allowing us to vote due to the National Crisis and Worldwide Crisis?

    February 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • srichey

      Just for once, couldn't you tea partiers, Larouchies, or whatever call yourselves, not find it necessary to write key words in uppercase? We get the idea, ok? You hate Obama to the point of insanity even though he inherited a mess and is doing the best he can with very, very little.

      February 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeadGuy

      SRICHEY - And Walker didn't inherit the problems in WI from HIS PREDECESSORS?? WAKE UP and SMELL the COFFEE!!!

      February 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • TX Teacher

      Sharon – Islam is not specifically exempt from the requirement to purchase health insurance. Any religion that qualified under a specific part of the statute could be found exempt. The information I find doubts that Muslims would be exempt anyway due to their general acceptance of things like auto insurance and social security. Even if Muslims were exempt, it wouldn't include the President and his family because they aren't Muslim!

      February 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angel

      I live three blocks away from the Square. There haven't been any riots. My goodness, what people will believe...There have been free brats served by some handsome, burly gentlemen from a WI builders union, though.

      February 20, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. secretsquirrel

    JD – I agree. The state might have been better off by avoiding college educated governors.
    Ryan – Then, by definition, Madison is now the cradle of democracy?
    Patty – Excellent point! They should.

    February 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |

    America the country with NO future an increasing population and a shrinking job market the perfect plot for disaster. That lady school teacher hit the nail on the head her students have no respect nor want to work hard and get an education a real bright future we are looking . Most of the people in America live in denial if you have two living brain cells and are willing to question the medias line of bull s–t you will know the direction this country is headed and it is way past the point of no return .We intrust this nation direction to two parties of pathological liars ask yourself when is a liar not a liar and they are the ones making decisions that directly affect you and your children . You all better come out of your coma and realize we have all be sold out to corporations, lobbyist and the ilk Jessie Ventura is absolutely correct love your country but hate your dishonest government which is exactly what we have . Time will prove what i say is a fact. good luck to you all your going to need it

    February 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David

    How many of you went to public school?

    How many of you sat there in school thinking, man it must be great to be a teacher, that's what I want to do with my life?
    How many of you said, wow, look at the great cars these people drive?
    How many of you said, look at all the money these people have?

    Some of you might have wanted to be a teacher, some of you may be teachers, but most of you never thought of teaching as a glamourous profession; because it isn't.

    I keep hearing this meme: "It is time for the Unions to come in line with Non-Union salaries and benefits"
    Maybe it's time for this meme to begin: "It's time for Non-Unions to come in line with Union salaries and benefits."

    But would most of you take the pay cut to get the benefits that these Union workers get?

    To be and stay a teacher you must possess a college degree, you must then be certified, you must student teach, and you must continue educating yourself.

    And the worst part of all of this, the unions have agreed to the concessions, they just don't want to give up their right to collectively bargain.

    If your salary or benefits have been slashed, don't be mad at a teacher, be mad at the CEO's, Bankers, and Politicians that are gaming the system against you.

    February 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madtown guy

      How many people thought about any of that when they were in public school? The fact is, things are messed up. It feels like Madison is about to explode.

      February 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Well said! I have been underpaid to teach oversized classes at a state university. How we treat education and teachers is also how we are bringing up our children. If we do not respect the educational process and teachers, then we are not loving the people as a whole. I suggest an awakening of conscience in which the money isn't being so concentrated at the top that everyone else has to be told that they have to sacrifice basic services and necessities and the dignity of a decent, respected livelihood. There's plenty of money to provide for the common person IF the priorities are straightened out and the system stops being rigged to disproportionately favor a few.

      February 20, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. JL

    So this man says you can't pay with what you don't have, but you certainly can't buy with what you don't have. Gov. Scott Walker approved the tax cut without proposing any means to recover the loss in revenue, yet he also claimed that the state is in a budget crisis, and forced the public servants to make the sacrifices.

    On the other hand, the salary for teachers in WI is the same as the teachers in other states, and is also congruent with the salary paid with a BS degree.

    Seems like this man is rather uninformed about his opinion.

    February 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NewMalthus

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - As President Obama has joined the political battle in Wisconsin that pits Republican Gov. Scott Walker against public employee unions, a nationwide Clarus Poll finds that a substantial majority of Americans believe government employees should not be able to belong to labor unions.

    In the Clarus Poll, sixty-four percent of voters polled said government employees should not be represented by unions

    February 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • A.A.

      Why don't people (YOU) research the validity of ANY statistics they read? Numbers can (and do!) lie too! Remember when polls had Obama and McCain virtually tied? I wonder why that was. THINK.

      February 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    It seems that the focus has become aimed directly at those who are employed by our state and local governments. Part of the reason our federal and state governments are broke can also be blamed on the corporate world and small businesses. In the corporate world, shell games are played that attract "investment," but pay no dividends in corporate taxes. In small businesses, owners have been playing games for years. They show minimal profits and pocket cash that they NEVER pay taxes on or ever will. It is the biggest joke in the world. Businesspeople find ways to hoard cash, non reporting is rampant, and "write off's" abound. At my son's high school, the kids of convenience store owners get dropped off in Beemers and Range Rovers........then the kids get free lunches on the government. How does someone own a business........lose money every year........and stay in business? Nobody bats an eye...........

    February 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeadGuy

      Nick – You're a maroon!! The U.S. one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Try to educate yourself before you go and spout your b.s.

      February 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me


      You are so full of .....

      Read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Income_Taxes_By_Country.svg

      Yes, the US has one of the lowest (LOWEST) tax rates in the world. Can't even lie well.

      February 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DG

      Nick -
      Learn the difference between personal tax rates and corporate tax rates. Were you protesting the day that they taught reading bar graphs in 6th grade?

      February 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • DG

      Sorry... The user Me not Nick needs to learn how to read bar graphs.

      February 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JD

    In 1839, a young Abraham Lincoln, serving as a Whig in the Illinois House, jumped out of the building in a futile bid to
    prevent Democrats from getting a quorum to vote on a banks bill. Did he not care about his state? Perhaps you have just recognized that you have some intelligent democrats in your state that may be in line for the presidency some day.

    The unions have backed down and only want the right to negotiate, something which Walker missed in class......of course he didn't graduate, so thats his excuse.

    Sharon, the soil here doesn't just belong to your religion. We house about 75 different religions under our skies, but the most correct one is most likely yours, right?

    February 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nick

    DeadGuy......not for the big boys. Do your homework sonny.......before you come off trying to sound over educated........your not.

    February 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeadGuy

      And what tax rate do state governments pay?? I grew up in a union family. Can't wait for them to be broken!!

      February 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeadGuy

      Nick - Thanks for the assessment. And by the way, "your" is a possessive adjective. I think the word YOU'RE looking for is "you're" which is a contraction of "you are".

      February 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JD

    Maybe they should our source the jobs of the police departments, fire depts and state police......oh.....and the governor?

    February 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JD

    Deadguy meant to say that all the corporations of the world are here in the US....... it's just the jobs that are overseas.

    February 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeadGuy

      JD - All you have to do is develop a skill set that's worth big bucks. Good luck with that.

      February 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
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