Wisconsin Protests: A Few Moments of Clarity

What is going on in Wisconsin is not union-busting.  It’s called restoring fiscal sanity.

Up until now, the unions have been budget-busting, because unionized government workers typically don’t contribute much to their pensions and health insurance.

Some key points about the bill in Wisconsin (from The Daily Caller):

  • Public sector employees would still be allowed to collectively bargain on wages, but not on health-care or pension plans.
  • Raises would be tied to the inflation rate, unless the state’s voters deemed the employees worthy of larger raises.
  • Public sector employees would have to pay slightly higher rates for their health care and other benefits, but those rates would remain lower than those of the average private sector employee.
  • Public sector employees would be required to pay 12.6 percent of their health-care premiums; they currently pay about 6 percent.
  • Public sector employees would have to contribute 5.8 percent of their salaries to their pensions under Walker’s plans; currently some pay nothing. From 2000 to 2009, public sector employees paid $55.4 million into a pension system that cost $12.6 billion.
  • Police, firefighters and other public safety workers would be exempt from the new collective bargaining restrictions.

The big talking point on the left is that the unions are willing to negotiate, if only Gov. Walker had given them the chance.  Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was told the same thing, yet the unions weren’t interested in real negotiation and instead started threatening Gov. Christie and his family.  The left-wing hacks that run the public-sector unions are nothing but political thugs who survive as parasites living of the wealth-creation of private-sector taxpayers.

I feel bad for the union members.  Part of their pay is taken forcibly away to pay union dues.  They were assured by the hacks in charge that everything would be fine as long as they trusted the union bosses.  But the workers didn’t realize they were being sold snake oil.

For the big-shot union bosses, this isn’t about protecting workers’ rights.  This is about political power. The kind of power that creates a system in which unionized workers, who are payed by taxpayers, kick a portion of their salaries to the union which then bankrolls Democrats’ campaigns.  These Democrats then create more unionized government jobs, which means more taxpayer dollars going to unions to elect democrats.  This create a vicious cycle that continually grows the size of government and elects Democrats to public office.

This cycle would be continuing today if it wasn’t for the Tea Party and their revolt against Big Government.

Elections have consequences. Ed Morrissey of Hot Air makes some great points:

Senate Democrats in Wisconsin continue to try to frame the narrative in the budget-repair bill as one of Republican obstinance.  Mark Miller spoke with CBS this morning from Wisconsin Democrat headquarters in, er, somewhere other than Wisconsin, and pleaded his case that all Wisconsin Democrats want is negotiation:

Speaking to “The Early Show” Monday from an undisclosed location outside Wisconsin, Mark Miller, one of 14 Democrats who left the state, said that Democrats and the public employee unions have put forth a compromise. “The problem is, is that the governor has to agree, and the governor has not done anything except insist that it has to be his way – all or nothing.

“He should have negotiated with the workers and he refused to do that. He tried to impose his will. And he unilaterally is stripping away workers’ rights.”

“The governor needs to recognize that this is a democracy, and in a democracy you negotiate,” Miller told anchor Erica Hill. “The unions, the public employees, have agreed to the economic demands. All they ask is that they be able to retain the workers’ rights. And we’re supporting them in that.”

When asked if moderate Republicans might be able to help reach an agreement, Miller said, “Absolutely. I think cooler heads need to prevail. Workers need to retain their rights. They’ve given up the economic demands that the governor feels he needs to balance the budget, but now let’s find a compromise . . . but that doesn’t include stripping workers’ rights. That really has nothing to do with balancing the budget.”

First, Wisconsin isn’t a democracy — it’s a representative democracy, and the difference isn’t just semantic.  If Wisconsin was a democracy, then every issue would be settled by a state-wide vote, and the legislature wouldn’t exist at all.  Voters elect representatives to form a legislature to debate and then decide these issues, usually based on the professed agendas of the candidates in the campaign season.

In this case, the issue was debated in the campaign, and voters chose Scott Walker as governor by a significant margin in part because he promised to bring spending and unions under control.  The unions made this point clear in their campaign advertising, and still lost not just the race but both chambers of the legislature.  Now that the legislature has been seated, the majority controls the agenda and can send bills to the floor — for the debate that Miller professes to want, followed by a vote.

That’s how representative democracy works.  If the Democrats want a compromise bill, then they need to show up in the legislature to find enough Republicans to vote down Walker’s proposal in favor of an alternative.  If the majority wants Walker’s bill, well, that’s the consequence of losing an election.  If that doesn’t represent the wishes of Wisconsin voters, Democrats can run in the next election on the promise to restore the closed shop and full collective bargaining rights to unions that have run the state for decades, and see how popular that makes them.

Miller doesn’t want negotiation.  He wants the minority to dictate outcomes and overturn the last election through petulance and obstinacy.  It’s about as anti-democratic as a state legislator can get.

And now, to close things off, “The Top Ten Ways To Tell If You Might Be A Member Of A Public-Sector Union,” written by Rod Pennington for The Daily Caller:

10.) You take a week off to protest in Wisconsin and your office runs better.

9.) On a snow day when they say “non-essential” people should stay home you know who they mean.

8.) You get paid twice as much as a private sector person doing the same job but make up the difference by doing half as much work.

7.) It takes longer to fire you than the average killer spends on death row.

6.) The worse you do your job, the more your boss avoids you.

5.) You think the French are working themselves to death.

4.) You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe.

3.) You spend more time at protest marches than at church.

2.) You have a Democratic congressman’s lips permanently attached to your butt.

1.) You pay more in union dues than you do for your healthcare insurance.

The Heritage Foundation interviewed Gov. Walker:

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  1. Pingback: Quick Facts About the Wisconsin Budget Repair Legislation | The American Truth Machine.