Friday, February 18, 2011

Athens in Mad Town

The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial supporting Governor Scott Walker's move to remove some of the collective bargaining rights of the grossly overpaid school teachers' unions. Other government unions are also included in the bill:
Mr. Walker says he has no choice but to make these changes because unions refuse to negotiate any compensation changes, which is similar to the experience Chris Christie had upon taking office in New Jersey. Wisconsin is running a $137 million deficit this year and anticipates coming up another $3.6 billion short in the next two-year budget. Governor Walker's office estimates the proposals would save the state $300 million over the next two years, and the alternative would be to lay off 5,500 public employees.

None of this is deterring the crowds in Madison, aka Mad Town, where protesters, including many from the 98,000-member teachers union, have gone Greek. Madison's school district had to close Thursday when 40% of its teachers called in sick. So much for the claim that this is "all about the children." By the way, these are some of the same teachers who sued the Milwaukee school board last August to get Viagra coverage restored to their health-care plan.

This demonstration was starting to heat up when the First Imbecile opened his Big Mouth and revealed his Empty Brain.
The protests have an orchestrated quality, and sure enough, the Politico website reported yesterday that the Democratic Party's Organizing for America arm is helping to gin them up. The outfit is a remnant of President Obama's 2008 election campaign, so it's also no surprise that Mr. Obama said yesterday that while he knows nothing about the bill, he supports protesters occupying the Capitol building.

"These folks are teachers, and they're firefighters and they're social workers and they're police officers," he said, "and it's important not to vilify them." Mr. Obama is right that he knows nothing about the bill because it explicitly excludes police and firefighters. We'd have thought the President had enough to think about with his own $1.65 trillion deficit proposal going down with a thud in Congress, but it appears that the 2012 campaign is already underway.

The unions and their Democratic friends have also been rolling out their Hitler, Soviet Union and Hosni Mubarak analogies. "The story around the world is the rush to democracy," offered Democratic State Senator Bob Jauch. "The story in Wisconsin is the end of the democratic process."

The reality is that the unions are trying to trump the will of the voters as overwhelmingly rendered in November when they elected Mr. Walker and a new legislature. As with the strikes against pension or labor reforms that routinely shut down Paris or Athens, the goal is to create enough mayhem that Republicans and voters will give up.

Will the demonstration of union workers taking off from work to do a sit-in at the State Capitol Building buffalo the 19 Republican Senators [out of 33]? The Wall Street Journal thinks that this is an important test of wills.
While Republicans now have the votes to pass the bill, on Thursday Big Labor's Democratic allies walked out of the state senate to block a vote. Under state rules, 20 members of the 33-member senate must be present to hold a vote on an appropriations bill, leaving the 19 Republicans one member short. By the end of the day some Democrats were reported to have fled the state. So who's really trying to short-circuit democracy?

Unions are treating these reforms as Armageddon because they've owned the Wisconsin legislature for years and the changes would reduce their dominance. Under Governor Walker's proposal, the government also would no longer collect union dues from paychecks and then send that money to the unions. Instead, unions would be responsible for their own collection regimes. The bill would also require unions to be recertified annually by a majority of all members. Imagine that: More accountability inside unions.

Looks like the Demonrats would rather flee than vote. I hope the people of Wisconsin blame the crooked unions who extort huge benefits packages from weak politicians. And the squalid imposters who are elected officials fleeing the state to avoid a politically important vote. Just as Democracy is destroying Greece, big corrupt states like California [where state employees can BUY five more years of "air-employment" towards their retirement] and New York, a human sewer where the State Assembly is not functioning. Let us not forget Illinois, so satisfied with crooked corrupt politicians that they re-elected proven criminals including a governor who's almost as corrupt as Blagdoevich.
The larger reality is that collective bargaining for government workers is not a God-given or constitutional right. It is the result of the growing union dominance inside the Democratic Party during the middle of the last century. John Kennedy only granted it to federal workers in 1962 and Jerry Brown to California workers in 1978. Other states, including Indiana and Missouri, have taken away collective bargaining rights for public employees in recent years, and some 24 states have either limited it or banned it outright.

And for good reason. Public unions have a monopoly position that gives them undue bargaining power. Their campaign cash—collected via mandatory dues—also helps to elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions. The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table. This is why such famous political friends of the working man as Franklin Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia opposed collective bargaining for government workers, even as they championed private unions.

The battle of Mad Town is a seminal showdown over whether government union power can be tamed, and overall government reined in. The alternative is higher taxes until the middle class is picked clean and the U.S. economy is no longer competitive. Voters said in November that they want reform, and Mr. Walker is trying to deliver. We hope Republicans hold firm, and that the people of Wisconsin understand that this battle is ultimately about their right to self-government.

The alternative to self-government is the bureaucratic authoritarianism of state employees running the country, vide Greece, California, Venezuela & Communist Cuba---all corrupt countries or states with stagnating economies outside one or two special sectors.
UPDATE Belmont Club over at Pajamas Media has a nice take on how important it is that Walker keep his backbone stiff.

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