Tag Archives: Governor Walker

Elections Have Consequences

9 Mar

 . . . or so we are reminded when President Obama is nominating new justices to the Supreme Court, or pushing new healthcare legislation. Apparently the same is not true at the local level, where in Wisconsin a newly elected Republican governor, a Republican Senate (19-14) and a Republican Assembly (57-38) are unable to pass budgets or public-sector union reform since the opposition will not even show up for work.

"Moranism" or "How the Left Never Resorts to Hitler Comparisons"

Complain as you will that Republicans in the US Senate threatened to filibuster President Obama’s legislative agenda. At least to filibuster they needed to be in Washington, so there was hope of talk and eventual compromise. If you are hiding in a neighboring state, and allowing surrogates to make your case for you, there is no hope of anything.

Of course, this battle is less about an upcoming budget and more about reining in the power of public sector unions, whose outsized pension and medical benefits, negotiated by politicians of both parties, are bankrupting states. That is not hyperbole. A year old report estimates the total shortfall for state pensions nationwide at $3 Trillion, or a third of our total federal debt. California alone has a $500 Billion hole, or six times the state budget. Six times. You don’t just toss in another 5% a year to make that whole again. You must significantly raise taxes or cut benefits to a sector that is already earning a compensation package 45% above the national average. The average pay of a Milwaukee teacher is $102K. Srsly.

To quote the Obama Administration again, Governor Walker shouldn’t let this serious crisis go to waste. Wisconsin has led national reform before, and it is doing so again. I lived in Wisconsin during the welfare debates of the 1990’s, and despite warnings of a complete breakdown of civilized society, Tommy Thompson’s reform was adopted nationwide as a major Clinton policy achievement. The public cannot afford the deal made to public sector unions, and it’s time to trim. If a state finally has a politician with the gumption to take on a major lobbying force and donator to both parties, then he should strike while he can. Such opportunities do not often present themselves, so why should Walker negotiate? He is simply acting as liberals wished Obama would on tax cuts, healthcare and the stimulus. Better that he embody that Bush-like quality of decisive implementation of a single coherent policy. At least then we aren’t muddling through tepid bi-partisan band-aids.

What of the sacred collective bargaining rights, the firewall issue that sent Wisconsin Democrats to Illinois? This fundamental, inalienable right is not present in twelve states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia), and is limited in twelve more (Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wyoming). Somehow in those states children are taught, fires are fought, crimes are solved, streets are plowed, benefits are paid, and the bureaucracy crunches on. It does so without either massive poverty among state workers, or terribly unsafe working conditions.

Public sector unions are fundamentally incompatible with government. Don’t trust me. Trust FDR:

All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into public service….  The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people.

In other words, the government isn’t management. Politicians change. The will of the people changes. In fact, the workers pick the politicians with a self-reinforcing political “donation” system. There is no corporate hegemony to protect the workers from. They don’t need to be shielded from the abuses of the public. The general citizenry is not profiting at the public worker’s expense. In fact, comparatively, it is now the opposite.