Thursday, February 24, 2011


I don’t have much sympathy for the teachers in Wisconsin, a state whose public schools rank among the worst performing schools in the country. Among the thousands of protesters at the Wisconsin state capitol, most were teachers who had called in sick. A number of school districts were forced to shut down because so many of their teachers were ‘sick.’ That shows teachers are far more interested in the thickness of their pocketbooks than in educating schoolchildren.

On the other hand, Gov. Scott Walker may have fallen on his own sword when he carried on a 20-minute phone conversation with Ian Murphy, an editor with a liberal online newspaper, who pretended to be David Koch, a billionaire supporter of the governor. The recorded conversation clearly showed that Walker’s primary goal was union busting, not fiscal responsibility. At the end of the call, Murphy says: "I'll tell you what, Scott, once you crush these bastards, I'll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time." Walker, thinking that he was talking to Koch, replies: "All right, that would be outstanding."

So, what’s the real issue in Wisconsin? I’d say it’s both union busting and fiscal responsibility.

By Mark Davis
February 23, 2011

Nobody ever said this was going to be easy.

Getting into a financial mess is as effortless as breathing. Ask millions of American families. Ask the majority of the 50 states. After generations of growing used to spending nonexistent money, individuals and governments from coast to coast are facing the stark necessities of grasping basic financial truths.

It is not just rampant spending that has hurled families and various levels of government into crisis. The tanking of the national economy didn’t help matters for anyone.

But it has helped us achieve some clarity as to what we need to do. Or, should I say, it has helped some of us achieve that clarity.

A lot of Republicans won in November on the promise of tackling the tough job of getting government spending under control. Now many of those same leaders are hearing loud complaints as they seek to actually fulfill that promise.

On the national level, modest budget-cutting suggestions are condemned in drastic terms by those who have grown used to government bloat. At the state level, governors telling voters to brace for austerity are hearing the stuck-pig squeals of those who have no intention of weaning themselves from taxpayer-funded largesse.

Ground zero for this economic morality play is Wisconsin, where new Gov. Scott Walker campaigned specifically on bringing his very blue state’s budget back into the black. Part of the road back to sanity involves asking his state’s public employee unions to sacrifice a modest portion of the generous pension and health care benefits that have helped run the state’s finances into the ground.

Their response took the form of angry mobs swirling around the state capitol calling for his political head. Teachers abandoned kids and classrooms to add their voices, finding sympathetic doctors willing to abandon their ethics by writing them phony medical excuses on the spot. This is not the way to garner public support.

One poll did shown support for a compromise in which the employees agree to pitch in for health care and retirement in return for keeping their collective bargaining rights.

But those would be the collective bargaining rights that allowed this unworkable landscape to take shape in the first place. Walker is not compromising because he knows that concessions won today can be lost tomorrow unless the noxious power of public employee unions is finally subjugated to the interests of taxpayers.

We have been lectured to by no less than President Barack Obama that these union members are our friends and neighbors, and in some cases they are. But I’ll tell you a constituency that every last one of us knows closely and in large number — the taxpayers footing the bill. How about some empathy for that special interest?

Walker will be chastised for trying to “break the unions.” While he distances from that stark language, I embrace it. The modern incarnation of public employee unions (and more than a few private ones, as well) deserved dismantling long ago.

We are not in the coal mines of the 1920s, where labor leaders like John L. Lewis properly organized workers against criminally unscrupulous companies. The workforce of the 21st century is not the wasteland of worker exploitation Big Labor would have us believe.

Government workers want fair pay and benefits. Taxpayers want competent, happy government workers. The marketplace will yield both if it is freed from the jaws of the power-hungry dinosaur of unions placing the interests of the rank and file miles above the public they are supposed to serve.

If Wisconsin is the metaphoric classroom where teachers and others learn what is necessary to extract a state from financial ruin, let that lesson begin now and spread to every level of government where similar light needs to be shed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I say kill every fascist loving union buster today !And fuck these phony preachers as well :