Who Won in Wisconsin?

· Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who won the battle of Wisconsin? Republican Gov. Scott Walker got a legislative victory. On the other hand, Democrats, with a wary eye on 2012 and noting the worrying drop in support for President Obama in union-heavy states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, claim to be delighted that Walker has picked this fight.

"Republicans have done organized labor a great favor by putting the movement back in (the) labor movement, creating a level of passion and activism for workers' rights that hasn't been seen in generations," crowed Democratic strategist Mike Lux.

Maybe so. Though the three-week tantrum by union protesters in Madison (which escalated to harassment of Republican legislators by the Party of Civility), along with the flight of Democratic legislators to Illinois may well offend more Americans than it energizes.

Polling is equivocal. A national poll by Rasmussen found that 48 percent supported Walker while only 38 percent favored the unions. A highly significant 56 percent of independents sided with the governor. On the other hand, a CBS/New York Times poll found that 56 percent of those surveyed opposed reducing pay or benefits of public employees in order to balance state budgets, and 60 percent opposed weakening the bargaining rights of public employees.

Let's stipulate that polls can suffer from tendentious wording. Nevertheless, the public's response to the Madison imbroglio suggests that Republican budget cutters have not completely made their case.

Republicans may need to put greater emphasis on the difference between private- and public-sector unions. In a private-sector company, when unions negotiate with management, there is a limiting factor at work -- the company must remain profitable or everyone is out of a job. In the case of public-sector unions, "management" consists of elected officials, and the city, state, or federal government is the employer. Profit or loss is irrelevant, so there is no limiting factor. If unions receive more and more generous pay and benefits, it's the taxpayers who are on the hook, not "management."

Franklin D. Roosevelt was as radical as Scott Walker. In 1937, he said, "All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management." Former AFL-CIO president George Meany agreed, saying, "It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

In the private sector, unions do not control management and vice versa. In the case of public-employee unions, "management" -- i.e., public officials -- often receive generous contributions from the very unions with whom they are negotiating -- permitting unions to choose "management" to form a cozy, if corrupt, circle.

During the last election cycle, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees contributed $90 million to Democratic candidates. In 2006, then New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine addressed a rally of 10,000 public employees in Trenton, declaring, "We will fight for a fair contract." Corzine was supposed to be management. With whom was he fighting?

The answer, as even Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown are discovering, is other middle-class people -- i.e., the taxpayers. The taxpayers are the ones left holding the bag when elected officials team up with public-sector unions. Middle-class taxpayers, only about 65 percent of whom have access to retirement plans, are picking up the tab for the 90 percent of government employees who do. Nearly 70 percent of lower wage government workers receive health benefits, compared with only 38 percent of private-sector workers.

Many state workers avail themselves of the option to retire in their early to mid-50s at nearly full pay. If they were New Jersey teachers, they can collect free health benefits for life.

The results are clear: New York has a 2012 budget gap of $9 billion; California's is more than $20 billion; Illinois' is $11 billion. The vast majority of middle-class taxpayers, whose pay and benefits are lower than those of the public-sector workers, must pay in higher taxes or reduced services.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has asked California state workers for give-backs of 8 to 10 percent in salary, saying, "We have no choice ... We must now return California to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth."

Mike Lux: Before you celebrate, have a look at Sacramento.

 

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

Will

Make NO mistake; the unions have won in Wisconsin.

And they will win BIG in 2012. Why? Because the vast majority of Americans REFUSE to fight for the economic and political freedom that they very soon will lose. The government belongs to those who show up.

The only thing that stands in the way of the unions is whether the economy collapses before or after November 2012. But collapse it most certainly will. The little communists fighting for their proletariat rights like those in Madison will never stop until it does.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 1:04:09 AM


Hard Thought

The unions may have won the propaganda war because the Republicans failed to differentiate between public and private unions.

Private unions negotiate with management that is in business to make money.

Public unions negotiate with government officials seeking reelection.

There is a world of difference that should have been emphasized instead of glossed over. The media helped muddy the waters and prevent reasonable discussion of the differences.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 6:29:12 AM


Eric

@Hard Thought - In private industry, unions drove companies broke, sending millions of jobs and our future overseas.

In the public sector, unions drove taxpayers and governments broke, sending millions of jobless and hopeless people away empty handed.

A difference that makes no difference isn't.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 7:53:42 AM


kindness

Mona, how could you be so wrong? California's problems lie with it's completely undemocratic requirement to get 67% vote in order to pass a budget or fee/tax increase. It held us in a strangle hold for the last decade. A small minority held a large majority hostage.

For someone who says they champion Democracy you choose terrible examples.

For your readers, you like a 40 hour work week? Thank a Union. You like not working weekends? thank a Union. You like benefits like Health Insurance and (some vestige of) retirement? Thank a Union. You want to be a WalMart greeter when you are 70? Follow Mona Charon & the current Republican party over the cliff.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 10:02:09 AM


Sammy

Kindness, I have been a Union member all of my adult life. (I'm now 62) I have been a shop steward for a good part of that time also. I have to say that Unions have their place, to make sure that big companys don't just "run over" their employees. But these public unions and most of the other ones also are so corrupt it's sad. The public unions don't negotiate with their bosses (us), they negotiate with politicians that don't have any skin in the game. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours at election time etc. Private unions protect the worthless as well as the productive. One can do nothing while someone else carries the load and the shop steward has to protect the worthless one the same as the rest of the workers by law. This isn't right. I've seen it and it disgusts me.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 10:52:46 AM


shocktreatment

Ms Charen ought to be ashamed.

George Meaney's complaint was made in 1955, a decade after FDR's death, 18 years after his letter. Far from agreeing, Meaney was giving voice to a long standing frustration; no remedy for working people against the federal gov's bad faith failure to comply with negotiated terms. It is appalling. "impossible to negotiate" twisted to mean "I agree" with a statement made 18 years earlier?

Also from FDR's 1937 letter (note: not said, but written)

"...The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions , development of opportunit ies for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical... "

FDR's only condition was no legal strikes against government ,

The complete letter:

http://www .presidenc y.ucsb.edu /ws/index. php?pid=15 445#axzz1G IjAA278.”

If Ms Charen's position were actually defendable, she would not need to resort to such dishonest means to defend it.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 11:03:31 AM


ardvaark1965

Maybe all the Public Employees, Federal and State should be unionized and go on strike! Let the USA become the 3rd world country that is so much enjoyed by the illegal aliens getting into our country. GO ON STRIKE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES STARTING WITH THIS ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESS!

Posted March 15, 2011 at 11:48:42 AM


nzjnzj

How ironic that issues with selfish public unions are becoming so prominent just as Ayn Rand's masterpiece 'Atlas Shrugged' is to be released on 15-Apr.

Makes me want to ask 'Who is John Galt?'

Posted March 15, 2011 at 12:45:11 PM


Jody

@Will ~ Kindly don't write off my state yet. The opera ain't over 'till the fat lady sings, and she's just warming up.

Kindness ~ Yes, the Unions had their place, and their day. Today, labor laws guarantee the 40 hour work week, safe working conditions, and many other reforms. The Unions are a dinosaur. And one with a big appetite.

And BTW, my property taxes are so high - thanks to Public Sector unions - that I can't be a greeter at Walmart when I'm 70. I'll still be working full time in Corporate America just to keep my house and make sure those Union workers can retire at 55 with full pay.

Sorry, Baby. I'll take my chances with Walker.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 1:04:57 PM


Clarence E. DeBarrows

shocktreatment: If the implausibility of Unions representing public sector workers wasn't so patent your indignation would be understandable.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 2:32:32 PM


Nolarond

@Jody - I am also from Wisconsin and AM writing off my state.

The state of Wisconsin steals 12% of my income annually- and that doesn't even include sales tax.

I lived in Tennessee for 2 years and can tell you that my standard of living was no different between the 2 states. So what am I giving up 12% of my income for?

If I had ANY hope left for the Federal government to turn around and come back to reality enough to prevent a financial collapse I might consider staying in WI. But Will is right- the collapse IS coming. Those who love liberty should now be focusing on strengthening those states that might be able to shield us from the collapse of the dollar and the totalitarianism of the Federal government that will inevitably bring. Such states that have right to work laws and are beginning the discussion of using gold and silver as currency. States that have no income tax.

While Wisconsin has won a major victory for liberty- based on the reaction of so many people here (in favor of the unions) I don't see it as a state that will survive the collapse. There are still too many people who don't understand what's about to happen to our economy and what needs to be done about it.

Posted March 15, 2011 at 2:36:11 PM

 

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The above was copied and pasted from: http://patriotpost.us/opinion/mona-charen/2011/03/15/who-won-in-wis... on "the Ides of March," as in "beware the Ides of March" - scary thought!  Would love to hear others' thoughts on this article.  Cathy Mitchell

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Comment by Cathy Mitchell on March 21, 2011 at 3:27pm

Below is an example of mis-information by the Democratic Sen. Central? Committee (DSCC). Evidently it's working, as polls show slightly more people believe the Democrat position. How to combat this blatant misrepresentation of the facts? Can I sign a petition stating I think this is a load of BS?

Stand with Wisconsin Democrats

BREAKING NEWS: Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have circumvented their Democratic colleagues and used a procedural trick to strip public workers of their right to collectively bargain. Add your voice to stand against this outrageous act.

Republicans in Washington are trying to balance the national budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. Now in Wisconsin, the GOP is attacking teachers, prison guards and other public employees – the very workers who educate our children and keep all of us safe. It’s unfair, and it must stop.
 
Sign our petition. Let Democrats in Wisconsin know that we stand with them against the extreme antics of the GOP. This is just the start of Republicans showing their true colors. Democrats need to know that we’ve got their back.

Comment by Fredrick Lindner on March 19, 2011 at 11:43am

Good/Bad???  What was the right thing to do for the bankrupt State of Wisconsin?

 

The Governor had to do it, the State needed it done, the Republicans were elected to cut the budget and get things back in order.  Just like any political frame of mind there is still over a year for the current emotional state of the unions to dry out.  By the elections of 2012 the unions will have little more support then they usually do with their funneled moneys from dues towards 501 and 527 groups.

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